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Entrepreneurship

5 Unique Ways to Fund Your Next Business Idea or Startup

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Personally, I’ve always thought it was quite tough to try and start a business in the offline brick and mortar world. In most cases, the numbers just don’t make sense and the startup and management costs are simply way too high. Take a look at the internet and how easy it is to start up an online business, brand or blog — and it’s more obvious than ever before.

However, just because it may be ‘easier’ and more ‘cost-effective’ to get started with an online business, that it will actually be easy to guarantee any type of success. Depending on the type of business you want to create, you very well might need some additional funding or capital to help get things moving. The good news is that you won’t need to kneel and beg at your local bank to try and get some money. Once again, the internet has made the process of borrowing money and getting funding even easier.

Today I wanted to share a few different methods and resources to help anyone get their hands on some much-needed cash when starting a business online.

PayPal Working Capital

Many individuals and small businesses are already using Paypal to accept and send out payments. Something not everyone knows about is Paypal Working Capital. In short, Paypal makes it extremely easy to borrow money through their account. Based on your history and revenue flowing through your account, you can apply for a Paypal Working Capital loan and instantly receive up to 25% off your annual revenue (flowing through Paypal). The great thing about this method is that Paypal charges only a small percentage and the payback process actually comes out as a percentage of each incoming transaction to your account. It’s also free to apply and your credit score won’t be affected.

Get a Small Business Loan

One of the most common ways to get your hands of some business money is through the use of a business loan. When it comes to working with banks and financial institutions, there are many different types of business loans to choose from (such as SBA Loans, Term Loans, Equipment Financing and a Business Line of Credit to name a few). As mentioned earlier, it’s also a benefit to working with any legitimate and trusted online banking sites to set any of these up. There is no longer a need to visit your local branch, as it’s way too fast and easy to compare and shop around different loan rates and introductory offers online.

Pre-Sell Your Idea

If you currently have a business idea that is based on your expertise or something you’d like to package up and sell, a great idea before investing a ton of money into the business, is selling if you can pre-sell your products or services before getting started. This is something we’ve commonly seen in the world of online marketing and selling courses online through webinars. It shouldn’t be hard for you to come up with a business plan and reasons why someone would want to buy your product. Pull all of this together and create a webinar for your audience, then sell the idea to them at the end. Give your audience an option to gain access early and become one of the first customers. Get enough of these customers and you might be able to prove your idea a profitable success before you even get started!

CrowdFunding

If crowdfunding has taught us anything, it’s that ‘anything’ can generate millions of dollars online if it’s pitched in the right way. Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for new ideas, products, and services before they’ve even come to market. This concept is similar to the one above in that you are getting funding before actually selling the product, but most crowdfunding sites do come with their limitations and transaction fees in the process. To find the most success in crowdfunding, take the time to look at previous campaigns that have gone on to hit their goals and even more. It’s not just about the product, it’s also the message, delivery, and marketing of it.

Start with Your Own Money

When all else fails, or if you have some extra money set to the side, why not just invest in yourself? One of the best ways to fund your next business idea or startup is to actually put your own money into the company. Not only will this give you a bigger incentive to find success, it will also allow you to instantly save on interest fees and also allow you to start your company on the right food. Depending on the size and startup costs of your new business, this might be easier said than done — however, if you do have some money set to the side and are completed dedicated to making your business idea work, this is a great option for getting started.

How to Launch a Successful Business in 2017

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to invest in yourself and your business outside of the traditional methods used many years ago. Almost anyone can get their hands on some extra money to help fund their business idea, it’s just a matter of how much history you have behind you already, how you want to pay your loan back and what direction your business might be headed. No matter what option you choose, always focus your business on the end customer and their user experience to find the best long-term results.

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Entrepreneurship

Time is Money: How to Maximize Both as an Entrepreneur or Business Owner

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Are you wearing too many hats? Being pulled in a hundred different directions? Having trouble completing tasks because new things keep coming up?

You’re probably a business owner.

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.

Automate 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?

Delegate Tasks

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?

Wrong.

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.

Get Organized

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.

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Entrepreneurship

The Ultimate Guide To Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Process

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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.

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Entrepreneurship

How to Pick the Best Business Credit Cards for Startups

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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.

Credit Expenses

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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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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