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A calculator, pen, and financial statement.

In a perfect world, you would have made the decision to create your startup last year. You’d have taken on a side gig, in addition to your full-time job, to help build up a sizable savings account to help fund your first year or two of entrepreneurship. You’d have spent what little free time you had putting together a business plan and researching VCs. And in a perfect world, everything comes together and you create a successful startup with zero debt. In a perfect world.

In the real world, the choice to go it alone might have been spontaneous or a choice you made because your job hunt was going nowhere. You might not have had the option to save up a year’s worth of income to float you through while you got your company off the ground. What’s more, in the real world, you have student loans, utility bills, etc. If you’re really serious about starting up your own company, dealing with debt is inevitable. It is also a good thing.

Wait, what? Yes. We just told you that building up some debt in the name of your business is a good thing.

The Right Kind of Debt

First, let’s be clear: we aren’t talking about taking out a five-figure small business loan that buries you in debt for years. We’re talking about smaller amounts of debt that you can pay off pretty quickly once you start making sales. For this type of debt, you’ll need to use credit cards.

Finding the Right Card

Finding the right credit cards for your business might take some time. You’ll want to read the reviews of what’s available. Not every creditor is willing to offer credit to a brand new venture. You’ll also want to consider the benefits associated with each card. If you’re going to be a consultant, you might want a card that lets you rack up frequent flier miles. If you need to finance inventory, you’ll probably be better off with one of the cash back credit cards that are available.

How Many Cards?

Start with one. All you need is one creditor to agree to set up a line of credit. You don’t even need the credit line to be very big. In fact, if you can’t find someone to offer your company some unsecured credit, you might want to consider opening up a secured card. Opening this first line of credit is essential for establishing your business’s credit (which should always be kept separate from your own). If you use this card responsibly for the first six months of starting up your company, you will likely be swimming in credit offers to help you finance your larger expenses.

How to Use Credit Cards to Finance Your Business

This is going to depend quite a bit on the type of business you’re trying to build. For the most part, however, concentrate on the most important purchases that you know you’ll be able to pay off within a few months: a new business-dedicated laptop. Software. A desk. Pay each purchase off in full before moving on to the next. You can worry about stocking up on inventory after you’ve built buzz for your company and researched vendors thoroughly. By then you should have access to all of the credit you’ll need.

Why This Plan Works

As we’ve previously stated, using credit cards to finance the initial stages of your startup is the best way to build your company’s credit history and score. The better your company’s credit, the less likely you’ll have to dip into your own money to get things moving–which is something you really want to avoid. Using credit keeps your personal and professional expenses separate. This makes your taxes and accounting much simpler and gives you legal protections if something goes wrong.

Remember: go slowly. Don’t max out your credit lines as soon as you acquire them. You need to use these credit cards responsibly so that later, when you need that big business loan to help your company grow, you’ll be guaranteed approval.



 
  


 4 Solutions to Simplifying Your Business Processes

Are there actually ways to simplify business processes that can save you time and money? Well that’s the million dollar question most business owners ask themselves on the regular basis. It is important to continually seek ways to get the job done in a more cost effective manner without compromising quality – and your brand. Though there are many avenues you can take, many small business owners have leaned towards the use of technology to help streamline practices.

Intuitive and advanced technologies are being developed every day that provides several options to businesses looking to simplify processes. Whether its business applications for improved communication, or interactive tools and resources to provide better marketing platforms, there several resources at your disposal. The question then becomes…

What technologies are worth investing in to simplify the business? Below are a few most commonly considered:

1. Business in the Cloud

When cloud technologies and cloud computing became a popular term, it was first thought of as applications that were great for storing files like music downloads and pictures. However, with new advancements, cloud technology has gone above and beyond the storage platform. Today, there are cloud based business applications for just about every business need. Employees are now able to remotely have access to documents, files, and cloud based databases/applications anywhere there is an internet connection. Whether you’re in need of an affordable word processing system, file storage, or an accounting system for generating reports, there are cloud based solutions available.

Cyber Security: With the increased investment in business software and applications, company data becomes vulnerable to cyber thieves. Investing in network security software ensures that your company information is never compromised. Such features allow you to stay vigilant and proactive against threats with real time warnings and easy to implement solutions. When you consider the fact that one threat could set you back thousands of dollars as well as a ruined reputation, investing in cyber security should be of extreme importance.

2. Internet Marketing Solutions

Marketing is essential to the success of your brand. However, if you’ve been in business for a while, you know that marketing can also consume a large portion of your time, resources, and finances. If you’re looking for cost effective solutions that will help you streamline marketing practices utilizing internet marketing tactics would suffice. Some options for streamlining might include:

Emailing for advertisements – email marketing is an efficient method of internet marketing. By creating a sizeable email lists, companies can send promotional or informational materials. With the click of a button, hundreds if not thousands of potential consumers will receive notifications to their inbox.

Social Media Management Tools – social media is a huge factor in marketing today. As businesses strive to connect with consumers on a more personal level, the need to post regular content is necessary. Social media management tools can make daily posting to multiple platforms a lot simpler. Creating an account can connect all of your social media accounts. From this social media management tool, you’re able to create and schedule posts, review analytics, and respond in real time to your target audience.

3. Virtual Phone Solutions

If you’re looking to improve business communications, investing in a virtual phone system can help. Essentially a virtual phone system is created using cloud based technology. There are plenty of benefits to investing in a virtual phone system.  Workers are able to access the phone system wherever there is an internet connection allowing them to be more productive throughout the day. Calls are connected through the internet and can be routed to anyone else who has access to the virtual phone system. This is great for small businesses who have more than one location, remote workers, or simply for businesses looking to save money while streamlining company communications.

4. Project Management Tools

When collaborating on projects within the company it is imperative that staff remain on the same page in order to produce quality results. Project management applications can assist in keeping the lines of communication open and ensuring that the project is completed from start to finish. Managers can assign projects, create steps for completion, monitor the progress, set budgets, and even communicate with involved staff and customers to ensure that things are on target.

Hopefully this has given you some idea on where to start implementing new processes within your business. Streamlining your small business practices is really all about evaluating your company’s areas of weakness. Take a step back and review each segment of your business to discern if there are areas that could use improvement. Whether it is communication systems, marketing platforms, or project management, there are efficient technological systems, applications, and tools that can be used to cut time and money while improving productivity.


5 Key Steps to Creating Your Free Taste

You’ve done all the hard work in getting your blog site up and running…

You’ve even got a sign-up box on every page of your site.

free taste

Now all you need to do is get your web site visitors to part with their name and email address so that you can start and build your database of potential clients.

But the question is … how do you get them to do this?

The answer – provide them with a very compelling reason to give you their name and email address with an irresistible free taste of your work (also known as a pink spoon or ethical bribe)!

Your free taste is simply a sampling of what it’s like to work with you, and provides the user with the outcomes they can expect to see as a result of working with you. Your free taste can take the form of:

  • An e-report
  • An audio file of, say, one of your teleclasses
  • A mini e-course
  • A tip sheet
  • A worksheet or template
  • A checklist

Whatever you decide you are going to offer for your free taste it has to be substantial and of great value to your subscriber.  And, most importantly, it needs to be consumed in five minutes or less — so a 20-page white paper is not going to work here!

I’m not saying you have to give away the farm, but you do need to show your new subscriber that you are an expert in your field and that what you do delivers results and can make a difference to them in their life or business.

So, once you’ve decided what you free taste is going to consist of you then need to put together the system for delivering your free taste — and it needs to be fully automated too.

The components you’ll need to put together are:

An information/sales page – you need to tell your visitor exactly what it is they’re going to get and how your free taste is going to benefit them. This isn’t a bullet point of features, but instead tells them how they’re going to benefit from downloading your free taste.

A call to action – you need to tell your visitor exactly what they need to do to get your free taste, i.e. input your name and email address in the box below.

A confirmation page – so, they’ve given you their name and email address, what happens next? Let your visitor know what to expect and when to expect it.

A delivery system – how are you going to get your free taste to your visitor? This very much depends on what it is you’re offering, but you need to let the visitor know exactly how they’re going to receive their gift, or where they need to go to get it.

A follow-up system – you never get a second chance at a first impression; mess this up and you’ve lost faith with your potential new client even before you got started.  So how you are you going to welcome your new subscriber into your community and make them feel that they’ve made the right decision in giving you their name and email address? Your follow-up system is crucial to nurturing the relationship with your new subscriber.

Use the above points to create a checklist for when you’re putting together your free taste, or, if you currently have a free taste that you offer, use these steps to review your current system and see if it can be improved upon.

Tracey Lawton

About Our GE Network Expert - Tracey Lawton

Tracey Lawton is an expert in online business management, office administration, and developing administrative systems. Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant, Tracey Lawton, supports professional speakers, coaches, and authors to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how to create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free tips at http://OfficeOrganizationSuccess.com.


Tips to Write an Essay From Scratch

It’s all in the planning

Don’t waste time with needless worry when you know that you have to write an essay but take the necessary steps to prepare yourself mentally and simply believe that this is something which you are well able to do if you put your mind to it. The first steps will always be to read carefully through all of the instructions or questions and it may help to underline some keywords which seems to strike a chord in you. Also identify those words within the instructions that seem to be placing some kind of limitation or restriction on the discussion with in that essay and this may be especially those areas which deals with a specific time period. Look at exactly what it says in the instructions such as what is the keywords, is it compare, discuss or explain because this will give you an excellent indication of where you should be heading. No one has all knowledge and therefore if you find words which you do not know then make use of a dictionary also pay close attention to words which may have reference to a particular subject with in that essay. In order to learn how I write my essays from scratch readers should pay special attention to the following paragraphs.

Approach carefully

Before you actually start pouring words on paper sufficient consideration should be given to the relevant ideas, you know like brainstorming and as things come to mindwrite those ideas down because they may just be an excellent starting point to your narrative. Absolutely any additional information which is relevant to those ideas which you have already discovered or anything at all which could substantiate those ideas should also be written down in your preparation notes. Look at the available information from all possible angles and just let your mind go in order to see if there is any other realistic connections between the available portions of information available to you. Most topics will require a substantial amount of research in order to ensure that the essay either has sufficient background information to actually be able to write a compelling essay. Not all sources which could be found on the Internet or in the library will necessarily be useful for your purposes and therefore choose carefully. It is important to make notes of all resources which is used so that they can be included in either the bibliography or in the footnotes of your essay.

Plan your essay carefully

Put all the information which you have accumulated in a logical sequence and it’s important to ensure that every snippet of information which has been gathered during your research process is really relevant to the instructions and the questions which has been included into that project by the teacher. Once this process has been completed and everything has been written down in a logical sequence the student or essay writer should know exactly where they are going with the rest of the content. This whole process will require intensive consideration because it is important to provide a response that will be in keeping with the mood of the entire project and it also serves no purpose to provide content which is too simplistic and which does not address the issues properly. You need to carefully plan the entire style of the essay and you need to clearly indicate your intentions right from the opening paragraph. You need to frequently refer to that strategy or most important thoughts and once again when it comes to the conclusion of that essay the final proof as to the validity of that strategy have to be proven in a convincing fashion.

The importance of the introduction

It is vitally important to provide content that will be able to engage the reader and that will keep them interested. Therefore during the actual introduction it is important to put your case on the table and open it up for discussion. It will now be necessary to proceed to present your centralthoughts or also known as the thesis. Although you still have a long way to go in actually writing that essay the introduction should provide at least some indication of how the questions which are relevant to that essay is going to be answered. Once that has been done the essay writer should not proceed to the main body of the essay. When reading expert essays it will quickly be seen that the preferred practice will be to address each point in a completely new paragraph. It will be important to ensure that there is an intelligent link between separate paragraphs and it should be clear to the reader how those paragraphs relate to each other. It is not merely sufficient to provide information but the essay writer should be able to support every point which is made with sufficient evidence. Some important points will have to be repeated two or more times in order to emphasize their importance and also their relevance to the main topic.


broadband

The new generation or the Millennials are after speed! They need everything faster. Nobody has the time to wait for anything and when it comes to the Internet, it is no different. Everyone wants their internet to be fast and stable. Frequent disconnections disrupt whatever they are doing over the Internet and slow connections make it difficult to fetch data online.

The dial-up internet that connected via the telephone cables that became popular during the 90s was quite slow and highly unstable. Moreover, back then people were quite dependent on the land phones and the internet blocked the landline and vice versa. Then the cable internet came, which used the television cable for bringing in the connection. This is still a popular option in most parts of the world.

With more options on the internet to learn, work and to play, a faster and more reliable connection was required just as the Millennials would prefer them to be. They wanted the speed to watch movies and play games. They needed them to stream e-learning videos and for online education too. Whether it was work or play, the need for speed of the Internet was obvious. Speed and stability were the major requirements for commercial internet which the IT giants and the multi-chain retails badly needed for normal functioning. They depended on optical fiber cables which provided them the required speed and stability but at a higher cost. The MNCs could easily afford them as they would bill their clients after considering this cost and recover the same without fail. But it took many more years and another set of Millennials who realized the market for a faster internet connection among the residential users.

A few years back, when the battle was fierce to win over the residential customers with low-cost cable internet subscriptions, the smartphones started invading the ground and they too needed to be connected to the internet to function faster and better. Mobile data was quite expensive and they wanted to use the home Wi-Fi while they were at home to make the most of the mobile media. This got the internet much slower and that’s when Bigpipe Internet came up with affordable fiber optics Internet for the residential users. It became an instant hit as the rates were as competitive as the conventional cable internet but this was much faster and more stable. The timing of their entry was perfect as that’s the time the Internet of Things started trending too in the Australian households.

Australian homes were getting equipped with smart devices like smart TV, smart Air conditioner and smart whatever else can be and they all needed the Internet to become ‘smart’! With fiber optics internet, the speed could go as much as 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps which got the Millennials go crazy and get them installed at home and it worked perfectly with their smart devices too. Within a few months, the fiber optics Internet became the buzzword and the other rival ISPs also were forced to adopt this newer technology.  Now the concept has really caught up with the ISPs in many parts of the world and they are finding other ways to lure the customers subscribe to their services. Naked broadband is another option possible with fiber optics that the ISPs use to attract customers. Under this option, the customer does not have to subscribe to a land phone as the fiber optics connection has nothing to do with telephone or television cable! In fact, within a few years’ you will be able to connect your phone and TV to your fiber optics broadband cable directly and access the channels seamlessly. Though this technology is already available, it is quite expensive now and within a couple of years, it will become a common way to get access to the television channels.



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GetEntrepreneurial.com is a small business blog dedicated to providing business advice and resources to our community of aspiring entrepreneurs. Our specially hand-picked panel of GetEntrepreneurial.com Network experts regularly contribute entrepreneurial content and professional tips for small business owners worldwide.