Tag Archives: business

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.

6 Security tips to keep your business safe

The aim of a business is to make money and that’s what attracts criminals. Which is why you need to protect your business and your staff with adequate security.

It’s important you analyse your office space to check if you have adequate security. Look at your building from a criminal’s perspective. Are there burglar bars, alarm systems, security cameras and other security in place to protect your company?

Shred documents

There are criminals that make a living on identity theft and prowl on vulnerable individuals. You need to shred any documents containing sensitive or private information once you are done with them. If you simply throw them away, the information will be lying in a dustbin for anyone to take. Don’t leave a doorway that’ll leave criminals the opportunity to steal from you.

Criminals can also use the information from the documents they steal to open accounts in your name. If any of your paperwork contains signatures on it, medical details or account numbers, they should be shredded so you’ll be safe. These details can be found on a number of documents, such as bank receipts, CVs, bank statements and medical records. You should also look out for other documents containing personal information, such as your name and identity number.

If you can’t afford to shred the documents because you will need them later, make sure that you store them in filing cabinets that can be locked.

Assess potential employees

When you hire new employees in your business you need to assess them carefully. And this means doing more than just simply interviewing them. You should check their criminal record and history, as well as follow up on their references. If they stole from their previous employers, they might do the same to you. Sometimes crime doesn’t come from the outside but from within the company.

Install security

Make sure that you equip your premises with adequate security systems. Install burglar bars on windows, alarm systems, surveillance cameras and a video wall controller. The more secure your place is, the more criminals will see it as too much of a risk. And if you have security cameras installed, when a criminal comes in and tries to steal from the company, there will be sufficient evidence to give to the police. Many criminals have been caught in the act because companies had video footage of the perpetrator in the building.

Security guards

Security guards are usually positioned around the perimeter of the building so they can easily take stock of who goes in and out.They can also write down the registration number of every car that enters the premises. And perpetrators are always lurking in parking lots. So, if you have no one looking after your parking lot, they can steal your staff and clients’ cars. Or if a car isn’t looked after, they could do a smash and grab and steal any items in the car. Criminals aren’t likely to go out to a car if there is a security guard roaming the area.

And if you have an emergency that requires immediate help, the security will only be a call away to help you. Sometimes, by the time the police come, the perpetrator has already left the scene. Having a security guard nearby will leave you feeling less vulnerable.

If your employees find themselves working extremely late hours, they’ll feel safer knowing there’s security in the area and they don’t have to scurry off to their cars alone. They can even ask the security guard to walk them to the car and wait until they leave.

Lighting around your building

If you’ve got access to perfect lighting around your building, you could be safe from criminals. But if you don’t, criminals may take advantage of this. Criminals like dark, secluded areas where they won’t be easily exposed. They’ll think twice about entering a place with adequate lighting because criminals don’t like smashing windows or climbing walls if they can be clearly seen. Motion-sensor lighting is perfect because, when the lights come on, they will catch the criminals off guard, resulting in them fleeing the scene.

Protect important information on your computer

Makes sure that all your employees have a password on their computers to safeguard against any information theft. It’s important to also ensure that your antivirus and your web browsers are always updated.

It may cost you to keep your business secure but it’s definitely worth it. Analyse your place and decide where you can improve it in terms of security. You need security on your premises, so even when you’re not around you can feel safe knowing that all your assets are protected. The more secure your office is, the more peace of mind you will have. And your employees will also feel protected.

4 tips to manage projects effectively

 

Being in charge of a project or campaign is a big responsibility. If you’ve been put in charge of one, well congratulations. You were presented this opportunity because your boss saw that you have the necessary skills to tackle this task. While you’re excited because this might be your first big project, it can be frightening at the same time. “How do I get started? How do I build a high-performance project team?”are just some of the questions that might arise.

 

Sometimes things will run smoothly and according to plan and other times you’re going to face obstacles. Creating realistic project plans, estimating time and effort, and doing things according to your capabilities are just some of the things you should be able to do as a project manager. Fortunately for you, those things can be learned. By doing a project management training course it’ll teach you all the ins and outs of being a good program manager.

 

Given the high rate of project failures, you might think companies would just want their projects over and done with. However, that’s not always the case. Despite the odds, organisations want projects to be done faster within a restricted time frame and on a cheaper budget. The only way these objectives can be met is through the use of effective project management processes and techniques.

 

Here are four tips on how to manage any project effectively.

 

Communication is key

 

You need to learn how to communicate effectively within your team. Good communication skills are key to a successful life.If you are a good communicator you can look forward to having fulfilling work and personal relationships. As a project manager, you’ll work with a team who’ll assist you on the project. And for that reason, constant communication is necessary in order to achieve success. Good project managers usually are easy-going communicators who don’t even flinch at the thought of communicating with others. You should be able to speak to your team about a variety of topics. An age old aphorism goes, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

 

Communicating well with your team will help to eliminate misunderstandings and can encourage a healthy and peaceful work environment. If you don’t want your project to fail, then checking up on your team and communicating on a regular basis is crucial.

 

Plan ahead

 

After you know what needs to be done with your project, you can start with planning right away. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Not knowing what you’re working towards can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to stay on track with other responsibilities. Knowing for what you’re aiming for creates the likelihood of reaching your destination. Without planning in advance and having a clear objective, you set yourself up for failure. However, with a plan in place you’ll also be able to share with management what it is you’re planning to ensure the project is a success.

 

Never assume, ask first

 

You should always ask when you don’t know something. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Many people make assumptions rather than asking questions and the results can often be disastrous. Unfortunately, your projects will fail when assumptions are made that ultimately are unfounded. Part of being a good project manager is having all the information on hand and knowing when to brief your team and when to ask questions.

 

Prepare yourself for conflict

 

Any type of conflict has a simple solution, it goes back to communication. In every team working  together towards a specific goal, conflict will arise throughout the process. Sometimes people are just difficult to work with, mostly because it’s difficult to adapt their work style. And, no two people are identical or have the exact same work ethic.There’s no way to avoid conflict, you just have to look for ways to deal with it. It can sometimes be healthy to have conflict in your team, that way you’ll know how the other person is feeling about specific situations. When conflict arises, take the person aside and listen to them over a walk and talk. Try to relax them and calm them down.Then allow them to share their thoughts with you. It’s always best to take the person outside so it’s not confrontational and in front of an audience (other team members).  It’s less about confronting the problem and more about addressing the cause of the problem.

 

When taking on a project, you have to be comfortable with it. Being a program manager and not enjoying what you’re doing won’t be a fun experience. As the leader, you need to be able to work with a team in order to achieve your project goals.

How to own a shop

So you want to own a shop? That’s not an uncommon dream for many entrepreneurs. Nowadays the more popular option is to open an ecommerce store as this is online and easily managed remotely. However, having a brick and mortar store for your clients to visit is often a great idea and works very well in conjunction with your online presence.

 

What’s more, some entrepreneurs want to have a shop as opposed to simply having an online presence. In fact, they prefer the idea of having a space to display their goods and interact with their customers face to face. Using their ecommerce store as a secondary means to service clients outside of their area of trade. Also, if you are interested in offering niche products or running a boutique type of shop then having a brick and mortar store is better.

 

So, if owning a shop sounds like the type of entrepreneurial venture you’d want to set up then you must consider what you’ll need to run a successful store.

 

Signage and marketing

 

Without signage no-one will venture into your store. Nothing says poor quality like a bare shopfront. In fact, you could go so far as to say that your customers won’t trust you. You need to invest in an outdoor sign at the very least. Something that has your name and logo is perfect and if possible include more signage inside the store too, indicating categories. What’s more, you need to market the presence of your shop. If you are based inside a mall then see if you can place signs showing customers where to find you or have a sign board set up. You can even employ promoters to hand out flyers. And, of course, flood your social media platforms with information on how customers can find you.

 

Point-of-sale system

 

This is a must-have before you open your doors. You need to be able to process payments as working on a cash system will not only see you losing out on customers who expect to pay with their bank cards but it will also make you vulnerable to robberies. There are a variety of different point-of-sale solutions available which have been created for different type of businesses and different sized businesses. You could consider the likes of Snapscan as a payment solution too. And, you must have a cash register on site that is secure as you need to be able to store the cash you do receive and have cash available to pay for deliveries and the like.

 

Security

 

Unfortunately, you cannot be too careful. No matter what you are selling in your shop you need to make sure you are secure and safe at all times. Having visual security systems in place is ideal. If you are a part of a mall you might find they insist on you displaying a sign indicating their security is in place. The mall security will have a sophisticated security system in place. You should make sure you have open lines of communication with them and have access to the security measures. If possible you should install CCTV cameras and have a video wall controller in a private back room, where you can view exactly what the cameras are seeing. Petty theft is rife within shops and having visible cameras will deter criminals. If you happen to experience an incident then you will be able to spot the criminal by having a look at the footage. No matter your shop size you can find a CCTV solution to suit you and have a video wall controller made to fit your space.

 

Customers needs

 

You need to consider what your customers will want when they visit your shop. This means you need to pay attention to your decor, you need to have your items correctly displayed in cases or on mannequins. If you are selling clothing or fashion accessories then you need to kit out your store with mirrors and changing rooms. They will also need bags in which to pack and carry their purchases. You must make sure you have everything your customers might want to make their shopping experience easy and convenient. Have gift wrapping services available and make sure you have baskets or trolleys if your items are big. And of course, keep your shop clean.

 

There are a variety of things you need before you can open your doors for customers to visit your shop. You need to make lists and budget for everything you can think of. It’s a process of elimination and always a good idea to prepare properly.