Getting Help with Your Finances

Most of us are in debt. We’ve got credit cards, loans, overdrafts, store cards, and car financing plans. Some of us even owe money to our utility providers and landlords. Even those of us that aren’t are cutting it fine. We want to save, we even open savings accounts, but find ourselves struggling to put any money in them. Many of us want to set up businesses and build home offices, but our financial situations won’t allow it.

But, just as many of us are doing nothing about it. We’re getting by paying the minimums back on our debts.We’re letting any savings that we do have just sit there, instead of finding ways to make them grow. We’re living paycheck to paycheck without taking the time to improve things.

This is often because we’re embarrassed. We don’t want to admit that we need help or that we’re in debt. We don’t want to ask for advice on how to save or make our money grow because we are ashamed to admit that we don’t know already or that we’ve been wasting our money up until this point. We are afraid of speaking to an accountant only to find that we’ve been recording our profits incorrectly and our small business accounts are in a mess. We bury our heads in the sand because we are embarrassed and afraid. But,there’s really no need to be. There’s plenty of help out there, and plenty of people that need it. You just have to make that first move. Here’s a look at some of your options.

Visit a Financial Advisor

If you’ve got debts, you might find that their repayments are crippling. That you’ve got very little disposable income each month because paying off your debts is eating it all up. It doesn’t need to be like this, but it’s so hard to see a way out when it’s your money.

A financial advisor can take a look at your situation and help you to find ways to improve it. They’ll look at your income and expenses and recommend consolidation loans or other options that could help. They can even help you to create a budget to manage your money.

Most banks offer a free financial advisor service. But, remember your bank is only likely to recommend their own products. You may have to pay to see an independent advisor, but you could be offered a wider range of options.

Get Help with Investments

Investing your money is a fantastic way to watch it grow. But, it’s complicated and confusing. If you’ve never invested,you might worry that you can’t because you don’t know enough. The good news is,you don’t even need to meet an advisor in person, read https://budgetboost.co/etrade-review/for another option that’s great for beginners and novice traders.

Hire an Accountant

If you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you might try to manage your own finances to save money. But, it can be all too easy to make costly mistakes. Hiring an accountant can actually save you money. They’ll ensure you are claiming any tax deductibles that you are able, and they’ll make sure you don’t face a hefty fine because you’ve either missed your tax return deadlines or made a mistake in your working out.Read more about deducatbles at https://www.raymondbenn.co.uk/services/businesses/detailed-list-of-tax-allowable-expenses.

How to Secure Funding for Your Small Business

Nowadays, it’s common for small businesses to end up in financial struggles. A simple mistake can easily turn into a financial difficulty. Not only that, but it’s also common for business owners to run out of funding for their business development. In such cases, business owners tend to look for outside funding, in order to support their business further and ensure it remains operational.

In today’s business world, there are many funding sources available to small businesses. However, not every funding source is the right one for your current situation. That’s why it’s important to analyze your options properly, in order to determine the best course of action. That being said, here are a few ways to secure funding for your small business.

Apply for a bank loan

Many business owners first go to a bank when in need of funding. Banks are reliable sources of funding and you can always apply for a loan there. You should try out several banks and negotiate the best deal for your business loan. However, you must understand that it takes a bit of time for banks to approve your loan application.

Moreover, if you have a bad credit score, you might be denied a loan altogether or charged with very high interest rates, because you’re technically a risk. In order to avoid that scenario, try to improve your credit score before going to the bank for a loan, in order to avoid any inconveniences.

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Secure funding from an angel investor

Angel investors can be a great source of funding for your small business. They can supply you with the funding needed to fully develop your business and secure its financial stability. Once your business is stable on the market, angel investors will expect 25 to 30% return on investment. However, securing funding from angel investors isn’t easy.

You’ll have to be really passionate about your business and convince the investors that your business can be sustainable and profitable on the market. For that, you’ll need social proof, through market analysis, revenue forecasts and other statistics. If you do your homework right, you’ll be able to convince angel investors to support your endeavor. Also, don’t try angel investors if your agenda is to get rich fast, because they’ll dismiss you outright.

Seek alternative funding

As mentioned before, applying for a loan at the bank may not turn out so well if your credit score is bad. You may want to wait to improve your credit history, but you may not have the time to wait that long. In that case, you can seek out alternative lenders who will supply you with a loan.

For example, you can apply for bad credit loans. These types of loans have more flexible conditions towards people with bad credit scores. In other words, you won’t be denied a loan and you won’t have to wait too long to actually get a loan. That way, you can use quick cash to fund your business or consolidate your debt to improve both your financial situation and your credit score.

Seek out venture capital

Venture capital (VC) is a funding source similar to angel investors. You’ll still need a good plan and a good idea to convince venture capitalists to support your business financially. The difference is that venture capitalists seek a share of your company, in return for supporting you. What’s more, VCs only support business owners whose ideas have the potential to become lucrative enterprises in a short period of time.

Unlike angel investors, who support owners with passion about their business, venture capitalists are more supportive towards get-rich-fast attitude and ideas. As a matter of fact, venture capitalists expect your business to become very profitable in 3 to 5 years tops. If your business lacks that potential, you won’t be able to convince VCs to support you.

Try crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is yet another alternative funding source for your small business, only with fewer strings attached than angel investors or VCs. Crowdfunding is based on the concept of presenting your idea to your target audience, i.e. the crowd. If the crowd likes your ideas enough, they’ll donate funds to support your business financially. This type of funding can be ideal to fund startup ideas, but it can also be quite beneficial if you’re funding a small business by introducing new product or services features to the crowd.

Crowdfunding works on platforms, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe and others. However, not all platforms have the same conditions and you must research them well before you decide which platform to choose for your crowdfunding campaign. The way it works is you set both the time and fund limit and your audience attempts to reach funding limit before the time runs out.

As mentioned before, there are a lot of funding options made available to finance your business. Which method you choose depends on your business model and needs. Make sure your research various methods well, so that you’re able to pick the best funding source for your small business.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

 

Think Outside the Box to Secure Funding For Your Small Business

Once you have a great idea to start a new small business or expand one that already exists, the next all-important step in the process is to secure funding for it. After all, without financial resources, the business you envision stays trapped in your imagination. Try these approaches to getting the funding you need.

1.  Approach Family Members

A 2016 survey from Bank of America polled 1,000 entrepreneurs in the United States and found over one-third received funding from friends or family members via loans or gifts. You might hesitate to ask your parents for help, especially if they assisted with financing your education not long ago, but it could be a smart move if they’re in a position to help you.

Think about asking others who may be able to help too, such as cousins or grandparents. If those people are business owners or fully on board with your efforts, that’s even better.

2. Pawn Your High-End Luxury Items for Quick Cash

An emerging trend shows an increase in wealthy people going to high-end pawn shops and parting with their luxury items in exchange for fast cash flow to make their business ideas become realities.

Maybe you got a Rolex watch as a gift from a late wealthy relative, and it’s collecting dust in a drawer because you only wear it once a year. If the person who gave it to you always urged you to follow your dreams, you could take that as encouragement to pawn the watch for cash.

Or, maybe you’ve inherited a rare fine art piece that’s undoubtedly beautiful and high-quality but doesn’t match the décor in your home.

These examples show that even if you don’t have a house full of expensive possessions, a few well-chosen ones could help you bring in money quickly. That could be important if, for example, you’re trying to close on a deal for property related to your business and don’t have time to go through the processes required for slower funding methods.

3. Collect the Necessary Documents for a Bank Loan

If you’re an entrepreneur who prefers to fly by the seat of your pants when seeking funding, that approach, unfortunately, won’t work when applying for a loan from a bank. Financial institutions require specific things from you. The representatives there will ask for a polished business plan, a succinct description of how you’ll use the money, your businesses’ financial information and more.

Once you gather those things, organize them neatly in a folder. Then, when it’s time to speak to the loan specialist and make a good impression, you won’t feel or appear flustered.

Even if you don’t think now is the right time to apply for a loan, get all those documents together anyway. Then, when or if you’re ready, you won’t have to scramble around looking for them as your stress level rises.

4. Use Data to Prove Your Point

When approaching people who may invest in your venture, it’s crucial to back up your claims with data. For example, instead of merely explaining why your business idea will succeed in the marketplace, provide hard statistics that show an existing gap you can fill or some other problem your company addresses.

EducationSuperHighway is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving internet speeds in K-12 schools so that students can take advantage of digital advancements. It’s working with nearly two dozen state governors and has achieved a reach of 22 million students.

Before it got to this point, though, the group wisely used data to prove that internet connectivity problems existed and even to hold themselves accountable to early investors. In short, if the organization couldn’t show it was doing worthy work through data, they emphasized that investors shouldn’t feel obligated to give them another cent.

Research ways to compile data that convinces potential investors why your idea is different than what already exists and that there’s a genuine need for it. Taking that step strengthens your case rather than making it seem like you have little more than a firmly held opinion.

5. Look for Microgrant Opportunities

Perhaps you’re in a situation where you only need a small amount of funding for your small business that you’ll use for better office furniture or to invest in a printer that doesn’t break down more often than it works.

Those scenarios are excellent for microgrants. As you might realize from the name, they involve community members or professional investors collectively giving small amounts of money to successful candidates.

The Awesome Foundation funded over 3,400 projects and operates in more than 16 countries. Grant recipients get chosen monthly and receive $1,000 for their projects.

A more localized effort in Charlottesville, VA is called Charlottesville SOUP. It provides microgrants for arts-based projects. Past recipients include a graphic novelist and a fashion designer.

Grant candidates stand in front of audience members who have each paid $10 to hear about the projects while eating a soup dinner. The spectators’ entry fees also act as votes. At the end of the night, the funding seeker with the most ballot box dominance immediately receives a crowd-funded amount for their project.

These dinners occur monthly, and the first one was held in January 2013. So far, the initiative has awarded more than $20,000 to people in the community who needed funding for their efforts.

Creativity Could Take You Further Than Expected

You’ve undoubtedly had to use creativity to develop your business idea. So, why shouldn’t you try to ignite that creative spark when looking for funding? When possible, it’s ideal to take a diverse approach by looking for traditional sources of money for your business such as bank loans but also thinking outside the box and exploring the lesser-known opportunities.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

 

 

A Business On The Ball Is One That’s Always Looking For More Funding

The story of a business succeeding often seems to follow the same narrative. You get your capital together, struggle for a bit, hit it big, grow and keep growing. It’s a nice story, but one that perhaps isn’t the most efficient way to grow a business. In order to really see your business and your finances booming, you have to keep looking for that funding. Well after you first get the capital you need. Here’s how you should keep growing that funding.

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Picture sourced by geralt

Get trading

For additional funding, one of the most reliable sources you can find is yourself. We know that you’re trying to make money off your business, not put even more into it. As they say, however, you have to speculate to accumulate. One of the best practices for getting more money into your business, as well as getting wealthy in your own right, is to invest. Look at investment potentials like the Brit wealth system. Even those who don’t have the expertise they think they need can invest successfully. Take some of the profit from your investments and use it in growing your business. Diversify those investments and improve your chances of making yourself some money as well.

Take care of your credit

The other most reliable funding source for an already existing business is in getting a loan. However, getting a loan means that you need to take care of your finances. In particular, you should always be taking the best care of your credit as you possibly can. Taking care of credit is about making sure that you’re eliminating debt and paying all loans on time. You should also arrange a closer look at your credit report. It’s far from uncommon that a report will contain one or more erroneous accounts. It’s as simple as finding these black marks on your account and disputing them. Otherwise, you could have a bad credit score for years without even knowing about it.

Accept a helping hand

You might have been told that nothing in life comes for free. However, that’s not always the case in business. In fact, there are a lot of grants that a business can get for all kinds of reasons. There are grants that help businesses take on extra staff from certain communities. There are others that support businesses that put some effort into being more friendly to the environment. There are even grants that can support a business because they have a woman in charge. Don’t assume that there aren’t any grants out there for you to take advantage of. Just make sure that you have a business plan laying out your plans for growth. They won’t give money to people who come unprepared.

The more money that you can put towards the business, the more you can reliably keep scaling it. Avoid the hassle of scaling all at once by constantly trickling funds inward. Whether it’s from your own efforts or from other funding sources, you need to keep those books well in the positive.

 

Payment Methods Matter to Your Customers

If your business brand is not getting the attention it deserves, there could be one or multiple reasons why that is the case.

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For instance, you may be lax when it comes to marketing your brand, be it a tight budget or just not knowing how to properly go about it.

You may also be turning a blind eye to social media, something that too many businesses still do on a regular basis. In doing so, they miss out on a golden opportunity to give their brand a strong push.

No matter what the reason or reasons for your brand’s inability to get the traction it needs to succeed, you have to come to the realization sooner (rather than later) that brand promotions are a necessity in today’s business world.

That said how you go about letting customers pay for their purchases can go a long way in determining just how successful a year you will have when you look back at your sales numbers.

So, will you ultimately boost your brand and take credit for it?

Payment Methods Matter to You and Your Customers

For some business owners, they are effectively still residing in the dark ages of retail, only accepting only cash payments.

Now, before one gets all upset about that statement, take note that some businesses are quite content not having a credit/debit card component (or checks for that matter) to deal with. On the other side of the coin, countless other business owners would be nothing short of miserable if they did not accept plastic, not to mention checks.

So, where do you find yourself residing when looking at how credit cards boost your business?

If you have been operating up to this point as a cash-only business, you are quite literally missing out on some golden opportunities.

For starters, many consumers tend to buy more when they are charging their purchases as opposed to using cash.

As an example, if someone comes into your store to initially just by an item or two, they may come across some great sales offers, some of which are too good to turn down. As a result, instead of getting their wallets out and reaching in for some green, they reach in for the plastic. Before you know it, you have rung-up quite a lot more in merchandise than you likely would have.

Take Your Show on the Road

Another way credit card acceptance can help grow your brand is by taking the show on the road.

For instance, if you attend trade shows, chamber of commerce events, local fairs etc. there are oftentimes potential customers just waiting for you. By having a free credit card reader to take with you on the road, you can ring-up sales before you know it.

Another way to look at it is that you make many more customers happy when they can buy something at the drop of a hat, not having to wait until they get home in front of a computer or have chance to stop by your business one day.

Finally, accepting credit cards makes it much easier for you (and the consumer of course) to track where the money went.

On your end, you have a nice paper trail (or preferably a computer trail) of where money went, not to mention for what goods and/or services.

Meantime, the consumer can use those paper receipts to also track his or her spending, something that is harder to do when spending cash (unless they keep each single receipt). They can also use the comparisons between cash spending and credit card spending, seeing if in fact they are running up a more notable tab with their plastic.

While credit card payments are not a requirement in running your business, they open up a lot more doors for both you and the customer.

Whatever the reason or reasons you have not accepted credit cards up to this point, give serious consideration to changing that idea moving forward.

As you do so, you are likely to see an uptick in business, not to mention more satisfied customers overall.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Are Your Customers Giving You Credit for a Job Well-Done?

awesomeOffering credit terms to qualified customers is a great way to boost sales in a bumbling economy. However, a complicated or insecure credit application process could frustrate would-be applicants and derail your entire credit plan. Don’t let technical impediments detract from your goodwill gesture of offering credit to good customers.

Try these ideas for improving your customer credit application process….

Dedicated Credit Services Representative

If you’re running a brick and mortar store, there are other ways you need to consider to make the credit application process easier for all your customers.

Don’t force customers who are standing in line to wait while someone at the checkout register fills out their credit application.

If you want to capture more credit applications at the checkout, have a separate, dedicated credit services representative at another nearby register. That way, everyone in that line knows that the wait will be a little longer while each person applies up for your store card.

Those who already have a store card, or who choose not to apply, can be waited on as usual by your regular store clerk.

As the article, “Is it time to simplify your customer credit application process?” asks the answer in short, yes.

Secured Application Process

In these days of identity theft and data hacking, consumers are more alert than ever to the dangers of having their sensitive personal information stolen online.

Don’t make your applicants guess as to whether the information they’re inputting is secure.

Assure your customers at every step of the way by being transparent about the way their information will be transmitted, stored, and accessed by trusted members of your company. Back up your claims by ensuring that their data really is secure.

Don’t rely on internal IT techs to manage highly sensitive credit data. Invest in a third party management services provider to handle all your applicants’ data.

Optimize Your Forms

Online forms are the norm for credit applications.

Customers have come to expect the ability to apply online for store credit, credit limit increases, or altered payment terms. Your online forms shouldn’t be clunky.

They should be easily recognizable as compared to similar online credit forms. They should be easily navigated, and the needed information should be obvious. Lastly, they should also work.

It’s surprising how many online forms have bugs or glitches that lose customers’ data, forcing them to re-enter information that they’ve already entered twice before. Always test your online forms internally before publishing them for the world to see.

Look into third-party credit application service providers, who provide everything you need to offer your applicants secure, straightforward, and easy to understand forms that work.

You can make your customer credit application process better than anything the competition has.

One or more of these plans will likely work for your business.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about marketing and best business practices.