Why the End of the Year Is the Perfect Time to Review Your Finances

Review

Whether you have a startup, a small business, or a large enterprise, chances are the year has passed at the speed of light for you. You were review and designing your marketing campaigns, availing growth opportunities, and looking through reports when the year-end arrived. While people dedicate this time of the year to holiday delights and festivities, this also happens to be the perfect time to do a review of your finances, whether you are just an individual with a 9 to 5 job or a small business.

Why should you spend your end of the year for a financial review? Here are the top reasons.

A Strong Visual of Your Financial Standing

The most important thing about a year-end financial review is that it gives you a complete visual of where your business is standing at the moment. Everything that has happened throughout the year is now on the reports before your eyes. You can look at the information and see what has performed and what has not performed. You must have put a lot of money into marketing your products, services, and the brand as a whole. You can now see which of those campaigns have yielded promising results and which of them have proved to be futile.

The same goes for your account receivables. Compare your account receivables with those from the previous years and see if there has been an increase or decrease. If there is an abnormal increase, it is a telltale sign that you might need to change your payment plan or push more to receive your pending payments faster. Every activity you have done in the past year has painted a picture now in front of you. Whether you grew as a business, stagnated, or receded is evident at the end of the year.

The Best Time to Set New Goals

Based on how you performed in the preceding year and whether you have achieved your set targets and goals, you can set goals for the coming year. Your previous year’s performance should clarify how you have to put your marks for the coming year. Keep them realistic yet motivating and challenging enough to leave room for hard work, struggle, and progress. Not only should you be looking at how successful you were in achieving the previous year’s goals, but you should also pay attention to your current financial standing.

Best Time to Apply for Loans and Credit Processing Services

Regardless of how long you have been in business, when you apply for certain services, the service providers look at your previous year’s performance. For example, let’s say that you want to apply for a merchant account (maybe a high-risk one), so you can start processing credit card requests for your customers. When you approach a merchant account provider, they will ask for some history of your business activities—at least three months. By the end of the year, you have enough data to show to lenders and credit processing services to convince them to do business with you.

Of course, a financial review will give you a good look at whether you have done enough to impress these service providers or not. You can apply for these services with a quarterly credit history, but it will not be considered sufficient in most cases.

Best Time to Get Your Tax Files in Sync

Yes, you have been extra careful about your tax filing and preparation the whole year, but the overall integrity of your records still has a question mark on it. You need to prepare your tax files at the end of the year and calculate your liability with utmost accuracy. While tax preparation software has made the job much more manageable, complex tax files still need your accountants’ attention to get everything in sync. The important thing here is that a review not only helps you escape penalties that you might attract by putting wrong information on your file. You want to update your information at the end of the year because you want to calculate your benefits too accurately, e.g., tax credits, exemptions, standard deductions, itemized deductions, etc.

Time to Start Afresh

Your business might not have been a very successful venture. Many companies don’t make the best start, and it seems in the beginning that it would be difficult for the business to survive. However, small changes in strategies and cuts in costs can prove to be incredibly beneficial for companies. The best time to start afresh and renew all your reports and files is the end of the year. While you can change your strategies and plans midway, too, it is natural for most humans to feel the need for a new start at the start of a new year. For example, people can decide to lose weight at any time of the year, but it seems it makes the most sense to them when they do it at the start of a new year.

If you think your business has not performed well, but you still want to give it a shot, the end of year financial review can clear the path for you by telling you if you can afford to give it another try or not.

Bottom Line

There is no restriction on when you want to make changes to your business plans and strategies. However, people find it natural and more motivating to set new goals, learn from past mistakes, and make new moves when a new year starts. Throughout the year, your main goal is to keep the ball rolling.

However, at the end of the year, you have enough data collected from all your business operations and activities to know how fruitful your efforts were, which actions you should consider in the future, and the expenses that have kept you from progressing. In short, a financial review at the end of the year helps you make new and important decisions for your business.

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What the Right Team Means for a Business

Business

Just because you have a small business today does not mean it is going to remain small forever. Of course, you have to work to expand your business and turn it into a company that serves a worldwide audience. Whenever it comes to the expansion of a project, the first few things that you mostly think about are costs, taxes, cash flow, etc. What many small business owners often ignore is the right team that is crucial not only during the process of expansion but to keep the business afloat for many years to come.

The Need for a Team

The first thing that one wants to understand is why they need a team in the first place. If you have a small business and you never want to grow it, you might never need a team. However, for any businessman who has the mission of expanding with the passage of time, they need a team. First of all, you cannot act as the one-man-army. As you expand your operations, add more branches to your business and get more clients to work with, you will have to distribute those responsibilities. You can manage some of them with great efficiency, but if you think you can manage them all perfectly, you might be wrong.

You might not have paid attention to this particular piece of detail but when you try to manage everything on your own, you turn your own employees against you. They feel as though you do not trust them with the responsibilities of your business. Furthermore, they don’t see any chances of growth and this is why they do not plan to stay with you for a long time. This reduces the retention rate at your company to a low level.

Not just that, your core team is even more important when you are in a startup stage. When you present your business idea to the potential investors, they will consider several metrics to find out how successful their investments will be with you. One of the indicators for them to identify a successful startup is its core team. If your idea is unique, you have everything else in place, but your team seems to lack confidence or is missing important persons, there is a big chance you will not get any investments.

What to Consider When Building a Team

There are quite a few things that you have to consider when building your core team. Here are some of the most important ones.

  • Be Personally Involved

The first and foremost requirement of building the right team is for you to involve yourself in the process personally. No one knows your business better than you, and the many requirements to run it successfully. You can talk to an individual and know if he/she is the right person for your team. You will have to talk to everyone in person to know how they will fit or not fit. Convince yourself that this is an important process and manage enough time from your schedule to interview the potential candidates.

  • Consider Vision Alignment

When it comes to adding people to your core business team, it will be wrong to focus solely on their qualification and experience. The most important factor to look at is their vision. Do you think they are comfortable with your vision of your business? Do you think they are not just comfortable but also passionate about the same vision? It did not matter how talented, qualified and experienced they are because if their thoughts do not align with yours, they will always remain a misfit. Hiring the person who does not agree with your scope of the business is a huge mistake. Your and their position in the company will be like two people pushing a vehicle from the opposite sides.

  • Look for Leaders

You must realize that you are building a core team for your business; not hiring employees to fill certain positions at the company. Do not think of your team members as tires in a vehicle which you can replace when one goes flat. Every individual you make a part of your team should have leadership qualities—the qualities to lead the team in your absence or the absence of the appointed leader. What’s even more important is that these are the individuals who will act as your right hand. You cannot expect your business to keep on elevating and not experience any hiccups.

It is the people with leadership qualities that help you pull the business out of hard times with their will to lead and the undying attitude.

  • Involve Other Team Members

If you already have a small team, but you are looking for more people, you will have to make the existing members a part of the hiring process. When you do this, it will make them feel like a valuable part of the company. Secondly, it will also show you whether you and your existing partners are on the same page or not. They should also know what type of talent is lacking in the team just like you do. On the flip side, it will also show the potential candidates how unified your approach is. They will know they are becoming a part of a strong team and prepare mentally to fit in.

  • Consider All the Options

You have to wait before you can make the hiring decision just like consumer surveys the market before making a purchase. Some candidate might seem like a perfect fit, but you can’t reach a final decision unless you have talked to all the remaining candidates.

Creating the perfect team is only one step in the right direction. The more important part is to keep the team united and in unison. Do not forget that a melody only sounds good when all the instruments are playing in harmony. So, if you are a startup or a small business, be sure to start delegating responsibilities to the right people and hiring the ones that are missing.

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Common Spending Mistakes in Small Businesses

easy way

There is no denying that running a business is not always easy. There are plenty of challenges that reverse growth or halt progress. Precisely, if these challenges have a direct impact on business finances, it may cause several other risks that your business needs to face. In other words, managing finances is pivotal to stay on top. And if you’re a startup, finance management becomes as important as serving existing customers or finding new leads.

But, if you are like business owners who find managing money or bookkeeping a daunting task, you must know your common spending mistakes to stay ahead in the business domain. This is one way you can mitigate not only financial risks but also monitor the cash flow of your business. In other words, by controlling your spending and cash flows, you improve success chances and your profitability also.

We have enumerated a few common spending mistakes to help you steer clear of the financial management of your business.

Common Spending Mistakes in Small Business

1.     Failure in Keeping Personal and Business Expenses Separate

This might sound trivial to you, but many business owners when entering the business world make this mistake. Remember that you are in the early phases of your business, it is vital to keep the expenses separate. Although sometimes you need to rely on the personal finances to support business expenditures, you need to ensure that you h have a separate budget for your business.  Also, relying on the personal expense to fund business may cause problems in the long-term.

Once your business is operational and starts serving the customers, separate finances by making a separate business credit card. Make sure you have a separate bank account for your business. Doing so can be extremely helpful in managing tax problems and avoiding bookkeeping confusion subsequently.   It will also empower you to evaluate potential or existing cash flow issues and overall business finances before they turn into a major problem.

2.     Not Creating a Budget

You might find easy budgeting, but you cannot deny its long-term value that outweighs all initial stress and effort.

Creating a budget means analyzing how much have you earned and how much you can invest. An organized budget helps you make informed decisions about all business matters that include everything from supplies purchasing, staffing, and training to inventory. Conversely, when you work without a budget, all these tasks become challenging and may cause you significant cash flow problems. This particularly affects your business if it works with seasonal shifts, and you need this cash flow to maintain business operations during the slow months.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of apps such as Scoro, Centage, and Adaptive insights that can help entrepreneurs not only create but also maintain a budget. Not to mention how these budgeting apps keep track of your business expenses and send you a handy report at the end of the month or year. This allows you to do preparations for tax seasons and review performance.

3.     Failure to do Financing at the Right Time

All business owners know that working capital is an essential thing to operate the business and increase its growth. If working capital runs low, your business might face a lot of issues that not easy to resolve it right away, and that may vary from unpaid bills, mounting fees to lower credit scores.  Not only that but making payrolls also become a challenge while tackling such issues. The situation may create problems when it comes to retaining your potential employees. The problems like staff shortage, inventory, and supply management lead to decreased revenues and unsatisfactory customer services.

Ultimately, the failure to meet your business financial obligations can impact different areas of business. That is why it is important not only to identify but also address the cash flow issues and to prevent poor working capital in a easy way. It is better if you seek assistance about taking control of financial matters before they become problematic for your business.

4.     Ignoring Poor Credit Scores

Recognizing the right time to consider alternative financing options like a line of credit or loan is important. However, your due diligence will not benefit you if you fail to qualify as a borrower. That means, it is essential to be vigilant about both your personal and business credit scores.

It is also important because your credit scores impact your ability to use financing solutions with suppliers or vendors. The arrangements often help business owners easy fill the gaps in their cash flow.  Moreover, with a good business score, you can reduce the insurance premium and interest rate on your loan.

Sometimes, your credit scores contribute to secure many affordable financing terms; particularly when you opt for loans, credit cards, and line of credit.  The phenomenon is confusing for many people since they are advised to keep their personal and business financing separate as an ideal practice.  

However, it is important to understand that when you sign a lending agreement as a primary applicant,  banks use your credits to determine your eligibility, repayment terms, and interest rates.  Customers are sent an annual credit report, and it is good to use it for your advantage.  Although the business credit report is hard to obtain, you can get them through various platforms.

5.     Overspending on Startup

When starting a startup, you are naturally optimistic that your business will produce good revenues if you invest a large amount in it. This optimism sometimes leads to overspending, which is another common spending mistake. To avoid overspending, research carefully about how much inventory or staff you need to take a good start.

Final Thoughts

When running a business, you may face many financial issues, and to plan for all potential scenarios is not easy. However, when it comes to cash flow, various things can be done to avoid cash flow issues. The most important thing is to be proactive in whatever approach you use to manage your business finance.  Besides this, budgeting and healthy credit scores play an important role in keeping business finance issues at bay.

Thus, the given spending mistakes are very common when a business is in establishing phase. However, you can avoid them by planning and evaluating everything in advance.

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A Successful Online Business – How to Start One

Online Business

When it comes to the topic of starting a new online business, most entrepreneurs think that trial and error is the way to go but this isn’t so.  A number of experienced business people can give you details as to what went right during their venture into the world of startups, and what went horribly wrong. Based on these assessments, there are certain combinations of practices that, if done right, can result in starting a successful business. Here’s what most online business owners swear by.

Analyzing the Market

Nowadays, the market is somewhat similar across the world so it doesn’t take much time for a certain need to go global. That’s why you’ll need to look into your market for shortages before you can think of a product and assess whether it has an unfulfilled demand in the market. Scour the internet to find answers to your questions.

Have a look at common online forums like Quora and Reddit for people’s questions about the availability of a certain service and product to solve a particular problem. Look for keywords that have a high number of queries but much fewer valuable results. This will be an indication of a market that doesn’t have enough solutions.

Of course, you will have a few competitors in the field so it’s best to examine their marketing strategies and products before you start working on your own versions. This will help you create something innovative that adds more value for the consumer.

Post Good Content

Are you worried about how you’ll convince customers through an online sales call? Here’s what you need to explain so they go through with the entire process, up until the final purchase.

  • Give headings that pique consumer interest
  • Address the problem that your brand can solve
  • Ensure your reliability by giving details of your experience and the people on your team
  • Provide testimonials of happy customers
  • Make a good offer
  • Provide them with a guarantee so they feel reassured
  • Make it a matter of urgency so they can’t refuse
  • Make the sale

While walking your customer through the website, make sure that you’re focusing on their need and how you’re helping them.

Deliver a Proper Website

For a business that operates solely online, a website serves as a headquarters and you sure as heck can’t compromise on the quality of yours. Take it from online selling pros, most retail brands keep their websites fairly simple; they know that they have less than 15 seconds to capture consumer attention, which means a smaller business like your has less than 10. So remember:

  • No funky colors or fonts; clear, dark fonts on white works well enough
  • Make it simple to navigate to and from pages
  • Grasp consumer attention on every page with interesting images and videos
  • Collect e-mail addresses from visiting traffic to give updates on sales
  • Shorten the number of clicks it takes to confirm a transaction; one to add card details and one to confirm
  • Optimize it for mobile devices

Search Engine Help

Operating a business online requires that you be on good terms with the search engines, especially reigning power, Google. Using a PPC (pay per click) scheme to advertise your new business is effective at drawing more traffic towards your website. This will work much quicker than waiting for organic traffic to trickle in.

Advertising through Google AdWords’ Network Display strategies gives the benefit of your brand’s banners being up within a matter of hours. Moreover, utilizing such a system offers the benefit of letting you test how effective other keywords are for driving more traffic.

Once you’ve determined which keywords work best, you can then incorporate them into your advertisements, social media posts and most importantly, your website. This will boost your rankings on SERPs.

Be a Leading Authority in Your Niche

Aside from being your source of income, the internet serves as the population’s largest source of authentic information in a hundred different forms. If you appeal to the people looking for information, and not just those who set out to make a purchase, you end up building traction among a larger group of people.

Hence, lure in information-seekers by giving your expertise-based articles on different websites. You can create other forms of content, such as videos, info graphics, and images that are sure to make an impact on readers who might end up making a purchase later on. On every informative piece, add the option for them to share it with their friends.

Be active on the very platforms where your target audience asks questions relating to your field, and answer them. After all, what’s more, appealing than a CEO who actively answers questions on the internet?

Leverage Email Marketing

When you give visiting traffic the option to submit their email addresses, you get a valuable list of potential customers who have opened the doors to their inboxes for you. Essentially, it indicates that they have developed an interest in your brand, are willing to form a long-term relationship with your brand.

Individuals who visit your website and leave their email address are basically giving you permission to contact them. They are potential customers and email marketing is the best way to follow up with leads.

Enhance Customer Loyalty

Customers look for value wherever they go and that’s what you need to offer. It’s quite possible that over a quarter of people who made a purchase from your website would be willing to do it again if you contact them again with a good deal.

The first sale you make is the most crucial but it’s also expensive. Hence, you’ll need to offer them related items that go well with their purchase and send redeemable coupons to ensure that they return. If you reward them with incentives to buy again, your customers are sure to be loyal to your brand.

Even though the online-world is faced paced and dynamic, it isn’t the case for markets and businesses that are operating through the internet. The basic aspects of starting a profitable online business are still the same as before.

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How to Increase Your Work Productivity

Work Productivity

Have you been complaining about how your day seems spiral out of control? You start your workday feeling a 100 with a goal, plan, and list, but at the end of the day, you are unable to accomplish most of the items on your list. There are days when completing our To-Do list seems beyond reach, and you keep scrambling to achieve deadlines.

Being productive at work can be a difficult task, and the temptation of mobile games, social media, the Internet and the bustle of co-workers doesn’t make things easier.

So, how do we go about becoming more productive at work?

With only so many hours in a day, maximizing this time is critical to productivity. There are two ways you can increase your success output in a day – you either increase the number of hours you work for or you work smart. The second one is the better option.

Being more productive at work shouldn’t be confused with busyness. Productivity means getting effective results in a short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more free time.

Imagine ending your workday with a contented sigh, knowing that you productively achieved everything on your list. In this post, we will walk you through practical and easily applicable strategies for increasing your work productivity.

Stop Multitasking

Taking on a few tasks at once can be quite tempting, especially if some seem easy or small. But it doesn’t work. According to Earl K. Miller, a neuroscience professor, “multitasking is not humanly possible.”

Research also shows that trying to do several things at the same time reduces productivity, and shuffling tasks can cost up to 40% of one’s time. When you have to switch between tasks, your concentration and focus are continuously affected.

Need for reasons to stop multitasking? A study conducted in the University of Sussex in the UK reports that multitasking may be harming your brain physically.

So, stop trying to juggle eating lunch, presentation, and making phone calls. If you focus on completing one task, you will end it faster, giving you more to move on to the next. So, dramatically increase your productivity by prioritizing the tasks you have on your plate and allocating time for each.

Take Regular Breaks

This might sound counter-intuitive. However, taking scheduled breaks will help improve your concentration.

Some research also shows that taking short breaks in between long tasks will ensure that you maintain a constant level of performance. You might have noticed that when you are burned out, you never work as well.

Learn to spend that 15 minutes grabbing coffee mid-afternoon or taking a 5-minute walk around the office. Besides improving your concentration, this will also boost your mood.

Set Small Goals

Have you ever experienced an overwhelming feeling while looking at the big projects you have on your calendar? This happens to even the best of us and isn’t a cause for alarm. If the goals you set for a day are looking complex, you can break them down into smaller tasks.

This will make you feel more in control, keep you on track with your day-to-day activities, and increase your productivity. So, rather than write a project on your to-do list and allocate a deadline, you can try breaking down the project into all the tasks that will go into completing it.

Do the Biggest Tasks When You’re at Your Best

Several people do mental sludge tasks such as reading emails and other routine chores in the morning. Sometimes, we unconsciously push our big goals to the end of the day because we are not confident in our ability to accomplish them.

And by the time we finally get to them, we are too burned out from the day to give them the attention they deserve.

This is wrong; several work productivity experts recommend that you start your day with tasks that are the most creatively demanding, especially if you are a morning person.

However, if you work better at night, this doesn’t apply to you. Tony Wong, a productivity expert, advises that we do our most demanding tasks at times when we feel most productive.

Understand that there is no perfect schedule that is ideal for everyone. Understand how and when you work best to get your big projects done in no time.

Prepare a To-Do List

Each night, create a to-do list for the next day. To-do lists are invaluable aids for productivity. They help you get organized, provide you with pivotal focus, and reward you with feelings of satisfaction when you check things off your list.

What’s more, making a to-do list and updating it each night before going to bed means that you won’t waste time looking for your next tasks at the start of the workday. You can also try to talk through your list with someone else.

The co-founder of Buffer, Leo Wildrich, talks about this technique in “What Multitasking Does to Our Brains,” saying:

“The to-do list I jotted down didn’t change, but it felt as if I had done half the work of it all in my head already. The next day, all I had to do is look at the task and get it done.”

The next question is: how many items are on your ideal to-do list? To become a productivity superstar, you have to stay focused.

And getting that focus involves narrowing down your options (the items on your to-do list). So, as you review your to-do list each night, you have to ask yourself some critical questions:

  1. What are the crucial tasks on this list?
  2. How many of these highlighted (important) tasks can I achieve realistically or make significant progress on tomorrow?

Be Proactive

You need to put yourself on a realistic deadline for your tasks and work towards achieving them. This will help you eliminate distractions.

However, it is also essential that we take note of certain unavoidable disruptions such as a colleague asking for quick assistance or your manager requesting a quick meet. To handle these, you have to know how to deal with interruptions.

Inform your colleagues of your need to focus. On your work chat app, turn your status on as “unavailable/busy.” Let them know of your deadline and need to concentrate. This will significantly minimize your chances of being interrupted.

Bottomline

These strategies discussed above should serve as a solid foundation for you to most out of your time in a short time.

But you should also keep in mind that change does not happen overnight. Start with small steps and be consistent. Consistency is the key. Even if you slip up on any, dust yourself up and try it again.

Cheers to more productive days!

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Smart Reasons to Use Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards

Whether you’re a startup or you run an established brand, a business credit card is essential for the financial well being. A business credit card is much more than a way to pay for your business purchases. It is a convenient mode for entrepreneurs to increase their company’s power. Not only does it enable access to revolving credit lines but also provide a range of lucrative rewards, fraud protection, and most importantly, smooth out the cash flow.

A business credit survey from Federal Reserve showed that nearly 52 percent of companies that have at least 50 employees use business credit cards for several purposes. With a set credit limit, the business owners make purchases, transact money, and withdraw cash. Many businesses use credit card although, like a regular consumer card, they carry an interest charge if the entrepreneurs don’t repay the balance in the billing cycle.

Despite a high-interest rate, using business credit cards is considered beneficial when it comes to making smart purchases. Here are some reasons why purchasing on your business credit card is more savvy and advantageous in the long run.

Why You Should Use Business Credit Cards

1. Brings You Travel Rewards

You may have seen many entrepreneurs putting marketing ad from Google and Facebook on their business bank cards. They use it for the monthly payments. The trick is tremendously advantageous for gaining an extra thirty days of cash flow at zero cost.  Plus, it is an easy way to scale their business quickly. 

To put it simply, the travel mile strategy with business travel credit card offers a plethora of lucrative rewards. However, to make the most of this strategy, you need to choose your business bank card wisely. That means if you typically fly from a specific airline, consider using the co-branded credit card of that airline.

 The idea is great to receive a variety of traveling perks that may include easy airline status, priority boarding, and checked bags at no cost. Choose a business bank card that comes with flexible travel rewards that you can use with more than one provider.

2. Better Reward Protection

If you have ever tried to use your business credit card to deal with outside or international vendors, you must know that it is critical to pay them through the plastic. In other words, making foreign transactions with business credit card protects entrepreneurs to dispute the payments or save their cash on hand.  The fraud protection strategy of business credit cards provides great fraud protection. The federal law doesn’t put fraudulent charges more than $50 on the cardholders. Many card issuers offer 0 percent liability.  It is worth noting that this offer is not the same when you use a business debit card as per federal law. So using a business credit card is a better and smarter choice.

3. You can Finance large Business Purchases

One of the significant benefits of using a business credit card is that the entrepreneur can leverage its equity to purchase things that help their business to grow. It is because come with a strong financing strategy, you can finance large or small purchases inexpensively. Use your business credit card with a relatively low-rate balance transfer or low introductory rate.

Also, remember that even you use a credit card that comes with a 16 to 20 percent interest rate is a cheaper option than other financing options for your business. They may carry hidden high rates.

4. Insurance Coverage

You might not have heard about that you can save on rental car or travel insurance by paying through business credit card. The travel saving insurance makes an excellent offer for traveling enthusiasts. Several business credit cards come with collision damage coverage when a customer rents a vehicle. This primary coverage means you don’t need to file claims for your auto insurers first. Some banks offer secondary coverage that provides many benefits if auto insurance does not cover the amount of damage or loss.

5. Help You Fund Your Startups

Business credit cards, without a doubt, offer multiple benefits if you’re a startup. As mentioned earlier, many small business owners spend hundreds of dollars to run online ads and make payments with their business credit cards. Using that for payments adds many reward points or perks may help business owner pay for other expenses and purchases.

The startup financing strategy of business credit cards often relies on the personal credit card scores or history; especially when issuers evaluate applications. That means these business credit cards offer you a financing option for your new businesses if accessing other finance forums is difficult for you. Additionally, you can use other sources than just business revenues to meet the income requirements of banks.

6. Save Money on Expenses

Cashback strategy includes in some of the popular rewards that any business or brand can use.  Your card can have flat cash reward on all your purchases. Also, you can have large cash back rewards for some specific categories of your spending.

Cards that come with a high reward may charge you higher fees. However, the best way to maximize cash back is to use multiple cards. Know that if you analyze your spending carefully, you will be able to determine and understand which business credit card is best for you.

7. Provide Excellent Employee Perks

Many smart entrepreneurs accumulate their cash back rewards of the year and use them for annual celebrations and bonuses. Others share travel perks and miles with competent employees. Thus, making purchases or using a reward that benefits in-house or even remote employees is an excellent idea.  This is undeniably a smart strategy to positively impact on employees’ productivity and satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

To crown it all, using business bank cards for purchases, payments, and rewards is an easy way to keep the business cash flow running. Thus, the given reasons are advantageous for using business credit cards smartly.

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How To Attract Top Talent To Your Business Startup?

Finding and securing top job candidates for your business startup is more important now than ever. You are competing against a variety of companies for the same potential employees,and job seekers have the upper hand in who they choose to work with. Your business startup needs to make an impression on job candidates just as much as they need to make one with you. But, having a plan in place to attract top talent to your business can make the process of hiring new employees more beneficial to your company. Try these tips for making your business startup a place where new job seekers want to work and allow your company to take full advantage of their advanced skills.

Tell your company story

Everyone loves a good story and your company no doubt has one with some heart. The history of your business startup’s beginning can sway any job seeker to find interest in your company. Being honest and upfront about what got you to the point you are today can make a difference for a candidate that is looking for a company that cares about them as an employee and allows them to make a difference each day that they come to work. Be transparent.

Show where your business shines

Your business startup has many strengths that you need to tout them with job seekers. As much as you are interviewing them, they are interviewing you. They need to see what makes your company special and why it would be beneficial for them to join your team. Letting them see your strengths firsthand can go a long way in helping a job candidate choose your company for their employment.

Give benefits job seekers desire

Have a structure in place that provides benefits that employees want and can use can sway even the most indecisive of job seekers. Showing flexibility and providing benefits that are advantageous to your employees can make your business startup a highly desirable place to work. You’ll find that job candidates flock to your company if you offer benefits that they can’t refuse and want as a part of their employment.

Highlight some of the reasons to work for you

Every business startup has reasons why they are the best place to work. Let your employees do your promotional work and speak to new job candidates about what they love most about working at your company. Hearing firsthand from your staff gives your business creditability and entices job seekers to want to share in the same team environment you offer. This can make your company desirable to potential new hires and give your business the boost it needs to be selected by a job candidate.

Go where the job seekers are

When advertising your job positions to potential job seekers, you need to go where they are. Think about your ideal employee and consider the environment they surround themselves with. You need to post your job on sites that will attract top talent and give you the largest and best pool of job candidates to select from.

Take advantage of social media

Social media is an ideal platform to attract new and up and coming talent for your business startup. Many job seekers are looking on social media to find jobs with business startups that can show they are up-to-date with technology and offer a contemporary work environment that is open to new ideas. Social media can be your saving grace in attracting the type of employee you need to fill a role that will advance your business startup with customers that also demand more of these platforms.

Post enticing job posts

Nothing reads worse than a boring and arduous job post that lists endless job responsibilities. This can be an immediate turn off to job candidates that are looking for a business startup to work with that offers an exciting and new opportunity. Spice your job posts up and show your creativity to potential job seekers that are looking to find that dream job with an employer that offers more than just a position.

Follow up with candidates that interest you

When you find a job candidate that you want to make an offer to, you need to show them your interest in them becoming a part of your team. Follow up with a phone call or even meet for lunch. This can help solidify the relationship and make it harder for them to say no to your job offer. They have already invested a great deal in the role and meeting or speaking to you personally shows them what a valued member of the company they will be.

Make the interview process quick

When interviewing job candidates be sure to make the process as streamlined as possible. Job seekers can get frustrated easily with long delays and multiple rounds of interviews that they have to take part in. Have an effective plan in place for an interview that gets to know the potential new hire without wasting either of your time.

Present an offer quickly

In today’s job market you need to be swift in offering candidates job offers. Most candidates are courting multiple companies for an offer, looking to choose the best option for their employment. Waiting too long to offer a job candidate an offer allows them time to accept with a different company over yours as they may have forgotten why they wanted to work at your business during a long delay. Make your offer quickly to secure top talent and be sure to get a confirmation that they are accepting just as fast. This will ensure you lock in the best talent for your business startup without competing with another company.

Hiring top talent for your business startup can help your company benefit from advanced skills and experience. You need to be proactive in your approach to seeking out job candidates and promote your business to them, so they see why your company is a perfect fit for their employment.  

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Get Matched with a Credit Card!

Steps to Get Credit report for Free

A credit report is typically a financial report. If you have ever used a credit card or requested a loan, your bank evaluates credentials through your credit report. From the number of credit cards you’ve used in past, payment details, money that you owe on cards to the loans you’ve taken, a credit report lists them all.

All these factors make your credit card score, which is a three -digit number that indicates how risky of a borrower you are. That means if your borrowers’ grade point average is low, you might face difficulties in applying for new credit cards and loans. It is important to note that your credit report is thoroughly evaluated when you apply for a new loan or credit card.

That is why checking your credit report is of paramount importance multiple times a year to make sure that its information is correct. However, you must not pay to get a credit report.  If a lender or website is charging you money or asking your personal information for a credit report, do not fall for this fraud.

It is because you can easily get your credit report without spending a penny thrice a year. You can submit your direct request to AnnualCreditReport.com, or you can receive it from credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

 Let’s see what steps you can follow to get credit report for free;

Steps to Get Your Credit Report for Free

1.     Select a Credible Source

While sources like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma allow you to see credit scores at anytime, you cannot access your credit report more than three times a year. You can only check once when major credit card bureaus send you. This is what makes picking an appropriate source an important step to get a free credit report.

2.     Call 1-877-322-8228 or Submit Request at AnnualCreditReport.com

To receive a free credit report, you can submit a request through AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, you can call on the verified number 1-877-322-8228. Remember that if any other source claims to provide a credit report and ask you to exchange personal information, it is a fraud.

Moreover, requesting a credit report will not negatively affect your credit history or credit, but you are limited to receiving three reports a year as per federal laws.

3.     Fill an Online Credit Report

If you want your credit report through a website, you need to fill out a submission form. Regardless of how many forms you want (one to three), submitting the form for the allotted report is necessary.  You will have to fill out some basic information in the form such as your name, your current residential address, and social security number.

4.     Decide Number of Credit Reports You intend to Review

You need to select the credit bureau you want credit report from. Pick Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, or all three major credit bureaus. These bureaus have all your credit-card histories and information that they get from creditors.  However, not all three of them contain the same information. This is where you need to choose the right credit bureau as this may lead to variation in your credit history information each bureau has recorded.

The best practice is to review all three credit reports to different point in time. Setting reminder to send a request for your credit report will help your view each report individually. However, if you are planning to make a big purchase such as buying a house or car that requires you to check credit, you can request all credit reports at once. This way, you can review all three of them for identity theft and accuracy.

5.     Respond to Security Questions

Before you receive your credit report, bureaus ask some security questions to assess your credibility or verify identity. The information in the questions is based on your credit report and is often tricky. You are given only five minutes to complete the answers.

 If you want to request all three reports from different bureaus, you have to answers the questions for each bureau.

6.     Submit a Request to Review Credit report

Once all the steps mentioned above are complete, the credit card bureau website will generate your report within minutes. If the report is requested via phone, the bureau will send it by mail that may take 15 to 20 days.

Your credit report has five sections:

  • Personal Information: the section comprises your name, addresses, date of birth, and contact details.
  • Accounts: the section incorporates the entire history of your different credit lines you have had, account status, current balance, and account opening date, minimum payment, credit limit, and highest balance.
  • Public Records:   the section lists your legal matters related to bankruptcy, tax lien, etc.
  • Hard Inquiries: your applications for new loans and credit cards (in the previous two years) will appear in this section.
  • Soft Inquiries:  if any insurance company, credit-card lender, employer, or lender has made an inquiry for your credit card, this section will show them.

7.     File a Dispute in Case of Any Discrepancy

This is one of the most important steps that hold the main purpose of getting a credit report. Once you receive your credit report for free, inspect it for correct payment details, balance, dates, etc. if you find any discrepancy in the information, or you find the details entirely unrecognizable, and then file a dispute. You can do it online or call the credit bureau helpline.

It is important to know that you only get credit report for free from credit bureaus, but you have to pay for identity-monitoring services.  It is because credit bureaus have unlimited email alerts, and credit reports if a fraudulent application for credit on your ID or name.

Final Thoughts

Overall, requesting a credit report doesn’t only help you determine your payment history but in several other matters. They are immensely helpful when it comes to managing your credit balances and applying for new loans. Thus, the given steps will help you get a credit report for free.

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

Understanding Venture Capitalists: How to Get Their Attention… And Approval

It might be surprising, but a lot of venture capitalists understand the situation of would-be entrepreneurs who are looking for investors who will finance their startups. The reason for this is simple: these people who now have millions of venture capital funds stashed in banks also started as a small company owner who experienced the challenges of looking for someone who is interested in providing financial support.

They might have followed the traditional venture capitalist model, or used personal means – such as credit cards and personal guarantees – to raise significant amount of money. But one thing is clear – most venture capitalists understand the position of startup owners. And this shows their true nature when it comes to dealing with these kinds of partnerships.

Unlike the common conception that they are all too powerful and very difficult to please, venture capitalists are also human. And because most of them have experienced and succeeded in this industry, the requirements that they ask from startup owners should be seen as reasonable and realistic. Here are some of the traits that startup owners applying for financial support should have:

Passion – Those who are passionate, enthusiastic, and confident with their startups usually get not only the attention, but also the approval of investors.

Intelligence – Knowledgeable would-be entrepreneurs always have the advantage. Venture capitalists think that intelligence is tied with the success of the company.

Defensibility – Having a great concept is one thing, but being able to defend it at different levels is another. Most of the time, investors will point problems on the concept submitted by the startup owner. He or she must be able to defend the idea and convince venture capitalists that the problems can be resolved.

Contrarianism – Investors are waiting for the next big thing. Thus, unique ideas that have huge potential almost always get the nod of venture capitalists. After all, nobody wants another social networking site, not if we already have Facebook. We want something new.

Perseverance and Persistence – Startup owners who exhibit determination on their ideas always get the attention of investors. Consistent follow-ups and immediate response to queries sent by the potential investors show how important the deal is for the entrepreneur.

Humility – Despite the need for passion and determination, startup owners also need to have an ounce of humility. One must keep in mind that even the best actors or athletes have to follow the orders of their directors and coaches, respectively.

Aside from the traits enumerated above, would-be entrepreneurs should also understand what goes in the mind of venture capitalists. Usually, it only involves two things: fear and greed.

As noted earlier, investors want to put money on proposal that will be as big as Facebook. Because of this, they are afraid of letting a potential project go (fear). Also, venture capitalists look at the things that they will get once they finance a startup. This includes profit, recognition, and a powerful position within the company, among other benefits (greed).

In the end, it all comes down to these two. And startup owners might want to use these to their advantage. Of course it would not be easy. Venture capitalists are experienced people who will know if they are being manipulated. But having the knowledge of what they want is something that could spell the difference between failure and success.

 

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender. Create a crowd funding campaign or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Business Operations

Business Operation

Making consistent and regular improvements to enhance your business operations is critical toward its sustainability and success, especially in the end. An inevitable truth regarding business operations is that you cannot stand still and stay competitive. You will either get better or lose valuable ground to your competitors, which is something no business wants.

There is always some room for optimization when it comes to business operations whether you are a veteran business owner or a new entrepreneur. It is vital to remember that fine-tuning your business processes will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently while saving money. This is especially relevant in the end.

You have to know various ways to enhance operations that would work well for your organization. You will be glad to know that streamlining your operations is always achievable.  In addition, even taking a few small and simple steps in specific areas, like productivity, increasing the number of markets you serve and limiting losses could bring you huge rewards.

Here are five surefire ways to improve your business operations.

1. Clearly Define Business Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is a vital element of your business success. Productivity outputs surface from existing business operations; therefore, changing these results requires changing and improving your operations as well as processes them.

This usually starts with developing and defining measurable operational objectives and goals that all critical operational personnel is aware of. Remember that a lack of well-defined objectives and goals will often lead to the failure of your new processes or initiatives, no matter how great these processes or initiatives are.

“Improving operations” is too broad and not a clear goal in and of itself. Taking an approach that is not well-define, or does not include definite measures that need to be employed, is usually a recipe for disaster. You should determine exactly what your objectives are if you want to succeed. For example, does your company need to eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain, or is the lack of quality systems your primary reason for downfall? Alternatively, perhaps human capital is where the biggest issues lie.

Make sure you have created and defined clear and measurable goals and objectives before introducing any new processes for improvement.

2. Motivate and Inspire Employees

Talented, trained and motivated staff members are likely to bring on huge improvements in the business. Remember that your employees are the ears and eyes of your business operations and their feedback is important. Therefore, if there are any weak spots or flaws in your system and processes, it is likely that your employees will know about them.

In addition, they likely need a better process to complete tasks. That being said, when your personnel thinks you are a “my way or the highway” leader who does not value their feedback, they often are not motivated and inspired to come up with valuable solutions and this will hurt your business.

Involve all your staff in improving your business operations. You should ask your employees where improvements and changes could make. It is equally important to take notes of all the flaws that they point out and solutions they offer.

Always make sure that your staff knows their opinions matter and you are open to their suggestions and recommendations. Maintain a good and positive relationship with your employees and you will enjoy a much higher employee retention rate while fewer resources will spent on hiring and training new employees.

3. Improve your Relationship with Customers

You likely have a customer database. You should take some time to tap into it to get in touch with all of your existing customers. Contact your customers by email, phone or letter to greet them. You should also remind them regularly that your business is ready and willing to serve them again.

In addition, get their opinions and feedback regarding what they think of your products and business in general. Getting regular customer feedback should be an integral part of your business processes. You have continuously looked for new and improved ways to encourage repeat business.

While there is no denying that both marketing and advertising are crucial to get more customers, service, quality as well as customer satisfaction are also vital to keep your business successful. Especially in the end.

4. Leverage Business Intelligence

We all know that information is essential for any business organization that wants to enhance its performance. Better and accurate business intelligence can elicit better results (provided you leverage the data properly). Moreover to this end businesses usually find that state of the art data intelligence software can play a crucial role in improving business processes and operations.

Business intelligence software, particularly at the highest level, allows for the timely tracking of trends and changes that can affect organizational performance. This gives managers, executives and other key decision-makers the relevant information to take suitable corrective action whenever necessary. Moreover, such insight also highlights important information that gives executives and managers what they need to figure out what is and is not working and what should be modified, so they may improve business performance.

5. Cost Cutting Initiatives

There is no denying that this is one aspect where all businesses can stand to benefit considerably from a closer look. Costs can creep up, unproductive practices can become common and waste gets taken for granted over time. Eliminating waste and cutting costs is one of the easiest ways to enhance your business operations while give yourself a competitive advantage.

From ordering shipping supplies in bulk to making double-sided paper copies, you could easily cut down wasted material, time and effort in making, promoting, selling, and delivering your product. As a result, you will see a considerable improvement in your organization’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

In the end, working hard to improve and tweak business operations is the hallmark of a competitive and dynamic business. In addition, even if your company is current productivity is adequate it is an important end to aim for. You do not have to settle for good when you can have great!

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