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4 ways to finance your business

Starting your own business is an exciting endeavour. Introducing a new product or service to the market and designing your own future are why many people enter into the startup game. But there are many mundane sides that should be addressed before starting out. One of them being the funding of your business to facilitate growth.

The first step to getting funding for your business is to have a solid business plan. There are specific categories that need to be included within a business plan to receive funding. These categories include the company’s description, market analysis, organisation and management plan, detail on the value proposition and marketing and sales plan. If you’re interested in financing your business with outside capital, a funding request and financial projection should then also be included. And once all the required information is gathered, it’s time to approach a creditor.

Whether you’re looking for startup funds or capital to expand your business, it can be challenging to find finance in any economic climate.

Here are four financing techniques and what to know when approaching them. .

What is factoring?

It’s a finance method where a company sells its receivables at a discount to get money up-front. It’s used by companies with poor credit or businesses such as apparel manufacturers. But this is an expensive way to raise funds. If your company sell its receivables, you’ll generally pay a fee that’s a percentage of the total amount. If you’re, for instance, paying a two percent fee to get funds thirty days in advance, it’s equal to an annual interest rate of about 24 percent. And because of that, the business will have a bad reputation over the years. Businesses are forced to look for alternative financing methods and many big companies are trying to make factoring more competitive. These exchanges will allow businesses to offer their receivables to many of the factoring companies at once.

Make use of a credit card

Startups are likely to use credit card financing to get their businesses off the ground. And that’s because owners of startups don’t yet have business credit. Their own personal credit is all they have. If you make use of your personal credit card to find your business, you’ll be responsible for any debt you incur. 

Making use of a personal credit card for financing your business means taking on a significant amount of risk. If you fall behind on your payment, your credit score will be exhausted. And if you pay the minimum each month, you could create a hole you’ll never get out. But if you use a credit card responsibly, it can get you out of the occasional jam and even extend your accounts payable period to shore up your cash flow.

How about an angel investor?

Angel investors are individuals with business experience who use their own money and invest in startups. They usually invest in companies who’ll turn a large profit quickly. When pitching an angel investor, you should be succinct, avoid jargon and always give an exit strategy.

If you want to win over an angel investor, you should add people with experience to your management team. Even an unpaid but experienced adviser could increase your trustworthiness. Did you start your company because you want to cash in on the latest trend or because you’re passionate about your idea? Angel investors will spot the difference and won’t give much attention to companies interested in get-rich-quick schemes.

You’ll need market assessments, competitor analysis and robust marketing plans if you want success and expect to get anywhere with an angel investor. Even though you’re a startup, it’s expected that you can demonstrate expert knowledge of the market you’re about to enter.

Approach family and friends

If you’re looking for ways to finance your startup, asking family and friends will be the easiest way. But remember when you turn loved ones into creditors, you’re risking their financial future and could jeopardise your personal relationships. A typical mistake is approaching loved ones before a formal business plan is in place. It’s important to supply formal financial projections. And with that, give an evidence-based assessment of when your loved ones will see their money again. It’ll reduce the likelihood of unpleasant surprises. Your investors will also know you’re taking their money seriously.

It’s important that you discuss the possible risks involved. Offer a strong and detailed business plan but make sure they’re realistic about the risks involved.

You should look for creditors offering a wide range of equipment finance packages for companies, regardless of whether they’re in their early stages. There are many other ways you can finance your business, whether you approach an angel investor or family and friends. If you want to build your business up for success, the key is to have a well-detailed business plan.

Tips for making your business’ finances great

There’s no time like right now to start making your business’ finances great. If you’ve been thinking that you could be doing a little better when it comes to business finances and expenses, now’s the time. There really is no better time than the present to put in place good financial habits. You might be thinking that you can wait until next month or, even worse, next year. But it really would be beneficial to put more thought into spending and saving your business’ money.

The only way to really make new habits stick is to become committed to these ideas now. Experts on habits are unanimous on this. If you’re going to make new habits a part of your life, you need to start immediately. Not tomorrow, not on Monday, not on the first of the new month and not on January 1. These are just random future dates. Your habits won’t immediately stick just because you started on those days. Here are some tips to help you really change your habits.

Start planning

You need to have a plan for your business to be successful. You can’t just hobble from one crisis to another, or from one big win to hoping for another. You need to have defined goals for each day of the week, month and year. You need to know what you’re doing and why. Otherwise, you’re just reacting to whatever’s happening around you rather than being the person in control of your business. It’s important that you also regularly assess your goals and make sure you’re still working toward them. Without setting goals, you’ll spend your days running from one crisis to the next. And that’s no way to do business.

Get organised

There’s not much point in doing all that planning if you’re not going to actually make your plans a reality. If you don’t do that, you’ll likely be spending time and money on tasks which aren’t beneficial to your company. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” said US founding father Benjamin Franklin famously. And he couldn’t have been more right.

Set a budget

They have a bad reputation. But they don’t deserve it. And setting one might not seem like the most fun task, but it’s essential. It’s incredibly important that you know what money’s going out and what’s coming in. By creating and sticking to a budget, you can find the line items which can be cut so you can slash your operating expenses. In the same way, by doing this, you’ll know if you need to apply for financing like machinery asset finance.

Hire the right people

You might be tempted, at the beginning, to hire the most affordable employees. But sometimes staff members are cheap for a reason. There’s a very fine line between hiring inexperienced people who won’t cost much and more experienced staffers who are a little more expensive. And there isn’t always an obvious answer about which you should choose. You need to approach each situation individually and see what’ll work for your business.

Trust people to help you

As the company owner, your time is more expensive than anyone else in your company. And that’s why you should trust them to do some of the work. The smaller tasks of the day can be assigned to other, more junior employees. You need to focus your time on activities which bring money to the business. If a task or activity doesn’t do this, it shouldn’t be your priority. Yes, it can be tough to let go of the reins. But, sometimes, that’s exactly what your business needs.

It’s essential that you think carefully about your business’ goals and your habits in making sure they see the light of day. We spend a lot of time talking about personal goals but setting these for business are equally important. After all, goals for your business should have one outcome, its financial success. And, of course, you want that.

So, keep these habits in mind and make them a part of your daily life now. You’ll be thanking yourself tomorrow, on Monday, next month and next year.

Tips on public speaking

Some people would rather have the flu than speak in public. The thought of standing in front of a bunch of people is enough to give them endless sleepless nights and make their stomachs turn. If you fear public speaking, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

There’s a point in everyone’s life where they’ll find themselves in a position where they’ll have to give a speech. It could be giving a toast at a wedding or doing a presentation at work. Your knees may tremble and your palms may sweat and you could wonder how you’ll get through an entire 20 minutes of speaking. But with the right tools, you could give a speech that could get you a standing ovation.

Here are six ways to improve your communication skills.

Eye contact

They say you should imagine your audience is wearing nothing but underwear to ease your nerves and help you look in the eyes of everyone in the room. Whether you choose to use this trick or not, just remember looking people in the eye is a powerful tool you could use to engage with your audience. When your eyes wander around aimlessly or you constantly look at your notes, it shows you’re unconfident and uncomfortable. If you’re nervous about looking at people straight in the eye, focus on other parts of their face. You could look at their lips or their nose.

It’s not about you

Lisa Kirk was an American actress who was quoted as saying, “A bore is one who talks to you about himself and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself.’ It’s not about you, it’s about your audience. Cater to your audience’s needs and that will create a desire for the product you’re trying to sell. Ask them questions throughout your presentation to keep them engaged.

Preparation

The term for the fear of public speaking is glossophobia. And the best way to overcome your fear is to prepare in advance. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.The more in control you feel, the more you’ll be able to give an outstanding speech. If you’re unprepared you’ll be all over the place and you may forget important points you wanted to make in your speech. Your speech should flow and if you’re not fully prepared, you might find yourself fumbling through notes and adding ums and ahs to fill in the gaps.

Interesting content

During your last presentation, your audience could have started yawning, scrolling through their phones or looked at you with blank stares. This could be because maybe they were tired or your presentation was too long and bland. People have a really low attention span, which is why you should make sure your content is interesting and straight to the point.

AIDA is a term used in marketing that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. You could use AIDA to create a presentation that’ll draw the attention of your audience. Graphs, illustrations and captivating stories will create a desire and interest for the product you’re trying to sell. Short videos are also a powerful tool to send a message across to your audience and they make your presentation stand out. There‘s a reason why YouTube is a success, it’s because people love videos.

Toastmasters

Practice makes perfect. No one has mastered a skill overnight, it takes practice, dedication and perseverance to conquer anything you want in life. Toastmaster is an educational organisation which was established to help people improve their communication skills. It’s a perfect way to meet people and learn to be a strong communicator. And it’s also a safe zone because you’ll meet other people like you in the meeting. Toastmasters will help you to ease into public speaking through your own pace. On the first day, you may be so nervous that all you can utter is, “ Hi, my name is Sam.” But after much-needed guidance, tips and tools you’ll be a pro in no time.

The truth will set you free

Watching yourself on video could be painful. But recording yourself is a good way to analyse all your mistakes and to find ways to improve them. For example, you’ll be able to see if you look down a lot instead of engaging with your audience.

Some people have the gift of the gab and speaking in public comes naturally but for some, it’s a hurdle they struggle to overcome. Learning to speak in public should be a skill learned by all individuals because you never know when the opportunity will present itself. Whether you have studied marketing or an hr management course, you’ll probably need to speak in public at some point. Public speaking can be challenging for you but by following these simple steps you can be good at it and you may even grow to love it.

 

How to run the most efficient team possible

A happy team is an efficient team. Running an efficient team means you need to do whatever you can to keep employees happy. A major part of your focus as a team leader should be keeping the people who work for you happy.

Happy employees do their best work and are always willing to go the extra mile. These are the people who you want to be working with you. And the good news is it doesn’t take much to make your team members happy. As the leader, you have the opportunity to put in place new processes which make all the difference to your team members.

These simple tips should help you to make your team members both happy and efficient.

It’s not just about the nine to five

Your team members don’t want to feel chained to their desks. They don’t want to feel like they can never get up from their desk and do what they need to do. It’s important that your team members know they can get up, walk around, visit the doctor and go lunch shopping during the day. Remember, you’re employing adults and they should be able to have some freedom without taking advantage.

Give them a chance to find their true career path

It’s fairly usual for team members to want to explore the chance to work in other areas of the company. If someone shows an interest in doing this, give them the opportunity to give it a try. Who knows, they might discover a hidden talent. They might be the next great developer or graphic designer. At the very least, they might realise the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the office and find new interest in their own job.

Find out what they think about you growing the business

If you’ve decided that it’s time to grow the business, you might want to get some input from your team members. Maybe they see something you don’t about the running of the business. Before you apply for a business loan, plant and machinery finance or whatever you might need to make this expansion happen, be sure that they’re on board.

Pay them fairly for their time

This is something which really shouldn’t have to be mentioned. But it’s important to mention that you should ensure your team members are paid fairly. Help them to excel in their careers and provide them with the tools they need to move up the career ladder.

Keep them in the loop about where they stand

It’s essential that your team members know exactly where they stand. They like to know that they’re valued. And, equally, they like to know that they’re not performing as they should. Make sure they know that you appreciate their efforts, value their contribution and look forward to working with them to assist them.

Make sure they’re kept in the loop

It’s never a good idea for staff members to hear about office goings on through rumours and stairwell whispers. Make sure your team members are kept updated on new hires and recent resignations. These are issues which will have a real impact on their lives. They should know about these. Employees who are kept in the loop feel like they’re a valued member of the team and are more willing to contribute.

Give people the things they ask for

Ask workers what they want and they’ll tell you. Often, it’s the same two things: money and time. That’s all anyone really wants. They want to be incentivised with cash bonuses for going above and beyond. And the promise of a Friday afternoon off does wonders to increase efficiency and productivity. Your reward? A rested and happier team on Monday morning.

Get their input with new hires

Your team is going to be working with a new person every day. They need to have a rapport with this person. Make sure they have the opportunity to meet new hires and get a feel for the chemistry.

According to an article on Forbes, it’s essential that new hires are discussed with your team.

“Let your team members talk with candidate because they will work together and it’s important this person fit into the team. Of course, experience and suitable qualifications are important – but the most important qualities to hire for are always personality and social skills that are compatible with your team.

“With regards to trust and respect described above, personality and social skills are like glue. They help people communicate. They can glue different people together, whereas qualifications just ensure tasks are completed properly.”

How to set up your team for success

Do you have a new team or are you starting a new project? Most teams rush straight into the work without having clear agreements in the beginning about where they are going or how they want to get there. The key ingredient for a successful project is clarity. If you want to set your team up for success, you should be clear about your project’s objectives and each team member’s role and responsibilities.

Don’t wait until you hit a bump in the road and then be forced to work out agreements in the midst of frustration and confusion. This is when conflict can arise in teams. Therefore, it’s important to clarify your expectations upfront to set up your team for success.

To lead a team effectively, you should try to establish rapport with each member. The most successful managers build their relationships on trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.

Here are a few ways to set your team up for success.

Start before your team does

The first thing you should do, before sitting down with your team, is to clarify your project’s objectives. This step, which is essential to successfully complete the project, is likely to be dictated by the client. Or if the project is an internal initiative, by your company’s management. It’s best to create a resource plan before starting the project. This plan should include details of the budget, hours needed for the project, the number of people included and the required skills necessary to tackle the work.

Many team members may work only part-time on the project, stealing time away from their regular responsibilities. If that’s the case, speak to their line-managers first before the project begins. That way you’ll have some understanding about what to expect from  each team member.

Clarify the roles and expectations

Try to reach out to each individual team member and nurture a relationship. Do this before the team’s first meeting. In doing so you’ll be aware of each member’s personality type and skill set. As a project manager, you should try to make the lives of your team members easier. While they are working on their individual tasks, you can clear obstacles from their path. Help them to meet deadlines, look for more resources or find more time to complete the project, if you must.

If your project involves both the business and technical side, make sure both share the same goals. Different agendas and opposite expectations often delay the progress of the project.

Set the right tone

You will play a big part in explaining the work tone of your team, especially at the beginning. You should talk to your team in a way that makes a positive impact. Remember that negativity can poison a team’s mood and effectiveness. Try to strive for an upbeat team spirit and an undivided team attitude. As the well known French author, Alexandre Dumas, said: “All for one and one for all.”

Having a sense of humour in a team is key. A fun environment can prevent a stressful situation. It’ll also help to get the most out of your team members. Instead of focusing on the problems why not turn your focus to the solutions? It can go a long way in maintaining a cheerful and positive atmosphere.

Foster the right behaviours

It’s important that you show your team how you expect them to work with your own good habits. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”. A lot of obstacles will arise and you should overcome them calmly and openly. That way your team will learn the right way to respond to difficulties. You should have a life outside work to maintain a sense of balance and calm. There will come times when you have to work overtime to support team members to meet stressful deadlines. You should do things the way you’d like your team to do it. Try to set an example.

Deal with individual team members

If problems arise, don’t deal with the team as a whole. Instead, talk to team members individually. Some people will need hand-holding while others hate it. Some team members respond to a strong push in the right direction and others go into a mild depression if you’re too hard on them. It’s important that you know how to deal with each team member individually. You can do a project management training course to learn how to deal with different types of personalities you can find when working in a team. This course will also teach you about team management.

Being a project manager is quite a big role and you should be ready for what’s coming. And it all starts with getting your team ready. Together with your team, you should set goals in order to reach your full potential and make a success of the project.