Business Credit Card vs. Business Loan for Funds

Funds

If you have long been looking for business funds, the multiple business financing options must have overwhelmed you. Many entrepreneurs don’t want to involve outside investors to raise capital for their lean startups to avoid entailing risks such as misaligned structure and timeline.

If you are one of them, business credit cards and business loans are some of the readily available options for you. Plus, these financing options are widely accessible for the entrepreneurs who want to self-finance their business.

Regardless of what options you choose, understanding their pros and cons is essential. But before we plunge into the details, let’s quickly split the difference between business credit cards and business loan to help you choose the most appropriate option for your business.

What Is the Difference between Business Credit Card and Business Loans

No doubt, it is one of the common questions that come to mind when it is about funding your startup. Typically, a business loan refers to a lump sum amount you are paid out that you need to pay back in the form of monthly installment over a specified period. A business credit card, on the other hand, is a credit line that allows you access to money or funds to a certain limit on a recurring basis. This credit line, like another credit amount, can be paid off through monthly payments or over any period of your choice unless you meet the credit limit of each month.

Business loans are generally installment debts; however, business credit cards are revolving debts. Although neither of these options hurt your personal credit scores in the long term if you pay them on time, it is worth noting that business credit card has more potential to affect your credit card scores.  If not paid on time, revolving debt may decrease debt to credit ratio.

Moreover, business loans undeniably offer large sums of funds and may have a lower interest rate as compared to business credit cards. However, qualifying for them is nerve-wrecking since the lending process is unnecessarily long and can take months.

Alternatively, business credit cards can offer you immediate access to funds or cash you need to invest in yours.  While their interest rate tends to be higher, you have an option to pay off your full bill each month. Besides this, the best business credit cards provide a slew of other reimbursements such as credit rewards, purchase protections, and perks that can particularly benefit business owners.

Business Credit Card or Business Loan- Which Can You Get Easily?

Having good credit card scores are necessary to qualify for both business credit cards and business loans.   In addition to that, to initiate the funding process, you will be asked to apply, along with the documentation showing your revenues. However, documentation for business loans tends to be more extensive and hectic. Not only this, you may find requirements for business loans stricter in terms of business profitability and length of time.

Overall, qualifying for business loans is more difficult than getting funds through business credit cards. The requirements become even more challenging to meet if your credit scores are low or you are a startup.

Luckily, Small Business Administration offers loans for startups. Although traditional lenders invest in these government-backed loans, guarantees up to 50% percent of the loan to make the process easier.

Business Credit Card or Business Loan- Which Can You Get Easily?

There is no easy answer to the question of whether one should opt for a business credit card or business loans. As mentioned earlier, to choose the best funding option, you need to compare the best features of each alternative.

Features Business Credit
Cards
Business Loans  
Loan amount Up to $50,000 Up to $5million
Loan type Revolving credit line Installment loan
Repayment Monthly payments to the minimum credit limit to pay off a debt to avoid high interest Set payments to be paid monthly over a specified time that can go up to 25 years
Average APR 13 to 20 percent 8 to 10 percent
Eligibility Steady income and personal credit history Good  business revenue model and credit
Approval Time Seven days Weeks or a minimum of six months
Benefits Sign up bonuses, reward programs,  purchase protection, trip insurance Government-backed loans

Business Credit Card or Business Loan: What is the best Option for You?

You have compared the features of both options; it is the right time to decide which works best for you.

Business loans are Ideal for your business if you;

  • Need large sums of funds
  • Want investment for profit-generating projects that include purchasing equipment hiring staff or renting new locations
  • Want to expand an established business that generates revenues up to 100,000

Business Credit Cards are ideal for your business if you

  • are looking for options to separate finances  or sole proprietor
  • Want to use the payment option that comes with big rewards
  • Need to access cash immediately
  • Do not want to borrow money and need a payment option that allows you to pay in a month
  • Want to invest in a project that has 0 percent introductory APR and plans to make payments before its promotional period deadline

Factors to consider while Choosing Business Credit Cards and Business Loans

Your job is not done after you decide which option you want to choose and why.  There are certain factors you need to consider to make a safe choice.

  • Interest Rate–   it is important to choose the option that has a low-interest rate. The interest rate in loans and credit cards are compounding, and you will end up wasting a lot of money if you are not diligent.
  • Other fees–   choosing a business credit card means you will have to pay annual fees, foreign transaction charges, and late payment charges
  • Eligibility– applying for consecutive loans or credit cards may ding your personal credit scores by resulting in the new inquiry.  

Final Thoughts

Overall, both financing options come with their perks and downsides. Given that, it is up to you when it comes to making the decision that meets the requirement of your small business.

Who we are:  Funded.com is a platform that is A+ BBB rated over 10+ years. Access our network of Investors, get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

How to Increase Your Work Productivity

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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What the Right Team Means for a Business

Team

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 team 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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How to Identify Your Small Business Differentiator and Why

differentiator

When you are the owner of a small business, there are times when the scale of bigger companies can overwhelm you. At these times, you may wonder what you have that will make potential customers pick your brand over another. This particular factor is a business differentiator, and it helps consumers in the market identify you and set you apart from other brands.

Differentiating your company from the rest is an integral part in developing a brand, and it’s become even more difficult in recent years since it’s not merely enough to be just better than others; you need to be different. You may not have realized it yet, but being a small business is a differentiator on its own, you need to leverage it and market it enough. Here’s how you can identify your small business’ differentiators.

Analyze Your Competition

Finding your differentiator starts by learning what makes your competitors different. You need to maintain a neutral position and evaluate your competitor to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. What do they offer? What do they do better than you? How do they treat their customers?

Once you answer these questions, you discover their weak and strong points, as well as your own. At this point, you can decide whether you want to change the direction of your business to make it better than your competitors or market an aspect of your brand that’s already there.

Be Familiar with the Customer Experience

A benefit of being a small business owner is personally having experienced the life of an average consumer. By knowing the shortcomings of a large-scale company customer experience, you know what to develop in your own company. However, when working on differentiators, it’s time to start by scratch so you should map the various aspects of being a customer. What do they value? What dissuades them from buying?

You need to work on ways to build a consumer’s awareness of a need that your company can fulfill. It’s only after a consumer realizes that they need something that they will look towards brands that can provide them with a solution. You need to assess how your target demographic makes buying decisions, and whether your brand aligns with that thought process or not.

Another factor you should consider is how your customer will use your product and whether they will require any help with it after their purchase. Look towards your competitors and see what they offer, and see what you can provide when compared to them.

Assess Whether You Meet Customer Expectations

Once you’ve mapped out different points in a customer’s overall experience with your brand, you need to assess whether you meet expectations at each point. For instance, the first time a customer interacts with your brand, they expect a friendly approach that tries to understand their problem. Now you need to know if you come for your customer’s wallet at every encounter, or if there’s an empathetic side to you.

If you step into their shoes and see things from their point of view, you can ask yourself ‘do I want to be sold a product this way?’, ‘does this item have everything I need?’ and ‘has the brand tried to understand me and my problem?’ You need to learn whether your product motivates them to buy it.

The wrong approach is to focus solely on your product because that’s not what customers emphasize on when buying a product. The best way is to address different aspects of the customer experience and develop all of them.

Know Your Strengths

The first and foremost strength of being a small business is giving customers the attention they need. Since you’re not managing branches everywhere, you can afford to look after a minimal customer base.

Other than that, each business has its strengths when compared to other brands. It could be your amazing marketing, your customer loyalty programs, or your approach to customer service. Also, a small business operates on values, so they understand the needs and requirements of the average person.

Get Involved in the Community

The community you operate in should be your focus when expanding your reach. By making an impact on your community, your brand automatically earns a reputation among the other brands in the area. The people in your district will be in favor of supporting your brand since it will have a positive influence on their community.

The Importance of Having Differentiators

It’s true that ever brand needs differentiators that give them a competitive edge for business rivals, but your brand needs it more as a small business. That’s because large companies can already offer better prices due to cheaper manufacturing practices and access to raw materials at lower costs.

Hence, having a fixed market differentiator will help consumers pick your brand despite the difference between what you and larger brands can offer. However, having a differentiator isn’t only necessary for setting your brand apart from the rest. By knowing what you can do better than other companies can, you’ll have a clear view of what you should focus on when planning a marketing campaign.

A well-planned and targeted marketing effort will help you retain customers and increase your rates of promotion among people outside your community. Without a strong differentiator, you won’t be able to compete with others head-on.

At the same time, you need to uphold the values of honesty and transparency by refraining from overloading your brand profile. By attesting to being better than competitors at ‘everything,’ you risk losing precious customers. That’s why; you need to test all of your differentiators to see if they’re true, provable and relevant.

Only market things about your brands that you believe to be true, and to gain the audience’s trust, you have to prove it; whether through ‘look inside our workshop’ schemes or quality tests. Lastly, your differentiators need to be relevant. Customers won’t consider an aspect of your brand that they don’t care about or if it doesn’t benefit them. To conclude, you need to reflect upon your band’s personality and find something about your small business that differentiates it from the rest.

 

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Five Common Mistakes When Pitching to a Potential Investor

Pitching

It’s not often that business owners get the chance to pitching their startups to potential investors. Unfortunately, rare as the chances were, many owners fail to grab the opportunity that was given to them by committing serious mistakes that drive the investors away.

Here are the five common flaws committed by owners when pitching to potential investor:

Answering the wrong questions

Most of the time, the bulk of the discussion between the entrepreneur and the potential investor are centered on the description of the business and its operations. Unfortunately, most investors are not primarily interested with the “what” and the “how” of the business. Rather, they are more interested in hearing the answer to questions such as, “What will they get once they invest in your business?”

Failing to know more about the investor

Business owners who are desperate for financial support tend to grab every opportunity that they see. This is a very wrong thing to do. Sometimes, Continue reading “Five Common Mistakes When Pitching to a Potential Investor”

4 Things Venture Capitalists Do Not Want to Hear From Entrepreneurs

Venture

Securing financial support from a venture capitalist is not an easy task. Most of the time, only those who are considered the “best of the best” get the venture capital that they need. But does that mean it’s almost impossible to get one? Actually, it’s not. However, if you are really keen on closing the deal with your potential investor, you should work hard to present your business perfectly.

There are many articles that sum-up the things that entrepreneurs should say when given a chance to pitch their startups to venture capitalists. This article is different. Instead of giving tips on what entrepreneurs should say, it would list four things that business owners should avoid saying when dealing with potential business partners:

1.      “We plan to sell the business as soon as possible.”

A lot of venture capitalists invest in businesses that have the potential of becoming large and meaningful. Unless they tell you that they want to make small money in a short time, don’t mention anything concerning a sellout in the next or two.

2.      “It will be the next Facebook.”

Nobody stops you from dreaming. But reality dictates that less than one percent of business startups across the country make it half as big as Facebook. But if you’re really sure that yours will be successful, then explain how you plan to do that – and hope that your potential investor would agree with you.

3.      “My family loves my idea.”

Of course, families love the idea of their members. Try getting the opinion of someone who is not related to you and is regarded as a top-notch individual in the industry that you’re working on.

4.      “No one is competing with us.”

This is a promising line, considering that it has the capability to lure in potential investors to put some money on your business. The problem, however, is whether or not they will believe you. Most probably, they would not. Every business has competition, and failing to recognize yours would surely turn-off venture capitalists. Instead, identify your competition and outline the things that would make your business better than them.

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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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7 Tech Trends To Add To Your Small Business Startup To Attract An Angel Investor

Angel Investor

Angel investment is on the rise,and your small business startup needs to capitalize on all the opportunities at hand. Venture capitalists are on the hunt for business startups to invest in that are currently at the cutting edge of technology and taking risks with these advancements trends. You find that investors are eager to sink their investment dollars in these technologies so that they can reap the future returns. While the payoff might be big for an angel investor, these tech trends will also help your business startup to attract those funding dollars.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is not new to the scene,but for 2018, it is making a significant headway. By allowing companies to do more with less, AI will turn out to be a fundamental change in the way a company does business today and tomorrow. Startups that integrate AI into the fold will experience a shift in how they are able to perform routine tasks, freeing them up to focus on their customers. Angel investors see this as a win-win as they are able to invest in an advancing technology as well as a startup that is leading the way with its use. Your business startup will do well by having AI as a part of your repertoire and see more funding interest come your way in 2018.

Social Media

The uses of social media to enhance your consumer game is a boon for investors looking to find business startups that are succeeding in their customer engagement. While social media isn’t a newcomer technology, those that have a strong endgame will win big in terms of revenue sales. Social media is proving to be the technology platform that links us all together and gives business startups the recognition they need early on. Venture capitalists are enamored with its use by business startup as they see the power it offers and the benefits a business startup can take advantage of. Using social media to boost your business in 2018 will be key to gaining funding from an investor as they recognize the strengths it offers to your consumers.

Blockchain

Blockchain is another technology on the fringe waiting to bust on to the scene in a fury in 2018. It’s ability to provide a real-time ledger of transactions can give your business startup the transparency it needs to garner the nod of a venture capitalist waiting in the wings. Your business startup will benefit from Blockchain’s ability provide stable and error-free operations while angel investors gain by investing in a technology that has proven its worth. You’ll see funding offers from a series of investors if your business startup utilizes Blockchain to its full advantage within your organization.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is advancing at a steady clip for the New Year,and you’ll see IoT virtually everywhere you look. With consumers becoming more connected than ever, IoT offers an opportunity for new products and services that enhance IoT’s capabilities in the home, business,and community. Angel investors are savvy to the draw of IoT and how it is changing the way consumers interact and live their lives. They want to get in with business startups that are using this technology to move their business forward, engage with consumers, and improve their business operations. Count on IoT as a way to entice venture capitalists and secure funding in 2018.

Big Data

Data is everywhere these days,and it will only get bigger this coming year. Business startups such as yours will be able to use big data to understand every aspect, detail,and nuance of your customers, so you can create products and services they desire. With big data changing the way that business startups engage with their clients and provide unique customer experiences, it means plenty of evolution is on the horizon. Angel investors are keen on the possibilities all this available data can provide and know that companies that take advantage of the information can lead their industry in leaps and bounds. Use big data to enhance your business startup operations and stay tuned for venture capitalists to come calling with much interest and fanfare about your company this year.

Cyber-Security

While 2017 was a year that many will remember for its security breaches, this year provides a turn of events as business startup integrate or offer cybersecurity services to better protect their customer data. This cybersecurity will change how companies in all sectors operate and provide the level of security that is needed to protect that confidential information from getting into the wrong hands. Business startups that use cyber-security to protect their company or create products and services for others that help them secure their information will do well in the following year. Angel investors will show interest in these endeavors as the need for secure data protocol is growing without hesitation.

VirtualReality

Also, on the fringe in 2018 is VR. This technology gives you the ability to engage with your customers in a new and exciting way. Through a more desirable customer experience, VR can help your business startupto increase its customer numbers as well as its revenue as VR improves workflow and access to customers all over your niche. Angel investors want in on AR as an investment opportunity, and your business startup will attract their attention now and into future with this technology at your helm.

Integrating any of these technologies in your business startup shows a strong sense of understanding and initiative to increase your customer base and profits this year and the coming year. Angel investors want to be able to get their hands wet with these new technologies so that they can be where the growth is with these trends. Think about how these technologies can help your business startup succeed in 2018 and secure the funding you need to get off the ground. You’ll be surprised at how much attention you receive by taking the first step with any of these technology trends and reap the rewards of investment into your company by an investor.

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Why It Is Not Advisable to Not Have a Business Plan

Plan

When you start a business, different people will advise you differently on how to turn your venture into a success. While it looks natural to have a business plan beforehand, do not be surprised if you find some people telling you to not have one. According to some, having a business plan limits you in your exploration and prevents you from taking risks. That might hold true in some cases, but that’s not how it is for everyone. Having a business plan is a sensible step, but if you are on the fence about whether to have one or not, here are some disadvantages of not having a business plan to help you make a well-informed decision.

Why Not Having a Business Plan Is Not Advisable

1.      There Is Nothing to Achieve

Milestones have to be an integral part of any venture. When you don’t have any milestones and targets, there is nothing for you to achieve. Having no business plan is the first sign of your non-seriousness with your business. If you could not take out time to create a detailed plan, how can one expect you to manage your business – an activity that could require even up to 16 hours of continuous working at times? The problem with having nothing to achieve means you will have no strategies for your expenses, profits, revenues, etc.

How would you ever know how much you should spend or not spend? Why would you invest in marketing when you don’t have any goals?

2.      There Is Nothing to Interest Investors

There might be some proponents of the idea that a business does not require a business plan, but there are still more people who believe in having a business plan. Investors always need indicators from entrepreneurs to judge their personalities and potentials. Business plan is one of the strongest indicators of a person’s potential of doing a business. When you ask investors for a certain amount of money, the first question they ask is why you need that money or what you need that money for. Your answer to this question can make it or break it for you.

In fact, that is not the only question. They will follow up this first question with a lineup of crucial follow-up questions. For example, if you tell them you will invest the money in marketing, they will ask you about the type of marketing you are aiming for, the return you expect and the costs of customer acquisition. How can you answer all those questions if you do not have a business plan?

3.      Your Marketing Will Go Awry

One of the damages of not having a business plan is your marketing plans going awry. Entrepreneurs have more power to them today than they ever had before. These days, startup owners have internet where they can collect information about their customers in the startup stages. Collecting customer information helps them create buyer personas and target their audience with appropriate marketing. Here are some pieces of information you will have to collect.

  • What age group and gender my product appeals best to?
  • What interests my target age group and gender?
  • What platforms is my target audience most active on?
  • What is the average buying power of my target audience?
  • What type of content best attracts my target audience?
  • What expectations do my potential customers have with my product?
  • How can I personalize my marketing to my audience?

That’s just few of the many questions that you have to get the answers for to make your marketing endeavors profitable. However, all of this homework is a part of your business plan.

4.      Your Team Won’t Share Your Vision

It is crucial for a business’ success to have a team that shares the same vision and endeavors to achieve it. Several studies and researches have proven that employees do not perform at their best when they don’t understand the vision well. You must define clear and vivid targets to your employees for them to know exactly what they have to do to be of value for the company. What you have to realize is that telling your team the vision of the business is not enough. It is a broad concept and does not define the action plan to your employees.

What you have to do is break the process of achieving your vision into small parts. These small parts are the milestones and within each milestone the role of your team is clearly defined. In short, break the entire pursuit of vision into small missions, and explain the role of every team member to achieve a milestone.

5.      You Won’t Know When to Exit

One of the biggest mistakes most startup owners and entrepreneurs make is that they don’t know when to exit. If you can close down your business before it starts hurting you financially, that’s a form of success. The true failure is when you cannot realize that your business is hurting you and you keep burning dollars for its success. An integral part of a business plan is defining favorable and unfavorable conditions for the business to exist.

In a business, you have to define a deadline before which you must see positive results. You have to define a time frame within which you can continue to invest in your business. However, you have to draw a line to make it clear when you cannot continue anymore. If you have been running your business for six months and the money has been going out of your pocket, it might be an indicator that it won’t work for you.

Conclusion

A business plan should be considered a part and parcel of a venture. It is not an optional component because your success rests on it. If you are looking forward to starting your business, it is advisable that you sit down and take time to write and review your business plan. If that is too much for you, hire a professional to write it for you.

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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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