#business plan template
Writing your business plan. Ughhhh.
It’s definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding. Because that’s the thing–your business plan is a pretty important.
Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. Recently, I shared 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups. an infographic created by Mark Vital over at Funders and Founders.
A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money–all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.
Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It’s an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them.
That doesn’t mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great–you probably aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:
1. Score’s Business Plan Template for Startups
Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping 150 questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.
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:
2. U.S. Small Business Administration Business Plan Engine
The SBA’s template is available to fill out online and then download as a PDF. You can go back in and edit it as needed, so don’t worry about having everything ready the first time you sit down to tackle it. Even broken into sections, it’s a long document and a bit of a slog to get through, but it produces a professional-looking and useful business plan. This is particularly helpful if your idea isn’t fully fleshed out and you know you have homework to do–it prompts you for information.
3. The $100 Startup’s One-Page Business Plan
Who said a business plan has to be a long, complicated document? Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices. The $100 Startup, the website for the best-selling book of the same name, has a ton of stripped-down resources for entrepreneurs, including this super simplified business plan template.
4. LawDepot’s WYSIWYG Business Plan Template
This one says you just have to answer a few simple questions and will be “done before you know it!” Don’t believe it. A business plan should take time and a lot of homework, but if you’ve already done that, LawDepot’s template is a decent choice. It walks you through getting started, marketing, product, competitive analysis, SWOT, and more, with a window below the input fields to show you the plan as you work away at it. You can download it free with a trial subscription, but you’ll have to remember to cancel it within the week if you don’t plan to continue using it.
5. SME Toolkit Business Plan Samples
The SME Toolkit, jointly offered by IFC and IBM, offers a simple two-page outline of what should be included in your business plan to meet the minimum requirements of funders and tax authorities (in the U.S.). It contains 10 broad sections, including market analysis, management and organization, etc. with a one-paragraph explanation of each. A second download on the same page is an Excel file to help with your financial projections.
6. Office Online Templates Galore
Of course, Microsoft offers a ton of business plan templates for Office users (you can get birthday invitations while you’re at it). If you’d rather do a business plan presentation than a Word doc, you can download one of Microsoft Office’s half a dozen or so PowerPoint templates for just that purpose. You’ll want to customize it with your company branding (you have your branding down, right?), but it’s easier than starting from a blank PPT.
7. vFinance Inc. Business Plan Template and Guide
Global financial services firm vFinance offers a basic, 30-page business plan template to download from its website–one the company says has been downloaded more than a quarter of a million times. No, it won’t be completely unique, but vFinance knows what it’s doing and the template is pretty comprehensive. VFinance is the creator of the massive Venture Capital Directory and has tailored the plan to appeal to funders. If that’s your goal, definitely check this one out.
8. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT
U.K. online invoicing software brand Invoiceberry offers free business plan templates in .docx. odt. xlsx, and .pptx formats. Each one also contains a marketing plan and executive summary template. There’s a catch, though–the company asks you to take one of the following three actions before you can download the template: like it on Facebook, give it a +1 on Google+, or give it your email address. If you don’t mind doing that, it’s a good deal. Kudos to Invoiceberry for figuring out this effective lead-gen tactic too!
9. Santa Clara University’s My Own Business Institute Plans
Santa Clara U’s MOBI is an initiative of its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Leavey School of Business. On the site, you can download each of the 15 business plan sections individually as Word documents, or grab all 15 together in one doc. There’s a ton of other helpful resources as well, including guidelines for evaluating your potential sites, a list of key people to review your plan, and sample financial sheets.
10. RocketLawyer’s Business Plan Templates by State
Like some of the others, you fill out RocketLawyer’s form and download the business plan when you’re done–but its template allows you to choose your state before getting started. These plans are tailored to meet your financing requirements in your state, which is a huge bonus for those seeking funding through banks. It’s also heavily geared toward financing, making it a good choice if that’s a priority for you.
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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
#cheap business cards
If you’re a freelancer or you run a small business, you know that having a great is a valuable asset. However, when you’re just starting out, printing business cards can seem a little out of reach pricewise. It doesn’t have to be like that though. These days, there are dozens of low-cost printers who will do a print run of a modest amount of cards for you. All you need to do is choose your card style, add your details and put in your order.
There are even places who offer a free trial for your first batch of cards, online business cards to give you a stylish virtual presence and a great deal of variety for printed cards if you’re willing to pay a little. Check out these great options for cheap business cards that we found!
VistaPrint have patented a way to do small runs of business cards cost effectively, thus allowing them to offer cards at a very cheap rate (normally £17.99 for 250 cards). In order to let you try them out, they also offer a 250-card print run for free if you are a new customer (but you pay for shipping). You can’t beat that!
If you’re taking up their free trial, they offer a decent range of designs to choose from and allow some personalisation. If you’re paying for a premium run, you can choose from thousands of designs, plus it’s possible to upload your logo and photos.
Moo has made quite a name for itself as a way of creating business cards from social media services like Facebook and Flickr. Moo specialise in creating unique cards for each customer, allowing everyone to design their own cards with their own photography and artwork or to work with templates. Moo also let you use different images on different cards, meaning that in a pack of 50 cards you can have different images on each one!
We’ve previously reviewed Moo’s quality MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway MOO MiniCards Review and Giveaway Today, we’ll be taking a quick look at what MOO is all about and we placed several test orders with them to find out how great their print quality is. We’ll also be giving away. Read More. so we know it to be excellent. Business cards can be purchased for £10.99 for a pack of 50 and are offered in a variety of order sizes up to 600 cards for £101.97. If you want to check out Moo’s quality yourself, order a 10-card sample pack for free. It will be exactly like the premium product, but with a Moo logo printed on it as well.
3. Business Card Star
Using Business Card Star is more about the design process than anything. They allow users to design cards for printing at home, which is a real money-saver as you design and print your cards for free. Of course, they also offer a printing service with high quality cards, which will probably look more professional than the homemade variety.
There are plenty of designs to choose from, plus it’s possible to add your own photos and logos. If you’re printing at home, they charge a fee of US$10 to save a PDF of cards with your own photos and logos on them. If you are having your cards printed by them there is no extra fee for using your own images. Print runs start at US$22.95 + shipping and can be shipped to the US or Canada.
4. Business Card Land
Business Card Land works in much the same way as Business Card Star, as you can download free PDFs of your business cards for home printing or order professional printing via Business Card Star. The design process and the choice of templates are different though, so it’s worth checking out if you want a little variety.
5. Biz Card Creator
Biz Card Creator is yet another free online business card design company, but it has a more limited selection of card styles available. However, if simplicity is your thing, it may be worth trying. They do not offer printing services – in fact, they send you back to VistaPrint if you’re looking to print your cards.
6. Virtual Business Cards
#atm machine business
How Much Can an ATM Machine Make
How much you can earn in the ATM Business depends on where the ATM is located and if it is needed. The main thing to remember about the ATM Business is that it’s just like real estate. Location, Location, Location.
ATM’s can be installed anywhere in the USA. Inside or outside any retail merchant location including but not limited to Restaurants, liquor stores, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, quick service restaurants, casual dining, bars, night clubs, train stations, football or baseball stadiums, concert venues, adult themed locations, Hotels, Hospitals, Condo complexes, Apartment Complex, High Rise Apartment Buildings, coffee carts, mobile events, mounted in trailers, mounted on the back of food trucks, you name it. Anywhere people need access to cash, an ATM can make you a passive income .
If you answer yes to any of these questions, Get our new book The Amazing Money Machine on Amazon now.
- I m a retail merchant looking to increase profits.
- I m an entrepreneur looking for a new business opportunity.
- I m an investor looking to diversify and maximize annual returns.
- I already operate an ATM Business and I want to put more money in my pocket.
- I m an individual looking to make some passive income and would like information about the ATM Business.
- I m an individual, business owner, or part of a group that has locations that need ATMs.
How much can an ATM make?
Well, It’s all about foot traffic, a reason to need money, and other available payment methods. Sometimes just having a lot of people walk by or see the ATM can mean the difference between a good
The ATM Industry has a “rule of thumb” formula that many Independent ATM Deployers “IADs” use as a general rule to determine if a location would be a good candidate for an ATM machine. There are two different schools of thought on this rule, and obviously since there are many unknown variables, no location is a guarantee using these formulas but it’s better than a WAG (wild ass guess).
- The first rule of thumb, or formula says that 3 – 5% of people that actually see an ATM machine in an establishment will likely use the ATM. Say for example, your location has an average of 200 customers visiting each day. One would expect, or speculate that approximately 8 of those 200 people would use that ATM daily.
- You could then take those 8 people, multiply it by the amount of surcharge, then take that figure and multiply it by the number of days of business (how many day’s the location is open) in the year. This will give an ATM owner, or perspective owner, an estimate on how much revenue could be generated from the machine in a year’s time.
- However, most ATM business owners want to calculate monthly revenue and income.
- The 2nd rule of thumb follows the norm that the number of adult patrons an establishment has in a given day, that same number plus or minus 10% will use the ATM on a monthly basis. I prefer this rule of thumb and if the establishment accepts credit cards or gives cash back at the point of sale (POS), the lower end of the rule would apply and it might even reduce the number by as much as 20% – 40%.
- A similar formula is used for hotels or big commercial buildings. With hotels, we take the number of rooms, times the occupancy rate and apply the same plus or minus 10% rule. So if the hotel has 150 rooms with an 80% occupancy rate one might expect 110 – 135 monthly transactions, however if the hotel has any events or banquet rooms, that number would scale higher during those times.
- Similarly with commercial buildings (office building for example) you might take the total number of employees working in the building and using the yearly formula based on how many days a year the companies occupying the building are open. If there is a cafe or for profit cafeteria in the building the estimates would be higher.
Think about it this way. Some of the best locations are where there is a high need for cash and no credit cards are accepted. Swap meets, events, and street fairs, are all great but very temporary. That would be a mobile ATM business which we can also show you how to operate.
We’ll try to boil this down and make it simple. At the very least, if you’re a retail merchant, and you don’t already own an ATM, you could purchase the hardware from anyone (even from us) and once you set up the ATM processing it should at least pay for itself in as little as a few months.
You’ll also need a communication method so the ATM can talk to our processing center. You can choose from a dedicated standard phone line (but since it calls a toll free or local number you’ll just have the cost of the line, no tolls), Internet Service (if you have a high speed model or DLS with a router, you can hard-wire the ATM to your current internet), or you can choose our wireless cellular service which is often less expensive than a phone line and lightening fast.
With the advent of VoIP and certain devices if you have a computer close to the ATM you could potentially use a Magic Jack or other device as long as the ATM can hear a dial tone or pre-dial to get a tone (like dialing a 9, although not as reliable, it would still work). However, intermittent communications can cause more problems that they save you. If there is an issue with communications, transactions could be slow or worse they could be interrupted and customers would not receive money from the ATM getting upset.
If you have a fast internet connection and you purchase one of the new ATMs which includes internet processing, or get a separate wireless device ATMDepot can handle the rest for you. In order of ranking communications as far as ease, cost, and reliability.
- Wireless Device is preferred and is the most reliable.
- Next would be your own Internet service with a hard wire to the ATM Machine.
- Lastly, a standard Dial up Phone line, but this method causes the most communication issues.
If you don’t have an ATM or are considering getting into the ATM business to earn some extra cash or a passive income, you just need to be sure that a minimum of at least 3 – 4 people per day would use the ATM every day (if available 7 days per week).
Obviously if you’re a retailer and are open 10 hours a day that’s just one person using the ATM every few hours. If you’re considering a through the wall machine that faces outside it will be available 24 hours a day but those machines need at least 8 – 10 people per day to make financial sense.
If you already have an ATM or are already in the ATM business and are looking to switch your ATM processing services (you need to check your current ATM agreement for termination clause) you could take advantage of our higher revenue sharing without any costs to you and put more money in your pocket.
If you don’t have an ATM, you can review our ATM Machine equipment options or call us for advice.
Let’s say for example you purchase the new Hyosung Halo. You can install it yourself, but we recommend you let us arrange to have a professional install it and train your staff. This ATM can use wireless communications technology which is under $20/mo so no phone line is required.
We also have a Triton ATM for under $2,500 and carry the full line of Hantle and Genmega ATMs. You will probably invest between $2,250 – $3,500 in good ATM machine by the time you’re done with professional installation, signs, or anything else extra you may want for your ATM Business.
#small business advice
Where can you go for the best business advice?
Starting a business is an exhilarating experience but can also be quite treacherous, if you’re really sure where you’re going. Luckily there is a wealth of information out there to help you prepare. The only issue is, where to start?
Ever on the pilgrimage to make your business endeavors easier, we have collated a list of the best places to look for startup and small business advice. The best part is, most of them are completely free.
1. Startup advice
Gov.uk provides a range of business and financial support options, including advice on writing a business plan. help with finance and support, loans and Growth Voucher opportunities.
The government’s Growth Accelerator scheme is also well worth checking out. Eligible small businesses can access coaching and advice, as well as up to £2,000 of match funding per senior manager involved in the strategic direction of the business.
The government isn’t the only place you can find funding for your business more funding info here .
Startup Britain is characterised as a “national campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs” and provides free events and advice for budding businesses. They also work with the government in order to create better initiatives and funding options for startups, which aims to give small businesses the opportunity to have their say.
99u is online portfolio company, Behance’s effort to “make ideas happen”. The site offers a selection of articles, videos and advice on innovation and creative thinking. If you’re feeling a little depleted and you need some business motivation, 99u is a great place to start.
2. HR advice for small business
ACAS provides information, advice, training and other services for employers and employees relating to employment and HR issues. As well as advice and training, ACAS also offers online modules to help you achieve the ‘model workplace’ and get to grips with employment law.
Early conciliation is a particularly useful section of the ACAS site if you find yourself in a workplace dispute. The free service offers the opportunity to resolve issues without having to go to an employment tribunal.
HR Zone has a decent mix of informative blog posts, white papers and employment law features. They also have a library and online resource centre, which offers a 14 day free trial for all new members. It is free to join and you will be alerted of all up-and-coming events near your area.
Human Resource Solutions support small businesses who may not have the capital or need to hire HR professionals. The website offers professionally written free resources, as well as downloadable HR policies and procedures templates.
3. Accounting advice
J4b provides funding and grant information to startups and small businesses. The site also offers advice and guidance on relevant awards and tax relief and is easier to navigate than HMRC.
HMRC is the almighty ruler of all British tax issues and has all of the financial information required to set up your business and manage your finances. It is not the easiest website to navigate so here are some of the most useful areas for you:
- Starting a business Help and support for new businesses, including what you need to register to get set up, limited company, VAT, PAYE for employers, record keeping ect.
- Corporation tax Information on how to register, calculate and manage your corporation tax.
- Import and export Tax laws on international trade, import control system and how to apply.
The new HMRC section on the gov.uk website is much more user friendly.
4. Business mentoring services
Horsesmouth describes itself as “the social network for informal mentoring” and offers the opportunity to sign up to have or be a mentor. They have a specific section on starting a business where you can search for mentors on a variety of subjects including, interviewing, managing people, business plan and investment.
Mentorsme is designed to help you find a business mentor as quickly and easily as possible. You can also find a range of useful resources on their website, including accounting a business advice, better financial control and how to complete a lending request.
Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants – Small Business Blog #minority
#minority business grants
Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants
Minorities are choosing entrepreneurship in leaps and bounds. The pool of minority-owned business includes members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnic groups. According to the SBA, this number rose to 14.6 percent in 2012 in part because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.
As with their non-minority counterparts, proper access to funding is crucial for the creation, growth, and sustainability of their businesses. Although minority business ownership is growing, there continues to be great disparities in their access to business funding. In their effort to even the playing field, minority business owners continue to search for various funding resources.
Grants for Minority Business
As part of their quest for funding, the first choice for minority business owners is to seek out grants. The belief that there are federal grants available for the start up and growth phases for small businesses is a myth. The federal government does not provide grants to businesses for start up, expansion, to cover operational expenses, or to pay off debts. However there are federal grants available in the areas of research in the fields of medicine, scientific research, education, and technology development. Here are a few such grants.
- Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – This grant is for the purpose of funding small business projects that are research related. Research areas include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See a full list of program descriptions and research topics allowed on their site.
- The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program – The purpose of this grant is to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The amount of the award ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.
You can search additional federal grants at grants.gov .
We have included a list of some grants available to black and minority owned businesses.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest – The FedEx Small Business Grant awards 10 different grants to small business owners in the following amounts: (1) grand prize grant of $25,000, (1) grant of $10,000, and (8) grants of $5,000. Deadline is January 12, 2015. To enter, the applicants must share their business story including their motivation and plans for growth. Winners will be announced April 21, 2015.
- The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grant Program This grant allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular business need. Each grant is worth up to $5,000. To apply visit nase.org, create an account, become a member, and click on the link apply today. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
- MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series – This grant supports urban entrepreneurs by awarding up to $150,000 in business grants to five entrepreneurs annually.
- Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – Grant proposals are accepted from businesses that nurture the relationship between mother and child either through a product or service. The amount of the award is $15,000 plus additional business resources for further development.
Organizations that Provide Minority Business Grants
The Role of the SBA
While the SBA has the authority to provide grants to certain non-profit and educational organizations, it is not permitted to provide grants to small businesses, including minority owned businesses. However, minority business owners can take advantage of the SBA (8) a Business Development Program. The program assists qualifying minority-owned businesses develop and growth through one on one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical assistance.
The 8(a) program has been designed for some minority groups that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. Those groups include: African American, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. A business must be at least 51% owned by a minority of the group listed. Other groups can apply for this program if they can prove that they have been discriminated against or are at an economic disadvantage. Those groups include: Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations.
To learn more about this program contact the local SBA office in your area.
The Minority Business Development Agency
Another great resource for minority business owners is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). MBDA maintains a national network of 44 business centers whose purpose is to assist minority businesses with access to capital, contracts, and new markets. The specialists that work at the business centers can assist with the grant application.
Minority Business Grants: The Process
Applying for a grant is not a quick process. First the application can be more than a few pages and it is normally a detailed application. Most grants have an opening date, which is the date when the grant became available for application. The deadline date is the final date you must submit your grant by. Keep in mind that the decision may take a few months.
Additional Grant Preparation Tips
- Create a business plan – Writing a business plan is an important step. The business plan will act as the roadmap for your business. Be sure to provide specific information in the plan about your minority business and how it will improve the economy and your community.
- Read through grant information thoroughly Once you have decided which grant you will apply for, make sure that you read through all of the information. This will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Most grant synopsis’ are detailed and require a lot of specific information.
- Keep track of the application deadline – Obviously it is important that you do not miss the deadline. So be sure to apply for the grant before the deadline. A good idea would be to create a project checklist which includes dates and milestones. It’s a good idea to submit the grant before the deadline approaches.
- Gather all of your documents – Make sure you gather all of the documents required for the grant. Prepare a checklist, check, and double check. You do not want to have any missing documents that may cause the grant to be denied.
Is Frequent Business Travel Killing You?
We often look at those who get to jet off to new and exotic locations on a regular basis with envy, even if their travels are for work. For those who don’t have the ability to frequently travel, being able to visit new places and cultures is an absolute luxury.
But, a study recently published in the journal Environment and Planning is shedding light on a dark side of frequent business travel. According to this study, people who engage in frequent travel, which the study refers to as “hypermobility,” may experience adverse psychological, emotional and physical effects.
Jet lag is one of the most common health risks with frequent travel, disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm. It can cause fatigue and gastrointestinal problems and even affect your mood, judgment and ability to concentrate. Jet lag’s interference with the body’s rhythms causes a widespread disruption of many biological processes, potentially increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke and, if chronic, may cause cognitive deficits.
Frequent air travel can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, expose you to more germs and contribute to dry eyes and dehydrated skin.
Every time you fly, you get zapped by a little extra UV and cosmic radiation from space. It goes right through you, in very small amounts. It s typically nothing you need to worry about, even if you re pregnant. But, flying 85,000 miles a year goes beyond the limit for public exposure to radiation – with exposure to radiation at high altitude hundreds of times higher than at ground level, the risk of cancer becomes higher.
Frequent business travelers tend to have fewer opportunities to exercise, worse eating habits than when they’re at home and occasionally over-consume alcohol, further impacting their health.
Wait, there’s more.
Frequent travel impacts psychological and emotional health. There’s always a level of stress preparing and making arrangements for trips, but when you arrive at your destination for vacation, you relax and unwind. This is often not the case for business travelers – their workload isn’t reduced and they may experience more stress trying to complete tasks during travel.
Flight delays can trigger anxiety and fatigue. And, constantly traveling for business can be disorienting and lonely since so much time is spent away from friends and family. While frequently traveling opens you up to new opportunities to make new connections and friendships, this study found these relationships tend to be situational, expendable and short-lived.
Researchers in this study found the brighter side of hypermobility is the “glamorized” viewpoint others have of the frequent traveler, perceiving them as having a higher social status. And social media only enhances this with the ability (or social obligation) to post photos and check in to exotic locations for everyone to see where you are.
While frequent business travelers’ social media posts glamorize what they’re doing, they also overshadow all of the negative impacts of what they’re doing.
Frequent business travel is becoming more common, meaning these negative effects could begin to impact a broader population, according to researchers.
So what does all of this mean? For frequent business travelers, you may not have a choice about flying for work, but you can work to counteract these negative effects.
First, make a concerted effort to eat healthy, skip alcohol and take advantage of hotel fitness centers during business trips. Make sure you try your best to keep moving instead of sitting for hours upon hours – walk around the airport, walk around the plane, find a space to stretch. That will help with the possibility of developing DVT. When you can, catch up on your sleep to prevent and ward off jet lag. And when you are home, make sure you’re spending plenty of time with your friends and family.
Business Website Builder
 Template Design Wix has a very large library of professionally designed themes that spans across a lot of different industries, so it s easy to find one that s suitable for you. Squarespace themes are responsive and polished by far the best amongst its peers. Weebly is gradually releasing more updated themes. If you want your web design to look good, click here to see a collection of free beautiful, professional themes .
 Ease of Use Score is based on how easy it is to learn to use the website builder (even if you have no technical skills). This rating give you an idea which website builder is the easiest to use.
 Features Flexibility Refers to the number of features, apps and type of website (hotel, music, ecommerce, and etc) the website build will support. Some website builders have app stores that allow you to integrate third party tools and features with a simple click of a button. Higher scores will be rewarded to website builders that are more flexible and have the larger app stores.
 Popularity The popularity of a website builder is determined by the number of users. This does not necessarily equate the number of active websites or number of paying customers, but will give you a broad indication of its popularity. If you re unsure how to find the right website builder for you, here are 9 simple questions to ask yourself to help you choose .
 Pricing Monthly pricing based on annual plans. Monthly price will be a bit higher if you enrolled on month-to-month payment plans. Pricing plans should not be compared directly based on pricing, as each website builder offers different features for their own plans. Please read our detailed review for each website builder for further details. We also have more discussions about the cost of building a website here.
Best Business Website Builders Round-up
A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow – Ever #small #business
A List Of The Worst Business Advice You Can Follow Ever
There’s plenty of advice out there for how to start and run a business. But not all of it is good. In fact, there are some common sayings that are actually some of the worst business advice out there. The following includes some of the worst business advice you can follow.
The Worst Business Advice
Do What You Love
Although it may seem like a nice notion, this popular saying is widely considered one of the worst pieces of business advice out there. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean that others will find it helpful or necessary. And if no one buys what you’re selling, then doing what you love won’t really get you anywhere.
If You Build It, They Will Come
Likewise, simply building an offering doesn’t mean that you’ll actually attract any customers. This saying implies that if you put in the work, there are customers out there who will support your business. But if you don’t do the research and find a market for your product or service, you very well could be in for a rude awakening.
The Customer is Always Right
This popular saying is meant to encourage business owners and employees to work hard to accommodate customers. And while customers and their opinions are generally important to the success of businesses, they’re not always right. If you’re constantly giving discounts or changing your offerings every time a customer makes a demand, you could be hurting your brand and your bottom line.
Never Turn Down a Paying Customer
Likewise, you shouldn’t assume that every customer you get will help your business. Especially if you have a consulting business or provide some other service where it can be necessary for you to work with someone over the long-term, it may very well be in your best interest to only take on a few very select clients.
Don t Quit Your Day Job
This is some of the worst business advice out there because there’s no right path for every entrepreneur. If you’re just starting out, it may very well be in your best interest to keep your full-time job while building a business. But then again you might be better off quitting and putting all your time and effort into your new venture. When it comes to making this decision, each entrepreneur has to decide based on his or her own set of circumstances, and not listen to a single one-size-fits-all recommendation.
Stay Away From Established Markets
Some experts claim that in order to start a successful business, you need to find a brand new niche or a huge gap in the market. But that’s not always true. You can start a business in an established market as long as you have at least one small thing that customers will appreciate to set you apart.
If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do It Yourself
Too many business owners try to do everything themselves because they have a hard time trusting anyone else with their business. But the fact is there are experts and great potential employees out there who can help you do things better than you could all by yourself.
It s All About Who You Know
Personal connections can certainly be helpful when it comes to running a successful business. But putting such a huge emphasis on them can discourage some people who aren’t well connected from starting businesses. You can always build connections as you go.
Stick to Your Plan
A business plan is a helpful tool. But it shouldn’t be the ultimate, unchanging guide for your business. Sometimes things change, and you should be able to adapt your plan to those changes.
Follow an Established Path to Success
Some experts think that there are just one or two ways to make it in the business world. But young, innovative entrepreneurs are forging their own paths every day. So don’t let anyone tell you that there’s one path you HAVE TO take in order to succeed.
Keep Your Business and Personal Life Separate
While there can be some merit to this piece of advice in certain situations, it’s no longer an absolute rule. Some small businesses actually thrive because the owner or the team shares their personality with customers. You don’t need to air all of your personal drama on social media. But being a little bit open and personable with your customers can be a good thing.
All Attention is Good Attention
Drawing attention to your business, especially during the early stages, can be difficult. So when you get any type of attention or press it might seem like a good thing. But if that attention isn’t in line with your brand and the image you want to portray, it could be doing more harm than good.
Hire the Most Experienced People
Experience can be a very good quality when looking to build your team. But it shouldn’t be the only quality you look for. Finding people who are enthusiastic, talented, creative and who share your vision for your business can be just as important if not more so.
Offer the Lowest Prices
Plenty of new businesses fall into the trap of trying to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering the lowest prices. But that isn’t always sustainable depending upon your costs and your business model. And it could damage your reputation moving forward.
Work Hard and Success Will Come
Hard work is certainly important when it comes to running a successful business. But it is not the only thing that matters. Don’t think that just because you’re putting in long hours and trying your best that success will eventually come. Sometimes it s more important to work smart than to work hard. Ultimately, the results you get are what matter.
Don t Try New Things
If you’ve found one or two things that work in your business, it can seem like a safe bet to stick with what works. But doing that won’t allow your business to grow as quickly as you might like. Trying new things can be risky, but it can also be rewarding.
Never Say No
Saying no to new clients, partnerships or opportunities may seem like a bad business strategy. But if you say yes to everything, you could be spreading yourself too thin or taking your business in too many different directions. You need to be very intentional when making those decisions so you can be sure that they’re going to benefit your business in the long run.
You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
This can be true in some circumstances. But you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that making big investments in new equipment, employees, training or other resources, will magically make your business better. You need to be smart about how you spend. And besides, many entrepreneurs have built highly successful businesses with very few or almost no resources at all .
Never Stop Working
You have to work hard to run a successful business. But you also need to find a balance, or else you’ll burn yourself out and find yourself too uninspired to run your business successful. The risk of burnout is one reason work-life balance is an absolute must.
Not all businesses succeed. In fact, most don’t. But this is still some of the worst business advice you could ever receive. It’s never up to someone else whether you give up or not. If that’s a decision you need to make, it should be based on more than just outside opinions. Never let others decide when it is time for you to throw in the towel.
What are some of the worst pieces of business advice you have ever heard?
Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird. and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
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Thank You for Your Service – 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans #business #card
#business loans for veterans
Thank You for Your Service – 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans
September 24, 2014
There are more than 2.4 million businesses operated by veterans nationwide, according to the SBA 2012 Veterans Report. Despite this growing trend towards entrepreneurship, funding options that specifically benefit veterans are difficult to find. Here are four unique funding programs if you are a veteran starting or expanding your business.
1. Self-employment grants for service-disabled veterans. Service-disabled veterans can connect with a self-employment program offered through the Veterans Administration.
Participants are required to submit a feasible and complete business plan for any funding considerations. As part of the process, veterans are assigned to either Category I or Category II. Those categories determine the level of self-employment funding may be available.
Veterans designated Category I have the most serve service-connected disabilities and self-employment is considered a viable option. Category II is designated for veterans with serious employment challenges but not considered severe.
Depending on the category, veterans can obtain a grant to fund purchase of equipment, inventory, supplies, training, licensing fees and marketing. Veterans interested in the program can contact their local VA office where a counselor will help them qualify for the self-employment program. Funds allocated for start-up enterprises are grants that do not have to repaid.
2. Angel investment group supporting veterans. Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group funding early-stage investments in start-up companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. military academies. The company generally invests $250,000 to $1 million in a single round.
A company seeking larger rounds can actively look to other investor groups in the Hivers and Strivers network for additional funds. Their goal is to support veteran entrepreneurs through a successful exit with a return 10 times the initial investment. Veterans can learn more about Hivers and Strivers and complete an application available on the front page of the company website.
3.Venture capital fund serving veterans. The Veterans Opportunity Fund (VOF) is the first venture capital fund formed to invest in businesses that are started, owned and/or managed by veterans of the United States armed forces. The investments range up to $3 million.
The fund focuses on companies based on the East Coast. The industries of interest include technology, healthcare, business services,and specialty manufacturing. The stage of interest is at early revenue or after a product or service can be evaluated.
Veterans interested in pursuing an opportunity with VOF can submit a business plan directly through the company website.
4. Online lending platform for veterans. Street Shares is an online lending platform designed to connect investors and small business owners to support veterans starting or expanding their business. Veteran-owned businesses can apply online in about 10 minutes.
The online auction periods have ranged from five to 30 days. Business owners pitch directly to lenders for loans of $5,000 to $50,000 with one, three, of five-year terms. Accredited investors can fund any portion of up to 90 percent of the requested loan amount with bids as low as $25 per business. StreetShares takes the first 10 percent. Co-founder Mark Rockefeller describes the platform as Shark Tank meets eBay.
While each of these programs follows standard due diligence in their funding, their social-driven goals include increasing the number of veteran-owned businesses nationwide.
#small business owner
Are You a Small-Business Owner or an Entrepreneur?
December 10, 2015
The Difference Is Important
It’s National Small Business Week. Hooray! Small businesses are the backbone of this country. They create jobs, come up with new ways of doing old things, and help keep money in the local community. Without small businesses, we’d be in a bigger economic mess.
Among those of us with small businesses, there’s confusion between the terms Small-Business Owner and Entrepreneur. Both can have small businesses, but they have different styles of leadership and thoughts on running their business. One is not better than the other, they’re just different. How do you fit in to these 4 scenarios?
Small-business owners have a great idea.
They solve a problem in their community. They know their business and target audience. They know what will make their customers happy. They serve their customers.
Entrepreneurs have big ideas.
They dream big. They think big. They come up with ideas that haven’t been tested, diagnosed, or worked through. A lot of times they don’t even know if their ideas are possible, which gets them even more excited.
Small-business owners hold steady.
They like to know what’s coming next and where it’s coming from. They make calculated decisions where the outcome is clear. The result may not be huge, but it will typically keep them moving forward.
Entrepreneurs love risk.
They step out on a ledge more often than not. They jump in with both feet knowing that if they put in their full effort, the risk will be worth it more often than not.
Small-business owners think about the things they need to finish this week.
They have daily and weekly to do lists. They manage employees, work with customers, network with new customers, and keep everything rocking and rolling.
Entrepreneurs are thinking ahead six months.
While their team is thinking about what they’re doing that week, they tend to skip the now and focus on the future of the company. They have people to manage the business, and if they don’t, they soon will.
Small-businesses owners are sentimental with their businesses.
They never plan on selling or handing their business off to someone else unless it s family. They like making the decisions and running the day-to-day.
Entrepreneurs focus on scaling.
They want to grow and grow they will. Although they may not focus on selling the business, they set it up to run without them. They surround themselves with experts while they end up being the rainmaker.
America needs small-business owners to hold the economy and entrepreneurs to propel it forward. One isn’t better than the other. But the question needs to be asked: Are you a small-business owner or an entrepreneur?