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Category Archives: Business

get a business cash advance

Merchant cash advances (MCAs) have recently turned into a highly popular type of business financing. An MCA is ideal for those small businesses with steady cash flow, but poor credit that need quick access to working capital. It’s no surprise that bad credit can make it challenging for businesses to get approved for a bank loan, so an MCA is really a fine funding option to try. However, when applying for a merchant cash advance, you should be cautious not to be scammed. What to do?

  1. Take into Account the APR (Annual Percentage Rate)

Failure to compare one option to other alternatives will make it easy for scammers to lure you into their trap. The costs of MCAs and short-term loans aren’t measured in terms APR as it’s with bank loans. The reason is that merchant cash advances don’t accrue interest over time: instead, you’ll be charged a flat fee regardless of how quickly or slowly you pay back the loan. Be aware, the money you’re receiving will be costly. However, it’s possible to calculate the APR for merchant cash advances and short-term loans so that it won’t be difficult to compare the available merchant cash advance options.

To avoid being scammed, get a business cash advance from First American Merchant, a reputable business loan provider and high risk payment processor. FAM’s popular cash advance offers the lowest possible rates in the industry. First American Merchant is an award-winning alternative online lender that is rated A+ by the BBB.

  1. Get a Second Opinion

Consider formal reviews so to have a second opinion while making your choice. They can help you draw a parallel between similar MCA providers and make the right decision. Having additional information about the MCA provider you’re going to deal with will only be good.

  1. Look for Incentives

Reputable business cash advance providers offer incentives so to encourage your repeat business. They may encourage you to pay off the flat fee early. Incentives can also be in the form of better rates and easier qualifications for returning customers.

  1. Focus on the Contract

Make sure you understand the contract terms since terms may vary from provider to provider. What are the withholding rates included? What’s the reduced profit?

  1. Don’t Forget about Hidden Fees

Look for hidden fees. Focus on monthly/late/penalty fees, balloon payments (a repayment of the outstanding principal sum made at the end of a loan period, interest only having been paid hitherto) and indemnity clauses (a contractual transfer of risk between two contractual parties generally to prevent loss or compensate for a loss which may occur as a result of a specified event), and flexible withholding rates.

Knowing what to focus on when applying for a business cash advance will help you get a better idea of what you’re entering and avoid being scammed. Take the time to research well and find a reputable business cash advance provider to turn to.

 

 

Tips to Preparing Cleaning Business from Disaster

1. Create a list of phone numbers of your key employees and customers and keep it with you. Also provide a copy of that list to key staff members.

2. Back up your computer data often and keep an updated record of that information off-site. If you keep paper records, be sure to make copies of important documents and store those in another building.

3. Make a comprehensive list of your equipment, including the price, date purchased, model number, and serial number. Keep this updated as you buy new equipment and keep a copy of this off-site. It’s also a good idea to photograph or videotape your office, equipment, and supplies so you have a visual record for insurance and replacement purposes.

4. Consult with your insurance agent and make sure you have enough coverage. Remember, most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage. Your insurance needs to cover more than just your building. Insurance has to also cover the replacement cost of your supplies and equipment. Make sure your equipment (both cleaning and office equipment) is covered. Most insurance companies offer Inland Marine insurance. This will cover any equipment you don’t store on your property.

Keep in mind you will also be replacing more than just cleaning equipment, but also office equipment and supplies. It may be necessary to rent items temporarily until you have the insurance check. So it’s also important to have enough money on hand to rent the necessary equipment.

Some of the things you might be renting include:

* office space

* office furniture

* computers and printers

* phones and accessories

* cleaning equipment (buffers, vacuums, mop buckets, etc.)

Your policy should include some type of business interruption insurance – think of the possible situations and then decide if you need one or more months of coverage.

5. Prepare an action plan so if a disaster does happen you don’t panic. Who will call your cleaning customers to let them know you are running behind schedule? If a natural disaster hits a large area your customers will also be scrambling to get on their feet. However, if your business experiences a fire or other incident that only affects you, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your customers. If you can’t get up and running in a hurry, they may have to find another cleaning company to take care of their buildings.

6. Make note of where you can quickly get replacement supplies and equipment. Is there a janitorial supplies distributor in your community that will have what you need to get up and running? Also, make note of office supply stores in your area so you can replace your office equipment.

7. Another necessity is having an emergency fund so you can quickly replace equipment before you get your insurance check. Think of saving 3-6 months of business income.

You’ve no doubt spent years building up a successful cleaning business. Don’t let it be destroyed in just a few minutes by an unforeseen disaster. Taking the time to prepare now before something happens can assure that your cleaning business can keep going after a tragedy.

 

Create A Thriving Business

The first step to creating a thriving business is preparing an operational manual that will ensure that your business can survive any hurdle including business growth, owner absenteeism and even owner death. Most business owners never stop to consider what might happen if they were injured, sick or worse. By taking a precautionary role in your business and considering things such as: “What if it happened to me?”; “What if my spouse, child or parent was sick tomorrow – could I dedicate the time to their recovery?”

These are all things we think we won’t have to worry about, but what if? Step back for a minute and think about how your business would change if you needed to take the time to dedicate to a personal problem. Perhaps in the short term it wouldn’t change much, but what about if you needed to step back for an extended period of time? What would happen then?

The success of many of today’s small businesses hinges on the expertise and skills of the owner. What happens to the business though should the owner become ill or die? In many cases a family member steps in out of a feeling of obligation, but often they lack the skills necessary to allow the business to truly thrive. They don’t have the same dedication, determination or passion to see the business succeed as you did. In many cases, a promise to maintain a family business is made with the thought of “I won’t ever have to worry about that” in the back of the family member’s mind. After all, no one thinks it will ever happen to them.

By creating an operational manual that outlines every faucet of your business operations including pertinent company information and a full description of how daily tasks are carried out, your business could easily continue uninterrupted without fear things were not being handled in the same manner you, as business owner, would expect. Family members could easily hire someone to handle the business operations with your Operations Manual with the confidence of knowing things were being handled as you would handle them.

Step back for a minute and think about what it means for you to truly create a thriving business. Just like plants need essential tools to survive, so does your business. The ingredients may be different but providing them is no less important. Plants need water, sun and dirt in order to grow vigorously and healthily. Your business needs a successful team leader, a needed product or service and a plan in order to be successful and profitable. Most businesses only have two of those important ingredients and are missing the most important ingredient. If you leave instructions for watering your plants, shouldn’t you leave instructions for running your business?

 

Small Business Owners Marketing

One big problem for small business owners is the tendency to try to do everything themselves. You have to learn to lead and to develop other people. Also, it is worth the expense to hire an accountant, have a lawyer on call, and use other outside services. If your business is at all profitable and worthwhile, you need time to develop your business. Whether you are in the food and restaurant business or writing e-books and marketing them, you need to devote your energy primarily to what makes your business function.

Take the time to socialize with business people. Even if you are doing the best kind of internet research possible, you have to get out there and talk to business people to know how to ask the right questions. By going to classes and seminars you can learn new ideas and get a chance to network with both clients and vendors so you can both improve your business’ operations and also find more clients. Business to business sales operations tend to accelerate more rapidly for small business people because the orders are larger than clients one by one. Going to a business associate’s Christmas or New Year’s party can be much more than an opportunity to get drunk on five martinis. Once you are over 40-years-old, your acid reflux problems will probably preclude you from doing that in good conscience anyway. So get out there and talk about the real estate market, computer aids to business, or whatever relevant topics there are for you, and get some business cards. You’ll feel a lot better about it later, and you won’t have a super hangover.

Work on your customer service, it’s what keeps customers coming back. Many small business owners spend huge amounts of time and money on advertising and public relations, but tend to neglect the important area of customer service. When you fill an order on a mail-order or electronic information product, do you take the time to email the customer after the order to make sure that they are as satisfied as possible? You can do this by an automatic e-responder, but often, a simple and short note that you compose is worth the effort.

 

Tips to Build Solid Business Foundations

The first thing they do to build it is to dig down.

It’s a little strange to see, but it makes sense if you think about it.

By digging down and making sure all the foundations are in place, and making sure they are rock solid… the building can then reach up towards the sky.

Without the rock solid foundations the building could topple and crash to the ground.

Unfortunately that’s what happens to some businesses.

Some owners neglect, ignore or are ignorant of some of the ‘foundations’ that MUST be in place to allow the business safe and secure business growth.

The things we are covering aren’t as exciting or as ‘glamorous’ as the topics that most business owners want to delve into like marketing, or team training… yet the areas are fundamental to the success of your business.

And they are topics that all multi-million dollar business owners are great at… and follow religiously.

Although they aren’t as glamorous – they are still fundamental to the successful growth and in some cases – the existence of your business.

So please don’t fall into the trap of ignoring these areas like some business owners do – because you can find yourself in serious trouble.

Insurances

Go over the kind of insurances that you need, and your business needs in case of any form of mishap, act of god and/or litigation. There are some critical ones that you need to be aware of. And there’s some that you may not have thought of that are fundamental to your business. So check them out and put them into place.

Contracts

How good are the contracts you have in place? Do you have any? Do you have them with your team and suppliers?

Make sure you’re working with a good contract lawyer to make sure you’re adequately protected in your contracts. Don’t just copy other people contracts; get them done specifically for your business.

Disclaimers

With the increasing rate of litigation make sure you are working with your lawyer to protect yourself from any type of litigation that may occur.

Technology

Find the appropriate levels of technology for your business so you can become more effective and efficient with your current workloads… and make sure you’re continually taking care of your current technology and updating regularly before the need arises.

Technology is only a cost if you don’t use it. When you use it, it’s an investment.

Software

When you start off in business you can get away with rip off versions of software. Yet when you’re aiming to grow – get the real versions.

I recommend it.

As you start to grow and you’re producing data that’s becoming more and more valuable you need to protect it and have constant support and access to it.

If you don’t have the ‘real McCoy’ you can say goodbye to sometimes years of hard work.

Back ups Virus Protections

Make sure you’re following the guidelines of backing up your data and keeping up-to-date virus software as well.

The data on your computer has taken you and your business literally thousands of hours at around $20 per hour. So you’ve probably got $100K or more worth of data on your system. Back it up, and store it off site.

If you’re online – you’ll know how many viruses are around. So get yourself a great system and update it daily.

I use Vet and I update it daily.

Correct Asset Protection

There’s no point making great money and building wealth if – seemingly at the drop of a hat – you lose it all. It happens because of poor asset protection. Make sure your assets are protected.

Get yourself a good asset protection lawyer and accountant.

Statutory Obligations

Be aware of all the statutory obligations that you have of running and owning a business – and comply with them. It’s the law.

Taxation

Make contact and work with the tax office often to understand all the different forms or taxation that you and your business are subject to. Know when payments are due, budget for them and make sure you get everything in on time.

Rateable Remuneration

As your business grows and you employ more and more people make sure you’re updating your rateable remuneration with WorkCover. Otherwise you can be stuck with an unpleasant bill or even be fined.

Time Off

Like the axe man that cuts wood. You’ve got to take time off to sharpen your saw. Otherwise it just becomes blunt and ineffective.

Time off helps charge up your batteries – and it also makes your team step up when you’re away.

Regular time off will have you feeling fresh and ‘on-the-ball’.

There may be many more things that you can do for your business to make sure you have nice strong foundations in place for growing your business.

Go through all the potential areas and topics that are specific for your business – and make sure they are in place. That way you’re geared up for growth.

 

Consider The Positions in a Small Business that Need Filled by Business Owner

1. Building maintenance coordinator. If you rent or lease space, the task of scheduling maintenance and repairers not only for the business equipment but many times the building infrastructure falls to you. Such mundane tasks as making certain the windows are washed and sidewalk cleaned regularly also are your responsibility

2. Advertising executive. Your small business may make the best product on the planet but there will be no sales unless consumers hear about it. How do you plan on getting your message out? If you hire an ad agency in their work is ineffective your business suffers. This means you need to understand your market and how to reach them.

3. Human Resources. Plan on having any employees? Be prepared to deal with developing an employee handbook, Worker’s Compensation, absenteeism, along with hiring and firing. Oh and if you get read of an employee without proper documentation and justification, be prepared to have your unemployment insurance account charged to pay for the employee UI benefits.

4. Insurance expert. How much it will kind of insurance you need? Although you can get help with this from a business insurance agent, remember the agent is in the business of selling insurance. You need to be able to understand the risks your business faces and what should be insured against.

 

Start s Catering Business

To obtain a license, apply to the local Health Department. Before a license is issued, the Health Department will inspect your business to see that it meets food sanitation requirements. Once a license is issued, the Health Department will conduct routine inspections of your business. These inspections are needed to help insure compliance with food sanitation rules developed to protect the public from foodborne illness. Outbreaks of foodborne illness have been attributed to factors such as poor hygiene by personnel, inadequate cooking, and improper cooling and storage of food.

The development of a business plan will aid you in planning a successful business. Prior to starting a catering business, you need to determine your type of business i.e., cakes, receptions, seated dinners, box lunches, picnics, or dessert course and the type of food you will serve (primarily convenience or “from scratch”). Analyze your market. Ask yourself the following questions to see if your business venture will satisfy at least one of the following fundamental elements of success. If not, you probably do not have a viable business idea.

The questions are:

Will the business serve a presently unserved need?

Will the business serve an existing market in which demand exceeds supply?

Can the business effectively compete with existing businesses because of some “competitive advantage?”

Decide whom you will target as customers. Who is your competition? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Where will you get supplies? Decide how you will promote your business. Will you need to employ staff to help with production, service, and cleanup? What other skills do you need to make your business successful?

Start-Up Costs: You may choose to start your catering business by renting items to keep initial costs to a minimum. You may rent the use of kitchen facilities, utensils, tables, tablecloths, serving equipment and other items. This will allow you to: 1) Build a reputation; 2) develop some capital for investment and expansion and 3) evaluate how much time and money you want to invest and the impact that this business will have on your family.

Food Safety: To be successful in the catering business, one must produce delicious food that is safe and wholesome. The production of safe foods is your responsibility. Time and temperature abuse of foods contaminated with foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli O157:H7, will certainly lead to a foodborne outbreak that would likely destroy your reputation and business. Foodborne illness can be avoided if you and your employees follow safe food handling practices.

Like I said earlier, starting your own catering business can be both financially rewarding and fun. Whether you cater events on a full-time or a part-time basis, the opportunities are excellent, but it do require some planning and hardwork in order for you to enjoy the benefits.

 

Creators Passion for Small Business

I don’t know where I got the idea, but I was all about small business when I was a child. I used to draw comics and sell them to other kids in the school yard for a few bucks. I was drawing all the time, in class, at home, anywhere a pen and pad could be found. People were genuinely interested in what I created, so why not make a few bucks off it if I could? Well, my parents really frowned on that idea.

My parents grew up during the industrial era. In that day, you could enter into a good company at a young age, work your way up and eventually become very prosperous or even rich inside that company. Some even gained a stake in the corporation itself. Before the industrial era, small business made up the bulk of the American economy, but at the turn of the century, people flocked to jobs in factories and huge corporations overtook the economic scene. This was not without its consequences.

We all know that day is over now. Job security is but a myth. Companies really caring about and taking care of employees is a rarity. These days if you want to make your way in the world, the idea of small business is worthy of serious consideration. Today we live in what is called the information age and he who controls the information becomes an island unto himself.

I never really lost my taste for enterprise. In the year 2000, not unlike on the schoolyard, I created an animated short film called Understanding Chaos, self published it on DVD and sold it directly from my own website with good results. No venture capital was involved, no investors needed and no major studios played any part in the operation. Just me, just like with a pen and a spiral notebook. This time, though, it was through the magic of the latest computer technology, off-the-shelf software, firewire and DV.

So if you look back into your childhood, what do you see yourself doing? Are the seeds of your future business to be found there? This is one possible road to your true passion, the thing you would do for hours on end even if there was no pay involved. I was drawing all the time and I loved to draw with people and help them draw. I see my passion from my own past. Does your past show you the right track?

 

Ways Put More Cash in Your Pocket

#1 Get your customers to pay upfront

Put a package together or estimate what the bill will be and get your customer to pay you before you ever start working. Yes, you can do that. Think about the number of programs, seminars, networking dinners, books, CDs, etc. you have paid for before you got to have it. If you set the expectation with your clients up front many will be happy to pay you in advance. It’s the surest way to get paid for your goods or services. Not comfortable with getting payment in full, consider getting a deposit.

#2 Send invoices on a regular basis and make sure you get paid

Pick an invoicing day such as the 1st or 15th of the month. Set that on your (or your assistant or bookkeeper’s) calendar and do all billing at once. Make sure you have a system in place to make it easy to create invoices.

Get paid before you end up in a never-never land situation. One of my clients is a high end copy writer. She charges a deposit up front and then the balance once copy is complete. The problem was she would deliver the final product and the client wouldn’t pay the balance. She had nothing to hold on to because they already had her words. So we changed her process, now she never releases the final product until she has been paid in full.

#3 Automate, automate, automate

Got clients on a payment plan? Have a recurring monthly fee? Set up automated payment through a shopping cart service. You tell it when to charge and how much and it does it for you. The money comes flying in. But wait; my clients pay me by check. And they are always late. Try sending a nice reminder email or make a kind reminder phone call the week before payment is due. Talk to your bank. See if you can have people wire you payments. Cuts down on the strenuous task of finding a stamp. Or set a policy. Something like two late check payments means they have to pay you by credit card.

#4 Make an effort to collect

Monitor the aging of your invoices. When it gets close to the due date, start calling. Don’t just expect that others are going to make paying you a priority. Call them, fax them, and email them. Ask them to pay with a credit card. Even if you don’t have a merchant account you can always have someone send you a payment through Paypal. It’s worth the small percentage they charge if it gets you paid. You are entitled to collect your hard earned cash. If you have to, turn your invoice over to a collection agency.

#5 Ensure your money actually gets to the bank

Is there money sitting in your Paypal account that you haven’t cashed out? Are there checks sitting in a PO Box somewhere? Are you reconciling to make sure your merchant account payments made it to the bank?

 

Be Your Own Boss

Many individuals choose to begin their own business due to personal matters at home. Sometimes, a birth of a child prompts a parent to start his or her own business in order to stay at home. Individuals faced with caring for a spouse, sibling, or parent often chooses to work at home due to scheduling difficulties. Working from your home allows you a flexible schedule and enables you to take care of other responsibilities without affecting your work life.

You can choose from a whole gamut of options to start your business. You can become a retailer or put your expertise to use by becoming a consultant in that chosen area. The business gives you the freedom of choosing the kind of work you always wanted. Thus, it also gives you a chance to live out those dreams.

Start from the beginning. As soon as the idea of starting your own business strikes you, start saving to invest. You have to put in money to make money. Then explore the possibilities of getting business related loans. Next, look for grants provided to individuals interested into opening a home business.

How much time and money is required depends entirely on the type of your business. Let’s say, if you want to open a retail store, a restaurant, or a hospitality center you will need a much greater investment both in terms of time and money.

There are certain business that happen to be a relatively safer bet, such as selling brands like Avon, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, or Mary Kay. These happen to be reputed brand names and the individual’s stocking these products can sell these in home parties, shows, or even post them on the Internet. Thus with such a business in place, it is easier to maintain a fine balance between both personal and professional life.

Use your network of friends, family members, and coworkers to build a viable base of clients. Whatever your business, make sure you are flexible enough to adapt it to meet the needs of a variety of clients. Ensuring you market your business to a wide scope of potential customers will ensure a greater potential for success.

If you decide to run a business from your home, make sure you delegate a specific area of your home as a business area. Whether this is a table, corner, or entire room, this business only area will ensure you treat your home as a business. Additionally, this business only area will allow other individuals to provide you with privacy necessary to do any business related tasks. Many entrepreneurs find themselves easily distracted by children, friends, spouses, or family members who disturb them during work time.