Most new (newer) business owners will struggle in accessing money to grow their business.In fact, nearly 90% of all small businesses in this country have self finance their operations in some way or another.The problem is, as we are told, using personal assets or personal loans in your business is a no-no.Every business guru on the planet will tell you to never mix your personal assets with your business – that you should always keep your personal income and expenses separate from your business.The question though is why? Most will tell you that it is for personal liability protection as well as your tax liabilities.Let’s say that you mix your personal assets with your business and your business gets sued. If a judge cannot make a distinction between you and your business – then that judge might just conclude that you are the business and vice versa – thus, even though your business is being sued, your personal assets could be at risk to the lawsuit – regardless of your form of business entity!Or, in completing your taxes, if the IRS or state taxing authority cannot distinguish between your personal and business income and expenses, they may just conclude that they are one and the same and tax you twice on both – or not allow true business deductions.Therefore, most everyone who thinks they understand business will tell you to keep your personal transaction (income and expense) separate from your business.I am not one of those people. I understand that for many businesses, there are times that you have to use personal assets (part of your home, your car, your savings, etc) in your business. It just might be the only way you can run your business and satisfy your customers.So, let’s look at three ways that you can use your own personal resources to finance your company.1) Let’s say you need a small line of credit to purchase supplies that you will use to complete a job for a customer. Then, when the job is done, you get paid and pay down the line of credit. This is a very typical business situation.However, you can’t get a bank to give you a business line of credit. In fact, you can’t even get one of the many credit card companies to give you a business credit card.Yet, you still have to complete the job for your customer and need that small line of credit to do it.This is a great instance where using a personal credit card or finding a credit union or community bank to give you a small (say $10,000) personal line of credit – to meet your short-term business needs.The goal – and you will see this throughout – is to keep them separate. Thus, even though you used your personal credit and maybe even personal collateral to secure this personal credit line – you should only use it for your business needs.Thus, all transactions that happen in this account can be specifically traced to your business only. Therefore, no one looking at this account will see where you took your kids to the local water park or bought groceries for a family cookout. Instead they will see very legitimate business expenses – only.2) Let’s say you just personally came into some money and you want to use those funds to grow your small business. If you just start to spend that money for business transactions, you could begin to blur the lines here.Instead, treat those funds as a loan to your business. This includes drawing up and signing loan documents (could be a single page agreement, notarized) as well as a real, relevant interest rate. Then, to show others that this transaction is an ongoing legal business matter make sure that you pay yourself (from your business) regular payment. No skipping them – even if it hurts your business. You have to treat your business just like a third party (say a bank) would and create a solid paper trail that keeps the line between your person and your business separate.3) Lastly, taking money from friends and family. There may come a time when a spouse or parent will provide you money for your business. Again, put everything in writing and live by that contract. If you are getting money for personal needs as well as for your business – make two separate documents.Further, for a business investment, ensure that the person giving you the money knows that it will be used only in your business. Just in case you have a falling out, they cannot come back on you later and try to take your personal assets to recoup their losses.The goal here is simple. If you can’t separate your personal income and expenses from your business – then do all that you can to treat them separately.Thus, should you ever find yourself in a situation (like those mentioned above), you should have no problem detailing what was actually used for your business.There will be times that you have to ignore the advice of all those gurus in your quest to run and grow your small business. So, while you might have to use your personal assets in your business – you don’t ever have to treat them that way.
Author Archives: schatzi
The Easiest and Least Expensive of All Business Growth Strategies
As a business growth strategist, I’ve had an opportunity to speak with a lot of business owners. What I find is that they’re usually stuck in a “catch 22.”Their business is suffering. It’s being blown around by the roller coaster economy. Every time there’s a hiccup in the European economy or something spooks investors on Wall Street, they feel it in their business. And every month is a struggle to keep the lights on and the doors opened.A recent newspaper article reported that over half of business owners polled hadn’t taken a salary for themselves in years. They’ve been putting what they make back into their business to keep the doors opened another week.A recent “Rock Center” episode with Brian Williams had a segment about how some business owners are turning to online pawn shops to raise the capital they need to stay afloat.It’s a brutal environment for owning and operating a business.The “catch 22” is that savvy business owners know that they MUST earn more in the future in order to survive… yet, they feel they can’t spare the money now to invest in the very strategies that will grow their business and ensure their survival.Sadly, many choose to naively believe that “things will just turn around soon.”But, the fact is that, even if things in the U.S. and global economies do improve, without proven business growth strategies in place, businesses are still going to struggle. The economy will always be a roller coaster.Business owners who implement tested strategies find that they can weather turmoil in the economy much better than those who don’t.The sad truth is that most business owners don’t take control of their business growth. They mistakenly believe their success or failure is totally dependent upon the economy, location and other outside forces.There are so many things a business owner can and should be doing… even in this depressed economy… that will make an impact on their bottom line.So, when you’ve got limited funds, where do you start?One of the best high-impact business growth strategies I can think of is actually the simplest. And it’s 100% free.The simplest and cheapest business growth strategy of all is…Make it super easy for customers to do business with you.This sounds ridiculously simple. Doesn’t every business owner naturally do this?Sadly, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!One would think that in tough economic times, every business owner would make certain to eliminate every obstacle to doing business with them.But, if you look inside almost any business, you’ll usually find at least one major obstacle. Every obstacle holds your business back. It stops the cash flow and sends would-be buyers to your competitors.Let me give you one example…I recently pinched a nerve in my neck and wanted a simple neck massage. You’d think it would be simple just to call any local spa and make an appointment to get a massage. Not so much!As I called around, I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to book a simple massage appointment.This was the typical scenario: I’d call the spa and be told that I needed to call the massage therapist directly. Then I’d call the massage therapist’s cell and get voice mail. So, I’d leave a message with my availability and ask for an appointment. I’d finally get a return call late the next day.Now, I’ve already left a voice mail informing them that I want a neck massage because I have a pinched nerve and I’ve told them when I’m available for an appointment. If they listened to my message, they know that I’ve clearly said, “I am ready to give you my money!”Yet, they couldn’t be bothered to call back the same day… which is obstacle number one. Not being able to muster the energy to return the call of a new customer within 24 hours is pretty unbelievable!The whole exchange… from start to finish… was one huge hassle. I called the spa and told them I wanted to do business with them and they required me to jump through more hoops to complete the transaction.And once the therapist finally called back… do you suppose she made it super easy for me to book an appointment? Nope! She actually made it even harder!She could have (and should have) left a voice mail saying, “I got your message and you mentioned that you’re available all afternoon tomorrow… I have 2pm available, so I’ll put you down for 2pm. Please let me know if that works for you.”Instead, she said, “I’m returning your message about wanting a massage. Call me back.”What do you suppose happened when I called her back? I got her voice mail again!That was it for me. I gave up because she made it way, way too difficult for me to do business with her. She took too long to return my call and then she turned setting an appointment into a HUGE headache.Massages are meant to reduce stress! Trying to book an appointment was adding to my stress… so I simply gave up and they lost an easy sale.I had the same experience with each spa I dealt with. It was truly unbelievable. I never did get a massage because I couldn’t find anyone who wanted my business badly enough to make the transaction smooth and easy.I was even more amazed that not one massage therapist followed up after leaving me a message. Not one. I literally told them on their voice mails that I was ready to book an appointment… so as far as they knew… they had my business. But, they never followed up.Believe it or not… this kind of thing happens in most businesses. I’d bet good money that your business is doing something similar.Where are you making it difficult to do business with you?It would be in your best interest to assume that you are guilty of making it difficult in some ways for your customers to do business with you.If you can’t take an objective look inside your own business, simply ask your customers if they perceive or experience any obstacles. Your customers will appreciate being asked and you’ll discover some blind spots in your business.Taking control in this area costs you absolutely nothing! But, it can make a dramatic difference.In some cases, it might actually be a good strategy to make clients jump through some hoops. But, for most businesses, it’s just bad business!So, by all means… make it super easy for your customers to do business with you by eliminating all obstacles!If you make doing business with you easy, you’ve already set yourself apart from your competitors. And you haven’t spent a dime!
Best Small Business Tips and Ideas
Deciding to start a business can be one of the most exhilarating decisions you make in your life. We are living in a world wherever everyone wants to make extra money and add to his income. Most people have achieved this by acquiring great business ideas. When one starts up a company, he must be ready to meet competition. It is important to note that you would not need to become rich or popular to succeed in business but have to think smartly. But there are a lot of moving parts and many different elements to consider.10 basic tips essential to start a business successfully.Tip 1: Get inspired and Love your ideaEvery business begins with an idea you may have imagined of opening your own business for years, or motivation may have hit you suddenly. Nevertheless of the source, the first step of starting your own business is coming up with a business idea. And as important as your idea, you must in love with the idea.Tip 2: Do Your Research / learn everything about the businessYou’ve recognized your big idea, now it’s time to balance it with the reality. Are you truly ready to start a business? Answer the questions below and see what you need to prepare yourself for business. For a small business succeed it must fulfill a need, solve a problem or offer something the market wants.You can identify this need in many ways by doing research, focus groups, and even trial and error.As you search the market, some of the questions can be:• Is there a need for your anticipated services or products?
• Who needs it? (Target Costumers)
• Are there other companies offering similar services or products right now?
• How is the competition?
• Can or how will your business fit into the market?Tip 3: Make a Business PlanYou need a business plan in order to make your business idea a reality. If you expect to seek monetary support from an investor or financial organization, a formal written business plan is a must.Even if you don’t need monetary support, a simple business plan can give you precision about what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to do it.In overall, your business plan should summary your business goals and the inspiration behind them, as well as your plan for realization of your goals in terms of marketing and funding.Tip 4: Planning FinancesOpening a small business doesn’t have to involve a lot of money, but it will involve some investment.There are a number of methods you can fund your small business:• With Small business grants
• By Financing
• With Small business loans
• Or Angel investorsYou can also attempt to get your business off the ground by bootstrapping, using as little capital as necessary to start your business.Tip 5: Business StructureYour small business can be an individual ownership, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. The business structure you might choose will impact in many factors from your business name, to liability, and how you file your taxes.You can choose an initial business structure, and with time re-evaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs to be changed.Tip 6: The Business NameThe name you choose plays a role in almost every aspect of your business, so you want it to be a good one. Make sure you think through all of the possible consequences as you explore your options and select your business name.Once you have selected a name, there is the need to check if it’s trademarked, currently in use and if stills free you will need to register it. A individual proprietor must register their business name with either their state or county clerk. Corporations, LLC, or limited corporations usually register their business name when the creation paperwork is filed.These days you need to have a website, so please don’t forget to register your domain name once you have selected your business name. The best domains and more valuable online are the ones ending with .com.Tip 7: Licenses and PermitsThere are a range of small business licenses and permits that may apply to your situation, depending on the type of business you are starting and where you are placed. You will need to inquiry what licenses and permits apply to your business during the initial process.Tip 8: The Business LocationSetting up your place to work is essential for the operation of your business, whether you will have a home office, a shared or private office space, or a retail location. You will need to reflect about your place, equipment, and overall setup, and make sure your business place works for the kind of business you will be doing.Tip 9: Accounting SystemOne of the most essential systems for a small business is an accounting system. Your accounting system is essential in order to build and manage your budget, set your charges, conduct business with others, and file your taxes. You can set up your accounting system by your own, or hire an accountant to take away some of the work.Tip 10: Promote Your Small BusinessAs soon your business is up and running, you need to start attracting customers. You’ll want to initiate with the essentials by writing a single selling offer and building a marketing plan. Explore as many small business marketing ideas as you can so you to choose how to promote your business most successfully. Completed these business start-up actions, you will have all of the most important small business bases protected, and be prepared for small business success.15 Business Ideas to Generate Extra IncomeIf you want or need to start a side job because you still need to wait a little bit longer to start your own business, here are 15 suggestions for you.1. Make money BloggingIf you enjoy writing, find a theme you’re passionate about and start a blog dedicated to covering that theme and anything else interesting you enjoy to talk about. All you need is a laptop, some time, and inspiration to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. Creating a blog is free, but if you want to look professional it can cost less than $ 12 per month.2. Buying or selling on eBayThanks to internet there are more opportunities to make money than ever to buy and resell products for extra money. There are lots of people buy at a discount and resell them on eBay for profit.3. Freelance writingIf you’re great with words, you might be capable to find some work as an online freelancer. A variety of publications need online content in the form of product, stories, service descriptions, and reports, and if you have the talent and ability, you could easily be the one to create them. Luckily, all you need is a computer and Internet connection to get started. You can start here freelancer.com4. Social media expertNow a day almost everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but did you know that many companies are willing to compensate people to support them managing their social media accounts and sometimes you can do it part-time from home. If this appeals you, to find social media jobs you can start by writing companies with a social media presence and visiting sites like Elance.com for opportunities.5. Proofreading and editingDo you have strong English skills and outstanding grammar? You may have chances to work as a proof-reader from home. Marketing for this can be hard; seek out those who might actually be able to use your services and advertise directly to them.6. Virtual assistantMany companies and individual professionals like having someone who can check and answer their email, organize task lists for them, someone who can update their calendars, and perform other administrative tasks, with minimal communication. The best of being a virtual assistant is that you can offer this service from home with a good Internet connection.7. Website designIf you know a little bit about web design you can approach small businesses in your community, as they could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. These businesses usually don’t have a large budget for websites and create a great yet simple website is for you, get a bunch of clients from your local community, create sites for them, and maintains them for a small fee. You can easily get enough businesses to have a nice side business of your own with a low investment.8. Affiliate marketingCertain types of online businesses will pay you to promote their products and encourage sales. If you’re interested in learning more, check out affiliate marketing programs such as Click-bank, Commission Junction, and these websites are trustworthy and you can earn money by posting their products in your blog, website or Facebook. The secret of online business is all knowing targeting the right public and marketing efficiently. It can be overwhelming with all the information available online as more than 50% of the information is just a waste of time.9. Become a business or life coachIf you are a good speaker and passionate about the business world and able to inspire and encourage others in a unique way, you could marketing your services as a business or even a life coach. Take your passion and expertise to the next level giving advice and suggest actionable steps people can take to progress their professional and private lives.10. Start a resume writing serviceIf you’re excellent at writing remarkable resumes that in the end result in people getting the job, contemplate advertising those services. Most of your work will spin around writing, editing, designing, and proofreading, so you will only need few supplies outside of your computer and basic software to get started.11. App DeveloperWeb app development is the creation of application programs that reside on remote servers and are delivered to the user’s device over the Internet. Now a day you can do apps with software’s you don’t really need to be a weirdo to do it, you can be an app developer for Facebook for instance and of course you can do it part-time and home based.12. Business ConsultantIf you are high organized and skilled being a good problem solver this job is for you. Companies bring Business Consultant to identify their problems, provide solutions and optimize companies. The only investments are your skills.13. Data Entry ServiceMany companies and online businesses require some type of manual information tracking, creating a vast amount of data entry work. Although there are many work-at-home scams related with data entry work, there are a lot of genuine chances available for genuine data entry businesses. If you are an excellent typist with an eye for detail, a data entry business is a great idea for you.14. Freelance WriterIf you have the skill to write and inform people in a certain area, you can write small books or guides and sell them online, the biggest books platform is Amazon.com, where you can display your books for free and when they are sold, you will receive a percentage from the selling. Payments are made every month depending on your sales. Investment is only your time to write and imagination.15. Internet ResearcherThe Internet provides a vast amount of information. If you can quickly and efficiently navigate through that wealth of information, and essentially find a needle in a haystack, you can create a very successful business as an Internet researcher. Search for this kind of job online or about a company which is looking for this of service.I give you only a glimpse what you could do, and these are just a few ideas, but many ideas were left behind.First of all I advise you to think what you like to do as a hobby or in your free time, why don’t you make profit from what you are doing already?You have the world as your disposal, but for a business to work out the first thing from all things is, it doesn’t matter what you intent to do, but you have to love it. If you love what you do it doesn’t feel like a job, you will be doing it with joy and this way you will be successful.There are some side business opportunities that have grown more common in the past few years. And thanks to internet you have much more opportunities, ideas and help to develop your business.