Starting a business is a dream for many, but this dream also comes with not only a time commitment, but usually a financial investment as well. For someone that is already financially stable, it’s probably no big deal to drop a few thousand dollars on a new business idea and see what comes out of it.
However, a large portion of would-be entrepreneurs and business owners won’t fall into this category. Especially younger audiences who would like to get started on the right foot before taking their chance at the 9-5 and corporate world. On the other side, we also have a great majority of people who aren’t in the best of financial situations, currently unemployed or simply don’t have the credit in place to borrow money or get a business loan.
The good news is that times have changed and it’s now easier than ever for anyone to start an online business, no matter what their current financial situation might be. To help with this process, I’ve listed some of the best options for getting your hands on investment money, fast cash or even working your way up to a positive cash flow one day at a time.
Pre-Sell Your Next Product Before Even Launching
For most entrepreneurs and businesses, the concept of selling means that you need to actually have something in place to sell before making any money. More often than not, this is true — however, there has been a drastic change in the way marketing and selling take place on the web with online courses and through the use of webinar training.
Time and time again we are seeing success stories of everyday people coming up with an idea for a business, and actually making money and sales before even going live with their course or product. This is referred to as “pre-selling” and more importantly… giving your business idea and model legitimacy.
The way the process works is quite simple. For more people it’s a matter of setting up a lead generation funnel that ultimately ends up with a 60-90 minute webinar where you discuss a problem, then provide a solution. At the end of the webinar, you then invite your audience to take action and get early access into your program (before it’s even live). This has quickly become one of the best ways to pre-fund your business idea before it’s even launched!
Apply for a ‘Bad Credit Loan’
As mentioned earlier, not everyone has the luxury of being in the right financial position to start a business, but for those who are desperate to get started and need immediate funding, there is always the option for ‘bad credit loans‘. While the name of the loan doesn’t have the best sound to it, it’s simply an option that’s available to anyone with less than perfect credit. In most cases, loans provided to individuals with lower-end credit scores are typically in the Loans from $250-$5,000 range. Interest rates will also vary based on credit history, the loan amount provided and how soon one plans to start paying back to the loan.
CreditLoan has a Guide to Bad Credit Loans that breaks down the process of what factors come into play when trying to get a loan, while also giving their audience an idea of how much of a loan they might be able to receive. With free credit reports being accessible to everyone these days, it’s important to keep an eye on your current score, as this can heavily influence how much you are paying for any existing or future mortgages, loans, credit cards and more.
Freelance Your Way to the Profit
Then there is always the option to simply start getting to work and making money online and saving up what you can. This can easily be done through the use of freelance writing, or any other type of freelance services you might be able to offer — however, writing is a great place to start, as everyone can do it.
Through sites like TextBroker or Contentmart, anyone can create a writer account and start completing writing jobs on these open marketplace sites. With over a billion active sites on the internet today, the demand for new and original content has no end in site. Having personally tested this method in the past, I was able to generate $1,000 in my spare time writing for these freelance marketplaces. I did this because I wanted to make sure that they were not only legit but also a viable way for someone to seriously start making $500-$1,000 with no technical or marketing skills required.
With all of this in mind, being able to pocket and save an extra $100 a week by freelance writing on the side can start providing you with a nice cushion while also building up your investment money for any other business ventures you might want to explore down the road. Make sure to look into checking accounts with great rates to keep your cash flow streaming with ease. You can check out a list of rates at http://aaacreditguide.com/best-checking-accounts/.
Find a Sponsors to Invest in Your Idea or Business
Keeping with the theme of coming up with original and new ideas for pre-funding your next business idea, here is another one that can work quite well. With so much competition and money in the online marketing space right now, companies have a ton of money to spend on advertising. This means they are also looking for new opportunities to sponsor ad campaigns, events, websites, webinars, podcasts and much more.
At the same time, there are literally millions of businesses and brands out there for you to pitch. This simply comes down to a numbers game. If you contact enough people, someone is going to bite and take you up on your opportunity.
This can be as simple as selling banner ad space on your site, doing a review on your blog, having a short 30 second commercial on your podcast or even co-hosting a webinar with your sponsor — these are all great ideas to quickly put some investment money right into your pocket from day one.
How to Start an Online Business with Little to No Money
As you can see, there are plenty of options for anyone to start an online business — no matter what their current financial situation might be. This can be as simple as starting a blog, becoming a freelance writer and getting paid for your work, or simply applying for a loan to get instant access to the necessary funding.
Depending on your business goals and current situation, everyone’s options will vary. Be sure to run through each of the scenarios above and see which might be best for you and your entrepreneurial journey.
Time is Money: How to Maximize Both as an Entrepreneur or Business Owner
Are you wearing too many hats? Being pulled in a hundred different directions? Having trouble completing tasks because new things keep coming up?
The hours you spend working are as important as the money made in that hour. Your time is money; wasted time results in wasted cash. You can change this with some simple time management hacks.
Your productivity depends on your time management. Once you master this, everything in your business will become simpler. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your time as a business owner.
Invest in Great Employees
Many business owners find themselves hiring employees far too often. A high turnover of staff means the time you take to plan and to train goes to waste.
The trick to saving time on hiring is making the right hires in the first place. And, making the job so great they don’t want to leave!
You can do this by creating an Employee Development Plan. Any employees that you truly value and depend on should have a path for growth. They should have benefits and perks that make working for you worthwhile.
When recruiting new hires, be very detailed in what you’re looking for. Weed out the lazy, unenthusiastic applicants from the hard working and passionate candidates.
Once you hire great employees who love working for you, they can take a load off your plate. Remember to ask for their feedback and input on new ideas. You trust them to do a good job, so you can delegate tasks to them.
Track your Time
Spend a week recording everything you do from morning to night. You can do this with Google Calendar or on paper. Write the tasks you work on each hour or the free time you spend.
After one week, review your log.
How many tasks did you switch between in any given hour? How many tasks comprised of you fixing other people’s work? Did you miss any deadlines or lose out on any profit?
You may realize you’re working an extreme number of hours per week. Or, that you’re struggling to move projects forward because you aren’t focused enough.
This problem is very common for business owners. It gets solved by automating and delegating tasks.
Thanks to the magic of technology, we don’t have to manually complete many tasks. If you haven’t leaned into automation, now’s the time to start.
Automation is when you let technology automatically complete tasks without your constant approval. You set up the rules and expectations, then the frequency of the automation. After that, your load is a little lighter.
Here are some tasks automation can help with:
- Email marketing
- Assigning inbound leads
- Following up with networking peers
- Offering free content to attract leads
- Identifying the hottest leads
- Tracking accounts receivable
The list goes on and on. Did you know that 80 percent of top-performing businesses use automation for marketing? 80 percent of these highly successful people can’t be wrong.
Look at your business’s tasks and systems. Where could automation help you?
Not all tasks can get automated; some should get delegated. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you’re used to doing everything yourself. “If you want it done right, do it yourself” right?
Most of the time, “done is better than perfect.” You need to decide which tasks demand your attention and which ones your employees can do.
This might mean training your top employees on new roles and duties. This is great because it shows them you believe in them and it lightens your workload.
Look back at your time log for the week. Find at least three things that you can delegate. Start the process of transferring those responsibilities to someone else.
This will give you more time to do the things only you can.
Work in Batches
Jumping from one task to another in completely different realms is awful for productivity. Switching gears all the time ruins your focus and lowers your energy.
Instead, start working in batches through calendar blocking.
Schedule your day to complete all like-minded tasks in the same block of time. That could mean spending all of Monday morning working on payroll duties. Or, all of Monday afternoon updating the company website and planning new components.
Consider using an app for all your scheduling needs, like this company. Every employee can download the app and have access to all work-related things.
By staying in the same realm of tasks for a larger chunk of time, you can focus completely on that umbrella of tasks. You can use your time more efficiently and get more done.
Look around your office. Is it messy? Is there clutter everywhere, especially on your desk?
This is a subconscious productivity-destroyer. How can your mind think clearly when your space feels confused and chaotic? Both you and your employees are less productive when the space is messy.
Start by cleaning your personal office. Your desk should only have things you use every day or make you happy. File loose papers or shred them.
Declutter the floor. Boxes should get put away and objects returned to their home in the office. Hire a cleaner to deep clean the space.
Then, set new expectations for your staff on office cleanliness. Like tools need to get put back after use and don’t leave rotten food molding in desk drawers.
You may need to buy some organizational systems to keep this momentum going. Get some low-maintenance plants to put around the office and lift the mood. Make the office a calm and clean place to work for everyone.
If Time is Money, Are You Spending Yours Wisely?
As a business owner, you’re supposed to be hustling and grinding. But, you can do more by working smarter, not harder.
Boost your productivity and profits by getting better at time management. Put systems in place that save you time and let you focus on important things. Your time is money; making better use of it will result in higher earnings.
For more tips on being a business owner, productivity, and making more money, check out this article.
The Ultimate Guide To Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Process
Let’s face it: the process of improving and streamlining your accounts payable process can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of busywork. It’s also one of the most important, yet overlooked, processes within a business that can actually make you go from negative to positive in monthly ROI. This is especially true with online businesses, as many of use are using various automation, SEO, and marketing tools that have built-in recurring monthly costs… but how many of them are we actually using, yet still paying for?
This is something I occasionally talk about on the blog, as it’s a great reminder to always keep an eye on not just what your monthly expenses are, but also what they are actually being spent on. We all watch the incoming and outgoing money within our businesses and brands, but many of us will forget to actually look through our credit card and banking statements to see who is billing what. Soon enough, you could have thousands in monthly recurring bills, and not even realize that you aren’t utilizing such services.
It’s not just affiliate marketers and bloggers that have to deal with these types of issues, it’s businesses of all sizes — and it really comes down to the various payment processors, invoice tracking, and tax software being used. The truth is that an inefficient accounts payable system costs you in time , money, and anxiety. Between chasing down your tax information, waiting for invoices to be verified, and frantically paying bills at the last second, things will slip through the cracks.
You won’t just lose money. Your company’s reputation will suffer as a result. You might lose important business relationships that you’ve worked hard to build.
It’s time to make a change for the better.
Read on to learn how to improve your current accounts payable procedures.
1. Look for Patterns in Your Payments
The first thing that you need to do when you’re ready to make over your accounts payable process?
Think about how you can get out in front of upcoming payments.
The best way to do this is to look for payment and invoice patterns, and then create a matching schedule of accounts payable.
For example, do you know that your supplier sends you a bill on the first Monday of every month? If so, you know that this payment to your suppliers is a fixed cost every month. You should schedule an automatic payment, since it will likely be in the same amount each time.
Additionally, figure out who you sent the most money to, the most frequently.
This will help you to keep better track of your spending pattern, and know who to prioritize when it comes to getting payments out on time.
One more thing you might discover during this review process?
The fact that you’re not exactly spending your company’s money in the most effective way. Taking a closer look at things won’t just help you to spend less time each month on accounts payable.
There’s also a good chance that it will help to save you some serious money.
2. Define Your Invoice Payment Strategy
You know that paying invoices on time and in the correct amount is an essential way to maintain excellent relationships with freelancers and suppliers alike.
However, if you’ve noticed that your accounts payable process seems to be missing the mark when it comes to invoices?
You need to make a change — and fast.
First of all, decide when you’ll pay the invoices that are sent to you. Is the goal simply to get them paid as quickly as possible? Or, is it better to send payments at a set date?
Determine the payment method that you use. Will you write them a check, or do they prefer to get their money sent to them via systems like PayPal? And which method of payment works best for your business?
You should also make sure that you have a strong record-keeping system in place when it comes to your invoices. That way, even if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to track exactly when and how it happened.
One final piece of often-overlooked advice?
It’s simple: make sure that you have the right employees working on accounts payable.
Is now the time to create a specific accounts payable department, as opposed to assigning invoices to “whoever has time” to complete them? What short of qualifications do the people working in accounts payable have? What sort of training program have you implemented?
These are certainly all things to consider — and to speak with your team honestly about.
If you need to hire someone new, then the cost of bringing them on will likely pay for itself in the time the rest of your team members will earn back.
3. Consider a Payment Automation System
Of course, if you’re truly serious about improving your current accounts payable process, then you’re likely going to need to invest in a payment automation system.
Look for a system that allows you to make payments in a variety of currencies and payment methods. You should also decide on an option that helps you to eliminate as many rejected payments as possible.
The goal here is to find a platform that helps you through every part of the AP process — including making early payments.
Also, ensure that the payment automation system you choose helps you to keeps things secure and compliant. The right system will scan potential payees and identify potentially fraudulent or problematic companies.
Finally, make sure that you take a close look at the transaction fees of any payment automation system you use. Remember that fees are usually charged on a per-transaction basis. So, cut down on the number of individual payments if possible.
Looking to learn more about what makes a great payment automation system?
If so, be sure that you check out the Tipalti website, to learn how their platform could save up to 80% of your accounts payable team’s time.
Once you’ve implemented each of these solutions and accounts payable processes, you may finally be at zen with your personal and business finances.
Ready to Overhaul Your Accounts Payable Process?
We hope that this post has helped you to understand what it takes to truly improve your accounts payable process — and eliminate errors in the process.
Of course, tackling accounts payable is just one smart of what helps you to streamline your time at the office, and get more out of every day.
You need to ensure that you have a strong digital and print marketing strategy, that you employees feel motivated within the work environment, and much more.
Keep on coming back to our blog to score even more tips on how to take your company to even higher heights.
How to Pick the Best Business Credit Cards for Startups
You obviously know about the existence of business credit cards, and you may have even heard about the benefits they give to companies, but you’re still worried about getting one for your startup. If that’s that the case… don’t be. I’ve personally used credit cards for my business expenses for over 20 years now, and as long as you stay on top of your payments, they are perfectly fine.
Right now, you may think you’re playing it safe by avoiding the plastic, but in reality, you’re missing out on a ton of great deals that could help your business grow and become more successful.
There are a variety of credit cards that you could choose from, and each card offers their own unique trademarks that you could use to your advantage. Let’s have a look at some of the best business credit cards for startups.
The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups That You Should Use
Depending on your type of business, you can gain some serious perks to help you level up your business game. Keep reading to find out more.
Decide How Fast You’re Paying the Monthly Bill
The first thing you need to worry about is the amount of time you think you will need to take care of your monthly statements.
Some companies can pay off their fees in full every month like clockwork. Others may only be able to pay off the bare minimum in order to keep things rolling. There are cards for both types of businesses.
If you know how to make the full payment each month, you should go for a card that gives you longer grace periods and a lot of rewards so you can capitalize on all of the benefits.
Charge cards are also handy for those who always pay in full. These little guys give you the money you need, as long as you’re able to pay it off within a 30-day time frame.
If you’d rather take your time paying off the card, then get a credit card that has a low-interest rate or a 0% APR to allow you time to pay everything off without any backlash.
As for my own personal and business expenses, I’ve always been a fan of American Express, and have been a customer of theirs since 2003. You can see a few of my other preferred business credit cards for entrepreneurs and bloggers as well.
Think About Operating Costs
One of the biggest reasons (if not, the biggest) why you want a credit card is to take care of the operating costs that come with every business.
Look through the spending log and see which of your operations takes up the most of your money, and then find a card that gives you benefits directly related to those operating costs.
For example, if you spend a lot on customer service, get a card that offers bonus points on spending in this category. That way you get returns as you spend cash.
The last thing that you should be worried about when choosing a credit card is are the credit expenses.
Different cards offer different costs on their monthly and annual fees. More often than not, this is directly related to the number of benefits and perks you get from using it.
The general rule of thumb is that the more basic the card is, the less you’ll have to pay in fees, and vice versa. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to take the thrifty approach or if your business can fork the extra cash for the bonuses.
If you want to learn more about what card would suit your company best, check out this website for a list of credit card reviews and other things that could help your small business soar.
The One Stop for All Your Startup Business Needs
Now that you know about some of the best business credit cards for startups, you can make moves to grow your business! When starting to apply for different cards online, you may find better success with lower level credit options and stay away from American Express until you have a decent credit score or business history. If all of that already looks good, then apply away!
As mentioned, I’ve been making money online and helping businesses grow their reach and exposure for well over two decades now. If you ever have any questions or are in need of services, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to give you the answers that you need.
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