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15 Inspiring Small Business Quotes to Start Your Day Right #simple #business #ideas

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INSIGHTS

15 Inspiring Small Business Quotes to Start Your Day Right

Running a small business can be tough and demanding at times. What motivates you to open your doors up to customers each day?

When things get tough, it is always good to remember why you started your business in the first place. So, we put together these 15 great quotes from inspiring leaders, which obviously include small business owners just like you.

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. Thomas Watson, Sr.

1. I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got. Walter Cronkite

2. I’m happy as long as I am making other people happy. Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery

3. I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. Steve Jobs

4. I make a conscious effort to keep things in perspective when I get burned out. It is easy to get stuck in the daily grind, but if you think about all the distance you have covered, and what lies ahead, it is much easier to feel motivated and optimistic. Alex Litoff, Event Farm

5. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. Robert Collier

6. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

7. I m a big fan of small business ownership. I think it s the backbone of American innovation. But to be successful, you first have to have the courage to go for it. Bill Rancic

8. Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business. Zig Ziglar

9. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. Norman Schwarzkopf

10. Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower

11. The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. Debbie Fields

12. There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. C.J. Walker

13. Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer. Unknown

14. Behind every small business, there s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores these didn t come out of nowhere. Paul Ryan

15. “We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.”
– Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO Mashable

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Financing your new business #business #school

#financing a new business

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You need to have a viable business idea. You must also have what it takes to make it work. You also must have enough money.

If you’ve got what it takes to start your own business, and you’ve done your research, forming a business is the next exciting leg on the journey.

Many people struggle with the financial side of managing their small business. Not everyone has a head for figures or wants to become an accountant.

If you want to run a legitimate enterprise, you must pay tax. It’s worth understanding your tax obligations before you start up to factor them in.

Many people, including some leading business representatives, argue that small firms are over burdened by the weight of business law.

It might be a cliché, but it remains true – planning without action is futile, while action without planning is fatal. You need a business plan.

Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

Premises provide the second-biggest overhead for many businesses. If you can start your business from your home, it will be much easier to break even.

The success or failure of a business can often rest in the hands of its most valuable asset – its people. But managing them can be a challenge.

There can’t be many firms in the UK, however small, that don’t use IT in some way. Many businesses simply couldn’t exist without IT.

Half of all new businesses fail within five years. So how do you survive and thrive? Find out how to scale up and become a high-growth business.

Financing your new business

Chartered certified accountant Raphael Coman of Coman Co explains the key start-up funding options

Finance is important to any business – especially at launch and during times of growth. Success can often depend on having access to the right finance, since many profitable businesses fail simply through a lack of cash. The following explains 12 common sources of start-up and development finance.

  1. An overdraft is the amount you owe on your account to the bank. Bank overdrafts can be repaid more quickly than formal loans and have no early repayment penalties. Banks often prefer to grant or extend an overdraft rather than make a loan.
  2. A loan is a more formal debt. Bank loans cannot be recalled, unlike overdrafts, and they can improve the certainty of cash flow forecasts and budgets.

Banks will ask for security on larger loans and this is often your home. This is known as a personal guarantee, and is a high-risk option.

You may secure loans of between £1,000 and £1 million under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme. Under the scheme you pay a 2% annual premium on the outstanding balance of the loan and the government guarantees to pay the bank 75% of the loan value if you default.

You should have a business plan ready to show to lenders and investors and agree the terms of the financial arrangement in writing.

  • Obviously, you can invest personal savings in your business. The interest you forgo on savings is normally less than the interest you pay on borrowings. Interest received on savings is normally liable to tax, whereas interest paid on business borrowings can help reduce taxable profits.
  • You could ask family and friends to lend you money, provided they understand the risk of loss if the business fails.
  • Limited companies can issue shares. although this can dilute your ownership and control of your business.

    The British Venture Capital Association and the British Business Angels Association can introduce you to possible investors. A venture capitalist can bring skills and networks to strengthen your business, but they will normally want to be a director and will push for growth.

    The Venture Capital Trust scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) both provide tax incentives for investors wishing to buy shares in growing businesses.

    Under the EIS scheme there is scope for you to raise finance by purchasing your own company shares and deferring any capital gains you have made in the past three years.

    If a company disposes of more than 10% of its business under the EIS scheme, it will also be exempt from tax.

  • Organic growth through retained profits does not require any borrowing commitments or dilution of control. Reducing stock and debtors will improve cash flow.
  • Factoring enables you to obtain an upfront payment for the money owed to you by your customers. Commonly, factoring companies will lend up to 85 per cent of the amount outstanding.
  • Hire purchase allows you to pay for equipment in instalments, but it can be costly.
  • Leasing can enable you to use the latest equipment or machinery without actually owning it.
  • A small company pension scheme can be used to buy certain assets, such as commercial property, for use by the business and can borrow up to half of the finance required.
  • Government and local authority grants and loans on favourable terms may also be available.
  • Getting it right

    Raising finance is always challenging, especially for small businesses and particularly in a recession. In deciding on the best source of finance, you should take account of a number of factors, such as taxation, the long-term plans of the business and its ability to meet its repayment commitments.

    Financial planning is important, particularly when considering whether the business has the resources to manage expansion. A business plan is usually necessary for borrowing from a bank or other lending institution. It is also useful for focusing your mind on your objectives.

    Written by Raphael Coman of Coman Co.





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    Managing Your Business Credit #writing #business #plan

    #business finances

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    5 simple steps you should take to manage your business credit

    Determine whether or not you already have a business credit file. Small business owners should first know if they have a business credit file with D B. You can find this out by calling D B Customer Service at 1-866-785-0430 or visiting http://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/mainlaunchpage.htm .

    If you don’t have a business credit file, establish one by applying for a D-U-N-S® number. Small businesses should apply for a D-U-N-S® number, a unique business identification number, as soon as they start their enterprise to start the process of creating a business credit file.

    If, when you call or visit the D B web site, you determine that you already have a business credit file, review it completely to understand what information it contains. Add or modify the information as necessary to ensure that those looking at your business credit (such as vendors, suppliers and financial institutions) are making decisions based on complete and accurate information.

    Establish a business credit history. When they are starting up, many small businesses use their personal credit and finances to get their
    business going. But they should establish a credit history by putting expenses (such as a business phone line) in their business name and using a commercial bank account to pay their bills.

    Pay bills on time – and understand other factors that influence your credit rating. In order to improve your commercial credit scores
    and build a positive payment history, the most important thing to do is pay your bills on time. Be very careful not to overextend your business, and use any line of credit judiciously. While payment behavior is important, credit ratings are based on multiple factors. D B, for example, maintains 150 factors that go into a credit rating, such as industry, revenues and number of employees.

    Monitor your business credit file and keep it up to date. According to D B, the credit score of about one in three businesses declines over just a three-month period. By monitoring your business credit file, you will be aware of any change in your ratings before it affects your relationships with customers, suppliers and financial institutions. You should keep your credit file current and accurate, reflecting changes such as location, number of employees, outstanding suits/liens and revenue – all of which impact your credit rating

    Monitor your customers’ and vendors’ credit. Monitoring credit reports that provide a clear and complete picture of the credit standing of your customers can help you to determine how much credit, and on what terms, you should extend

    Why small businesses should manage their business credit

    Small business owners are entrepreneurs. They are successful because of their ideas, their passion, their drive. But they generally aren’t accountants, and as a result they are often unaware of just how important actively managing business credit is to their success.

    Small business owners agree that cash flow management is one of their top concerns.

    Actively managing their business credit can help small businesses ensure positive cash flow by:

    Securing more financing at better terms. Good credit can ensure that small businesses get financing when they need it. According to the SBA, insufficient or delayed financing is the second most common reason for business failure. And, since most loan decisions below $100k are automated, the business credit file will often dictate the amount and terms of a loan. For businesses with poor credit ratings, top national banks may increase credit card interest rates on average from 9% to 18% and loan interest rates on average from 8% to 12%.

    Ensuring you get needed supplies at affordable terms. Suppliers evaluate your credit and make decisions about how much credit to extend to you – perhaps a $30K credit line could have been $60K with a stronger business credit file. Good business credit can ensure that you get the supplies you need under the best possible terms, freeing up more money for your business.

    Making smarter credit decisions on your customers. Knowing the credit of customers enables small businesses to provide better terms to creditworthy customers and avoid doing business with customers who pay slowly – both of which can lead to improved cash flow.

    Protecting yourself against business identity theft. Actively managing your business credit file helps you ensure that fraudulent or incorrect information is not in the file. 15-30% of all commercial credit losses are due to fraudulent activity. It’s important that your business credit file truly reflects how good your credit is, and that you are aware of any inaccuracies and missing data so you can address them promptly.





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    Test Your Small Business Know-How-Kiplinger #ideas #to #start #a #business

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    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Starting your own small business may sound like a good deal. You can call the shots, set your own hours and eliminate long, pointless meetings. But how much do you know about getting started — and achieving financial success?

    Or maybe you’re already running your own show and all the challenges that come along with it.

    Either way, try our ten-question quiz. We bet you’ll learn something helpful along the way.

    Quiz

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

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    Test Your Small Business Know-How

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    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How

    Test Your Small Business Know-How





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    Buy a business or start your own? Canada Business Network #getting #a #business #loan

    #own your own business ideas

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    Buy a business or start your own?

    Starting a business from scratch can be overwhelming for first-time entrepreneurs. If you have a great business idea and are ready to work hard to build it from the ground up, then you may wish to start your own business. But if you want to hit the ground running and avoid some of the common start-up pitfalls, then buying an existing business or a successful franchise may be a better option for you.

    Starting your own business

    • Complete freedom to design and manage the business according to your vision.
    • Not bound by anyone else s rules, history or assets.
    • Opportunity to carve out a new niche in the market.
    • Can be less expensive than buying a successful business.
    • Can take time to become profitable.
    • There is no guarantee of business success and a high rate of failure for new businesses.
    • Can be more difficult to get financing because lenders or investors are taking a risk with your idea.

    Buying an existing business or franchise

    • Benefit from the work that has already been done on building a brand, developing customer relationships, developing business processes and acquiring assets.
    • Can start bringing in profits more quickly.
    • Can be easier to get financing because the business model is proven.
    • The upfront investment is often higher than if you were starting your own business.
    • The previous owner and/or franchisor s business model and way of doing business may not be a perfect match with what you envision.

    Learn more

    If you are considering buying a business, these documents will tell you what to watch out for and help guide you through the process.

    When you’re setting up your business, you need to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Consider the following steps as you navigate through the business start-up phase.

    Find out what you need to know before buying a business: where to look, how to evaluate potential acquisitions, and what a fair price would be.

    Learn more about buying a franchise as an option for starting a business.

    Find out how to write a business plan and access templates, sample business plans, market research information and statistics.

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    Starting your own business: Careers Wales #business #names #ideas

    #own your own business ideas

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    Careers Wales

    Starting your own business

    Thinking about setting up a business?

    Why would you work for yourself instead of working for someone else? For many the idea of “being my own boss” is appealing. You’re in charge of your own future, the one who’s in control of making the decisions. You get the opportunity to turn your ideas into practice and, with some planning, make some money from it!

    However, there are also risks. Only one in three business start ups in the UK succeed in the first three years of business. So it is important that you do your research and get some help before taking this step.

    Whatever your career option, there is often an opportunity to consider working for yourself. People start their own businesses in a range of areas from undertakers to journalists, lawyers to puppeteers, medical suppliers to musicians. So whether it’s something you’ve never considered before or whether you are ready to go, this page will help you assess your skills and attitudes, help you understand what it s like and put you in touch with organisations that can help you

    What does it take to run your own business?

    You may think it takes a certain type of person to start a business. Evan Davis, a presenter of BBC s Dragons Den, suggests that the personal qualities a typical entrepreneur would have are:

    • confidence
    • initiative
    • determination
    • resilience
    • a team worker
    • a risk-taker
    • a hard worker.

    If you’ve got the right attitude, there’s no limit to what you can achieve as your own boss. We ve all heard of Sir Alan Sugar, Oprah Winfrey and Anita Roddick – all successful entrepreneurs. But don t forget the host of plumbers, shopkeepers, mechanics, hairdressers and others in your locality who also run successful, profitable small businesses.

    The responsibility of being the boss can be pretty scary at first, but it doesn’t have to be too scary; not when there’s so much help and advice available to you in Wales. There’s everything from financial grants to free marketing advice. Who knows what you could achieve with the right help and some self-belief.

    Do you have what it takes?

    To help you reflect on your own motivation and suitability for self-employment, try the Self-employment checklist on the Prospects website.

    Before you start anything, take time to think through and plan your venture.

    • What s your business idea?
      Your business idea can range from spotting a gap in the market to coming up with a brand new product or service. If you re having difficulty, ask your friends or family to brainstorm ideas with you. You may already have a great idea that just needs a little more thought and they may just add the finishing touch.
    • Do your market research
      Before starting up your own business, you should carry out market research. You ll need to work out that enough people will want to pay for your product or service for you to make a profit.
    • Write a business plan
      Use your market research findings to develop your business plan. You must have a business plan if you intend to apply for funding. Sample UK business plans are available free at BPlans.
    • Finance your business
      Read the advice given by The Prince s Trust, Shell LiveWIRE, www.startups.co.uk and business.wales.gov.uk. Also the self-employment section of the Prospects website.
    • Get free business training and start-up advice from Welsh government-funded bodies
      Get help to write a business plan, information on matters such as assessing insurance needs, tax and national insurance, and checking your legal responsibilities relating to issues such as health, staff employment and intellectual property rights.

    Here are some further start-up tips that anyone starting a business would benefit from:

    • Open a separate bank account for your business and keep records of all your income and expenditure right from the beginning.
    • Start the business small, with minimum risks and costs.
    • Always be looking to improve all aspects of your business, especially by listening to your customers. You will be surprised how honest people are when you ask how you can improve your service.
    • Never stop doing your market research, checking is your Unique Selling Proposition still unique? Your Unique Selling Proposition sets you and your business apart from your competition. Put simply, it s why customers buy from you rather than from the others.
    • Provide the best customer service possible. Always treat customer complaints seriously – and put them right.
    • Don t be afraid to ask questions of people in the same business field.
    • Find friends, family members that can help you in particular aspects of your business, such as web design, graphic design, photography and press contacts.
    • Don t be afraid to try out ideas or approach new people or shops. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

    Further information for starting your own business

    • Browse the AGCAS booklet Self-employment which contains useful information and contacts.
    • Start Ups provides a range of resources such as blogs, case studies, forums and podcasts to inspire would-be entrepreneurs.
    • Cobweb Information for Business publishes free practical information that helps entrepreneurs start up and run their small businesses.
    • The Prince s Trust provides grants as well as help and advice to budding entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 years of age, as does Shell LiveWIRE.
    • Enterprise4all specialises in supporting entrepreneurs from under-represented groups, such as women, people with disabilities, older people and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
    • Disabled Entrepreneurs Network provides networking opportunities and information services for self-employed disabled people.
    • Prime Cymru is an initiative aimed at people over 50 starting their own business.




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    Advantages and disadvantages of franchising your business #business #analyst #jobs

    #franchising your business

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    Franchise your business

    Advantages and disadvantages of franchising your business

    Franchising is an excellent way of expanding a business that is already successful. However you should be aware that franchising is not suitable for every business. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of franchising will enable you to decide if franchising is a suitable option for your business expansion.

    Advantages of franchising your business

    • Grow your business – franchising your business can be a cost-effective way to grow your business. You will not have to cover the cost of investing in new premises or staff. Additional sales lead to additional profit and if you retain this in the business, in the long-term, you should have a saleable asset for your future.
    • Costs – each franchisee finances their own franchise outlet. While the franchisee meets all the costs and collects the income, you receive franchise fees and royalties or a mark-up on products sold by the franchisee.
    • Easier management – the franchisees also run their businesses therefore reducing the management demands placed on you. The best franchisees will be highly motivated and have local expertise, making your life much easier.
    • Develop your brand – the more franchisees you have the better known your brand becomes. Your brand benefits from the capital investment of the franchisee.
    • Motivated franchisees – franchisees are likely to be more motivated than a manager as they have a vested interest in the success of their business and therefore the success of your brand.
    • Purchasing power – a larger business is more secure and additional turnover and profit can provide access to better deals for office equipment, vehicles and other business purchases.
    • Ideas for future success – franchisees can contribute fresh ideas for the future success of the brand maybe outlining opportunities that you might not have identified otherwise.
    • Support from others – being a business owner can be isolating so having a franchise network can offer support and advice.

    Disadvantages of franchising your business

    • Not a fix for a failing business – franchising is not a solution to provide injections of capital from other people when a business is in difficulty. You should only go down the franchise route if you already have a successful business up and running.
    • Costs – franchising your business will involve significant financial investment at the outset in order to get a successful franchise model in place for future growth of the business including investment in preparing legal documents, operations manuals, marketing materials and recruitment.
    • Time – franchising will take a lot of time investment especially when initially setting up the franchise model. You will also have to take the time to ensure you attract the right franchisees and control what they do.
    • Training and support – you will have to develop and deliver a suite of training and support for your franchisees to successfully sell your brand. Businesses need to have systems and procedures in place that can be copied by most people to run a successful business.




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    Getting Your Site Seen By Search Engines #business #management #courses

    #business search engines

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    Getting Your Site Seen By Search Engines

    By Karyn Greenstreet

    copyright © 2007-2012, by Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.

    When people search for you on Google, does your site show up on page 1 — or on page 20 — of the search engine results?

    Since 84% of internet traffic goes through search engines, being ranked highly by search engines will send you a huge number of prospective customers.

    Are search engines sending you enough traffic to build your business?

    For instance, for the phrase mastermind group (which I rank #1), Google sends me 23,000 visitors per year. For the phrase small business coaching (which I also rank on page 1), Google sends me over 10,000 visitors per year. Just those two search phrases alone send 30,000 NEW visitors to my site each year.

    What if you could do the same for the keywords you want to target?

    Optimizing your site to get it ranked highly on the search engines can be a complicated subject. To simplify things, it’s helpful to first understand how search engines add sites to their database. Then we’ll cover some tips that you can put on your own website that will help you to get listed on search engines and get a higher ranking.

    The Major Search Players

    Let’s start off with the major search engines, the ones that most people use. Google is the most widely used search engine, getting between 55-65% of all searches. Yahoo Search and Microsoft Bing lag far behind with a total of 15-20% each.

    While there are thousands of search engines, it’s always a good idea to start with submitting your website to the three largest. Why? Because 95% of all searches go through either Google, Yahoo or Bing.

    How Search Engines Read Your Site

    Search engines send out crawlers to index your site’s contents. Crawlers follow the links found on your site and enter your site into their search database based on text they find on your pages. This text is either found on your public pages, or the text keywords found in behind-the-scenes tags.

    The amount of your keywords found on your page, the more weight it has with the search engines and the higher your ranking. But in case you think you can load your page with keywords in order to fool the search engine, think again. Search engines are smart and you can be penalized for keyword stuffing on your website.

    How Search Engines Index and Rank Your Site

    Search engines use several techniques to determine which category your site belongs in and which keywords people will use to find your site when using the search engine. Google says they use over 200 parameters ( signals they call them) to categorize and rank a website.

    When submitting your site to search engines, they will ask you for your URL (website address). Then they will crawl your site, checking to see which keywords and ideas are most important from your site. And remember, you will be penalized for spamming your keywords and rank LOWER because of it. Also it’s important to note that search engines can not read the text in graphics, so if you are using a graphic-based navigation or have your keywords on a graphic next to your logo, the search engine will not notice it unless you use ALT tags.

    Some search engines will rank your site based on your title, description and keywords that are supplied behind-the-scenes in special coding called tags. While not every search engine will read tags, it certainly can’t hurt to use them.

    Again, there are rules: your Title tag shouldn’t be more than 100 characters, and your Description tag shouldn’t be more than 250 characters. They can be longer, but Google only shows the first 60 characters of your Title tag, and the first 160 of your Description tag in search results (if it shows your Description tag at all).

    Google says that they don’t read Keyword meta tags at all. Google’s Matt Cutts says that Google definitely reads your Description tag as well. (Matt Cutts also says that Google does NOT use the keyword meta tag to help determine rank in the same video above.)

    Submitting Your Site to Search Engines

    Once your site is primed and ready for the search engines, then you have to submit it to them.

    For Google, you can submit it here:

    For Bing, you can submit it here:

    Because Yahoo uses Bing’s search engine, you don’t need to submit it separately to Yahoo.

    Use Google’s Webmaster Tools and Bing’s Webmaster Tools to see the status of your submission, any errors the search engines found when crawling your site, and some great statistics about the speed of your site.

    Preparing your site for submission to search engines can feel like a daunting task. With these tips in mind, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration when it comes time to submitting your site and rank higher in search results.

    See you on the Internet!

    Increase Revenue and Reach
    Without Feeling Overwhelmed

    Karyn Greenstreet is a small business coach and consultant. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with self-employed people to increase revenue and reach, create a clear business vision and plan, and implement it without feeling overwhelmed. Visit her website at www.PassionForBusiness.com

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    How to Finance Your Business Yourself #business #phones

    #how to finance a business

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    How to Finance Your Business Yourself

    In their book Start Your Own Business , the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors discuss the options you have if you want to fund your startup yourself.

    If you re thinking about trying to finance your business yourself, begin by doing a thorough inventory of your assets you re likely to uncover resources you didn t know you had. Assets include savings accounts, equity in real estate, retirement accounts, vehicles, recreational equipment, and collections. You may decide to sell some assets for cash or use them as collateral for a loan.

    If you have investments, you may be able to use them as a resource. Low-interest-margin loans against stocks and securities can be arranged through your brokerage accounts.

    The downside here is that if the market should fall and your securities are your loan collateral, you ll get a margin call from your broker, requesting you to supply more collateral. If you can t do that within a certain time, you ll be asked to sell some of your securities to shore up the collateral. Also take a look at your personal line of credit. Some businesses have successfully been started on credit cards, although this is one of the most expensive ways to finance yourself.

    If you own a home, consider getting a home equity loan on the part of the mortgage that you ve already paid off. The bank will either provide a lump-sum loan payment or extend a line of credit based on the equity in your home. Depending on the value of your home, a home-equity loan could become a substantial line of credit. If you have $50,000 in equity, you could possibly set up a line of credit of up to $40,000. Home-equity loans carry relatively low interest rates, and all interest paid on a loan of up to $100,000 is tax-deductible. But be sure you can repay the loan you can lose your home if you do not.

    You could also consider borrowing against cash-value life insurance. You can use the value built up in a cash-value life insurance policy as a ready source of cash. The interest rates are reasonable because the insurance companies always get their money back. You don t even have to make payments if you don t want to. Neither the amount you borrow nor the interest that accrues has to be repaid. The only loss is that if you die and the debt hasn t been repaid, that money is deducted from the amount your beneficiary will receive.

    If you have a 401(k) retirement plan through your employer and are starting a part-time business while you keep your full-time job, consider borrowing against the plan. It s very common for such plans to allow you to borrow up to 50 percent of your vested account balance up to a maximum of $50,000. The interest rate is usually 1 to 2 percent above the prime rate with a specified repayment schedule. The downside of borrowing from your 401(k) is that if you lose your job, the loan has to be repaid in a short period of time often 60 days (but occasionally as long as six months) or it s taxed heavily, as if you ve taken an early withdrawal from the plan. Consult the plan s documentation to see if this is an option for you.

    Another option is to use the funds in your individual retirement account (IRA). Within the laws governing IRAs, you can actually withdraw money from an IRA as long as you replace it within 60 days. This isn t a loan, so you don t pay interest. This is a withdrawal that you re allowed to keep for 60 days. It s possible for a highly organized entrepreneur to juggle funds among several IRAs. But if you re one day late for any reason you ll be hit with a 10 percent premature-withdrawal fee, and the money you haven t returned becomes taxable.

    If you have a Roth IRA, you re entitled to withdrawals tax and penalty free, as long as the funds were in the account for at least five years. That s because a Roth is taxed at the time you put funds into the IRA account not when you retire and withdraw it. Consider switching your regular IRA to a Roth over a couple of years if you know you plan to finance a business this way. You ll have to pay the taxes in the year you make the conversion, but the money will then be free to withdraw when you need it, without the big penalties. Make the conversions well before you need the cash.

    If you re employed, another way to finance your business is by squirreling away money from your current salary until you have enough to launch the business. If you don t want to wait, consider moonlighting or cutting your full-time job back to part time. This ensures you ll have some steady funds rolling in until your business starts to soar.

    People generally have more assets than they realize. Use as much of your own money as possible to get started; remember, the larger your own investment, the easier it will be for you to acquire capital from other sources.





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    7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free #start #business

    #advertise your business

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    7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free

    Senior reporter, The Huffington Post

    Hi there, you can call me Kim. I’m Senior reporter at The Huffington Post and I’m based in Greater New York City Area.

    You may not have wads of cash to spend on marketing in the early stages of your startup, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t effective ways to get your brand out there.

    Before the Internet, small businesses only had a few ways to market their products cheaply, through methods like printing out fliers or sponsoring little local events. Now there are all kinds of opportunities out there on the Web—you just need to know where to look.

    Here are seven ways to promote your business online that won’t cost you a dime:

    1. Use the three big local listing services

    Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local. It’s free, and is certainly worth the few minutes it takes to set up. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar service that’s easy to sign up for.

    2. Embrace social media

    Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a necessary time investment for every business to make. You can tie in ads and offers on your Facebook page and have a direct channel with your customers on Twitter. Networking on LinkedIn—both at the personal and company level—can be another way to help your startup.

    3. Start a blog

    A blog not only helps your company get its name out through followers, but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing.

    4. Put up multimedia on YouTube and Flickr

    YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and are relevant to your business—a simple ad will not work. A Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business, and allows you to link back to your website.

    5. SEO your company website

    Search engine optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of constant Googling. Pick up a book or head over to an online how-to-guide on SEO and make sure your site is primed for performance on search engines.

    6. Press releases

    Every time your business does something newsworthy, don’t hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. They’re a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus. There are dozens of websites out there that you can use for your press releases, such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release .

    7. Join a relevant online community and contribute

    Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn’t beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate.





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