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Entrepreneur depression is an epidemic that needs to be discussed today because entrepreneurs are 4X more likely to suffer from depression than the general public. When Elon Musk, one of the most successful business persons of the modern age said “Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, […] The post Entrepreneur Depression: An Epidemic Nobody is Talking About appeared first on...
Entrepreneur depression is an epidemic that needs to be discussed today because entrepreneurs are 4X more likely to suffer from depression than the general public.
When Elon Musk, one of the most successful business persons of the modern age said “Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends.” He wasn’t joking.
Entrepreneurship is a very emotional and intimate adventure filled with a lot of ups and downs. In fact, there is a passing joke amongst entrepreneur that loosely translates to business life is so unpredictable and unusual that you might dine like a Saudi prince today, tomorrow you might not even know where your next meal is coming from.’
The uncertainty that comes with this emotional rollercoaster has been known to push many entrepreneurs off the edge. It’s interesting to know that depression is more common among entrepreneurs than the normal population.
On average, 7% of the population suffers from depression while a whopping 30% of entrepreneurs do.
The crazy part is that most of these people do not know they are depressed, while the ones that do won’t talk about it. The “Y-combinator” Sam Altman says “there is a huge amount of pressure as a founder to never show weakness and to be the cheerleader in all internal and external situations.
The world can be falling down around you — and most of the time when you’re running a company, it is — and you have to be the strong, confident, and optimistic. Failing is terrifying, and so is looking stupid. This is precisely why it is critical to know about entrepreneur depression both for yourself and your fellow entrepreneurs. Continue to read to learn the warning signs and what to do if you think that you or your colleague could be depressed.
Founders end up with a lot of weight on their shoulders — their employees and their families, their customers, their investors, etc. Founders usually feel a responsibility to make everyone happy, even though interests are often opposed. And it’s lonely in a way that’s difficult to explain, even with a co-founder.
So a lot of founders end up pretty depressed at one point or another, and they generally don’t talk to anyone about it. Often companies don’t survive these dark times.” Lately, though, there have improvements.
The mere mention of depression used to be taboo around these parts; now we can say the depression question has been asked so much that we may see a lot of super rich and super important corporations hiring an in-house therapist to keep everybody sane. Some of these stress is most of the time minute and small, but when they weighed collectively, you’d wonder how your entrepreneur friends are always looking happy in their pictures.
Most of the time, depression can be difficult to spot among average people and much more difficult among entrepreneurs.
The bulk of the time, the person is too busy working even to notice any symptoms of depression, and when they do, they somehow play it off as one of the few mood twists that come with running a business. It is very important to be very aware of the symptoms to look out for when suspecting depression among family, friends, coworkers or even dealing with it by yourself.
Some of the signs of depression to look out for are:
When upsets happen, and they will. It would help if you always remembered that you are not alone. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture. These challenges may become insignificant in a few months.
Whenever you have an issue, always use the high school analogy, remember the biggest problem you had in high school and you thought you would lose it or worse, it became so insignificant you are probably laughing at yourself wondering how you let something so trivial disturb.
The key is to always keep things in perspective. Noah Kagan, the Sumo founder, said, “Write out everything when you are feeling sad. It’s really funny to laugh at when you are feeling better. Do the opposite when you are in a great mood. Look for patterns about where, when and why you are in this mood. I wrote this out on a post-it note and try to put myself back in those places when not feeling great.
If simple positive mind-shifts are not helping your depression could require additional help to shift. It’s also important to know when to speak up and ask for help. It does not mean you’re weak; as a matter of fact, it takes enormous strength to speak to someone. Many successful entrepreneurs have struggled with depression and beat it with help. Serious depression is a medical issue and you cannot fight it alone, and you would be doing yourself and your company a world of good if you speak up and seek help.
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“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” President Harry Truman It’s a quote attributed to Harry Truman and echoed by the world’s greatest entrepreneurs—and there’s simply no doubt about it: reading is essential to everyone’s journey of self-improvement, especially in the business world. These are my favorite books for entrepreneurs. Read them […] The post Best Books List for Entrepreneurs: 13 of My Favorites for 2018 appeared first on...
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” President Harry Truman
It’s a quote attributed to Harry Truman and echoed by the world’s greatest entrepreneurs—and there’s simply no doubt about it: reading is essential to everyone’s journey of self-improvement, especially in the business world.
These are my favorite books for entrepreneurs. Read them yourself and give them as gifts to your entrepreneurial friends. Some of my greatest business and personal too, breakthroughs have been from insights gleaned by reading great business books.
Elon Musk once described how reading is simply one of the most efficient ways to consume and synthesize data. He is a voracious reader of books for entrepreneurs.
In my own personal entrepreneur’s journey, perusing through a small library’s worth of books has absolutely redirected the course of my life towards great success.
And so from one avid reader to another, and echoing down from a long tradition in the business world, here is a list of the top entrepreneur books I recommend to jump-start your goals and decipher the challenges ahead of you.
#1 – For Startups: “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”
As exciting as the first few months of entrepreneurship can be, the “startup” phase can also be one of the most challenging—and even confusing.
You might have a great idea, but no one knows about it! You might have a solid customer base, but how do you go about scaling it?
“Traction” is the book you need if you want to understand the essential mechanics for getting your business off the ground and achieving “explosive customer growth.”
Written by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, you’ll learn of the secrets to fast growth, a truth that’s usually hidden behind excessive “steps” that lack grounding in the fundamentals.
Namely, the fundamental fact that lasting, fast, and consistent growth in clients is directly tied to how consistently you accumulate new customers—naturally putting your efforts into question if your business is little more than a side project.
#2 – For Motivation: “The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up To Win”
How to beat procrastination. How to overcome laziness. How to get motivated and get working!
They’ve become tropes in an industry where pretending to strive for greatness is just as good as actually attaining it.
Which is why Jeff Haden’s “The Motivation Myth” was such a big hit when it dropped on the market, providing readers with a totally new understanding of “motivation.”
Instead of the usual pep talk and spirit-rousing, Haden explains in exquisite detail how some of the world’s most successful people get motivated.
The big secret? Well, it’s the unique notion that motivation is an effect of work—not the cause!
I know, it’s very counterintuitive but actually cuts to the core of similar themes, such as Seth Godin’s notion of “do the work.”
#3 – For Productivity: “Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive In Life and Business”
Okay, not everything, but it’s certainly an obsession for many entrepreneurs. That’s why Charles Duhigg’s “Smarter, Faster, Better” is such a must-read.
You’ll learn the key steps for changing the way your mind thinks and chooses, instead of worrying about the content of your thoughts and choices.
#4 and #5 – For Bootstrapping: “The Power of Broke” and “The Lean Startup”
Even some of the greatest businesses in the world started in the slums of hard work, sweat, and tears.
Bootstrapping might sound messy, but never assume you’re too good for it.
Take Daymond John’s incredible entrepreneurial journey, which he describes in exquisite detail in his book “The Power of Broke.”
Famous for his work on “Shark Tank”, before Daymond was the popular and wealthy businessman of today, he was living a life of poverty struggling to get by—bootstrapping works, people! This is one of the best entrepreneur books for beginners.
Another great read within this theme is “The Lean Startup.”
Low budget? Strapped for cash? Lack of connections?
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries offers great tools for validating your new idea before massively investing time and money into it.
#6 and #7 – For Confidence-Building: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” and “Tribe of Mentors”
In an age where everyone wants to be perfect, only those willing to f*ck up will succeed.
It’s a counter-intuitive thought but that’s the nature of success—without risk, there’s no reward.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck” has been wildly successful because people were desperate for something real.
Instead of striving for perfection, the author encourages you to strive for greatness—and embrace each and every f*ck up along the way. I also read and reviewed the companion workbook-type book, Get Your Sh*t Together. A nice gift for your favorite entrepreneur would be the two books.
The subtitle is “short life advice from the best in the world”—and the value of learning from mentors cannot be overstated. Get inside the heads of the best business people in the world and find out what it takes to succeed in the entrepreneurial life.
When it comes to building confidence in yourself and your ambitions, few things help more than a deep understanding of the life lessons endured by some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.
#8 – For Persuasion: “How To Win Friends and Influence People”
This is a book that’s practically a bible to me—I used it straight out of college to navigate the business world and maximize my networking skills. It has passed the test of time and is considered by many to be one of the best entrepreneur books of all time.
>>Now they have an updated version titled, How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age.
After a long and successful entrepreneurial journey, I can absolutely affirm that this book—published in 1936—is still relevant for a reason.
From being a leader and manager to simply mastering the art of socializing, this classic book needs to be on every business owner’s reading list.
#9 and #10 – For Financing: “Money Master the Game” and “Rich Dad Poor Dad”
Tony Robbins is such a legend in the self-help world that he’s almost become a cliche. Yes, I am a big fan of his too! Whenever I am feeling discouraged or stuck I cue up Tony Robbins on my iPod/phone and take a brisk walk outside. Within an hour I am renewed and revitalized to go back and fight another entrepreneurial day.
But as they say, cliches become cliches because they rang true yesterday.
Tony Robbins’ “Money Master The Game” is an instant, timeless classic revealing the “7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.”
Describing how “Business success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics”, Tony takes you on a clear and condensed journey you cannot miss.
Also in the finance category is “Rich Dad Poor Dad” where you’ll learn “what the rich teach their kids about money—that the poor and middle class do not!”
This is another classic that teaches you the secrets of investments that were left out of your grade school education.
#11 – For Negotiating: “Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It”
In this radical take on negotiating, Chris Voss offers a detailed and arguably extreme approach—as if your life depended on it.
The essential lesson? Every negotiation is technically a compromise, but it you want to get good at negotiating, you need to stop compromising.
Obviously, there’s a time and place for compromise, but in the business world, compromise is technically a failure, especially in those million-dollar negotiation deals.
#12 – For Product Development: “Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products”
The Hook Model: it’s Nir Eyal’s simple yet powerful technique for creating products that people love—dare I say—are addicted to.
Simply put, the most successful products and services out there are often addictive—addictive to play, consume, or share with others.
By employing these strategies, you can get closer to inventing and creating the next viral hit or revolutionary business idea.
#13 – For Sales: “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”
In this classic by Robert Cialdini, you’ll learn about the proven, researched methods for influencing other people.
This is not manipulation or deception. Instead, it’s a clear walkthrough of what people want, don’t want, and how to persuade them based on their own values.
Marketing can sometimes feel a bit dirty, but the genius of Cialdini, a Ph.D. and truly credible source, is that his marketing tips are grounded in an understanding of positive human psychology.
The post Best Books List for Entrepreneurs: 13 of My Favorites for 2018 appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.
Another installment of my continuing series of comparing 99designs, my recommendation for business logo design, and other 99designs alternatives. Today I am reviewing Deluxe.com programs for custom logo design. >>I got my new logo designed at 99designs – and I love it! Check out the videos and review of my 99designs logo experience 99designs Comparison […] The post 99designs Logos vs Deluxe Business Custom Logo Design appeared first on...
Another installment of my continuing series of comparing 99designs, my recommendation for business logo design, and other 99designs alternatives. Today I am reviewing Deluxe.com programs for custom logo design.
>>I got my new logo designed at 99designs – and I love it! Check out the videos and review of my 99designs logo experience
99designs Comparison and Reviews
Looking for more alternatives for 99designs? Check out this list of 56+ of 99designs competitors
Perhaps you know of Deluxe Business as the largest retailer of business checks and forms. I like their small business products and have reviewed them positively here
Now the company has expanded their small business offerings to include logo design in direct competition with 99designs.com
While they do offer Logo Design packages, they are not a crowdsource graphic design contest site like 99 designs. They have a team of graphic artists that will design your logo.
While I am sure their artists are qualified, this business model lacks the creative power of the crowd that makes 99design so good. This is more of an agency program where you order your logo and gets submissions from their graphic designers.
Below are the prices of the logo packages starting at $195 for Bronze up to $995 for Platinum. Compared to 99designs starter package at $299 Deluxe is less expensive. However, you get a lot fewer design concepts at Deluxe.com.
They only offer four (4) in the starter Bronze package for $195 – compared to 30+ guaranteed from 99designs. I ordered the Bronze package at 99designs and got over 100 great logo designs!
I would find it hard to get the right logo from only four (4) choices. That is why I highly recommend 99designs logo and brand identity package for all new business startups. This package, which saves time and money, combines logo designs, business card, stationery and web social media graphics in one graphic design contests.
When comparing the two logo designs you can see how the “magic” creative juice of the crowd from 99designs outshines the standard agency look from Deluxe business.
Logos from Deluxe Business Services
Logos from 99designs CrowdSource
Below are two customer testimonials from the Deluxe Business logo center. They look legit and are satisfied customers. One customer appreciated how a last-minute company name change was accommodated at no extra charge.
>>I got my new logo designed at 99designs – and I love it! Check out the videos and review of my 99designs logo experience
Get to the home and read the newest reviews and business trends
The post 99designs Logos vs Deluxe Business Custom Logo Design appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.
Compare IncFile vs LegalZoom to determine your best LLC formation choice between these online legal services when you are ready to form an LLC for your new business startup. This in-depth incFile review includes a side by side comparison with LegalZoom, feature and package list plus advice on which to choose is the best choice […] The post IncFile vs Legalzoom: Which is Best LLC Service? Save with Promo Codes appeared first on...
This in-depth incFile review includes a side by side comparison with LegalZoom, feature and package list plus advice on which to choose is the best choice for your unique business situation.
I often recommend LegalZoom, however, I know you have other good online legal choices such as IncFile.
So today I will compare LegalZoom to incfile.com LLC reviews in detail, to advise you on each companies features, packages, and benefits plus exactly which is your best choice for you and your business LLC, DBA, INC formation.
As a seasoned business owner, verified LegalZoom customer, and small business writer I am really impressed with Legalzoom’s excellent business combination of affordability, quality and customer service. But IncFile.com also has many good qualities and can sometimes be a better choice in your particular situation. Read on to discover your best choice.
Read on to discover your best LLC formation service:
Experience – LegalZoom wins.
Compare Legalzoom’s 16 years in business having served over 3 million customers to IncFile’s shorter time in business, only 13 years, having only serviced 100,000 customers. LegalZoom has more experience setting up LLC with different types of customers and business situations.
Usually, IncFile is cheaper than LegalZoom, $30 less for the base package, HOWEVER, since you can use our exclusive promo code BEST4B18 to save 10% the prices of IncFile and LegalZoom are nearly identical for you.
LegalZoom wins for value because they include the all-important, often state required operating agreement in their packages. IncFile charges extra for these documents, which depends upon your state, are required to file.
IncFile tries to stay competitive with offering a free year of Registered Agent services instead. While this is nice, it is not as critical as the state-mandated operating agreement in most business cases.
Remember regardless of which legal service provider you select, your costs are all tax deductible as a legitimate business expense. Remember to track all your expenses and retain your receipts – in digital or paper versions.
Customer Reviews – LegalZoom wins.
Based on the 30X larger volume of customers the percentages of negative reviews for LegalZoom are substantially lower than IncFile. Small business review site, FitSmallBusiness only has 26 reviews for LegalZoom and 47 reviews for IncFile. Based on customer volume LegalZoom should have over 1400 reviews to be a direct comparison. To me, this means that very few people have had a negative experience at LegalZoom that they want to post.
Read IncFile 20 complaints on BBB Better Business Bureau
Packages and Features – LegalZoom wins.
Again LegalZoom wins because they include more features in all of their packages as opposed to IncFile which offers less. Perhaps that is how IncFile can afford to be lower priced. But since you have a promo code for LegalZoom to save 10% your costs will be lower and you will get all the features.
Important business-building features in the LLC packages from LegalZoom include; name check and business filing, state certificates, article of organization, LLC next steps guide, Peace of Mind review by legal professionals, lifetime customer support, financial account authorization letter to authorize you to open an bank account for your LLC, deluxe organizer, official certificates, 20 company membership certificates plus three (3) expeditating options; VIP processing, Secretary of State and Express shipping.
Turnaround Time – IncFile and LegalZoom tied.
While IncFile says they ship overnight, that is only if you purchase the higher level and more expensive packages. Standard processing time for LegalZoom and IncFile is 7-10 business days.
Ease of Use and Ordering – LegalZoom wins. I tried both companies to set up an LLC and found Legalzoom.com easier to use. Beginning with the name search to check availability and ending with my state specific questions it took me about 10 minutes to order my new business LLC. All along the way, there were helpful links and pop-ups anticipating my questions and answering them. Nice
InFile was a bit more confusing. First, it made me decide what type of business formation I needed – but I was not sure Then the ordering screen was cluttered with too much information about complex topics such as annual compliance and document publishing.
It was intimidating and was hard to jump at the deep end of this legal pool! Thus I preferred the simplified ordering process at LegalZoom which asked me simple questions and lead me, by the hand, through the LLC, INC and DBA process.
Operating Agreement – LegalZoom wins.
They include a customized operating agreement, personalized for your business, meeting all your state requirements, in their packages at no extra charge. But IncFile charges additional fees for these vital business documents. In fact, most states require that you file an operating agreement, so, if you use IncFile for your LLC formation you will need to purchase this additional service.
I recommend LegalZoom for the majority of businesses because of their extensive experience, a full range of legal services (including trademark, patents, legal plans, and estate planning, combined with reasonable prices.
>Remember to use LegalZoom promo code BEST4B18 to save 10%
When IncFile is a good choice for your business
Here are the situations for which IncFile is a good choice for your business:
Read LegalZoom review of online legal services for business formation and get a promo discount code
Read the latest headlines and newest entrepreneurial advice on our home page
The post IncFile vs Legalzoom: Which is Best LLC Service? Save with Promo Codes appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.
“Where is my startup capital?” That is the question that bursts most business bubbles 🙁 Most of us dream of being our own bosses, wearing our desired style to work or maybe even working from home in our pajamas. But this one stone seems to trip us over. Here, we are going to explore together […] The post Start Your Business with Almost No Money appeared first on...
“Where is my startup capital?” That is the question that bursts most business bubbles
Most of us dream of being our own bosses, wearing our desired style to work or maybe even working from home in our pajamas. But this one stone seems to trip us over.
Here, we are going to explore together just how you can pull some strings here and there and get that enterprise of yours up and running. Who knows I might be talking to the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, so please listen up!
Oops, where are my manners? We can’t go on with the show without first congratulating you for coming up with your business idea. Let nobody tell you it’s easy coming up with something of your own because it is not easy at all. Thumbs up entrepreneur!
When you are ready to set up your new company LLC – Start by saving 10% with these LegalZoom promotional codes
Now let’s get down to business. There is no better way to get some excitement pumped into you than to give you some real-time examples of people who were exactly where you are today.
People who had no startup capital, maybe a few dollars and cents in their pockets but with a pinch of some entrepreneurial creativity managed to turn that anthill into a mountain. People who even when compared to you, were a little disadvantaged!
Never knew they had similar first names. But I do know that they are founders of Apple Inc. One of the biggest computer systems in the world today. But did you know that they first started out in a garage owned by Job’s parents? Jobs had to later leave university to focus on his business full-time. And at one point they even had to look for a co-signer to secure a loan for $250,000?
Not a name you might be familiar with but I am sure you will be interested if I told you that his current worth is $3.1billion. But was he always like this? No, in fact, he once lived in his car when he was starting out on his business. He worked as a newspaper courier and even as a janitor. But with a starting investment of $700, he started out John Paul Mitchell Systems.
We have all seen or used the Dell computers and we love them! At least I do. But do you know that Michael first started this company with just $1000 investment from his family? And I just can’t express how much it has grown to date.
Let’s get our neurons to work and have a look at some key points from these guys. Firstly, Debt as bad as it may sound could be a key way to business success.
Secondly, you are your greatest investment, now I cannot emphasize enough on this, all these people needed the knowledge, skills, and education to create the masterpiece that the world fell in love with, so read as many books as you can on topics that you are interested in businesswise.
Third, march on tomorrow, get rid of the ‘it has always been done this way’ mentality, crack your way out of that egg and venture into new unexploited markets.
You have the Idea and business plan but now you came here so that you can know how you can get capital to establish that business, throw money in the air and start swaying your hips in joy. But hold up! You’ve got to be willing to start small but visualize it big. Here, take a look.
You didn’t come here for the traditional ways and these are definitely not textbook methods you learn in business class.
What I am talking about here are the skills that you are able to offer to customers that aren’t necessarily what you signed up to provide through your business. But you do this to create some cash flow and get some startup investment for your business. This can be done both at the individual or company level.
At the individual level am not talking about being a janitor like John DeJoria. Remember we talked about reading to invest in yourself? Here is where this applies.
With some newly learned skills, you can earn some capital for your business. Be a freelancer! Write some articles, do some website building, social media management, sell some photography, create some logos or some data entry work. It might not sound like much but joining some freelance platforms like Upwork is absolutely free and within some weeks you might have enough to start on something of your own.
At the company level, let’s say you have your startup running but not yet in full speed ahead and you want to stand among the great. Reach out to your employees. Get some employees who are willing to offer extra services.
For example, get your marketing department to create websites for some clients to earn some extra cash or your management department can do some data entry or project management. It’s like creating mini-companies from your business that would generate revenue for the main business and embark on it once you have enough capital.
As the name suggests, this is all about you tightening your belt and seeing just where you can get some capital for your business.
Personal Savings:- Time to break the piggy bank. Whether it is a dollar you have been saving every day, it will help. The good thing here is that there is no liability or interest charged.
Retirement:- Yes maybe you have just rounded off your 30 years of service or maybe it’s just the three-year savings you accumulated while employed, you don’t have to be 60 to retire. Learn how to use your 401K retirement savings to start your new business
Personal Credit:- Most of us starting entrepreneurs have more access to credit than cash. What I would advise you is to limit your credit card spending to a specific revenue generating source. Your customer then pays you and you quickly maintain your credit score.
Home equity Loans:- These can be quite risky as you now put your home as the collateral for the credit you receive.
Friends & Family:- Michael Dell did it and you can get some investment for your business from here too. Plus it’s less risky. Of course, you’ll have to pay for the loans you receive.
Yeah, I know. You had a hunch I was going to mention these guys but am going to do more than just spill the options. Am going to give you some little bit of knowledge you may not know.
Firstly, I should tell you that banks are reluctant when it comes to funding startups. Especially when you have no commercial assets they can claim as security. Here’s how you can get around this barrier.
But how? Aren’t we talking about just how you can get your business started? Relax. Am going to show you how to start your business with almost no investment, except for your idea of course.
To join the entrepreneurs’ club, you have what I believe to the most important quality is persistence. I mean, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell and Bill Gates dropped out of university to pursue their dreams. No, I don’t mean you leave school. What am talking about here is you have to have the drive that will convince people to believe in your dream. You need this here.
Both these two methods as juicy as they sound are actually quite hard to pin down. You might have to get in the trench, knock on some doors and get some doors shut in your face. But as I said earlier this path isn’t easy and you must be willing to play hard.
Bottom line here is to not let your current financial status hold you back from your entrepreneurial dreams.
This is your dream and nobody has the right to stop you if you believe in it. Of course, you may want to do some creative thinking and work in between but at the end of the day, if you keep on pushing, one door will open and there will be no stopping you now. Good luck entrepreneur!
Get the Cash to Get Your Business off the Ground “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO After being involved with dozens of baby businesses (mine, friends’, and clients’), I heartily agree with Mr. Hsieh. Starting your own business to get rich is backward thinking. […] The post Startup Capital: 17 Proven Funding Sources to Launch Your Company appeared first on...
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
After being involved with dozens of baby businesses (mine, friends’, and clients’), I heartily agree with Mr. Hsieh.
Starting your own business to get rich is backward thinking. Put yourself behind a product or service that you know, that you like, and that you’re good at. People will notice, and your business will grow.
That said, you can’t buy materials or rent a storefront with hopes and dreams. ‘Spend money to make money’ is a trite but true mantra of any business.
So, if this is your first small business or you’re just getting back on your feet from another endeavor, where do you get that money you have yet to earn?
Ready to set up your LLC and start your business- Save 10% with this promo code for LegalZoom
Fortunately, there are many sources of startup capital for the eager entrepreneur. Check out this list of business financing options for your startup.
As in ‘pulled herself up by her own bootstraps’, Bootstrapping refers to self-funding a startup. If you’re not swimming in loot, don’t worry. There are several versions of this tactic, all of which are most often combined with other strategies.
1) Personal Savings
Let’s start with the simplest one. Use your own hard-earned bucks as capital in your new business. The PRO is that you’re legally/financially accountable to no-one and you don’t have any interest payments. The CON is that you assume all the financial risk with almost no protection if the business loses money.
2) Retirement Accounts (ROBS)
If you have over $50,000 in an Individual Retirement Account (Roth IRA or traditional IRA) or a 401(k), it is possible to use your retirement savings as startup capital for your new business. This little known, misunderstood, and unfortunately abbreviated program is called a ‘Rollover for Business Startup’ or ROBS. Under other circumstances, taking money out of your retirement savings before retirement age would result in substantial tax penalties and loss of interest, but conducting a ROBS avoids this. A ROBS is not a loan against your investment, and technically it is not a withdrawal from your retirement savings. All this said, using a ROBS is an intricate thing. I always recommend working with financial professionals when using this type of funding strategy.
3) Personal Credit (Credit Cards)
Many aspiring entrepreneurs have better access to credit than cash. While credit cards are a relatively simple and easy way to make capital purchases, there is a significant risk to your personal credit. A good strategy is to limit credit card spending to specific revenue-generating projects. That way, when your customer pays you, you can pay off your credit card. This protects your credit score and limits charges from high-interest rates.
4) Personal Credit (Home Equity Loans)
This strategy is basically the same as the one above but involves using the equity in your home as collateral. The initial capital flexibility of this is usually pretty high, but the risk is great. I put this on our list of startup capital sources to show one extreme, but I do not necessarily endorse this method.
5) Friends & Family
This is a pretty common strategy because it involves fewer hoops and less financial risk than taking out a loan or charging against your credit. However, this tactic involves mixing your personal life with your business endeavors, which is another breed of complication. If you ask for a loan, you obviously have to repay it. If you sell equity in your business, you have to split profits and potentially involve your friends & family in your business decision-making. Either strategy could get messy.
While this is generally where people’s minds go first, it is not necessarily the best source of startup capital. Banks are generally wary of lending to startups, especially if you don’t already have any commercial assets. For the most part, banks are a much better resource once your business is off the ground or if this is not your first small business. Here are a few targeted areas where the bank may be more willing and able to assist with capital.
6) Term Loans for Machinery
Banks may lend you money, in the form of a term loan, toward the purchase of equipment or machinery. Financial institutions are much more likely to lend you money to buy fixed assets that will have value no matter the outcome of your new endeavor.
7) Term Loans for Working Capital
‘Working Capital’ refers to cost-of-goods (inventory) and providing credit to initial customers of your fledgling business. Banks will typically work off of a business model you provide to assess if their investment will make a return through customer purchases.
8) Loans for Research & Development
Banks may be more interested in loaning capital if your business model involves the development of technology or other patentable items/ideas. Of course, you will be required to adequately demonstrate your capability to create this potentially profitable merchandise or intellectual property.
This may seem like putting the cart before the horse, but there are a lot of strategies for generating startup capital that involve suppliers and customers for your new business.
9) Product Licensing
Consider this as an ‘alternate strategy’ for starting a new business. This is a common scenario for aspiring entrepreneurs with a great product or service idea: You don’t have the startup capital. You don’t have the capability to produce the product. You don’t know how to produce the product. And even if you got past all that, you don’t have the distribution network to sell the product.
Rather than tackle all of those formidable challenges, consider licensing the idea for the product to a company that has all of this infrastructure already in place. This may feel like a disappointing solution, but it is imminently better than the frustration of sitting on an idea that you have no way of shepherding to fruition. Don’t try this tactic without guidance. Consulting firms like Lambert & Lambert are experts in partnering innovators with the right producers.
10) Customer Orders (Crowdfunding)
If your product is unique or in high demand, customers may be willing to pre-pay for their orders or give you an advance on your production of the product. This sort of arrangement can be hard to negotiate, especially if you are an unknown entity.
Crowdfunding is a more regimented technique that utilizes this same concept. Using the potency of social media, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter help you draw the interest of individuals who might pay small amounts to help you get your products off the ground. The reward for them is generally just the first crack at your innovation.
11) Invoice Financing
Invoice Financing (also called ‘Accounts Receivable Financing’) is where a lender will loan you money based on outstanding customer invoices. This can be a bit confusing to wrap your head around, so I’ll break it down with a few simplified steps:
#1 You make a product or deliver a service to a client.
#2 You generate an invoice for this product or service and send it to the client.
#3 You also send a copy of the invoice to the lender, who pays you the amount of the invoice (basically vouching for the client).
#4 The client pays the invoice.
#5 You repay the lender the value of the invoice plus interest.
With Invoice Financing, lenders are much more concerned with your credit (and that of your client) than the nature of your business. These loans are typically fairly easy to obtain in a very short amount of time. However, they generally carry high rates of interest, so I only recommend them for short-term borrowing.
12) Purchase Order Financing
Purchase Order Financing is similar to invoice financing, but with one very important difference: you can apply before you have produced the product or provided the service. This is a crucial advantage if you are lacking the capital for materials (and therefore can’t produce the product, allowing you to generate an invoice). With Purchase Order Financing, a client will send you a Purchase Order signaling their intent to purchase your products or services. You can then take the Purchase Order to the lender for a loan. Once you obtain the capital, manufacture/ship the product, and are paid by the client, you can repay the lender. Qualification for Purchase Order Financing typically has everything to do with the credit and reputation of your customer, so this is a much more effective strategy with a large and well-established client.
13) Supplier Lines of Credit
On the other end of the equation, you may be able to buy yourself some time to pay your own suppliers by negotiating lines of credit. The goal is to be granted ‘terms’ (generally a period of 30 or 60 days) before you are required to pay each invoice. The combination of this strategy and having your own customers prepay for the products can produce a solid chunk of working capital for you. Of course, you have to make sure you deliver!
There are several other niche sources of capital that you can mine if you’re savvy and if your business model meets certain criteria.
Microloans are private loans from non-profit groups that are specifically tailored for certain types of startup businesses. Generally, these loans are for amounts less than $10,000, so they aren’t for substantial capital purchases. Because of the variable interest rate (as high as 22%), I don’t advise that you take one out if you don’t have a high degree of confidence you can repay it quickly. Many microloans are for very specific businesses or business owners such as DBEs (Disenfranchised Business Enterprises). DBEs include businesses owned by women, minorities, or individuals with disabilities.
15) Venture Capital
Many people know this term (possibly because it sounds really cool) but not much about it. Venture Capital investors are investment firms that inject seed money into other businesses. Rather than charge interest for the money (or even expect it back), they buy equity or a minority stake in the business. This means that will you share profits with the Venture Capital firm. Also, because Venture Capital firms have their own investors to report to, they will take a more active role in the managing of your business. Look for venture capital for startups. While this can be a good source of capital for the right entrepreneur, it can be extremely difficult to obtain. Venture Capital firms target opportunities with high reward potential, typically in specific industries such as medicine or technology. Learn how to best pitch investors
16) Angel Investors
Angel Investors are similar to Venture Capitalists, but there are a few key differences. First, Angel Investors are more likely to be wealthy individuals or families, rather than corporations. They also tend to make their selections based on their belief in you, the business owner, in addition to your business model. For this reason, aggressive networking and maintaining an unimpeachable reputation in the business world are both very important for attracting the right Angel Investor. Finally, while Angel Investors may be interested in obtaining a higher percentage of your business than Venture Capitalists, they are much less likely to ask for an active role in managing the business.
17) Government & Private Grants
If you have the right sort of business, government grants and private grants can be great avenues for obtaining capital as startup business grants. It’s basically free money. Unfortunately, of all our potential sources, these tend to be the most difficult to secure. Generally, the types of institutions eligible for grant money are very limited (e.g. schools, churches, charities) and you may need to first receive a certain tax designation from the IRS. Obtaining grant money and retaining your eligibility is a complicated process.
The Bottom Line
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this: don’t let your current financial situation stand in the way of opening your next small business. Do your due diligence to research all the avenues open to you. The opportunities are out there for entrepreneurs with the fortitude and humility to try a few different doors before they find the right source of startup capital for their next great business idea.
The post Startup Capital: 17 Proven Funding Sources to Launch Your Company appeared first on Best4Businesses.com.
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