Tag Archive: money

8 Tips for Starting A Business

Seniors start more businesses than people under the age of 30! I know, I was surprised, too. It may surprise you even more that the ones started by seniors have a greater chance of success than those started by the young. These two facts taken together should show you that you are never too old to start your own business, and should also suggest that there may be more opportunities for seniors looking to fund a new business.


Here then are 6 tips to help you get started:


1. Pick something you are passionate about. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of a product or service that is supposed to be “the next big thing,” instead, pick something you are passionate about. A new business will take a lot of time if you do it right, and you want to spend that time doing something you love.



It is also true that if you are passionate about something and you know that area well, then that experience will be a big leg up. It is also a major reason why senior entrepreneurs are so successful.


2. Don’t take a big risk when funding the business: When you are older, you have less time to make up for financial mistakes. Because a startup is, of course, somewhat risky, one way to hedge against that risk is by being prudent where



So, for instance, don’t look to take out a second mortgage on your home to finance your venture, and you shouldn’t tap into your retirement account. Instead, consider these options:

  • Talk to your state Department of Commerce and see what grants and loans may be available to senior entrepreneurs; you might be surprised.
  • Also, consider crowd funding sites like Kickstarter. If you have a unique idea, getting friends, family and the public to fund it is a more preferable way to go.

3. Come up with a strategy and/or business plan: Even if your plan isn’t to become a major global corporation, you need to treat your business venture as a serious proposition. This means that you need to sit and come up with a plan and a strategy. Your business plan doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you do need to have a strategy for how you plan on getting from A to B to C.


Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss


4.  Learn to love the Internet and social media. Like it or not, the internet and social media networks have become the place for word of mouth marketing and business promotion. Forget placing ads in print magazines or making flyers, because that is yesterday’s news. You will get a far better response using, for instance, a Google or Facebook ad. So, take some courses online or at your local community college, and research just what is available to you in internet marketing.


5. Embrace the mobile revolution. I was recently at an Internet marketing event and they said that 60% of all email is now read on a mobile device. Similarly, almost half of all searches now are done on a mobile device. Whatever business you start must be searchable and findable by a mobile device.

Mobile is not only the future, it’s also the present.


6. Become a lifelong learner. One of my favorite business authors (Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job), says that one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is that you have to become a lifelong learner. If you develop the habit of always learning about business and what is coming down the pike, you will be well prepared to serve your customers.


The bottom line is that as a senior, you have valuable experience that translates well into the world of entrepreneurship. Use it wisely.


About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.


You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here


How Entrepreneurs Make Millions

How Entrepreneurs Make Millions
There are three basic ways of earning money which include trading time for money, trading money for money and trading expertise/value for money.

Society and the formal education system promote the first method of earning money which involves trading time for money.  In other words, you work for someone else for a specific amount of time and then they pay you.  Working for someone else drains your energy and you don’t make much money.

The second way to earn money is utilized by a small portion of the population and involves trading money for money.  In other words, you are earning money through investing.  Investing can be risky because if you lack additional funds then how can you invest any money in the first place?  Therefore, many people can’t even try this option because they only have enough money to pay their bills.

The third way to earn money is the best option.  This entrepreneurial option involves trading expertise/value for money.  This is the strategy of entrepreneurial experts.  You have a flexible schedule, work less, and earn more.  You can make thousands of dollars a day in this option.

In order to earn money through trading expertise/value for money you need to first figure out who you are and what you can give to others.  What information do you know that could help others?  You can find value from previous work experience or even from your hobbies.  From this you can create your intellectual property.

What is Intellectual property?  How big is the market for Intellectual property?  Is there room for you in the Intellectual property market?  These may be a few of the questions you have when you are investigating the information marketing business.  First of all, anyone can create intellectual property.  You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist.  You just need to have an area or expertise, or access to an expert, and a drive to succeed.

Intellectual property combines e-commerce and book publishing.  For example, you can write and sell an eBook.  Recent research has found that approximately 6 out of every 10 American adults surf the Internet on a daily basis seeking out entertainment, education, and to shop for products.  People are more comfortable buying online then in the past.  The market through the Internet is global and encompasses millions of people.  Therefore, the information marketing business has room for everyone!

When you market on the Internet, you market to your niche.  Therefore, you don’t have to worry whether or not your neighbor will want to buy your product.  The Internet opens the niche market for you.

If creating and selling intellectual property on the Internet is so simple, why isn’t everyone doing this?  The formal educational system and previous societal beliefs are to blame.  In school, we are taught to finish school and then become an employee at a company.  The entrepreneurial spirit is not promoted; in fact it is almost shunned.

Don’t let societal beliefs stop you.  The intellectual property market is wide, diverse, and ready to fill your pocket book with cash.

5 Steps In Creating A Successful Small Business Online

5 Steps In Creating A Successful Small Business Online

“I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock this afternoon.”

– Henry Youngman. –

You can retire in 30 days – WE PROVE IT TO YOU! Make $1.7 million! Signup for free! $5,250 is Guaranteed with no efforts!

The Internet is the modern “Gold Rush”. Seems that everyone on the Internet is promising you vast riches with little to no effort. But are these outrageous claims true? Can you make $5,250 is Guaranteed with no efforts?

Well, I do believe the Internet is a phenomenal asset to those who want to make some money with less effort and financial investment than with a traditional home business. Can you lounge around all day in your underwear doing nothing and be a millionaire by the end of the year? Not likely. However, if you did want to try your hand at a successful Internet career, take some tips from someone who’s been there, done that, and has the scars to prove it. Here’s my hard-won, 5-step-plan for financial success on the Internet.

Step one: Find Some Adventurous, Business-Minded Soul Mates.

Get at least two companions (five is best!) who will walk with you enthusiastically, and build your business together. Having a couple of friends with you on the journey helps to keep everyone sane, and it’s a built in safety net for keeping you from investing in crazy schemes that would never tempt you during a moment of sanity. Friends can also cheer you on through the necessary slogging at the beginning, and then they’re there to celebrate your success at the end.

Step Two: Create Your “Cash Machine”

There’s an old adage that says, “It takes money to make money” and, unfortunately, it’s true – mostly. Therefore, according to Loral Langemeier, the Author of the excellent book “Making Millionaires” – first you have to learn how to run a business that makes money. You don’t have to enjoy it, but it does have to make money – even just a little, and fast! You use this first step to teach you how an Internet business works and to develop the right suite of tools and knowledge to gain a solid foundation.

Step Three: Build Multiple Streams of Income

When your first business is up and running, don’t simply burn through the money. Use half of the profits to advertise, and half of your profits to invest in the next business(es). Keep building until you have a solid core of different businesses running under you. This brings stability. If you’re wise, you will also be carefully investing in businesses that will give you great tools for running and advertising your businesses, as well as investing in courses that train you in the various areas of online marketing: traffic, copywriting, list building, etc. You must learn to use your profits wisely as even stable companies can sometimes go under.

Step Four: Automate it.

It is possible to run a completely functional business on 2-3 hours a day – or less – by simply automating the more routine activities. Again, there’s nothing like the Internet for providing automated systems.

Step Five: Develop Your Passion

So now you’ve got some real money coming in with an automated system. You can either stay there, or you can take your new knowledge and learn to apply it to your area of greatest passion – creating a business that you LOVE. Simply find a need in an area of your passion (scrapbooking, fly fishing, old cars, fashion, etc.) and use the skills you’ve developed so far to set up a business in that area and let it take you on a wonderful ride!

So, can you make $1.7 million dollars? Yes, you can, but it’s not going to be as easy as they tend to promise. You do need to know what you’re doing, and it will take time.

And what better time to try it out than over the summer when things tend to be a bit slower?

Want to join the adventure?

Darlene Hull

Five Steps to Business Credit

 Operating without loans can have significant impacts on your cash flow and working capital and does nothing extra to build your business credit. Five Steps to Business Credit

Maintaining good business credit is essential, as a bad credit rating may severely hinder your business growth and expansion. Without good business credit, banks can be less likely to accept your loan applications. Operating without loans can have significant impacts on your cash flow and working capital and does nothing extra to build your business credit.


In addition, if you skirt your financial responsibilities, it’s unlikely that suppliers will extend your business a trade or credit account. That means that you may lose the ability to leverage the 30-, 60-, and 90-day terms of invoices as short-term loans. In addition, many businesses enjoy discounts provided by suppliers to encourage prompt payment; cash customers usually do not get such discounts.


If your business does not have good credit, you can take steps to repair it. The first step to building your business credit is to contact your creditors to set up payment schedules. Such schedules should be reasonable and fair to both your business and the creditor. If you have some history of paying bills promptly, you may find that creditors are willing to set up alternative payment schedules. In addition, successful completion of a payment schedule often leads to a continuing relationship between businesses and creditors.


Late payments or unpaid invoices can often be traced back to housekeeping or paperwork issues rather than cash flow problems. Even these types of mistakes can affect your business credit.

To determine the root cause of the problems ask yourself:

  • Are your creditors sending invoices to the correct address and person?
  • Are your payment checks being sent to and received by the correct department and person?
  • Are all parties clear on when payments must be made?


Additionally, listed below are steps you can take to improve your business’s creditworthiness:

  • Always pay on time. The ability to repay loans promptly has a great impact on business credit scores. You should endeavor to always pay within the terms you have with your suppliers. On-time payments are the most direct way to improve a business credit rating.
  • Pay your biggest bills first. Some business credit scores are dollar weighted, such as the PAYDEX ® Score. Therefore, if you are consistently paying all of your smaller bills but neglecting your largest, your Paydex score can suffer.
  • If timely payments to suppliers and lenders are not included in your business credit profile, your business may not get the credit it deserves for paying your bills on time. You should monitor your business credit profile at least twice per year to ensure that vendor payment relationships are included.
  • Stay on top of your business credit profile. You must ensure that your business credit profile information is complete and accurate. Address any inaccuracies immediately. Certain business credit companies offer customer services and online tools that can help you update and manage such details.
  • Contribute to your company’s credit profile. You can communicate to the credit bureaus as well. The more information you give to credit bureaus like D&B, the more robust your business credit profile will be. In addition, try to choose suppliers and vendors that report their experiences to credit bureaus, which can also boost your profile.

Many businesses are feeling the pressure of tightened credit requirements. However, by carefully planning and executing your plan, you can help fix and improve your business credit.

Trying Not To Get Above Your Business

Trying Not To Get Above Your Business

Young men after they get through their business training, or apprenticeship, instead of pursuing their avocation and rising in their business, will often lie about doing nothing. They say; “I have learned my business, but I am not going to be a hireling; what is the object of learning my trade or profession, unless I establish myself?'”

“Have you capital to start with?”

“No, but I am going to have it.”

“How are you going to get it?”

“I will tell you confidentially; I have a wealthy old aunt, and she will die pretty soon; but if she does not, I expect to find some rich old man who will lend me a few thousands to give me a start. If I only get the money to start with I will do well.”

There is no greater mistake than when a young man believes he will succeed with borrowed money. Why? Because every man’s experience coincides with that of Mr. Astor, who said, “it was more difficult for him to accumulate his first thousand dollars, than all the succeeding millions that made up his colossal fortune.” Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience. Give a boy twenty thousand dollars and put him in business, and the chances are that he will lose every dollar of it before he is a year older. Like buying a ticket in the lottery; and drawing a prize, it is “easy come, easy go.”

He does not know the value of it; nothing is worth anything, unless it costs effort. Without self-denial and economy; patience and perseverance, and commencing with capital which you have not earned, you are not sure to succeed in accumulating. Young men, instead of “waiting for dead men’s shoes,” should be up and doing, for there is no class of persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these rich old people, and it is fortunate for the expectant heirs that it is so.

Nine out of ten of the rich men of our country to-day, started out in life as poor boys, with determined wills, industry, perseverance, economy and good habits. They went on gradually, made their own money and saved it; and this is the best way to acquire a fortune. Stephen Girard started life as a poor cabin boy, and died worth nine million dollars. A.T.

Stewart was a poor Irish boy; and he paid taxes on a million and a half dollars of income, per year. John Jacob Astor was a poor farmer boy, and died worth twenty millions. Cornelius Vanderbilt began life rowing a boat from Staten Island to New York; he presented our government with a steamship worth a million of dollars, and died worth fifty million.
“There is no royal road to learning,” says the proverb, and I may say it is equally true, “there is no royal road to wealth.” But I think there is a royal road to both. The road to learning is a royal one; the road that enables the student to expand his intellect and add every day to his stock of knowledge, until, in the pleasant process of intellectual growth, he is able to solve the most profound problems, to count the stars, to analyze every atom of the globe, and to measure the firmament this is a regal highway, and it is the only road worth traveling.

So in regard to wealth. Go on in confidence, study the rules, and above all things, study human nature; for “the proper study of mankind is man,” and you will find that while expanding the intellect and the muscles, your enlarged experience will enable you every day to accumulate more and more principal, which will increase itself by interest and otherwise, until you arrive at a state of independence. You will find, as a general thing, that the poor boys get rich and the rich boys get poor. For instance, a rich man at his decease, leaves a large estate to his family. His eldest sons, who have helped him earn his
fortune, know by experience the value of money; and they take their inheritance and add to it. The separate portions of the young children are placed at interest, and the little fellows are patted on the head, and told a dozen times a day, “you are rich; you will never have to work, you can always have whatever you wish, for you were born with a golden spoon in your mouth.”

The young heir soon finds out what that means; he has the finest dresses and playthings; he is crammed with sugar candies and almost “killed with kindness,” and he passes from school to school, petted and flattered. He becomes arrogant and self-conceited, abuses his teachers, and carries everything with a high hand. He knows nothing of the real value of money, having never earned any; but he knows all about the “golden spoon” business.
At college, he invites his poor fellow-students to his room, where he “wines and dines” them. He is cajoled and caressed, and called a glorious good follow, because he is so lavish of his money. He gives his game suppers, drives his fast horses, invites his chums to fetes and parties, determined to
have lots of “good times.” He spends the night in frolics and debauchery, and leads off his companions with the familiar song, “we won’t go home till morning.” He gets them to join him in pulling down signs, taking gates from their hinges and throwing them into back yards and horse-ponds. If the police arrest them, he knocks them down, is taken to the lockup, and joyfully foots the bills.

“Ah! my boys,” he cries, “what is the use of being rich, if you can’t enjoy yourself?”

He might more truly say, “if you can’t make a fool of yourself;” but he is “fast,” hates slow things, and doesn’t “see it.” Young men loaded down with other people’s money are almost sure to lose all they inherit, and they acquire all sorts of bad habits which, in the majority of cases, ruin them in health, purse and character. In this country, one generation follows another, and the poor of to-day are rich in the next generation, or the third. Their experience leads them on, and they become rich, and they leave vast riches to their young children. These children, having been reared in luxury, are inexperienced and get poor; and after long experience another generation comes on and gathers up riches again in turn. And thus “history repeats itself,” and happy is he who by listening to the experience of others avoids the rocks and shoals on which so many have been wrecked.

“In England, the business makes the man.” If a man in that country is a mechanic or working-man, he is not recognized as a gentleman. On the occasion of my first appearance before Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington asked me what sphere in life General Tom Thumb’s parents were in.

“His father is a carpenter,” I replied.

“Oh! I had heard he was a gentleman,” was the response of His Grace.

In this Republican country, the man makes the business. No matter whether he is a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a farmer, banker or lawyer, so long as his business is legitimate, he may be a gentleman. So any “legitimate” business is a double blessing it helps the man engaged in it, and also helps others. The Farmer supports his own family, but he also benefits the merchant or mechanic who needs the products of his farm. The tailor not only makes a living by his trade, but he also benefits the farmer, the clergyman and others who cannot make their own clothing. But all these classes often may be gentlemen.

The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation.

The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer:

“I have not yet decided which profession I will follow. Is your profession full?”

“The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room up-stairs,” was the witty and truthful reply.

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story. Wherever you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do. As a nation, Americans are too superficial– they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should, but whoever excels all others in his own line, if his habits are good and his integrity undoubted, cannot fail to secure abundant patronage, and the wealth that naturally follows. Let your motto then always be “Excelsior,” for by living up to it there is no such word as fail.


Using the Law of Attraction To Attract People To Your Business

Using the Law of Attraction To Attract People To Your Business
Have you ever had something you wanted just fall into place; come to you through an out-of-the-blue phone call or by coincidentally meeting someone on the street? Have you ever met the perfect client or life partner–just by being at the right place at the right time?

Many of us have various ways to describe this phenomenon; serendipity, coincidence, fate, karma, luck, it was meant to be, self-fulfilling prophecy, what comes around goes around, and success breeds success. All of these expressions describe what is known as the Law of Attraction.

Law of Attraction can be defined as: You attract to your life whatever you give your attention, focus and energy to, whether wanted or unwanted.

If you wish to attract more money, referrals, clients, contracts, business partners, or anything else your heart desires, it is essential to understand the workings of the Law of Attraction.

The first step is to know more about our use of Declarative Statements and how they contribute to Law of Attraction. A Declarative Statement is a positive statement of what we want to attract, that elevates our mood or feeling. Examples include: “I love the way money comes to me effortlessly in expected and unexpected ways.”, “It feels so good knowing that business comes to me in all seasons.” and, “I love the way my reputation attracts clients to me.”

When people fail, it’s often because they have unconsciously made Declarative Statements to themselves that are negative, such as: “Money comes in one hand and out the other.”, “I take one step forward and two steps back.” or, “My business slows down during the summer months.” These statements have negative feelings and moods attached to them.

Re-read the definition of Law of Attraction: We attract into our lives whatever we give our attention to, whether wanted or unwanted. Law of Attraction responds to these negative feelings and gives us more of them. Law of Attraction does not know whether it is something you want or not; it simply responds to your mood or feeling and gives you more of it.

Each time you hear yourself make a Declarative Statement that does not serve you, simply restate it and offer a better mood or feeling. Here is a quick way to turn a negative statement into a positive Declarative Statement.

Simply ask yourself: “So, what do I want?”

The moment you define what you do want, you start to experience a new mood or feeling, and Law of Attraction will respond to this better mood or feeling.

Over the next few days, start to notice what is appearing in your life, that is, what you are attracting. Then think back to what mood or feeling you may have offered that could have attracted what appeared. You’ll soon find yourself manifesting more and more of what you do want, and less of what you don’t want, by deliberately putting the Law of Attraction to work for you.

Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding

Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital FundingUnderstanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding

Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding. Before taking on venture capital, entrepreneurs must ask themselves a fundamental question – “Do you want to be rich or be king?” As Harvard Business School Professor Noam Wasserman explains, it’s difficult for founders to maintain control over their businesses once they take on outside investors. However, without them, such businesses like Twitter and Facebook would likely have never have taken off. For those entrepreneurs who have developed a product with a large untapped market and a potential for rapid, high growth, venture capital (VC) funding makes sense if you’re willing to give up some control and most likely sell your business at the end of the investment period, or fund life-cycle (i.e. when the fund becomes due). However, if you would like to build a generational business, an angel investor may offer more favorable terms that will allow you to receive some equity while maintaining a degree of control.


Looking for that big return

“A VC firm does not invest in a business,” explains investment banker Jeff Koons of San Francisco-based Vista Point Advisors. Instead, it invests in a company that will sell for a lot more than it’s worth at the time of the initial investment. And such firms are looking for a big return (up to 20 times the initial investment) in a relatively short amount of time (3 to 10 years, depending on the fund life-cycle). “If your business is growing just 20 to 30 percent per year, VC funding is not for you,” notes Koons. Focusing primarily on the tech sector, Vista Point acts as a broker to bootstrapped entrepreneurs entering the VC world for the first time. “We help them think through the process from valuation to exit,” notes Koons.


Defending your interests 

Vista Point vets various VC firms for the best valuation and possible outcome for the entrepreneur. Unlike others in their field, Vista Point only works on the “sell side,” meaning their sole clients are entrepreneurs. They do not work with VC firms on other deals. “VC firms sometimes look for a break in the negotiations on these smaller deals for the promise of future work for the investment bank on more lucrative deals down the road,” cautions Koons. So a good rule of thumb is to ask any investment brokers if they work on the “buy side,” with VC firms, as well.


Having sound advice makes all the difference when entering the complex world of equity financing. Joshua Mag, CEO of SquareHook, a content management system provider, consulted a former professor who is an operating partner at a large VC firm before taking on equity from an angel investor in June 2012. “Potential investors want to know what market you’re targeting and its size,” notes Mag. “They’re not going to invest in something that doesn’t produce a large return, so there needs to be a big potential market for your product.” The angel investment allowed Mag to quit his full-time job to focus exclusively on building his business, which included hiring a few employees and seeking development assistance. “My decision to take on capital was a choice of acceleration,” explains Mag. “Had I not taken on the capital, this would have been a slower task.”


Equity comes at a price

Mag gave up 20 percent of equity of his company in exchange for the angel investment; however, a VC investor typically wants at least 20 percent ownership in addition to a board seat and the ultimate sale or IPO of your company upon exit. Nevertheless, how much ownership an entrepreneur gives up, whether to a VC or angel investor, is largely determined by the amount of equity the entrepreneur needs, the valuation of the business, and whether it’s the first, second, or third round of investment.


Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Layton, Utah-based Pluralsight, grew his company’s online training platform for software developers organically for about a decade before taking $27.5 million in Series A funding in 2012. “We saw periodic interest over the years from investors,” notes Skonnard. “But we thought it was too risky to give up too much control in case we needed to change direction.” It was only when Skonnard and his partners felt they had a solid business model and were set to enter a high-growth mode that they decided to take on VC funding

Shop around

“It wasn’t so much about the money as forging those strategic relationships,” Skonnard points out. “Once we decided, then it became a financial exercise –– how much do we take, how much do we want to sell, and who’s the right partner to go with.” Skonnard and his partners met with five or six VC firms several times before they decided on one they believed would add the most value to their business. “It was our comfort level with the people and personalities that drove our decision more than the financial metrics,” explains Skonnard. “Make sure you’re happy with the people that will be on your board of directors.”


Investors provide more than just cash

While the cash infusion helps grow your company, partnering with a VC firms also gives you access to new players in your industry, which in turn helps attract the top talent and increase your market presence. Pluralsight’s traditional model had been to work directly with content producers to build its online training library. But with the funding, it was able to finance the purchase of two online training companies, which doubled its content library in a matter of months. “The Series A really unlocked our ability to make those acquisitions,” Skonnard points out. “We would have never been able to consider that without such funding.”


Beyond their connections in financial and sector-specific industries, some VC investors have an entrepreneurial background as well. Brendan Anderson bought his first business in 1995 and has helped manage and invest in many more since then. In 2006, he co-founded Cleveland, Ohio-based Evolution Capital, which invests in $5- to $6-million companies that have at least $500,000 in free cash flow. “We are point-in-time investors looking for entrepreneurs/founders with a vision creating something compelling in the market,” explains Anderson. He and his partners then work with these entrepreneurs to implement the steps needed for growth.


These include getting the entepreneurs’ financials in order to develop a plan for growth, which in turn enables these businesses to attract the best people. Next is transparency, making sure the entrepreneur communicates his vision and shares day-to-day operational data with employees. Finally, holding the entrepreneur and employees accountable for tasks that will move their company forward. “Once these best practices are implemented, they’re happy with the results,” Anderson points out. “But the process of doing it is usually painful.”


“The founder/entrepreneur still owns a major piece of the business even after we invest,” Anderson points out. However, Evolution Capital typically controls the majority interest (more than 50%) and maintains the right to change management and control their exit (with a typical investment ranging from 3-7 years). “We want to build businesses that continue to grow long after our ownership,” he says.


Understanding terms, conditions, and valuation

If you’re considering taking on equity, it’s critical to understand the terms and conditions of any investment agreement. Whether the entrepreneur maintains some control is largely determined by how the deal is structured. Mag decided to go with an angel investor, who was looking for a longer investment with annual dividends rather than a large payout at the end of a VC fund life-cycle. “Taking on VC means you need to have an exit strategy: IPO, sell, or dividends,” notes Mag. “Most VCs want a full exit to collect on their return within a period that is reasonable.”

And that’s largely determined by when a business becomes part of the fund. “You want to be invested as soon as possible in the life of the fund,” explains Koons. “If there’s only two years left before the VC firm needs to return capital to their limited partners (i.e. investment occurs in year five of a seven year fund), a company could be sold for a loss or spun out even if it’s achieving its growth projections.” Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding


Typically, investors are looking for preferred terms that will position them better than other parties (e.g. paid first upon exit, right of first refusal, put option, liquidation preference). Pluralsight has a minority interest deal with their VC investment firm, which has allowed Skonnard and his partners to only give up two seats on their seven-seat board. “The founders still control the board and the ultimate direction of our strategy,” notes Skonnard. “While we have a very healthy relationship with our new board members, we didn’t want to give up too much control.” Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding


It’s also important to understand valuation, as you need to know what your company is worth in order to negotiate the best terms. “One way to valuate your business is to look at your competitors to see what they sold for upon exit,” explains Mag. There are a number of public sources and tools that list industry comparables. This will also help figure out how much equity you’ll need to put into your business to achieve your growth plans. “That investment defines what your business will be valued at,” explains Mag. “By taking on more than you need, your business is likely losing equity unnecessarily.” Understanding its advantages and disadvantages of Venture Capital Funding


How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business LoanHow Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

It’s a question that besets many small business owners when applying for business loans: how much should I ask for? More so than deciding on which lender to approach, not having a sound estimate of how much capital you need to borrow could lead to cash flow problems—which could lead to your business shutting down. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

How then can small business owners determine how much financing they need when approaching lenders? What factors should they take into account when calculating the ideal sum of their business loan?

Be clear on the reason for the loan

Are you launching a startup? Or do you need the loan as additional working capital to make improvements in your business? Answering yes to either question is critical when deciding on how much you need.

Denise Beeson, a small business-funding consultant who previously lent her services to a local SBA-administered Small Business Development Center, a provider of mostly free resources and training to small business entrepreneurs, in Santa Rosa, California, always asks her small business clients the previous questions whenever they come to her about wanting to apply for loans. For those with startups, she does issue a caveat: “If this is a start-up, I remind them that an SBA preferred lender does not fund startups,” says Beeson “We then discuss where they may find funding, such as peer-to-peer lending options, tapping into their personal resources, or asking family and friends.”

If the small business owner is seeking to buy a business from another, Beeson notes that the seller may fund the loan. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan


Also, if the small business owner is seeking working capital for myriad reasons, which might include increasing the marketing budget, making renovations, or paying off debt, Beeson says she will ask clients if they can produce documentation verifying that the debt was accrued as a result of the business.


Without providing the necessary paper trail needed to accompany a loan application, small business owners could hurt their chances of getting financing from a lender, insists Beeson. To prove her point, she offers the following anecdote:


“Recently a restaurant client was interested in an SBA loan to consolidate debt based on improvements to the premises,” she recalls. “They had almost $100,000 in debt including credit card debt that was claimed as accumulated to the business during the recession. However, when we looked at the statements, the entries were not clear when and what had been done. In addition they could not produce any paid invoices from contractors or suppliers linked to the credit card statements. Unfortunately, we could not move forward because the borrower could not provide the needed documentation to the preferred SBA lender.” How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Consult trusted financial professionals

If you are unsure or confused about how much you should ask for when applying for a business loan, it might behoove you to visit a financial expert such as a reliable bookkeeper or a CPA that regularly deals with small business clients. By reviewing your financials, he or she can then approximate how much financing you will need, taking into account existing debt obligations and operating revenue. And a word of caution: don’t be lax or lazy when it comes to understanding your financials. Sloppy bookkeeping or a lack of knowledge about your books or tax returns will prevent you from acquiring a loan.

Take into account your other non-related business expenses

To determine how much you’ll be able to repay and the length of the loan’s duration, small business owners need to do a cash flow analysis of all their expenses, including mortgage payments or auto loan payments. By doing so, a business owner will be able to develop a more viable estimate of how much they’ll need to borrow from a lender.


Rohit Arora, CEO of the six-year-old Biz2Credit.com, feels this is an imperative step for all small business owners to take when deciding on how much of a loan they should apply for.


“A lot of business owners don’t take [their miscellaneous non-business expenses into account when deciding how much money they should borrow,” he says. “Everything boils down to your repayment capacity. So if you feel that you can borrow some money and there’s some good opportunity that will help you make money off it, that’s good. But that calculation is not a certainty.” How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Carefully consider payment terms

After you analyze your financial situation, both on a personal and business level, you will also need to decide on how long you want to pay off your loan. By following this best practice, you will be able to produce a rational figure as opposed to an amount that you will never be able to discharge in light of your finances and debts.

Arora agrees, offering a hypothetical scenario: “Let’s say a business owner is borrowing $100,000 and they have to pay back everything in one year,” he explains. “Then the amount of repayment they have to make in terms of speed is pretty steep. Typically for small businesses, the cash flow is their bloodline.”

Similarly, Arora says small business owners need to exercise extreme caution, particularly if they’re planning on borrowing from alternative lenders. “A lot of times they want their money back pretty quickly,” he warns.

Know the lender

When figuring out how much money you need to borrow, it’s vital that you research your lending options. Which banks or lenders are amenable to small business owners in your sector? Just conjuring up a random number for a loan will not help you if the lender is not open to your industry, says Beeson, who advises business owners to also explore nontraditional lending options.

If you need to figure out how much of a business loan you should ask for, you will need to know offhand all of your business and non-business expenses. Not only is this information essential for maintaining good credit—a prerequisite for getting a loan—but it will help you come up with a realistic number that will allow you to comfortably fulfill repayment terms and not disrupt your cash flow. How Much To Ask When Applying For A Small Business Loan

Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?
Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence? As the lady walks into the room to give her presentation, everyone nods their head in approval as she exudes a cool, calm assurance that everything’s under control. There’s no describing self-confidence. You know it when you see it!

There are many situations when we feel as if we could do anything, deal with any obstacle, take on any task or job yet at other times, we simply just run out of steam! Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

Sandra Baptist tells us how we all can learn to exude that trait that makes us feel confident about what we are doing and about who we are.

1. Increase your knowledge

The best method to increasing your self-confidence is to work on improving your knowledge and abilities. “Knowledge IS Power!”

Read books as a means to an end. Read books to gain information about what you need to know. Read as an end in itself. Read for pleasure.

As a young person I’ve always read, but you know what?
I still lacked confidence in some areas.

No! Reading is not all. Still you need to….

2. Like yourself

Liking yourself is equivalent to your self-worth and accepting yourself as you are. Your feelings about yourself are probably the most important feelings you can have. If you do not love yourself then who will? Be proud of who you are and what you are and forget the self-talk.

Self-esteem is directly influenced by the negative and positive thoughts you hear. These may be thoughts heard in your environment as well as thoughts in your own mind. Your self-talk! This is extremely Powerful! What are YOU thinking about yourself everyday? Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

“How come everyone else can do this, except me?”


“I’m so grateful to be involved in this project!”

Trust me…it does make a difference!

3. Focus on your strengths

Each one of us has our own particular strengths. Be thankful for these and capitalize on them.

For example one of my strengths is writing and listening. I’ve always been called ‘shy’ or ‘quiet’ when I was younger and was always told to ‘speak up’ or ‘say something’! I thought something was definitely wrong with me as everyone else in my family could not shut up!

Now I’m older, I’ve made those strengths work for me. They’re now my business!

Try building on your strengths by writing down in a journal all those traits you like about yourself. If this feels too hard to you, ask someone else what is it they like about you as a person or what they think you are good at. Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

When you have your list, focus on them and forget your weaknesses!

4. Remind yourself and acknowledge your success daily

Go ahead! Think about when you felt successful last year, last week or indeed yesterday! Thinking about your past successes makes you a stronger person, better able to handle and cope with today’s challenges.

What’s going to be better than to say to yourself, “I can do this, I’ve done it before!”

Aah! Now That’s confidence!

On the heels of this is the daily celebration of your successes, no matter how small or how insignificant YOU think they are. Observe and celebrate them!

I do this every night and also use this exercise with my clients. Either use a journal or simply tell yourself the ten things that you praise and acknowledge yourself for. Don’t stop until you get to ten.

If you’ve had a particularly bad day simply recognize that you’ve had a bad day and tomorrow will be better! Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

5. Visualize your future success

What could be more exciting than seeing in your mind how it feels to have succeeded?

Did you know that athletes use this all the time? Especially those high jumpers!

Successful people use visualization regularly. This is because they know that our minds cannot distinguish the difference between something real and something imagined.

Creating a detailed mental picture increases the likelihood of success, and boosts your self confidence. Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

They are many ways to do this. For example if you are going for a job interview, you can write down how it will feel to answer all the interviewer questions easily and effortlessly. Or you can go into a peaceful place, close your eyes and truly visualize yourself getting that job!

6. Get rid off the ‘nay-Sayers’

Your environment has a great effect on the confidence that you, as an individual, displays.

Environment here could be family, friends, political or any other strong influence.

Surround yourself with people that love and support you.

Those people, who tend to criticize and constantly put you down, simply ignore them. Usually they are and can do no better than you anyway.

Join supportive groups online, if there are none in your area. Get a coach who really listens to you understands you and helps you build your confidence in yourself. Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

7. Develop an attitude

Develop an attitude of excellence. Give of your best at all times. Be cheerful and happy. Shock everyone with your attitude of confidence!

In this way, no one can declare that you do not have self-confidence, not even yourself.

It’s true that people with a high degree of self-confidence are normally more likely to be successful – all other aspects being equal – than those who work in a less confident manner.

So what are you going to radiate? Can you Spare a gram of Self-Confidence?

Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections

Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.

Tips for Improving Your Sales ProjectionsTips for Improving Your Sales Projections. Any good business will have a system of sales forecasting Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections as part of its critical management strategy. But most sales forecasts are, by nature, inexact. The trick, experts say, is to know in which direction they’re wrong, and turn that into a picture of how your business is doing.  “People think the forecast is good or bad depending on how accurate it is,” says Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software, which creates business-planning software and is—despite its name—based in Eugene, Oregon. “What I think is it’s how well it breaks into meaningful assumptions you can look at later.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


For a small business—say, a restaurant—those assumptions could mean mapping activity in the dining room and keeping track of how many meals are sold at certain times of day. For a larger business, that could mean plotting all activity across departments to see how your products are matching up to industry standards. There’s a few ways to test the your sales forecasting to know whether you’re getting an accurate read or just dabbling in expensive soothsaying. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.

1. Use separate numbers. One of the biggest misconceptions about forecasting is that there’s one set of numbers that represents the “truth” for your business. In reality, multiple forecasts are necessary in order to represent the needs of different constituencies, says David Stephens, director of sales for Right90, a sales forecasting company based in Austin, which has done forecasting for Sharp and Bivo Networks. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.

Your sales team might have a forecast designed to meet its number, but product management is interested in the forecast of a specific product, operations is interested in finding out what it needs to produce and when, and finance needs revenue figures, he says. Someone at the top of the ladder needs to be prepared to put all those together and form a cohesive picture. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


“Senior management requires the forecast be vetted from all perspectives in order to develop the confidence to make critical decisions,” he says.


2. Develop a flexible process. It’s impossible to use a single test that will ensure you can track the exact terms, time, and context of every sale. Instead, you should focus on developing a process that can be managed, reevaluated, and modified as conditions change, Stephens says.


“This requires discipline, beginning with ensuring that sales forecasts are updated on a regular basis,” he says. That means managers have to understand the sales system, customer history, product delivery, and even the history of the individual salesperson to assess with some certainty the forecast’s accuracy. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Big companies often make the mistake of thinking forecasting is just looking at the sales history and taking an average over time. Instead, they need to look at many additional factors as well, says Glen Margolis, president and CEO of Steelwedge Software, which is based in Pleasanton, California, and has forecasted for GE, DirectTV and Sara Lee. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


3. Set aside time. Your forecasts won’t do you much good if you aren’t constantly keeping tabs on them. Berr says it’s crucial for companies to set aside a specific time every month (or however often you like) to review the forecasts. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Berry says his company does this every third Thursday of the month: managers bring in lunches, review the data together, and make any work on any high-level decisions that may be called for. It’s all part of the broader decision making of the company.

“If there’s a set time, everybody involved knows,” he says. “You look at, compare and plan for actual results…you start to see management happening.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


4. Use a consistent model. Margolis says he believes there’s no one model of forecasting that works best for every company. But one efficient method is sometimes one used by restaurant owners: matching this year’s sales to last year’s and making a guess for the future. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


“That to me is the best model,” he says. “That empowers people who are actually running business.”


But the key is, whatever model is used—whether it is a weighted average over a few months or bare numbers-tracking—needs to be consistently applied over time.


“One of the biggest barriers is people saying ‘I’m not qualified to forecast, I didn’t take statistics,'” he says. “Well, I do have the degree, and I did take statistics, and still the educated guesses are what really drive the forecast.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Consistent application of the same model standardizes the format, and makes it easier to review year after year. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


5. Don’t get too complicated. Your business forecasting doesn’t have to be a hyper-complicated process that involves high-level mathematics and projections. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


“Most businesses are not necessarily very sophisticated,” Margolis says. “They don’t have a team of statisticians. It’s someone with other day-to-day activities who also keeps an eye on forecasting.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Stephens says simple, specific software and applications are available for sales forecasting that provide an audit trail, a history of the forecast, and the ability to align the data with customer relations management. The programs also allow you to note changes to any perspective such as product, territory, customer, or salesperson, he says—much more so than just keeping a spreadsheet on your laptop. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


6. Be democratic. If you aren’t including all elements of the business in the forecasting process, you are likely to end up with skewed numbers. Margolis says that if people aren’t involved in the process, they won’t believe the numbers and won’t use them, or will fudge the data to fit their personal expectations. A purchasing department, for instance, may up certain numbers so it doesn’t run out of stock. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Margolis advocates making forecasting a collaborative process, as much as possible.


“There’s ways to manage the collaboration so you’re getting the benefit not the downside of it,” he says. “Because everyone’s participating and they feel like their voice has been heard, they trust it. They’re more likely to trust it than to game it.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


7. Focus on exceptions. You can tweak the details of the forecast to death, but your main focus should be looking at the exceptions: where the forecast line diverges from actual sales data. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


“Don’t loose track of the forest for the trees,” Margolis says. “You’re just constantly trying to improve.” Improving forecasting doesn’t happen overnight: analysts expect forecasts to include monthly data for about the next 12 months, Berry says, as well as annual data for year two and three. Anything more specific than that is “basically an academic exercise,” he says. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


Experts say it sometimes takes months of tweaking, adjusting and learning before you can have an accurate guess at how the forecasting will look in the future. Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.


“There’s constant elements and dimensions you can refine all the time,” Margolis says. “It has to be a core competency, especially in the world we’re in today that’s very unpredictable.” Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections.

Tips for Improving Your Sales Projections. With every successful venture, there is a plan. Planning is key for success. Use these tips to improve your sale projections.