5 Quick Tips on How to Work More Efficiently as a Small Entrepreneur

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are all over the place thanks to the power of the internet. There are now no limitations on age, knowledge and school education when it comes to pursuing one’s dream of having their own business, being an entrepreneur or even launching a startup of their own.

The main reason for this, is that the internet not only makes everything easier and more cost effective, it also provides entrepreneurs with an amazing selection of tools and resources to help them launch and hit their goals.

However, not all entrepreneurs and small business owners have the same mindset, work ethics, and goal setting practices. The ones who do have a deep passion, drive, and dedication to success, are likely the ones who see much bigger results. At the same time, they also have some of the best tools and scheduling for their day to day operations and ROI on their time as well.

To help with this process, today we are going to highlight some quick tips on how small business owners and entrepreneurs can start working smarter and more  efficiently to get more done.

1 – Focus on What You Do Best and Outsource the Rest

One of the biggest problems from entrepreneurs, is knowing where and how to spend their time. As the owner of a business, you may often think it’s best to be the jack of all trades, but soon enough you will find your time is better spent in different areas and not on all tasks.

For example, if you have a website or blog that is already making money, it’s likely a much better idea for you to outsource your content creation and marketing efforts, while you focus on scaling and growing out your time.

No matter what your expertise and focus is, at some point you will realize the power of outsourcing and earning a premium on what you do best.

2 – Know How to Best Manage Your Time

Just as important as knowing where to focus your time and expertise, is knowing how to manage it as well. This is also one of the most overlooked components to finding success when one is trying to start a business or scale it to it’s full potential.

Better time management comes in many different shapes and forms. From the most simple methods to practicing better time management on your own, to using applications or even writing down your tasks on a sheet of paper — they all help further improve your allotted time ROI throughout the day.

If you prefer managing your time on the computer, this can be as simple as downloading a weekly schedule template excel sheet where you can get an overview of your work week, easily update your calendar and also better manage the time of your employees and team members around you as well.

3 – Search for Video Tutorials from Experts on YouTube

Small business owners are working on new tasks all the time. This can be anything from starting a new website and trying to learn how to use WordPress, or implementing a new CMS or software solutions into their business.

No matter what it is, trying to figure out how to do something from scratch can suck up a lot of your time.

A better solution is to look for quality reference guides and tutorials. In most cases, you should be able to find some reliable content on YouTube for free, or investing in a professional video course through a platform like Udemy.

Whenever you look for a course of video tutorial online, be sure to skim through the comments and ratings, and this will let you know if it’s worth your time and money.

4 – Take Advantage of Gmail Canned Responses

How many emails do you receive and send daily? If you are like most entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s probably in the 100+ range.

At the same time, how many of these emails are very similar and often ask the same question or are looking for support?

If this is the case, Google Canned Responses is a quick and easy solution for saving time and speeding through all of these incoming and outgoing emails you have to deal with on a daily basis.

Best of all, this simple solution takes less than 60 seconds to setup, but can easily save you a handful of hours every week.

5 – Use Automation and Scheduling Where Possible

A great way to save time, increase productivity, and also scale your business at the same time, is to take advantage of automation and scheduling wherever possible.

A quick and simple example of this would be to schedule out content to go live on the most popular social media platforms. By having an automated schedule in place, this could result in hundreds of hours being saved every month.

Another perfect example is to set up an autoresponder to work with your lead generation and email marketing efforts. Instead of messaging each new lead individuals, more time and effort can be spent on growing your reach and acquiring new traffic sources.

How to Grow Your Business and Expertise 

As business owners, we know what it takes to create something from scratch, while also having to compete with others in our space.

We all have a specific set of skills and levels of expertise that can give us the upper hand, however, when you start to add better time management and smarter work ethics in your day to day operations, we can all do even better.

Be sure to run through the list of recommended tips and solutions above to improve your incoming success as a small business owners and entrepreneur.

Small Business Stats 2019: Tips on How to Launch a Successful Company

Do you have an idea for a new business or have always thought about the idea of being your own boss and working for yourself? If so, you definitely aren’t alone.

The truth is, more people are taking the leap to start a business of their own, while also discovering it’s now easier and more cost effective than ever before to get started. At the same time, there are already more than a billion active websites on the internet today — many of which are discovering how to make money with their existing traffic and services, which leads to even more businesses going live daily.

In fact, Small Biz Trends has the following stats to offer in reference to new businesses started online and offline in the world today:

  • 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home.
  • According to the National Association of Small Business’s 2017 Economic Report, the majority of small businesses surveyed are LLCs (35 percent) followed by S-corporations (33 percent), corporations (19 percent), sole proprietorships (12 percent), and partnerships (2 percent).
  • 51 percent of people asked, “What’s the best way to learn more about entrepreneurship?” responded with “Start a company”.

If you already have a business of your own, you will likely remember asking these same questions and remembering what it was like to walk through the initial stages of starting your own business — even more so if it was 20+ years ago before the internet made everything so simple and fast.

From a motivation standpoint, more than 50% of people are ready to be their own boss or wanted to pursue having their own business. However, the top challenges for accomplishing this were offer due to a lack of capital, not having the necessary funds for marketing and advertising, or having little to no time to start such a venture. (source)

With all of this in mind, there are plenty of questions, concepts, and resources to consider when starting a business of your own. Many of which we will cover in more detail below.

Inc vs. LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship, Etc…

You’ve likely see a symbol or a few letters after many different business names in your lifetime. Unless you are already an entrepreneur or business owner, you probably have no idea what these are, why they are listed, and the difference between them.

The most common ones are LLC, Corp and INC. There are also different company types, such as S Corp and C Corp.

Instead of diving into a whole bunch of business and legal jargon, we will let the infographic below from MBO Partners speak for itself.

When starting a new business, you are going to have to pick one of these organization types when starting your business, so be sure to play around with the infographic chart above and see which would be best for your new business, project, team or organization.

Starting a New Business Outside of the United States

Ideally, it’s usually best to start a business in the country you live in. However, this can also vary depending on the funding on your company, your expected growth, and the regulations and complexities surrounding the actual process of launching a new business within your designated country.

According to USANews, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Panama are three of the most business friendly locations to start a new company in the world today. If you don’t live in any of these areas, don’t stress — business owners thrive throughout the world, no matter where their business might be registered.

Also, just like how there are different business names and identities to choose from, there are also many different ways to file and start a business with your local government as well.

There are plenty of resources for anyone in the United States to get started with the filing process, but that isn’t the case for everyone. For everyone else, we’ve listed some useful resources below for other popular and growing business countries like Singapore, Germany and Switzerland below.

  • Starting a Company in Singapore – Singapore is one of the most popular countries in the world for new businesses and entrepreneurs. In order to register a new company, there must be at least one shareholder and a maximum of fifty shareholders within the company. One resident must also act at the manager of the company, and only individuals at the age of 18 or above are accepted as company directors or managers in Singapore.
  • Forming a Company in Germany – While Germany is already a thriving country for business around the world, it’s also a hot spot for new entrepreneurs, tech businesses and startups as well. Being within the EU markets, it makes for a great infrastructure and provides highly qualifies workforces and employees from local markets and around the world. Berlin is one of the most popular and active cities within Germany for business growth as well. To get started with the registration process in Germany, one must first find a registering office, open a bank account and hire a local accountant for the company.
  • Launching a Company in Switzerland – Of the many different locations and hot tech spots around the world, Switzerland is one you likely hear about, but haven’t actually pursued a heavy interest in. If this is the case, entrepreneurs and businesses must follow several steps in order to form a legitimate company within the country — which consists of drafting articles of association, completing the forms required by the company registration office, specimen signatures, passport copies and other relevant documents. After all of these actions have taken place, it’s then important to find a registration office, open a bank account, register for taxation purposes and hire a local accountant are also part of the company formation process in Switzerland.

No matter where you might be focusing your efforts on to register and start your business, it’s important to make sure you put in the time and effort early on to make sure it’s set up correctly from day one.

While it might be time consuming to go through the tedious amounts of text and requirements to start a new business, it will take even longer if you select the wrong business type or need to change something after the fact.

In all scenarios, if you are unsure about what entity, or in what location you should start a business, it’s recommended to seek legal counsel as many businesses and services are already set up to help walk users through this process on a daily basis.

How to Create a Successful and Profitable Business

In that same article referenced above from Small Biz Trends, they also highlighted the following stats on how many businesses are successful (or fail) during their first few years.

Of all small businesses started in 2014:

  • 80 percent made it to the second year (2015);
  • 70 percent made it to the third year (2016);
  • 62 percent made it to the fourth year (2017);
  • 56 percent made it to the fifth year (2018).

As scary as those numbers might be, this is why it’s important to make sure you have a solid business plan and marketing approach in place before going live with your company.

Small Biz Trends also listed the following stats in reference to the top causes for small business failure:

  • No market need: 42 percent;
  • Ran out of cash: 29 percent;
  • Not the right team: 23 percent;
  • Got outcompeted: 19 percent;
  • Pricing / Cost issues: 18 percent;
  • User un-friendly product: 17 percent;
  • Product without a business model: 17 percent;
  • Poor marketing: 14 percent;
  • Ignore customers: 14 percent; and
  • Product mistimed: 13 percent.

As you can see with many of the reasons here, if often came down to not putting in the necessary time, research and effort to not only have a successful business model and product, but also to understand and price their market and target audience of customers as well.

Take These Stats and Resources to Heart, and Start Your Company

The steps in which one must take to start a new company isn’t that horrific or costly, however, just because it’s easy to start a company it doesn’t mean it’s easy to create a successful company.

Be sure to seek legal guidance and business counseling whenever necessary, as this can save a lot of time, money and frustration when trying to launch or grow your business.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the internet is completely changing the way business is done in the world today. It’s important to take advantage of the many tools, resources, and stats at hand — and it’s never been a better time to start a new business, while also securing your financial future in the process.

5 Saturated Markets with Plenty of Room to Grow Beyond 2019

At the time of writing this article, Worldometers reports that there are approximately 7.728 billion people in the world — and that number is increasing by roughly 200,000 people daily.

With such a massive number in place, you could say the world is quite saturated. However, it’s also reported that before the year 2060, we are looking at having more than 10 billion people in the world.

Now that’s a whole new level of saturation. 

But at the same time, businesses and entrepreneurs around the world will look at this as opportunity — which is something you and your business should likely be doing as well.

Saturation comes in many different shapes, forms, and sizes — but it’s also not something you should be afraid of or shy away from.

With this concept in mind, let’s take a look at five different saturated markets in the online business world today, and how you can start tapping into these extremely lucrative markets, while not getting crushed by the massive competition in the process.

eCommerce

Of all the different business opportunities to choose from, eCommerce has to be one of the fastest growing. Thanks to solutions like Shopify and other platforms that require little to no programming or design skills, now anyone can get started with an online business of their own.

Throw the power of drop shipping into the mix, and there is no need to hold any inventory or to start with a lot of upfront investment money.

At the same time, everyone is buying something online. Billions of dollars are collectively spent daily, and these numbers are just going to continue to increase as more people access the internet and buy online for the first time.

Oberlo reports that “It’s estimated that there will be 1.92 billion global digital buyers in 2019” and that this number is rising rapidly and is expected to hit a massive 2.14 billion people in 2021.

Yes, the online shopping and ecommerce industry is SUPER saturated, but there is also a demand for the businesses and product fulfillment solutions out there.

VPN Online Privacy

Personal data and online tracking is something we see and hear more about in the news daily. For the most part, there isn’t much people can do when it comes to their data getting accessed from third-party and company hackings, however, when it comes to their online browsing habits and internet access, VPNs are one of the best solutions around.

The concept of VPNs (virtual private networks) are nothing new, and they are extremely easy, fast, and low cost to set up. In most cases, all you need to do is join a VPN of your choice, install a browser plugin and then you are good to go.

The benefits of using a VPN are that you aren’t openly and freely giving away all of your personal internet browsing location and history to anyone asking for it. With billions of sites placing cookies on your computers and leaving tracking and advertiser pixels all over the place, they are basically collecting all of your data and passing it along to other sources to serve better advertising — and sometimes even selling your information.

With all of that being said, the business of VPN and online privacy protection is alive and well. As more people continue to access the internet through different devices, the demand will only continue to grow. For example, Express VPN is one of many VPNs for Macs, while there are plenty of other Chrome Browser and mobile VPN solutions out there as well.

Yes, it’s a saturated market, but when you look at how many people are actually using VPNs at work or home, the numbers are still quite low.

Anything Related to Finance

Do you want to make more money in life? Maybe you would like to discover how to improve your credit score by a few points? Would you like to be debt free? Or maybe you have some excess debt or monthly costs that you would like to pay down?

As you can see… anything related to finance is always going to grab a lot of attention — and more importantly, demand.

No matter where you look in the finance industry, there is always going to be saturation, but there is also always going to be someone doing a better job and figuring out new ways to service this customers at lower costs.

The individuals, companies and brands that can figure this out are the ones who will look at the mass saturation in their space and use it to their advantage.

Selling on Amazon

Love it or hate it… Amazon is the biggest ecommerce and business in the world today. They are also the destroyer of mom and pop businesses, while also being the creator of new businesses and entrepreneurs as well.

In 2018, TechCrunch reported that Amazon’s market share was just under 50% in comparison to all other ecommerce sites. This number is likely even higher today.

With such a dominance in place, there is pretty much no way for small brands and business to compete with Amazon. The good news is, they don’t have to.

While Amazon has mass market share and saturation in the world today, it would be a huge mistake to not take the opportunity to work and sell through them whenever possible.

Whether it be through Amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon), working with them through their affiliate program, or even taking advantage of their Kindle and book selling services — Amazon is going to generate billions of dollars in sales, so you might as well piggy back on their success along the way.

Just like all other ‘saturated’ markets listed in this article, it all comes down to being more creative and smarter than your competition. Try not to re-invent the wheel, but to instead build a better product, brand, and business experience for your audience and customers.

Mobile Everything

There’s no doubt about it — mobile is here. However, the better question is: How are you using mobile for your business and brand?

Just take a look at some of these recent numbers pointed out by CleverTap, and how mobile continues to increase in size and demand year over year.

  • There are 4.92 billion mobile users globally, 66% of the total population. (We Are Social, 2017).
  • Global mobile data traffic is projected to increase nearly 3x between 2018-2021. (Statista, 2018)
  • Mobile devices are projected to drive 79% of total global internet usage in 2018. (eMarketer, 2017)

And when it comes to mobile apps and usage, it’s not just social media and games where people are spending most of their time. Entertainment, utilities, news and lifestyle are all consuming a large amount of time and generating revenue as well.

Again, one would think there is massive saturation here and no room for anyone to enter this space, but it’s actually quite the opposite.

Whether it’s through mobile applications, mobile media buying, or the optimization and lead generation of ad campaigns… there is always a growing demand for more experts, advertisements, and revenue pouring in and out of the mobile space.

Don’t Be Afraid of Market Saturation. Embrace it!

If you were just starting a business today, you might be sitting there and trying to come up with something completely new and original. While this is a good idea in theory, it’s actually a thousand times harder versus actually tapping into any of the markets mentioned above and just getting a small slice of the pie.

Take a moment to skim through each of the markets and opportunities listed above, and see what ideas and new opportunities for growth you might be able to come up with.

Business Investment Strategy 101: How To Fund Your Small Business?

You don’t need to be a financial expert to realize that there’s something wrong with the economy, and traditional solutions aren’t working anymore. Things keep getting more expensive, and wages are steadier than ever. More and more people are starting to realize that the answer isn’t a 9 to 5 job, and if they want a more secure future, they’ll have to do more. Investments are becoming more popular among the middle class, and people are starting their own businesses everywhere to secure a better future for themselves and their families. Yet, it’s not that easy, and to start a business, there’s much that needs to happen. The first problem most encounter at first is how to fund their small business, because you are going to need some form of capital to do that. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable, and this is how you do it.

Do it yourself

Might seem like a no brainer, but your first approach to funding your project should always be doing it yourself.  This can keep you going for a while until a more extensive source of funding comes along, but it can definitely be done. You can do so by going through your assets, if you have any, and selling whatever you can of it to get that initial boost needed to get the business going. This is why saving from an early age is always a great thing to do. That can include a savings account, some gold you have stored, an apartment somewhere or a piece of real estate that can get you some money, and so on. You could also resort to zero interest credit cards; it’s definitely not the easy way out, but it’s your own project and you’ll need to invest in it one way or another at some point.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been quite the popular approach to starting businesses over the past few years, and plenty of companies are doing it and are killing it through crowdfunding campaigns. If the project is creative enough, and has enough promise to it, you’ll find that plenty of people are willing to help you. Sites like Kickstarter.com can help you get to your end goal of a starting capital, and they’ve funded hundreds of projects since they first came to life. It isn’t exactly a long term solution though, and it’ll only get you started, but you’ll have to make your own way after that.

Loans

You knew eventually this one would come up. Nobody likes taking loans from banks, but sometimes they’re the only option you’re going to get. Fortunately enough, lending restrictions are not that tight for all banks. Some offer easier rules and procedures, but you never know what comes with that. Bank loans aren’t your only option though, you can get an inheritance advance on that money that’s taking months, maybe even years, to get processed in the courtrooms. Probate is the legal process in which assets are transferred from a deceased person to their heirs, but this happens through legal proceedings through a court which decides if all things are in order and who should get what. The option of an inheritance loan can come in handy, and after you finally get your inheritance, you can pay it back.

While some people don’t like bank loans for their high-interest rates, they might not also have any impending inheritance. But there’s another option of title loans, which is basically when you give up ownership of your car or vehicle title, temporarily, and you get an amount of money for it. Title loans have a lot of pros and cons, but one of the most important pros is the fact that the lenders don’t put too much weight on credit history. You might have to pay higher interest rates in that case if you have a bad history.

Friends and family

There’s always the option of borrowing money from friends and family, and it’s probably one of your easier outs. Unless your family consists of some seriously bad people, it’s highly doubtful that they’ll charge you for interest rates, or put you away if you’re behind on payments.

Angel investors and accelerators

This is probably how most startups get their money these days, and it’s one of the most eloquent paths you could take to raise money for your startup. You need some really good connections and a powerful, scalable model to reach out to either, though. An angel investor is a person, or a company, that will basically give you the money in exchange for owning a piece of your business. So, they need to see that your business has potential and can actually grow into something big that will make their investment worthwhile. The same goes for accelerators, as they also own shares in the company in exchange for initial funds. This is why the process of planning out your business and having a solid plan for the future will come in handy when you do need the money.

Competitions

Startup contests are also another excellent way to go about getting that initial funding your business needs. Some competitions only need an idea for an entry, but it has to be something really special. Others require a scalable and clear picture of how your business will unfold in the future. Whatever the case may be, if you do all the right things and get all the necessary details in order, you can get your initial funding without having to pay anyone back.

Plan ahead, work hard

The truth is, everybody wants to start their own business and make it as an independent entrepreneur, but very few actually make it. It’s a lot of hard work and sleepless nights of planning ahead to what might be your key to financial security. It won’t come to life overnight, and even if you somehow managed to secure the initial funding, you have to know what you’re doing. If you’re just winging it and hoping for the best, you’ll have very little chance of success.

A Look at the World of Influencer Marketing through the Mind of Tal Melenboim

Entrepreneurs are facing growing challenges to succeed. They have had a much more difficult time raising capital in the aftermath of the great recession. As a result, they need to operate on leaner budgets while starting a new business. This means investing in marketing strategies that yield the best possible ROI.

Influencer marketing is one of the most valuable ways to grow a brand. Tal Melenboim created a new influencer marketing project called Zoe Dvir, which helps promising entrepreneurs on shoestring budgets grow their customer base.

Tal Melenboim created Zoe Dvir to help entrepreneurs with their influencer marketing strategies

Businesses in every vertical have discovered the benefits of influencer marketing. According to one study, nearly 40% of marketing managers intend to invest more heavily in influencer marketing in the coming year. This figure is eight times higher than the number of marketers that plan to decrease their influencer marketing budgets.

However, many marketers have struggled to gauge the effectiveness of their influencer marketing strategies. There are a couple of reasons that traditional influencer campaigns have failed to pay reasonable dividends for marketers:

  • They often need to pay substantial fees to promote their campaigns with well-known influencers. These costs can you eat into their bottom line.
  • Some influencers aren’t interested in partnering with many companies. They may refuse to help promote specific brands for any number of arbitrary reasons.
  • Some influencers might have a lot of reach with the wrong audience. Their followers might be the wrong demographic, which means that the fees you pay to them could be totally wasted.

These factors complicate things for influencer marketers. Tal Melenboim recognized the obstacles with traditional influencer marketing, which inspired him to create the Zoe Dvir project.

Here are some of the benefits of this influencer marketing approach.

Entrepreneurs will get their brand in front of a much more appropriate audience than many other influencers can offer

A lot of influencers are overhyped. Despite charging substantial amounts of money, they don’t have a tremendous pull with many business owners’ target demographic. Some of the most widely followed users on Instagram have drawn a following from a very heterogenous audience. Business owners that work with these influencers will have to pay a premium, even though many of those followers have zero interest.

Tal Melenboim is a leading expert in digital marketing. In fact, over the years he’s even had eight different patents under his name in relation to various internet marketing and content creation methods.

When Tal Melenboim developed Zoe Dvir, he focused on creating niche Instagram accounts. He develops computer generated images and caters the content to certain industries. As a result, the followers are going to be highly interested in the content companies in the respective industry is promoting.

Tal Melenboim created a much more cost-effective approach with Zoe Dvir

Traditional influencer marketing campaigns involve forging relationships with major third-party influencers. The biggest downside to this approach is that they have little control over the fees those influencers will charge. They might be able to negotiate more favorable agreements if they can promise long-term Partnerships, but particularly notable influencers still tend to have more bargaining power. This means that marketing agencies need to pass those costs along to their clients.

The system that Tal Melenboim created is more conducive to the budgets of startups. Zoe Dvir uses computer generated images to create influencer accounts. This approach is much cheaper than getting a real-life model to create content to build an account from scratch. Of course, even that approach would have been a lot cheaper than depending on established influencers.

Since Tal Melenboim can quickly build Instagram accounts with virtual models, he can essentially cut out the middleman. He doesn’t need to pay the significant overhead associated with working with prominent Instagrammers. Therefore, brands using Zoe Dvir find it is much cheaper than other agencies.

Engagement with virtual Instagram model accounts can be excellent

Many people are skeptical that using computer generated images from Zoe Dvir can help their brand. Their skepticism is understandable because previous studies have shown that people prefer engaging with images of real people.

However, that bias does not seem to extend to virtual Instagram model accounts very much. Instagram accounts that use virtual models are actually surprisingly engaging. According to Tal Melenboim, research shows that they can actually be even more engaging under the right circumstances. The most influential virtual Instagram model has 29% higher engagement rates than similar looking models.

This means that companies using Zoe Dvir to get their brand name out can expect great reception. Followers will appreciate the message about as much as they would with any other Instagram influencer. They just won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it.

 

The Instagram accounts that Tal Melenboim has created aren’t region specific

One of the biggest challenges with many online influencers is that they cater to followers in a specific part of the world. This can create a quandary for brands that want to engage with them. Those influencers might be ideal for brands trying to build a presence in a specific new market. However, it can be a waste of their budget if the majority of their followers are located outside their own target market sphere.

This is an underappreciated benefit of the system that Tal Melenboim created. He was able to build Instagram influencers that are not tied to a very specific region. This opens a lot of doors for brands that are looking to expand their reach with Zoe Dvir.

And this is also something to heavily put weight on, as the numbers over at Instagram continue to rise month over month.

Entrepreneurs that use these Instagram influencer marketing strategies can expect more stability with their promotional campaigns

Prominent Instagram influencers can be charismatic, persuasive and engaging. Unfortunately, they also bring a number of quirks to the equation, which can be detrimental to the brands that are trying to work with them.

They might have truly bizarre reasons for refusing to collaborate with certain brands. They might also postpone certain promotional campaigns because they have other priorities that take precedence.

The diva mindset many influencers bring to the table can be very stressful. Tal Melenboim made this observation, which is one of the reasons he started building accounts with virtual Instagram users instead.

Tal Melenboim maintains complete control of the accounts. Marketers working with Zoe Dvir are not at the mercy of third-party influencers that call the shots. This provides a lot more stability to entrepreneurs that want assurance their promotional campaigns will go along as scheduled.

7 Female Entrepreneurs and Women in Business to Follow Throughout 2019

Women in business are now gaining more attention than ever before. It’s not just about a movement, it’s about women taking the opportunity to branch away from the standard, and also create business and financial decisions of their own.

What that in mind, what’s new in 2019? Who is making a scene or create waves among women entrepreneurs?

We scoured the web to see who’s hot and who’s not. We came up with these 7 top female entrepreneurs and business women.

Be sure to check out their sites and social media pages to learn more about why they’re considered “hot stuff” in 2019.

1. Isabel dos Santos

Isabel dos Santos is a world-famous entrepreneur, who gained attention for her business expertise and history in Angola.

In addition to various business and financial success, like many successful entrepreneurs, Isabel is also now focused on the better well-being and improvement of those around the world. Not limited to just equal pay and women’s rights in the workplace, but also heavily focused on Angola humanitarian efforts as well.

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Todos temos um sentido de missão com quem nos rodeia. Os nossos colegas, vizinhos, comunidade… este é espírito que eu defendo não só como mulher e angolana mas como empresária, e que transmito às minhas equipas. Na Sodiba estamos perto da Zona 3 do Bairro do Bom Jesus. Uma comunidade que nos dá tanto em alegria. Desde os pequeninos até ao Soba. E nós apoiamos o Bairro e estamos dedicados a estas famílias, desde que aqui chegámos. Temos feito actividades com os meninos, demos presentes, entregamos cabazes, ouvimos as suas histórias e sabedoria e queremos fazer ainda mais. Dar um pouco de nós todos os dias e assim fazer a diferença #SharingbyIsabeldosSantos #Sodiba #ResponsabilidadeSocial #Angola We all have a sense of mission with those around us. Our colleagues, neighbors, community … this is spirit that I believe in not only as a woman and Angolan but as a businesswoman, and that I pass it on to my teams. At Sodiba we are close to Zone 3 of Bairro do Bom Jesus. A community that gives us so much joy. From the little ones to their Soba. And we support the neighborhood, we are dedicated to these families, since the day we arrived here. We have had activities with the children, gave them presents, basic goods for their day to day life, we listen to their stories and wisdom and we want to do even more. We give a little of us every day and thus make a difference

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Today, Isabel dos Santos is the board member of a number of companies in Portugal and Angola. She also owns stakes in affluent businesses, which include ZAP, (a digital satellite television company), Candando (over 1,500 employees), Sodiba and also EFACEC — which is the largest Portuguese corporation in the field of energy, engineering and mobility, with many subsidiaries of strong presence in different international markets. In addition to all of this, Isabel dos Santos also shifted her focus on women empowerment and growing such opportunities through one of her businesses at Zap, which has been a major focus as of lately.

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Hoje é o último dia do Março Mulher, um mês de muita importância para mim. Lembro para todas as mulheres que se devem destacar, fazer mais e melhor, nas nossas empresas, nossas famílias e comunidades. Poder ver as nossas pessoas crescer como a Maria é um motivo de orgulho para nós na Zap. A Maria começou como assistente de loja e hoje é chefe do Departamentro de Contact Center. Nós acreditamos nas mulheres angolanas, investimos nelas através da formação. Queremos dar as melhores oportunidades para que um dia também possam dizer como a Maria: “o que eu faço é sempre com orgulho, é com amor. Eu digo que eu não sou a Maria Antónia, a Maria Sebastião. Eu sou a Maria da Zap”. Veja a história dela. #SharingbyIsabeldosSantos #Zap #Formação #FuturosLíderes #WomenEmpowerment Today is the last day of March Women, a month of great importance to me. I call every woman to stand out for themselves, to do more and better, within our companies, our families, our communities. Being able to see our people grow as Maria makes us so proud at Zap. Maria started as a shop assistant and today she is head of the Contact Center Department. We believe in our Angolan women; we invest in them through training. We want to give the best opportunities so that one day they can also say like Maria: "What I do is always with pride, it's with love. I say I'm not Maria Antónia, Maria Sebastião. I'm Maria Zap”. Watch her story.

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In November 2015, the BBC named Isabel dos Santos as one of the 100 most influential women in the world.

Be sure to keep an eye on Isabel be throughout 2019. And if you are interested, you can also learn more about her here.

2. Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg cut her entrepreneurial teeth by working with Facebook as the #2 in charge in 2008. No one knew whether Facebook would be successful or not back then. But, with her at the second to the top, the company’s user base increased more than 10 times the size.

With such success under her belt, today Sandberg is also looked up to as an influential female entrepreneur for other women around the world as well.

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It’s #EqualPayDay. Let’s review the facts. ??? ??? Women in the United States had to work all of 2018 and this far into 2019 to earn what men did in 2018 alone. The pay gap exists across income and education levels – it’s largest for women with bachelor’s and advanced degrees. And it exists across industries, hours, and ages. Even when women get degrees, enter high-paying fields, and put in long hours on the job for years, that still doesn’t erase the gap. No matter how you slice it, women as a whole are paid less than men. And for Black women, Native American women, and Latinas, the pay gap is even wider.??? ??? If ever there was a cold, hard fact about our economy, this is it. And it must change. ??? ??? Equal pay is an economic issue: the pay gap can have a profound impact on a worker’s income, especially when compounded over a lifetime. For families looking to buy a house, send kids to college, save for retirement, or just have a little financial breathing room, the pay gap makes that harder. For single moms raising families on their own – and there are millions across the country – it cuts even deeper. ??? ??? And equal pay is a moral issue. It’s just plain wrong that one gender is consistently paid less than another. For anyone looking to reduce inequality, closing the pay gap would be a major step forward.??? ??? Year after year, we mark Equal Pay Day. And year after year, the pay gap persists. Still, there are signs of progress. Leaders here and abroad are making equal pay a priority. It’s more important than ever that we increase awareness. Join me in sharing the facts about the pay gap. Let’s bring more people into this fight. We can’t get to equality without equal pay.

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Now, because of her efforts and others, Facebook is considered one of the most wealthy and powerful companies in the world.

Today in 2019, Sheryl Sandburg is estimated to have a net worth of over 2 billion dollars and has written best-selling books for women entrepreneurs such as Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

You can find out more about Sandburg by following her Instagram account.

3. Tory Burch

Tory Burch is considered one of the top 10 female entrepreneurs of 2019 by the publication, “10xfactory.com.” There is a good reason for this. She is an American fashion designer as well as a businesswoman and philanthropist. She has her own company known as Tory Burch, LLC which features some of the best fashion styles she’s created that reflect different cultures of the world.

She was listed as the 73rd most powerful female in the globe by Forbes in 2015 and she continues to create inventive items that get the attention of the fashion world.

Find out more about Tory Burch on the Tory Burch Social Media site and follow her on Facebook and other media outlets.

4. Cher Wang

Cher Wang comes from Taiwan and is the co-founder of the HTC Corporation. HTC worked with the Microsoft Corporation over the past decade to develop the Windows phone with the HTC operating system on it, as well as the integrated chipset with VIA Technologies.

She graduated from the University of Berkeley in California and Forbes Magazine estimates her income, along with her husband, Wenchi Chen’s income, at around $850 million dollars.

Follow Cher on Twitter and find out how she made a monstrous deal with Google in 2017 that changed the way both companies operated in a big way.

5. Angie Hicks

Angie Hicks’s name may not be familiar by itself, but she is better knows as “Angie” of Angie’s Home Services.” People who are looking for help around the house to tackle big jobs or looking for specific types of help, always look to Angi for suggestions.

Celebrity Net Worth states that Angie is worth around $190 million. Not bad for a small town lady who started out as a simple business person.

You can find out more about Angie and follow her on Facebook to keep up with Angie’s work and achievements.

6. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey (better known to her fans only as “Oprah” has maintained her status of one of the top women executives and businesswomen of the world for over 2 decades. She has an estimated net worth of over 2.5 billion dollars, and she held the status of the richest woman in the world for a while. She still holds her OWN (no pun intended) and finds time for philanthropy work as well.

Oprah started out as an actress in “The Color Purple,” one of the early films of famous and well-acclaimed directors, Stephen Spielberg, and she quickly rose to fame as a talk show host, TV producer, and executive following this.

The original Oprah show no longer runs on the ABC network. But in its place on her own network and time slot is a new network run exclusively by Oprah called “Own.”

You can find out more about Oprah by following her Twitter feed.

7. Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely is the founder of the Spanx company who has appeared on the “Shark Tank” show to display her idea for form-fitting undergarments that help women look shapely and slim underneath everything they wear.

This idea emerged from Blakely when she confessed to having spent over $5,000 trying to find something flattering to wear under white pants.

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Sometimes it's not about what you know but what you have to give. When I started @spanx I had $5,000 set aside in savings and I'd never taken a business class. I started as a frustrated consumer who was looking for better undergarment options under my clothes. But after standing on manufacturer’s floors and learning more about the industry (I grew up on a beach and knew nothing about the industry) I realized the people making our undergarments didn’t seem to care about how we felt, at all. I went from frustrated consumer to passionate women’s advocate. I really cared about how women felt in their clothes. I cared about giving women better options that allowed them to wear any color, fabric and style clothes with confidence. Did current undergarment options make us feel confident in our clothes? Were thongs really the best answer to visible panty lines under white pants? To me, the answer was "no." And I wanted to do something about it. @Spanx was really one of the first brands that talked TO the consumer rather than AT the consumer. I wanted it to feel personal, because it was personal. If you're starting a business or inventing a product, it's not about how many investors you have or even how much experience you might have.. it really all starts with how much you care. ??#Entrepreneur #MondayMotivation #Inspiration #Motivation #ICaredTheMost #SPANX

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Today, Spanx boasts a whole line of shapewear and it can be seen in stores across the U.S. including the exclusive Neiman Marcus stores. But she didn’t stop there. To date in 2019, Spanx is being sold in 65 countries around the world!

She now serves as a guest investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank” where she began “on the other side,” and she sometimes invests in startups with other female founders. She is estimated to have a net worth of $1.1 billion.

Follow Blakely on her Facebook page to see what she’ll do next.

Summary

We hope you’ve enjoyed this rundown of seven great female entrepreneurs and businesswomen to follow in 2019. We could have picked many others, as women seem to be taking the business world by storm lately. But this will do as a great sampling of what women are doing in the business world today.

If you are a woman and have big goals for the future, don’t despair. There are still plenty of opportunities and industries that are clamoring to find the next Oprah or Cher Wang.

All of these women started with something simple, but they grew their business idea until they made it their own and rose above the crowd to show the world that they were special.

What makes these women unique? As one female entrepreneur said recently, “We’ve got to stop apologizing.” She was referring to the way women tend to feel as though they’ll never catch up to the men who have traditionally help more CEO and entrepreneurial roles than their female counterparts.

The reality is that women and men alike who have strong leadership qualities, a marketable idea, and the desire to pursue it, will likely make it to the top in time.

3 Easy Legal Mistakes That Retail Businesses Make

Running a business is no easy feat. Not only are you tasked with creating great products and services, building effective marketing campaigns, and ensuring great customer service, but you also have to handle all the less glamorous behind-the-scenes tasks. Legal procedures are rarely fun to deal with, but they help guarantee that your business is in good standing and that you won’t be risking everything you’ve worked hard for.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Within the second year, 30% have failed. And within five years, 50% of all small businesses go under.

Image source: Washington Post

Of course, there are many reasons why these businesses aren’t surviving the infancy stage. Roughly 17% of businesses that failed lacked a business model or plan. But with the right legal actions, you can avoid some costly, crippling mistakes. Here’s what you should avoid:  

Filing Their Business Inaccurately

There are several business entities you can choose to file your business under. Among the most popular include sole proprietorship, limited liability company, C corp, and S corp. There are pros and cons to each, however, filing the wrong way can be catastrophic. For example, a sole proprietorship has no clear distinction between a business and the owner, and therefore, the business owner has zero liability protection. Yet many businesses set their company up this way simply because it’s easy, low-cost, and there are no corporate taxes or double taxation fees. But in a business economy where half of all businesses fail (more depending on the industry), you should take extra precaution. You could lose all your personal assets if your business doesn’t make it.

On the same token, many businesses choose to operate under a DBA, or “Doing Business As.” According to Incfile, “If you are a sole proprietor or cofounder of a partnership and you want to do business with a name that is different from your personal name, you can register a DBA name. This gives your business a certain marketing identity that is separate from your personal name, but it’s not the same as a corporate structure in the eyes of the law.”  Corporations can also do the same to use a different business name that’s separate from the corporation they’ve set up.

However, this can be extremely risky. When you operate under a DBA, you don’t have any official rights to your business name. And business owners that registers a legal entity using the same name would officially own rights to your DBA, which could hurt your marketing, credibility, brand, and bottom line. Similarly, you won’t be protected from your assets and the most you could do is have a business card with your DBA name on it.

Always be careful when it comes to choosing your legal entity. Consult with a lawyer to discuss what’s best for you personally, and what’s in the best interest of your company in the long-run.

Riding the Discrimination Line

Discrimination is a major concern for businesses today, and the line between what’s acceptable and what isn’t can be blurry. Whether you realize it or not, the threat of a lawsuit is real. According to CourtStatistics.org, the median costs of a business lawsuit for small businesses is around $54,000 for a liability suit, and $91,000 for a contract dispute.

There are countless examples of companies who have been sued for discrimination. Some of these companies are larger, and can afford to shell out hundreds of thousands on a discrimination lawsuit, while others could lose their business. IBM, for example, faced a class action lawsuit after three senior employees believed they were let go so that the tech giant could make room for a younger workforce.

The line can become even more blurry. The Wing, a renowned co-working space dedicated to women—faced another lawsuit after it was called discriminatory against men. Although the company’s branding, celeb guest speakers, and offices spaces—which include pink makeup rooms and breast pumping stations—have been consistently touted as a private space for women to work and network with other women, the company recently had to change their membership policy after discrimination complaints. Now, men can technically apply for membership.

If you’re aiming towards a specific target market, or targeting certain demographics, it’s important that you tread the line carefully. Think about who you could possibly be offending, and always err on the safe side.

ADA Compliant Signage

If your store isn’t accessible to handicapped persons, you could find yourself in trouble. Your retail space should include signage that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Handicapped people should have easy access to your restrooms, parking lot, cashier stations, entryways, and fitting rooms. Permanent signs should include Braille, and need to be mounted at specific heights. There are many other rules for compliant signage, and you should take your time learning each of them. Consider hiring a third party company that’s proficient with compliance laws.

Unfortunately, many businesses have lost their companies because they failed to comply with these laws. Case in point: one man based in San Francisco filed lawsuits against a handful of businesses who were not ADA-compliant. These laws are strict, and business owners will almost always lose. There are several serial lawsuit filers who take advantage of this, and then there are others who file out of frustration when they have to deal with non-compliant stores. Therefore, it’s crucial to have your store up to par so you aren’t on the giving end of a settlement.

7 Ways Kajabi Has Made the Process of Selling Your Expertise Easy

Time and time again you hear about people making hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, by bringing their expertise and passion online. It’s nothing new, but the way this type of mentality, information, and business model is done on the internet is continually changing.

First off, if you really want to scale your business and get paid a much higher rate for your expertise, you need to have a business model that works for you 24/7. By working a 9 to 5 or on a client-by-client basis, you are limiting your full potential earnings.

The secret to finding success online with courses, consulting, and putting your expertise and passion to good use – is selling access to something you create once, and then selling it over and over again.

This is how some of the top names in the business world are generating thousands of dollars online, consistently, literally while they sleep.

In the past, if you wanted to create something like this you would need to hire a programmer, a designer, and set up a confusing backend platform to manage everything. From courses, to content, to customer billing… it was all a big headache!

One solution that has made this process a whole lot easier, is Kajabi.

Through their simple drag and drop platform, anyone can get started with an online business of their own in a very short period of time, while also only having to put up a small investment in the process.

To learn more about Kajabi and what they have to offer, let’s take a look at seven different ways you can start using their tools and platform to either start a new business, or grow your existing one to that next level!

7 Methods, Tools, and Examples to Grow Your Online Brand or Business

1 – Take it from the experts!

With so many different options out there to choose from when it comes to business software and platforms, it’s always a good idea to go with a solution that is trusted and used by experts within the industry.

This is what you will find with Kajabi, as big names like Chalene Johnson, James Wedmore, Billy Gene, and many others are generating millions of dollars through the platform – while also trusting the solution to power their business.

2 – All-in-one easy to use drag and drop platform

If the idea of not knowing how to get started with a business of your own ever held you back, then Kajabi is a great option for you.

In short, all you need to do is join Kajabi and then decide what type of site, product, service or business model you want to have.

After that, you will get to walk through their easy to follow “blueprint” processes and go live with your site in just a few moments.

Kajabi already has the tools, templates, and backend system in place for you to find success – you just need to customize the look and feel for your business.

3 – Create a course checklist

While Kajabi has a whole slew of tutorials, tools, and software in place to help you grow your business after you’ve joined their platform, they also have goodies for anyone still trying to figure it all out.

One such freebie, is their Create a Course checklist, which you can download for free.

Before turning your business and expertise into a profitable course, be sure to check out this PDF file and add in your own business ideas and see how it all comes together.

Best of all, it’s free and you can work at your own leisure.

4 – Youtube videos and tutorials

We all consume endless hours of video content on YouTube, but all too often it’s being wasted on frivolous stuff like funny cat clips or listening to music.

Kajabi has an excellent YouTube video channel and it’s loaded with tutorials, stories, case studies and more – each with valuable takeaways that can apply to anyone using their platform, or simply has a business of their own.

Not only is it a free learning tool, it’s also great to analyze the potential competition and getting inspired with new ideas in the process.

5 – Learn from the Kajabi heroes

In addition to seeing other industry experts using the software, wouldn’t it be great to see how average people are profiting from the solution as well?

Most definitely, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Kajabi Heroes section of the site.

Kajabi is always staying in contact with their customer and documenting their stories and progress as well.

Take a look at each of these customer stories, and maybe have yours featured on their site next!

6 – High converting templates that are ready to use

Again, the concept of hiring a designer or coder is history.

Thanks to the power of platforms like Kajabi, they have done all the work for you and now it’s just a matter of picking which colors, themes, and setups look best for your site.

With plenty of custom-built themes and templates available on their platform, it’s just a matter of deciding which looks best for your community site or project, then customizing it with your own content, brand story and logo.

7 – Membership sites, quizzes and surveys

Anyone can start a business online, but it’s the tools, features, and marketing that will make a big difference.

This is especially true for anyone looking to have their own consulting or online learning course or membership site. Through the use of easy to use quizzes and surveys, you can start generating leads for your business while also having fun and learning about your audience in the process.

Think Buzzfeed… but as a lead generation tool for your business. Implement these same tools and features into your course and discover new ideas on how to improve it even further. You can even use assessments to determine students’ learning retention and to segment them for later upsells and cross-sells.

How to Get Started with Kajabi and Growing Your Business

As you can see, there are plenty of great features that are built right into the Kajabi platform.

Selling online has never been easier, and it’s really just a matter of taking action and walking through the process.

Kajabi plans start as low as $119 a month when paid annually.

At the very least, be sure to check out their site and get some ideas from their free case studies, stories, PDF reports, and more.

Best Gmail Alternatives for Business Use in 2019

Email is one of the most important aspects of all business in the world today — if not the most important. It’s also the one thing that hasn’t drastically changed over the past two decades. Unlike search, mobile, social media, and online advertising, the core purpose and business of email marketing is pretty much the same.

However, what has changed is the different ways we connect and use email in our daily lives. Looking back, many of us probably had AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo emails in the previous years. Now all the buzz is around Gmail and other advanced email platforms that not only allow you to better manage your incoming and outgoing emails, but also to better manage your time and productivity as well.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best Gmail alternatives for business use in 2019.

Groove Shared Inbox

When running any type of business or dealing with important client information, your email is extremely important. Not just for data, but also for daily productivity, growth, and scheduling as well. This is where Groove stands out from the crowd, as their platform actually can improve productivity through canned responses, workflows, and integration with over 25 different platforms (like Trello, Olark, Shopify and more).

It’s also important to note that the platform is ideal for businesses and brands that want to offer collaboration with different teams member in office, or around the world. It’s also ideal for connecting customers to support and tracking teams as well.

It’s also important to note that the platform is ideal for businesses and brands that want to offer collaboration with different team members in office, or around the world, even on mobile. By using Groove, businesses can connect customers to support teams, tracki team members’ performance, and produce advanced reports that help business owners focus on what matters in order to scale.

Microsoft Outlook

At the beginning of this article, we referenced old school email addresses like AOL and Yahoo. For AOL especially, you would need to have the software installed on your computer in order to login. The same was true with Microsoft Outlook — but of course, times have now changed and so has the way they allow users to access and send emails.

With more than 400 million users on their email platform, Microsoft it looking to make email usage better for everyone using their Outlook platform. Benefits and features include free Outlook email and calendar. Along with access to everything you need to be your most productive and connected self – at home, on the go, and everywhere in between.

iCloud Mail

While many of us use Apple products and mobile devices on a daily basis, not many of us are using the email platform that Apple offers to their users. Apple’s iCloud Mail gives each user up to 5GN of free storage space and uploading limited of 20 BM for individual files.

The good news about iCloud Mail, is that you won’t need to create a new email address or be forced into using theirs if you want to create an account — simply sign up using your existing email address and you are ready to go.

Zoho Mail

Zoho Workplace is another popular integrated suite of tools that a lot of businesses are using to improve many aspects of the business. If you are already familiar with the many tools offered from Google (like Gmail, Sheets, Docs, etc), then you will likely enjoy your experience with Zoho as well.

The main benefit to using Zoho Mail over Gmail, is that you will have a better layer of security and won’t have BIG G watching over your shoulder on everything you do. This is especially true with ad placements, as premium accounts on Zoho won’t see any advertisements.

With Zoho Mail you can set up email with your own domain name address, have full access to the control panel for customization, and of course have full access through mobile devices and applications. All of this is available for just $1 per month for 5 GB of space per user, or you can upgrade to the premium version with 30 GB for just $4 per month.

Mail.com Mail

If you were to randomly visit the domain name mail.com, you likely wouldn’t be surprised when you found out it was yet another free email service.

For anyone that wants to stay away from the bigger players in this space, and set up a quite and unique email of their own, mail.com is a great place to get started. What’s unique about this email platform, is that they have secured a wide range of domains that they allow users to register a new email with. A few of the top ones are @mail.com, @email.com, and @usa.com.

The platform is free to use and offers users  the ability to choose from over 200 different domain names, getting access to free and customized apps, having the ability to send attachments up to 50 MB in size, and also allowing users to create up to 10 different alias addresses.

It’s Your Email. Make It How You Want It!

For something as important as your email, you need to make sure you are not only comfortable with the platform you are using, but also with it’s advanced settings and features as well.

It’s also a good idea to upgrade to the premium plan with many of these email providers, as the costs are minimal and the benefits are quite large. For example, every business, brand, and entrepreneur should have an email address with their unique domain name in it, and it’s also a nice benefit to have all advertising remove from your inbox as well.

No matter if you are currently using Gmail, or simply looking for a new look and feel for your email — be sure to check out each of the alternatives above.

What Every SMBs Need to Know About Debt and Growing their Business

Starting a business in the world might seem easy, thanks to the power of the internet, automation, and lowered costs — but that isn’t to say it’s easy to find success and profitability with that same business. With more businesses starting daily, this leads to a larger increase in competition, and a great number of SMBs who aren’t potentially ready for the fierce competition, compiling costs, and debt that might be right around the corner.

While most aspiring small business owners would love to launch a passion venture and not worry about how to pay for it, this is not the reality. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 27.9 million small businesses in the United States compared to 18,500 firms with over 500 employees. Those small businesses took out a combined $600 billion in business loans in 2015, and another $593 million from alternative means like finance companies and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

At the same time, it’s also important to take a look at the number of startups and closures, and survival rates for businesses in the world today.

But despite the various loan options that exist, securing enough of the right debt is challenging. Yet, as the old adage says, ‘you need to spend money to make money,’ and without borrowing, it’s difficult for any business to grow their operation.

To ensure your business borrows for long-term success without jeopardizing long-term cash flow, here are six things to know about debt.

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Generally speaking, good debt refers to debt that can yield long-term income or growth in value whereas bad debt will not. For consumers, good debt might be a mortgage where bad debt would be a revolving credit card balance. In the business landscape, it’s a little more nuanced and dependent on the specific company. You can learn more about the differences between these two here.

An example of good debt might be a company taking on debt to invest in certain employee programs, as the implementation of the program could lead to improved morale and better retention. It could also be debt used to do research and development for a new product since a new product line would generate more future income. A bad-debt scenario could be the result of a business taking out a loan for a larger business space that they don’t end up filling or using adequately. Or a double whammy: paying for nice office space in a prime location when clients never see the office.

These situations can go on and on, and really hinge on the execution that does or does not take place after a loan is taken.

Healthy Debt-to-Income Ratios

Every business—even two competitors—have differences that affect what a healthy debt-to-income (DIY) ratio should be. Businesses might need different levels of debt depending on a multitude of factors.

So, while not a hard-and-fast guideline, generally speaking, businesses with DTIs under 1 have more stable debt levels while a ratio above 1 indicates that a company is more reliant on their debt. Calculate your business’ DTI at any time by taking your monthly recurring debt payments and dividing it by your monthly gross income.

You Have More Leeway with Creditors Than You Think

Many business owners and individual debtors never try to improve on their existing terms or ask their creditors for any kind of compromise, even if it means falling behind on loan payments. But at the end of the day, banks want to see you succeed, if for no other reason than it means they’re getting their money back. If you’re proactive about needing aspects of your loan modified before you encounter difficulty paying it, you’ll stand a much better chance of striking an agreement.

It’s important to remember that creditor negotiations are a case-by-case basis. Whether you’re trying to lower your interest rate, get a one-time payment grace period, or extend the repayment cycle, communicate how changing the loan will impact your business positively.

You Can Consolidate Your Debts

Even if you’re keeping pace with your loans, juggling too many of them can be taxing, not to mention increase the chances you miss a payment date or don’t have the cash flow you need at a certain time of month. Debt consolidation loans condense your monthly payments, due dates, and potentially, can net you a lower overall interest rate.

To learn more about this, also see my article on line of credit vs taking out loans.

Small business owners can attempt debt consolidation by taking out a private loan (though, a high credit score will be needed for favorable interest rates), opening a balance transfer card with interest-friendly (possibly free) introductory period, or seeking assistance through companies like Andrew Housser’s Consolidation Plus, part of the Freedom Financial Network.

Layoffs Are Always a Consequence

Small businesses are like tight-knit families. Limited bandwidth and resources mean that employees develop a sense of pride and camaraderie in working together (at least, when a business does well). And unlike a large company where turnover is rampant, employees tend to work for small businesses much longer.

Of the 5.6 million employer firms in the United States in 2016, organizations with fewer than 100 workers accounted for over 98 percent of the workforce. When small businesses take on debt to scale the operation, they need to understand that they’ll need to cut costs if the investment doesn’t pay off. Layoffs are a realistic consequence. And when a SMB starts laying people off, company morale will take a dive and could lead to lost productivity and even further turnover.

According to data from the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, there were 5.6 million employer firms in the United States in 2016.

  • Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses.
  • Firms with fewer than 100 workers accounted for 98.2 percent.
  • Firms with fewer than 20 workers made up 89.0 percent.

This also isn’t just limited to small and medium sized businesses. Statista just recently had a report on big name companies like Tesla, eBay, Paypal, and more — all of which are leaving their employees hanging on whether or not they might have a long term relationship with the company.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Is a Last Resort

The thought of your hopes and dreams culminating in a bankruptcy court proceeding is certainly disheartening. However, chapter 11 becomes a viable strategy for business owners whose personal possessions are entwined in their business as it aims to restructure business debts to make repayments more manageable going forward without it sinking their business.

Just because taking debt is a necessary evil the majority of small businesses must face doesn’t mean it should be done so lightly. Leave no stone unturned in your search for a small business loan and consider these things above as you do so.

The Best Ways to Approach Debt Loss and Management for Your Company

No matter what position you might find your business in today, it’s important to realize that the first step in cleaning up an potential messes, is to ask for help.

This can be from people within your company, outside advisors, and of course — financial and legal institutions.

To learn more about managing company funds and debt, be sure to check out my other resource guide on paying off company debt.