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How to Design the Best Website For Your Business #starting #a #new #business


#business website design

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Think of your company’s website as a first impression for potential future clients. Is it easy to navigate, and does it clearly convey your business’s products and services? If not, visitors may lose interest and abandon your site, which will not add up to repeat customers.

Scott Prindle, VP/Executive Creative Technology Director, and Winston Binch, Partner/Managing Director of Interactive at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the famed Miami-based advertising and design agency, offer their advice to small business owners on how to design the best website for their small business, and ensure that visitors keep coming back.

Small Business Website Design: Make It Clear to Visitors What Business You Are In

Since you only have a few seconds to engage your visitors and keep them on your site, it’s important that your value proposition and intent be clear the instant customers hit your homepage, says Binch. Great visual design, animation, and pretty pictures can always enhance a website, but you need to take your business’s message into consideration, too.

‘Don’t underestimate the expressive power of simple language,’ Binch says. ‘For example, take a look at Facebook’s homepage; they do a really good job of making their service obvious the moment you arrive. Since the first text you see on the login page proclaims, Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. it’s pretty hard to confuse what they’re selling.’

Small Business Website Design: Make Your Website Easy to Use

If you’re building something from scratch, the first step is to ensure you have the right minds working on the project. Most importantly, it’s crucial you have both information architects and technical developers front and center of the creative development process. They will be there not only to contribute conceptual ideas but also to help you present users with an experience that is efficient and pleasant from a user flow, navigation, and technical perspective.

‘The Internet is cluttered with bad websites,’ Binch says. Make yours one of the most usable, and you’ll attract an audience and form lasting relationships with your customers.’ He recommends that your website focus on easy-to-use site navigation and on creating pages that achieve quick download times. Readable text throughout, and share functionality (which will allow a user to post something from your site on Twitter or Facebook) is a helpful addition, too, he adds.

Dig Deeper: Has Your Business Outgrown Its Web Developer?

Small Business Website Design: Don’t Underestimate SEO

According to Prindle, if you’re site is not search-engine optimized, you’re basically cutting off almost all possibility for organic traffic or chance encounters with your brand. If you let your idea ultimately guide the technology solution, that’s a start, but you’ll want to make sure it works well with leading search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. At a minimum, be sure that you’ve generated a site map, and your title tags, heading titles, and site description are filled out appropriately.

‘If your budget allows for it, get an SEO company or a consultant to do a quick audit of your site,’ Prindle advises. ‘There are always optimizations to be made, and you should always be looking at ways to improve your search ranking.’ Additionally, if you are a new company, you should consider buying sponsored link placements through popular search engines. ‘It’s a good way to attract new users right out of the gates,’ he says.

Dip Deeper: How to Improve Your Website’s Search Ranking

Small Business Website Design: Give Your Brand A Soul

Many corporate websites lack soul. They tend to use stock imagery, business jargon, static content, and generic web design – all of which undermines the user experience. That’s a serious problem, Binch says, because your site plays a crucial branding role, serving as the digital interface between your customers and your company, product, and services. The best way to create a positive branding experience is to be yourself: Be transparent, speak to your customers on a real-time basis, and let them connect with each other through your brand.

‘A company like Zappos is not just selling a solid e-commerce product,” Binch says. “It is also selling a culture of innovation and exceptional customer service, and the team at Zappos use the their digital presence as the primary means to do that. Luckily, with social technology, like Twitter and Facebook, it has become pretty easy to make your Web presence interactive and collaborative.

Small Business Website Design: Don’t Forget the Mobile Web

Not too long ago, we considered mobile sites a nice-to-have add on. That is no longer the case. At present, approximately 5 percent of traffic to CP +B’s site comes via mobile phone, Prindle says. And over the next year, as more smart phones hit the market, and carriers continue to enhance the capability of cellular wireless standards, Pindle says he expects that number to dramatically increase.

‘What that means is that you and your company need to be there,’ Prindle says. ‘Our mobile web strategy centers around creating designs for three screen sizes: PC, smart phone, and the basic (or WAP) phone. Once you’ve covered the basics, monitor your site metrics, and if you have a growing and engaged mobile audience, think about getting into the application game.’

Small Business Website Design: Use Analytics to Track Everything

According to Binch, your website redesign should never be over. ‘Make sure you identify clear and realistic brand and business goals for your site so that you have numbers to optimize against after you go live,’ he says. ‘Then, you’ll want to think about the different parts of the experience you want to track in order to support your company goals.’

If you’re challenged from a budget perspective, Binch suggests using the free Google analytics package: ‘In addition to the more expensive solutions, such as Omniture and WebTrends, we use [Google analytics] across all of our client work.’ Once you’ve confirmed that all of your tags are working, make sure you pull weekly reports and start looking critically at how people are using your site. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to observe trends, but it’s still important to be relentless in your pursuit of delivering an optimal user experience, he says.

Dig Deeper: Improving Your Sense of Site


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Your business mentor #business #proposals


#business mentor

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Your business mentor

If you choose our Enterprise programme, we ll equip you with an experienced business mentor to prepare you for the challenges ahead, so you ll be able to meet them head on. They will:

  • Listen : Be a sounding board for your research helping you to build your business with confidence
  • Support : Encourage you to be everything you can be
  • Highlight. Be there to think of some of the finer details that you might not have considered, such as cash flow and income projections
  • Focus: Help you maintain an overview of your business goals at all times
  • Measure – Support with budgeting and sales conversion rates and website traffic statistics

Don’t worry. Our mentors won’t try and take over – they’ll simply help you to achieve your goals.

In addition to mentoring support, where available locally, you may also gain the support of specialist volunteers who can provide you with more specific guidance around challenges that you and your business might face, such as Conversational Marketing or Search Engine Optimisation.

We didn t support this business idea. But, we do want to support yours.


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Thank You for Your Service – 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans #ideas #to

#business loans for veterans

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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.


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Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP – Small Business

#grants for small businesses

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Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP

There are many opportunities for businesses to obtain free support and grants, both at start-up and during growth and development.

However, keeping up to date with what is available is a task in itself, with schemes appearing and disappearing on a regular basis.

Competition is high and success does not come easy.

If you follow the RAPP process when applying for grants and support, you will improve your chance of success.

The RAPP process

R esearch – find out what grants and support are available.

A pplicant suitability – when you identify an opportunity, ensure you meet the criteria or conditions required for the funding before spending time on an application.

P reparation – take time to prepare and tailor the application to meet the specific criteria and conditions. Alternatively, P can stand for a professional who has the skill set and knowledge of the type of grant you are seeking.

P atience – take time completing your application (but without missing deadlines) and be patient waiting for the result!

Financial support in the form of grants can be found at three levels. National grants primarily focus on growth and capital investment, such as the government’s Growth Accelerator scheme, while regional grants come from a local board specifically set up to help a region that has government and local authority support.

Local grants may be available from a local council, for example subsidised rents for new start-up businesses or funding to help tidy up a high street retail unit.

There are also European grants and funding support, details of which can be found at UK Trade and Investment .

Where you live or trade may significantly increase your chances of success of getting funding, particularly if your business is in an area defined as economically disadvantaged.

It is not unknown for businesses to set up in or move to an area where regional or local assistance is more readily available.

When looking for or considering grant options, four points generally apply.

1. Nothing is free; typically you must be prepared to put in some of your own funds. It is extremely rare for a grant to finance the total cost of, say, a start-up or project, unless it is for a very small amount. Many grants require match funding ie you need to match the funding from the grant provider.

For example, Growth Accelerator is a government-backed scheme providing mentor support, coaching and workshops for businesses looking for rapid growth.

The business has to pay a contribution towards the assistance; the amount depends on the size of the business, with the government contributing to the overall cost of the support.

A grant does mean that you are not giving up part of the ownership of your business, as you would if you were seeking equity funding or repaying the money and interest as you would on bank borrowing.

2. Grants are generally available for a specific project, for example development of a new product or job creation.

Therefore your application needs to meet the criteria for which the grant or support is being provided. Grants are not generally available for just starting a business.

3. The grant scheme provider will have objectives, strategies or aims which the funding supports, for example helping with youth employment.

Understand what the objectives or aims are when completing the application.

4. You must have a business plan that explains what you require the funding for and which is tailored to the grant provider’s specific criteria and conditions.

A blanket application or plan is not going to work. On most occasions, your business plan will have to be entered into the provider’s prescribed application form.

Do not just think of grants and support as financial support. Other types of free support can come in many guises.

For example, when opening your business bank account you may be offered free book keeping software, and many local councils and chambers of commerce offer free training seminars on topics such as social media.

The type of product or service for which you are seeking funding supporting has a major impact on your chances of success. Key areas for which grants and support are readily found are:

Innovation

There are a wide range of schemes and support to encourage research and development. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) provides grants and support to help develop new products and services and put them in a position to be brought to market.

Energy and environment

here are schemes specifically for developments that will improve energy efficiency or reduce environmental impact. Natural England lists a number on their website .

Training

There is plenty of funding and support is available to develop skills, including those of the business owner, as well as support for new employees where the business will be providing training and development.

For example, the National Apprenticeship Service provides advice and support on starting a subsidised apprenticeship. Alternatively, it could mean taking on an intern from the local university for the summer with the university providing match funding to pay the student’s salary.

Exports

Politicians’ emphasis on exports driving the economic recovery have led to considerable support and assistance for businesses looking to export the goods they manufacture. UK Trade Investment provide funding and subsided advice and services to help business export their products.

Business grants are notoriously hard to come by, but there is assistance out there if you know where to look. Follow the RAPP and hopefully you will be one of the successful ones. Good luck!

Further reading on grants

Related Topics

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How small and medium businesses can take on flexible working

Some 57 per cent of employees say the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them, according to Sage data. This guide to Sage 200 Online shows why more and more businesses are turning to the cloud.

Controlling Cash Flow – Learn to master your money

Find out how five small businesses met the challenges of raising finance, from drawing up a business plan to securing investment. Complete with expert guides and tips to help you through the process.

The Vitesse Network

Further Information

Vitesse Media Plc, 14 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX T. 0207 250 7010

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Tips for choosing your professional email address #apply #for #a #business #loan


#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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How to Make a Facebook Page for Your Small Business #small #business #services


#business pages

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How to Make a Facebook Page for Your Small Business

If you own a small business, having a Facebook page lets you reach individuals among the 750 million or so users worldwide who are most likely to be interested in your company. Your interaction on the social network gives customers the sense that they know you and your business. which can increase loyalty and make them more likely to recommend your services.

On Facebook you can easily add features that are harder to implement on your website. You can build a custom page, run contests and promotions, and manage a small e-commerce shop. Plus, Facebook is free. Even if you pay for custom applications or a developer’s services, it remains a form of advertising with a small price tag.

The potential reach of a Facebook page is huge, as half of its users log in every day. Facebook studies show that people interact with their favorite brands on Facebook more than on any other social network, are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan of it on Facebook, and are more likely to purchase a product after becoming a fan. In addition, anyone outside Facebook can view your Facebook page because search engines index it.

Establishing Your Profile and Page Admins

Before creating your Facebook fan page, you must establish a personal Facebook profile. The individual in that profile is the creator of the fan page. As a result, the subsequent Facebook business page doesn’t have a separate login from that of the individual user who created it.

Many people are nervous about mixing their personal information with their business information, but the two are conceptually separate. You’ll interact with the business page as the business, and on your personal profile as yourself. Only administrators and the owner of the page can see other page admins. Thus, when I interact on my Facebook page, (Anti) Social Development. I post as that company and not as Kim Woodbridge. People who interact with my company page don’t see my personal profile.

If you aren’t going to be the only person working on your business’s Facebook page, you’ll need to select admins. To do this, fill in the appropriate data in the ‘Edit Page’ section under ‘Manage Admins’. The admins either must be Facebook friends of yours, or must be identified by the email address they use for Facebook.

The admins you designate won’t need your login to access the page, and once they log in as admins, they’ll have access to page-editing features. For example, I’m an admin on a number of business pages and can access all of them by logging into Facebook, so I don’t need anyone else’s login data.

Be careful, however, to add only people you trust as admins. Any admin can remove any other admin, even the owner of the page–a structural flaw that Facebook needs to address. If you add a developer or other person to work on your page temporarily, I recommend removing that person from admin status as soon as the job is done.

Facebook does offer what it calls a business account, but this option is very limited and I don’t recommend it. A business account doesn’t allow you to install Facebook apps, so you can’t add a custom page made with iframes or third-party tools, as discussed throughout this article. For that reason, I don’t recommend using a business account.

Creating a Facebook Page

From your Facebook profile page, click the Pages header in the left-side navigation. Next, click the Create a Page button, and select the type of page–Local Business or Place. for example, or Brand or Product. You’ll see a number of fields to fill out, such as your business category, name, and address.

One of the early steps of creating a business page on Facebook is to choose your business type.

Next, click the Get Started button, and Facebook will guide you through the rest of the setup process, step by step. If you skip any of those steps, you can fill them out later on a new page in the Facebook Welcome section, which only page admins will see.

Information to Include

When Facebook walks you through the initial steps, it will request information about your business–a logo for the page avatar, details for the About section, contact information and hours, and the URL of your website.

If you want Facebook to pull in your blog posts automatically, an application such as Networked Blogs can help. Each time you publish a new post to your blog, Networked Blogs will import the post and add it to the Wall of your Facebook business page.

Among the Facebook applications that come with your page by default are Photos, Links, Events, Notes, and Video. You can’t remove the default applications, but you can set them not to appear in the left-side page navigation.

After completing the first steps, you’ll want to customize the public appearance of your Facebook page with a design appropriate for your business.

Next page: Should you build your own custom page, or hire a pro?

Small Business Social Media Survival Guide

How to Make a Facebook Page for Your.


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10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business #business #books


#sell my business

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10 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business

If you re thinking about selling your business, think twice. Selling a business should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, says Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for San Francisco-based BizBuySell.com and BizQuest.com. business-for-sale marketplaces that have an inventory of about 40,000 businesses. You need to figure out things like if you should sell, when is the best time to sell, and what you need to consider before selling, among many other considerations.

So, should you sell your business? Here are 10 key questions to help you figure it out.

Is my business ready to sell? Kroeker recommends at least two years of preparation before putting your business on the market. Make sure you can produce two to three years of tax returns that are accurate and show maximum profitability to get the best price for your business, he says. You can t start putting things together the month before you sell.

How is a buyer going to value my business? Particularly with family ownership, companies sometimes run everything through the business, such as country club dues and car allowances, says Robert Kibby, section head of the corporate and securities group at Dallas-based Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr Attorneys and Counselors. Loading the business with tax write-offs can make you appear less profitable and cause a buyer to undervalue your business.

Who should be on my team when I sell? It s important for entrepreneurs to figure out whose services will bring them through the sales process and help them get the best price for their business. Do you need an accountant? How about an appraiser, attorney, consultant and business broker? The buyer is typically going to have a good team to go over your business, so you should, too, Kibby says.

Is it the right time to sell? Many people wait till their business is on the decline to sell. That s the exact opposite of what you should do, says Debbie Allen. a Phoenix-based business and brand strategist and consultant. You want to sell when you are at the top of your game peaked out, she says. Some will say, I m making good money now. Why should I sell? That s thinking like a business owner, not an entrepreneur.

Is the market right? Before selling, look at current market conditions for your industry. Selling a home improvement business in 2006 showed a pretty good return. Fast forward a couple of years and many roofing, siding, home financing and other housing-related companies had lost a big chunk of their value. I saw companies who turned down an offer in 2005 who couldn t get three-quarters of that price a few years later, says Allan Siposs, a managing director of FMV Capital Markets in Irvine, Calif. which offers services for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. Wait until market conditions are better to sell.

Can I cope with the changes on the horizon? Rapidly changing technology, increasing globalization and other business trends can prove too much for some business owners. Keep your eyes trained three or four years down the road, and if you don t believe you can keep up, sell before your failure to adapt catches up with you. Some people find it hard to leave, but if you wait too long, the industry may pass you by, Allen says.

Can my business thrive without me or without a key customer? If a buyer is concerned that a business is too dependent on the owner or a single customer, he may take his offer elsewhere. A good business can operate when the owner is on vacation and has good revenue diversification, where no one customer represents more than five percent of the business, Siposs says.

Would I be willing to stay on if the buyer wants me to? Sometimes you can seal a deal by agreeing to stay on in a consulting role for a period of six months. But first, you need to determine whether it s really worth it to you. If you re willing to stay on, it might reduce the risk to the buyer and increase the value of the company, Siposs says.

What are the potential deal breakers? Unresolved issues can rear their ugly head and interfere with a sale, particularly in areas such as company ownership, accounting and intellectual property rights. For example, an owner may have used a contractor to write software for the company without requiring him to assign his rights to the company. This can create questions about who possesses critical rights, which can scuttle the deal, Kibby says. So, consider what your potential deal breakers are and try to resolve them before you re near to closing a deal.

Would I consider alternatives to an outright sale? If an outright sale isn t right for you, a CPA or investment banker can help evaluate other options. How about structuring a deal to pass on the ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)? Would you consider selling a percentage of the company to a private equity fund? Or would you do a leveraged recapitalization, which is a loan that puts a portion of the proceeds in your pocket?


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9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business #small #business #insurance


#side business ideas

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9 Ideas to Make a Side Income While Growing Your Business

February 18, 2015

Being an entrepreneur is synonymous with being financially unstable at times. While you re growing your company, it s important to be focused. But what if you could get a side hustle that would help bring in a healthy secondary income to alleviate some of that financial stress? And, best case, what if this side hustle could also help you grow your core business?

The good news is that there are a lot of companies that create opportunities for entrepreneurs that don t require full-time work and can become a great companion to the work you re doing. Better yet, they take out the hassle of having to create a second company to supplement your income because they do the legwork and allow you to plug in your skills and time.

Here are nine examples of opportunities that might be the perfect side hustle for you as you continue to grow your company!

1. Invest in real estate.

There are a lot of methods for making money in real estate, many of which don t require your full time effort. Josh Dorkin, CEO and founder of BiggerPockets says you should consider land lording, flipping houses or wholesaling. His company s website will help you manage and understand all of the different state laws and regulations, as well as leverage the largest worldwide network of real estate investors who come to his site to ask questions and help one another.

He also recommends finding people in your area with skill sets and expertise that you don t have, and to partner with them or use them as a place to park your investment cash. You can join BiggerPockets for free and he recommends reading its Ultimate Beginner s Guide . a free eight-chapter book on real estate investing for novices.

2. Drive a taxi.

Most of us are familiar with Uber and Lyft. the companies that took limo and town car services and gave them riders in their down time, and then expanded into recruiting regular citizens to utilize their free time to become taxi drivers. Have you considered being one of them?

I ll never forget one of my UberX rides where the driver told me that he uses his spare time to make money driving as well as to leverage the networking he can do with each of his passengers as he grows his new business — genius!

One of the greatest things about the Uber platform is that it offers economic opportunity for a variety of drivers — full time, part time, teachers in summer, full-time students, military spouses, etc. — in more than 260 cities around the world, says Molly Spaeth, an Uber spokesperson.

So if you re in one of the 260 cities, you could be making your car into a money-generating experience and a networking opportunity on wheels!

3. Host the next-gen of tupperware parties.

There are many companies that do at-home parties and trunk shows where you can utilize the company s products, marketing and operations infrastructure to build a side income by plugging in your network.

One that has proven to be very successful is Stella and Dot. where you become a jewelry consultant and host parties at friend s homes, local boutiques or events. Other popular brands include Rodan + Fields and Pure Romance .

4. Outsource your skills.

Can you do graphic design, data mining, website development, video editing, software development or customer service? Then you can parlay those skills by signing up on sites such as TaskRabbit or ODesk and get hired by their members to do jobs in any of these areas. You can pick and choose how often you want to work and what jobs you take!

5. Be a temp.

Long gone are the days of temp agencies and scouring the Internet for part-time or short-term work. Enter Wonolo. which helps people work now locally.

Wonolo is a company that allows anyone to work for a few hours or a day at real companies doing real work, says AJ Brustein, the company s co-founder. Want to help an ecommerce company fulfilling orders when they are busy, help out at a conference taking tickets, or assist in data entry at a wealth management firm? You can get numerous career experiences around the flexibility of your own schedule.

You can get alerted of jobs available in your area immediately via Wonolo s app. Sounds perfect for a busy entrepreneur!

6. Rent out your pad.

Are you traveling for a business meeting and leaving your home empty? Do you have a spare room or guest house? It s time to put them to work and list them on Airbnb or VRBO and make money on your property when you re not using it!

7. Rent out your car.

If you can get on board with renting out your home, you ll certainly understand the model created by companies such as RelayRides and FlightCar. which allow you to rent out your personal vehicle to their users.

I recently used RelayRides during a trip in San Francisco and had a great experience that didn t require me to find a rental car center, and the cost was right. I even was able to get acquainted with the car s owner, to whom I offered to help find a job.

It s another way to make money and network when you re not using your car (like when you re parked at the airport thanks to FlightCar)!

8. Don t just buy on eBay, sell there.

You can simply sell your own items, or you can make it into a side business.

I run an eBay franchise in which I teach people how to run a re-sale business on eBay, says Garrett Brustein. I do one-on-one training to show them where to get their inventory and how to list and ship items the same way I do so they can emulate the process and take all of the guess work out of the business. They are then able to do this as a part-time job in their free time.

Just think — you can unload the stuff you don t want and go shopping to resell items all in the name of making money!

9. Get paid to network.

I know this one from personal experience! After founding my first company, a credit card processing brokerage, I began to organize networking events in my city to help young professionals interact in an environment where they wouldn t fear getting sold to or hit on. I quickly realized the events were not only helping those in attendance to make valuable connections, but that there was real money to be made, as well.

Over time, I packaged the operations of Network Under 40 to enable entrepreneurs in other markets to bring the events to their cities. By becoming the epicenter of the network, it naturally parlays into building their full-time businesses as well as creates a healthy side income.

If you re looking to make some money on the side and/or find channels through which you can build your primary business, it s time to look into some of these options.


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Keeping Your Business Plan Simple #registering #a #business


#simple business plan

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A Simple Business Plan

Entrepreneur, Business Planner and Angel Investor

When I first started working with business plans back in the late 1970s, the average plan was much longer and more complex than what I see today. That might be because business plans are more common than they used to be–they re used more and more often and by more people. It might also be a matter of trends among bankers and investors who read business plans. Or it could be because people have less time to waste wading through documents!

For whatever reason, the trend in business plans these days is to go back to the fundamentals, with good projections and solid analysis. An easy to read quickly format is more important than ever. If you want people to read the business plan you develop–and most people do–then my best advice to you is keep it simple. Don t confuse your business plan with a doctoral thesis or a lifetime task. Keep the wording and formatting straightforward, and keep the plan short.

But don t confuse simple wording and formats with simple thinking. The reason you re keeping it simple isn t because you haven t developed your idea fully. You re keeping it simple so you can get your point across quickly and easily to whoever s reading it.

With that in mind, let s get down to some specifics when it comes to simplifying your plan.

Rein in your prose. Effective business writing is easy to read. People will skim your plan-they ll try to read it while talking on the phone or going through their e-mail. Save the deep prose for the great American novel you ll write later. When you re crafting your plan, remember these tips:

  • Don t use long complicated sentences, unless you have to for meaning. Short sentences are fine, and they re easier to read.
  • Avoid buzzwords, jargon and acronyms. You may know that NIH means not invented here and KISS stands for keep it simple, stupid, but don t assume anybody else does.
  • Use simple, straightforward language, like use instead of utilize and then instead of at that point in time.
  • Bullet points are good for lists. They help readers digest information more easily.
  • Avoid naked bullet points. Flesh them out with brief explanations where explanations are needed. Unexplained bullet points can be frustrating.

Keep it short. The average length of most business plans is shorter now than it used to be. You can probably cover everything you need to convey in 20 to 30 pages of text plus another 10 pages of appendices for monthly projections, management resumes and other details. If you ve got a plan that s more than 40 pages long, you re probably not summarizing very well.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. I recently saw a plan for a chain of coffee shops, for example, that included photos of the proposed location, mock-ups of menus and maps of other proposed locations. The graphics made the plan longer, but they added real value. Product shots, location shots, menus, blueprints, floor plans, logos and signage photos are useful.

Use business charts. Make your important numbers easy to find and easy to understand. Use summary tables and simple business charts to highlight the main numbers. Make the related details easy to find in the appendices. Also.

  • Use bar charts to show, at a minimum, sales, gross margin, net profits, cash flow and net worth by year.
  • Three-dimensional bars look slicker, but two-dimensional bars are usually easier to read. Make sure the numbers are obvious.
  • Stacked bars make totals easier to visualize. If your sales divide into segments, stack the bars to show the total.
  • Use pie charts for market share and market segments.
  • Show tasks and milestones as horizontal bars with labels on the left and dates along the top or bottom. Most people call this a Gantt chart. Show only the major tasks and milestones, because too many details make these charts hard to read.
  • Always put the source numbers close to the charts in a summary table so readers can reference them quickly and recognize the numbers in the charts. And never leave a business plan reader unable to find the source numbers of a chart. That s frustrating.
  • Don t use a chart without referencing it in the text. If source numbers aren t completely obvious in the summary tables, make sure you specify which appendices contain the detailed numbers.

Polish the overall look and feel. Aside from the wording, you also want the physical look of your text to be simple and inviting. So take my advice:

  • Stick to two fonts for your text. The font you use for headings should be a simple sans-serif font, such as Arial, Tahoma or Verdana. For the body text, you should probably use a standard text font, like Century, Times Roman or Book Antigua.
  • Avoid small fonts. Only a few of the more readable fonts are fine at 10 points; most of them are better at an 11 or 12 point size.
  • Use page breaks to separate sections and to separate charts from text and to highlight tables. When in doubt, go to the next page. Nobody worries about having to turn to the next page.
  • Use white space liberally. Words crammed together into small spaces are uncomfortable to read.
  • Always use your spell-checker. Then proofread your text carefully to be sure you re not using a properly spelled incorrect word! Double check that your text numbers match those in your tables.

Copyright 2016 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.


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The Benefits of Owning Your Own Business #best #business


#owning your own business

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The Benefits of Owning Your Own Business

There are many benefits to owning your own business:

  • Your years of hard work can result in wealth not unemployment
  • For the self employed, just about everything is a tax write off
  • You will eventually have the ability, money and time to help others
  • You will eventually have more time to spend with your family
  • You will eventually have more self-esteem
  • You will eventually have much more freedom

Here is my personal perspective. When I look around at the friends and colleagues I have known and worked with, the happiest and most satisfied people are those that own their own businesses. They have the most freedom, and the most control over their lives, even more than most CEO’s I know.

And that’s because CEO’s can be fired. Even if they are really good. Being in top management does not necessarily give you more control over your future.

I’m not saying that being an employee is bad, but if you have an opportunity to be self employed you should consider it carefully.

Yes, I know some CEO’s who are on top of the world, and I am very happy for them, They worked hard and smart. They took very good care of their people. They made some unbelievably brilliant strategic decisions. They made a lot of small decisions that added up to something big. They truly deserve their success.

On the other hand I know many high level executives, including CEO’s, who are currently unemployed because someone fired them. Whether they deserved it or not, even at a high level, they were not in control of their destiny.

As an employee you can dedicate many years of your life to a company, only to find yourself out of a job due to situations totally out of your control. Management changes, mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and outsourcing all have a tendency to force sudden and unexpected change.

On the other hand, if you own your own business, you will still face competition, change, legal battles etc. But in every case you will have time and an opportunity to fight and win. Big difference.

However, the risks in starting your own business are far greater than if you were an employee who worked for someone else.

According to Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth. in the US, there are over 1,000,000 new businesses started every year. 40% of these fail in the first year. Another 40% fail before year five. So the odds are against you.

There are ways to beat the odds. The success rate for franchises is much higher. Something like 50% or more of the franchises make it past five years.

The key according to Michael Gerber is that franchises offer you a proven Turn Key business.

However, franchises are still very risky. We know people who lost a lot of money on franchises and are still not self employed.

If you are planning your future, and you eventually want to be able to slow down and have some money to retire on, you have three main long term career choices:

What are your choices for ensuring you can someday retire:

  1. Try your hand at building your own business i.e. being self employed. Build it big enough that it not only pays for your retirement but that you could sell if you wanted.
  2. Be an employee and make sure you earn enough and save enough for when you retire, or when you get laid off or fired. Remember, high level executives are not immune from being fired.
  3. Get a government job, because most government jobs have retirement plans and pensions. Military folks and city employees usually get to retire with a full retirement plan paid for by our tax dollars. I’ve seen some folks who have two retirement plans, one from the military and one from a city, state or federal job.

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