Saturday, March 28, 2015

10 Best Tricks to Get Money in Starting a Business

Financing business startups is the toughest part for an entrepreneur. At the very least, it requires a little or enough amount of money to start. You might not ready to have funds right away when you plan to launch. However, a lack of fund doesn’t mean you put on hold your entrepreneurial dream. Right in this article, you’ll find different ways to fund a business startup.

Before we get started, allow me to give you a little advice to use personal savings for business startups. Never go directly to a bank to make loans without any proof of your capacity to repay. This is unacceptable but, banks usually do not lend to business that doesn’t have operating histories. The timely loans repayment is the bank’s main concern. After all, business is still business. In addition, you might get a loan from a bank with collateral. You only get higher amount when you have secured assets to use as collateral: car, home, gadgets, and other property. Even choosing different financial sources, the amount can be approved for loan depends on the size of the business and collateral. Sounds difficult? Don’t fret! Here are other ways of generating business capital if you can’t think of any.

1. Start with selling your product or get others know your product or service. In this stage, forget first the office or shop since a zero capital doesn’t allow you to put up.  Launch a website informing the community or your networks about the product or service you offer, start a marketing strategy online, and start building relationships.

2. Borrow from family or friends. In all walks of your life, I guess you have at least few friends you can call and ask a help with, right? Introduce your business plan to your family and friends. Who knows, they might be interested to join your business. This is another way of funding the business if they have some spare cash to contribute. In addition, borrowing from family or friends has a little or no interest to repay the amount, and you can avoid hassles from bank contracts too.

3. Do sideline business. If you have valuable knowledge and skills to other things, you can make those an asset. Let’s say you have a skill in hosting an event or similar to that, make use of your special skills to save up money.

4. Have your business plan always ready for ventures. This should come first, above all. You can’t come up the figure you needed unless your business plan is done. In the financial plan, it should appear your ways of getting money for the startup, includes your method of repayments (if acquired from lending). The most exciting part is showing the detailed method if how the business can profit and how much it will earn in the next few months. A good business plan attracts investors. Therefore, rather than lending from a bank, ventures with investors is the best option.

5. Home loan. If you have a remaining balance for your home, you may apply for a home equity loan. You can use the money to start your business. However, this method can put your home as collateral, and you risk foreclosure if failed to pay.

6. Putting risks to sell assets. Do you have luxury gadgets or things you can sell? Open your closets and you might realize that you can get more money from them. If you have a car, you can risk selling it, choosing to commute is not a bad idea after all.

7. Using business credit cards. This is the easiest and quickest way to start your business as it’s always available. You can rely to your credit card for your business cost. On top of that, the minimum payment is quite low. If you are frugal with your other expenses, then you can use your credit card for your business and pay the minimum amount. In addition, you can move credit card balances to another credit card that you can use for your startup capital. However, any trouble in making payments increases the interest rates and costs on cards.

8. Home or apartment renting. If there’s a space in your house or apartment, use the opportunity to rent it out. The money raised from renting out can be used to fund business startups.

9. Fundraising or crowdfunding. This can be done over the internet. The crowdfunding platform allows raising money from the large number of people or organization in exchange of product, investment, service, project, and cause. This gives you lot of advantages as you can raise money without sacrificing your business equity. This is also a better option compared to forcing companies to pool for a dime investment.

10. Investments. If you can’t get money today, you can plan ahead for future time. Let’s say you want to study more of the business you’ll put up, if you need more time, then set a future time. For example, 5 years from now, you’ll open your own restaurant or you’ll engage to franchise a restaurant. Plan the amount needed for the business, and while you’re waiting for the right time, invests in other companies. Use the dividends and proceeds for starting a business.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Starting a Business with a Hobby

A hobby is your exterior interest that you’re shadowing on your spare time. It gives you an outlet to do something that can be relaxing. But, you must be missing something from your hobby, totally unaware that you could profit on it. Even if it’s just a pastime for your pleasure, your knowledge and skill can make a difference.  Hobbies are one of a kind that you can make profit of. Let’s say you have a hobby in preparing delicious meals for someone, you can start experimenting your own ingredient and make your own menu. By letting others know that you cook and prepare menus on occasional basis that might be a start for others to ask orders from you. Now, how about a hobby in writing? Do you know that you can introduce your writing skill to students or professionals in your local area? Writing a research paper, a thesis, or even a company’s manual can be a great hobby.

You might be thinking now to start your own business with your hobby, the question is, how will you know you can possibly start a business out of your hobby? Let us slowly assess your hobby and see if you can turn it into business.

Questions to ask before a hobby become a business:

-        Do you have a reputation? Do people trust you? Do people in your local area or your network take notice of your product or service?
-        Do you often get more orders?
-        Are you making profit already from your hobby?
-        Do you think you will succeed through your hobby?

If your answers on all questions are positive, then better think of a bigger picture outside the box. You can make a good business from your hobby. The next step you need to do is to make a business plan. This will tailor everything and can be done according to your plan. Should you go beyond individual sales then, consider hiring a staff and renting an office or a shop.  It would be better if you’re doing a fresh start, to start from the scratch. You can gradually think the things needed for future ventures.

There are others who started business as a hobby in their free time, without realizing that they already made much. This may complicate in tax issues when the internal revenue realizes that you’ve made much for many years without any business claims. It is very important to file a tax when you are certain of more earnings.  It may still seem a hobby for you but, when you earn more than the minimum from your hobby; better claim your hobby as business.

There are consequences when you failed to classify your hobby as business. If the internal revenue classifies your hobby as business, they normally won’t allow you to seize any losses. If you can’t prove of any losses, they will get you pay the unpaid taxes plus penalties. You might not want this become complicated; therefore, better think right now and ask yourself if your hobby classifies as business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Own Business

It’s time consuming to think a career path or changes to fit in. But, it’s worth the wait when you find your vision and mission in life. Sometimes, when you thought you’ve found the best job you dreamed for, another vision forms in mind. That vision is far different or similar than what you’re doing. At times, you find yourself thinking over and over again before deciding to become self-employed. You might envision yourself in serving people as an independent contractor or perhaps putting up a business. While it’s very exciting to start your own business, there are outcomes that whether you like it or not, you have to understand and accept what’s involved in. Now, let us distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of being employed and self-employed (having a business). 

Being employed has more advantages in the financial side. However, if the business stays stable and accessed unlimited growth, the potential income is unlimited as well. The employed person pays only the part of monthly remittances: health insurance, taxes, social security, and others. The self-employed person will take the burden of paying the part of remittances for the employee together with business income tax and personal tax. An employed person obtained better benefits from the company: health, life or disability insurances, and retirement benefits. But, a self-employed person will need to do more to gain more. Being employed doesn’t have costs beyond the basic needs. Unlike self-employed often takes business costs and staffing expenses. An employee doesn’t have a start up cost unlike a self-employed (business person). 

In terms of working hours and income potential, the self-employed person has more advantages. If a self-employed person doesn’t require hours to work, an employed person has working hours required. Income for an employee is limited, although receives bonuses but self-employed doesn’t have limits to gain. 

For emotional and personal growth, both employed and self-employed person have negative and positive sides. An employed person often deals with politics with the employer; while the self-employed person has to deal with seclusion and loneliness. Often, an employed person collaborates with others in the workplace while the self-employed person acts on his/her own. A self-employed person needs to be self-motivating while an employed person has to be structurally motivated because the team or the boss expects higher results. 

The big part between the employed and self-employed is motivation. If an employee failed the target or metrics, the company will give a chance for the employee to correct the mistakes, the employed still has a salary. But, a self-employed person may suffer on both faces. Aside from taking responsibility on failures, it raises the financial consequences. No sale, no gain. Failure on bidding, no cash flow equals great loss. 

For potential opportunity, employees may often share successes with the team, while in financial success; it is first taken by the employer. The self-employed may instantly enjoy the fruit of business successes.

Therefore, before deciding to engage into business, consider first your own desire. Would you like only to be a part of the team and free from operational business decisions? Then, go for employment. Or would you rather be a tycoon, your own person, and has own brand? Then, consider for self-employment. Again, back to basic, you need to determine or review your personal goals.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The importance of customer service in the business

Centuries ago, businesses don’t train employees for servicing customers. Mostly, they thought that customers come and go; customers buy something when needed and leave the business anyway. So, businesses before didn't take time to get customer’s attention. Being nice to customers or not doesn't concern with the business, not until this generation.

Due to gigantic competitors, a business must compete from giving best service to customers. This is one of the factors that a business can survive today. This is to take time to differentiate from the competitors. This is not just about greeting and serving customers. It is more on going beyond for the customer: doing everything possible to exceed customer’s expectation, making decisions that customers can benefit more, sometimes even at the expense of the business (to consider potential customers in the future).

Customer service is not about giving the business to customers. One must need to know when the business slogan “customer is always right” applies. I’m sure you know when it’s not right, when the customer is taking advantage or becoming abusive. They may not always right but they are still customers. Therefore, even if they become abusive or they use foul language to you, you do not need to do the same.

Customer service doesn't involve to only one aspect. This involves the entire aspect of the business operation:

-        - Telephone service
-        -  Counter service
-        -  Product/service information
-        - Taking orders
-        - Documentation follow up
-        - Managing payments, complaints, service culture
-       -  Making repairs
-        - Visiting customers

Customer service is a common sense, the key is to HELP. It doesn't need to be an obvious marketing tactics. It is about giving immediate actions to frustrated customers, not letting customers become frustrated, and attending to customer’s feedback right away. It should be the kind of service to tell to customers about the company and its employees. Soon the customer in return may acquire new customers via word of mouth referrals.

The key to quality customer service is not in offering tons of service but in building relationships. This encourages customers to come back over again to the business when they feel they trust the company and its employees, when they feel they’re more than the customer, when they receive a treatment that they expect to be treated.

Reliability is a foundation for a customer to trust the company. When customers believe on the company’s promises and such promises are delivered properly, customers will surely continue with the business. If the company can’t make definitive plans, or if the company believes that what the customer’s asking is impossible, then the company shouldn't promise. It is better to explain to the customer what the company can do and not, rather than destroying customer’s confidence after expectations.

Sometimes, it’s tiring and humiliating to hear about the things when the business failed to meet customer’s expectation. But, listening to the customer is the key to improve the service. Responding to a customer complaint can make a difference. Customers may feel the importance in the business. Even if it’s not beneficial financially to customers, the fact that the company is trying to help, it can relieve customers.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Managerial skills that a manager will become effective

It’s never been easy for a corporate office to get connected with their employees.  Because of this, managers are placed on their positions in order to serve as mediators between the employees and the upper office.  On top of that, they will also serve as the monitoring committee for the corporate office. Managers are responsible to know how the employees work. But this doesn't mean that a manager would guard the employee all day to see if they are working or not. Manager’s utmost responsibility is to take care of the immediate issues in the company.  Therefore, it is important for a manager to have a number of managerial skills to handle the workforce and the operation.

What are these managerial skills that a manager should possess? 

First, a manager should be observant. This doesn't mean that a manager should only sit in the office while observing.  Once in a while, a manager should take a visit to each department to interact with their subordinates: asking their working condition, listening to working concerns and, encourage them in working their best.  This is also a skill that a manager can motivate employees.

Next, a manager needs to monitor the staff performance.  By taking concerns of the staff condition, a manager knows whether the staff is doing well or not. A manager should see that the office rules and regulations, company policies are always implemented. A manager should conduct a regular meeting on all departments. This may help employees contribute the needs of the entire company. The involvement in the meeting influences employees to do more, to attend to their respective responsibilities, and improve their performance. A manager should discuss to employees how they are going to be evaluated and assessed their performance.  When there is incompetence among the staff, a manager should provide suggestion or solution to improve the performance.

Third, a manager should implement professional developments. Creating several programs that allows involvement of employees may help the staff improve at work.  For example, letting the staff attend to several seminars or other out-of-town team building activities help employees improve their personalities and their team’s relationship.

Finally, a manager should also have to make the right decisions for any important tasks in the company.  Proper research and evaluations should be made before making decisions to avoid sacrificing more the company. A manager should always be keen in learning and improvements. He/she must listen to the ideas of employees; must be open minded to all things, and be flexible at any given time especially when the need arises.

These are just some of the managerial skills that a manager should have.  As you can see, a manager’s job is complicated. They should not be someone in the office sitting around the corner and browsing facebook.

Business and personal risks on any social networks

Since technology has evolved, the number of fraudulent activity over the internet has grown too. The people involve collects information to targets. Once successful, the account will be used to target others account too. For example, hackers use their target’s facebook account to target others. The site has the largest community and has personalized feature that users can fill in their real information, updating activities that put hackers to use the target’s activity.

Let us put the old news as an example; timesonline warned facebook users to be vigilant of putting personal information in detail especially contact information. This called the attention of social network users to minimize the updates of personal activities. Such personal information and activities will be used for stealing bank accounts or worst scenario, murder.

Any social network accounts can be a target by not just hackers but to some who has a grudge on you as well. Anyone can buy software to crack any passwords. This will be very easy to someone who has a strong will to do. Like someone who was reported from previous years that a guy bought software to hack a facebook and email passwords to spy a partner. Although that guy admitted that software was a big help to him, it isn’t always a guarantee to use for good reasons. One maybe tempted to commit crime by stealing financial accounts, or selling others personal information to informant. It is therefore concluded that it has never been safe to put sensitive or personal information on any sites that one can access to. 

How to be safe?

  • Never click any links on your timeline or inbox message when you’re not familiar of the sender.
  • Always ask first the sender if what the link is about.
  • Install your computer a protection that can block potential dangers (phishing sites, malware, stealing stored cookies on the browser, etc).
  • Beware of downloading free software that asked you to use any of your social network account to login.
  • Do not use the same passwords on all social networks you joined in.
  • Make the safest and longer password by combining the letters, numbers, special characters, lower and upper keys. (This way, even hackers are using software to crack your passwords, it will be very difficult.)
  • Never give hackers or a criminal a clue of your future activities.
  • If found any suspicious activity on the internet, please report to the internet police right away on this site listed contacts for reporting illegal activity.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Good customer support and quick action leads to business success

How many businesses succeeded because of loyal employees and customers are there to support the business? The support received from the customers patronizing the products and services because the management is good enough to know what people need. The support received from the employees working together to achieve each others goal.

I remember purchasing a product online and I was stumbled of their tagline “100% customer support and immediate response”. I browsed over their offers and it was okay but I had to email first their support to ask more details before to purchase. My excitement turned disappointing because after hitting the send button, it appeared “thank you for contacting support, you’ll get back the response within 24 hours. I wonder where the quick response was. It was urgent for me and I was expecting of an hour or 2 for a response. There was no immediate response, as I say. It came in 20 hours. I was no longer interested so I turned down the offer and instead, went to a different site.

So that’s it. What I am trying to tell you is that, never disappoint customers. It should have been better to say “please wait for (a certain hour) or until the representative is available, they will contact you shortly” rather than a plain ‘immediate response’. Why not ‘as quick as an hour’ or ‘in few minutes”?  With that, people will not expect of as quick as a minute or a second. How about, if it was a problem regarding the product, had I needed to wait 24 hours or so before the problem could resolve?

Here’s another one, telling this captivating words “If you experienced difficulty regarding the products you’ve purchased, please contact our email support immediately. Our staff would be glad to get back to you as soon as they can or you may connect to our live chat support online 24/7”. I went to their live chat support and disappointed again as it appeared “sorry, there’s no chat agent online now, you may leave a message and they will get back to you after 5 hours”. I opted to email support and the same thing happened. Now, what can you expect with that support? Would you consider that quick if you have to wait for them for how many hours? They should have not said 24/7 if the customer would need to wait 5 hours after the contact. Imagine if the service is always like that, and you have to wait for longer hours before the problem is solved. Would you still consider of their other offers? Would you still choose their company or service?

Poor customer support would lose potential and existing customers. Never tend to expect customers if you can’t do it. An honest tagline or response would be highly appreciated rather than a tagline pretends perfect. Express honestly what you can do and not; never afraid to people if they know your company’s limitation. After all, humans aren't perfect. If the support can answer at GMT (time) or whatever then it should be clearly stated rather than letting customers expect. This article isn't targeting a certain company but rather to let people and businesses know how customer’s expectations are important. It would create a negative impact to the company if customer’s expectations weren't met in the first place.

It’s not millions of tricks that a business could survive neither a promise for people to stay. Let people praise your business rather than saying “our company is number 1 and great among businesses and runs for how many years”. All businesses would say that, and if we are going to judge on how they talk, well, we’ll be blind of their lapses. People would praise your company if they received more than they expect, and in return, people will bring another prospective customer (through refers).

Business shouldn’t care only for business. Think money more and people would leave you. Think people more and money will come to you.

Business Plan- Why needed for Business Startups

Do you plan to invest or put up a small business? Then think of a good business plan to start with. You can’t start a business without a business plan.

Whether you are looking for an investment or you’ll put into action to make the investment successful, a business plan is a good choice to start with. You as an investor, if there’s a businessman approach you to invest in his business, would you take the offer right away? Would you rather not review the business plan and proposal, first?     

Some may think that making a business plan is tiring and time consuming. Yes perhaps, but the only way to save you from losing money and more failures is to make your business plan feasible before you plan to start it up.

You may want to invest in a good business that will multiply your investment. I’m sure you’ll be interested to know how it will multiply and for how long you’ll get it. Reviewing the financial status (activity) and the future plans of the business is one of the ways you can have an idea how the business will profit you. Or soon you’ll find out when the business is impossible to pursue.

Don’t bother the time that can do to you for researching and business planning, just take time to care for your future investments. Doing research and reviewing a business plan is not a pain in the butt. Though it may get you more headaches but it will save your future. It will save you from losing more (mentally, physically, and financially).

What can it do to business?

A business plan will tailor everything to make your business operation successful. Its value lies in the course of researching, to make the business into more manageable and systematic. The plan helps you think the thorough process; thus helps you avoid terrible mistakes later. The question is, why you should have to write it on the paper? Why not put into action right away on what you’ve been planning, without getting yourself troubled in writing a business plan? The answer is, it’s a protocol in business. If you are going to look for a business partner, a business plan is the first thing you consider to let your business partner look at it. The more thorough and effective your plan is, the more confident you are to attract business partners and investors. In the same way, if you are going to loan in a bank, you have to prove yourself to the bank manager that you have the capacity not just to repay the loan but to prove as well that your business makes more returns.

Making a business plan doesn't need to be a corporate-like. The practical method will make your business plan tidy and concise enough to detail on how you’re going to make your business successful and profitable.

Questions to consider in a business plan:

-        What type of business you are into?
-        Why is your business feasible?
-        What are the products or services to provide?
-        How your business will be protected?
-        Who are your target markets?
-        Do your markets exist?
-        Are you capable of running your business?
-        Do you have skills to develop your ideas?
-        Do you know your competitors?
-        How your business can make a difference from your competitors?
-        How you can bring your business to the market?
-        Are you capable to finance the business?
-        How long can your business survive?
-        How your business can generate income?

-        How much do you expect your business can earn in a month/year?

You might want to start impressing your future business partners and investors by taking time to write a business plan in a standard format.  Or you might be interested in other business plan template would suit your business needs.    

Help people and be a friend- Tips for marketing online

I know the feeling of doing everything to market a product online to get sales. You almost lie what’s in the product just to get the public attention. There are some things you’ve done to fool people; sometimes it works, sometimes not. But, have you asked yourself like this “if people would found out the fact about the product, what can it does to you”? Would you lose your reputation? Would people trust you again?

Marketing, especially online needs reputation. It needs more time to build reputation. Results can’t be seen in a day or night. It will take time to communicate more people until you get the right prospect.

People don’t see you in person, and they are always adamant on any offers online. So, if you wish to get sales, don’t rush to it. Build your NETWORK and REPUTATION. You have to represent yourself before you share your product. Hence, providing facts about yourself and by sharing what you have done is one of the ways to get trust from the public.

Here are some things you can do to get the people online:

  1. Stop-look-listen. Sounds like you’re in traffic on the road, right? But the point here is, stop marketing. Look out your real targets and converse with them. Listen to their woes. You have to get close to them (prospects) if possible, build good relationships.  Don’t be too much aggressive. Always listen and know their interest.
  2. Be a friend, not a businessman. Provide possible solutions to their concerns even if it’s not related to your product. Until you’ll get a chance to share your product or service that will help them.
  3. Always offer for a help, not monetizing your help. Show how much you care for them. Don’t be obvious of leading them right away to your product when you know it’s not the right answer to their concerns.
  4. Provide the facts and its limitations. It won’t hurt you by telling what your product can do to them and what they can expect. Everything can be solved in a process. So, if you’re telling the people that your product will take effect in just a blink of an eye in one usage, they will know you lie.
  5. Deliver what you promise. Every detail you said will be remembered; therefore, if you promised for a discount then do it. If you promise just to get everybody’s attention, you’ll know what’s next, right? Negative comments always easily spread rather than the positive one.
  6. Be confident but not arrogant. Always prepare for sarcastic conversation but be confident enough to deal with it without sounding like an arrogant marketer.

Marketing may differ in platforms but the process is the same: building networks, building relationships with people, and get a positive reputation. If you succeeded those things, there’s no way you can’t succeed in sales. People come and go, but the real one who believes in you and turns in you out of criticism is rare to find. Therefore, cherish them, do what you can to keep them.