Overcoming a Bad Business Location – Is It Possible?

Location

In today’s day and age, experienced business owners advise future entrepreneurs to work on their online presence. They should develop an impressive website and practice social media marketing, among other activities. It almost seems as if you can build a great brand based on an influential online existence. However, even though this is true to a certain extent, don’t undermine the importance of a good business location.

This makes it crucial for new business owners to look into the location they will set up. But it’s still possible that issues like financial constraints can lead to them running a business in a bad location. Many startups seem to fail due to this reason. While there isn’t an immediate solution for the predicament, you can take particular measures to alleviate the circumstances. Here are some of the ways that you can overcome a bad business location:

Implement Impactful Branding and Signage

It’ll be hard for people passing by to avoid your store if you manage to lure them in with attractive signs and branding techniques. Captivating signage always manages to pull potential customers out of their way to stop and have a look. A billboard that appears to stand out from the rest works the best. You shouldn’t opt for one that blends in and looks similar to that of competitors. For improved results, take it a step further and provide customers with customized shopping bags that will make others do a double-take.

Brand Your Business

Oftentimes, you can turn the main disadvantage of your business location into something beneficial. Being the only brand selling something of your niche in the area is better than opening shop in a district where your competitors operate.

There are likely people actively looking for your products in the area because they’re far from the district that has most retail outlets. By branding your location online, in local publications and with flyers, you can attract loyal customers to your shop.

Developing a loyal customer base is more effective than having more people walk into your shop. There’s no point if the people walk out with nothing because ‘there’s another shop here’. These customers can boost their reputation among their friends and family. This is far more valuable in today’s world where word of mouth decides what brands people choose.

Make Friends

Since other businesses will surround you, you can use the opportunity to make friends and form collaborations with these brands. Promotions like these can raise hype for both you and your partners, so it’s beneficial for you to approach them with such an idea in mind.

A good example is that you give customers a discount if they show that they purchased from a collaborating store. While it’s best to form agreements with businesses that complement yours, such a tactic would still work when dealing with unrelated fields.

Leverage Online Presence

By becoming ‘that one brand with the –-online, you have the potential to lure in customers who live far from your business location. A charismatic and humorous social media persona will get you far as well because millennials appreciate brands that make the effort of seeming human. You can even leverage social media hashtags that have a certain amount of momentum. However, don’t generalize it, or make it too narrow.

That way, you’ll either be associated with out-of-topic posts or you won’t get any posts at all. If you have the capital for it, hire a micro-influencer to give your business location a shout out by offering samples or inviting them to your store. Additionally, you can put your skills to good use by uploading videos to YouTube. By making them informative and entertaining, you’ll drive consumers to your location.

Make Your Location Accessible

In today’s era when the youth prefers to make memories without spending too much money, you’ll be benefited by accommodating their demand. Therefore, make your business space an open one. Not literally, but ensure that it’s accessible, even by people who don’t intend to buy anything from you.

Most outlets and retail stores are condescending to potential customers who are just looking around because they don’t plan on buying anything. It’s your job to be welcoming to them by offering space for activities. Moreover, make your business location a hotspot for social activities.

You can build upon this idea by holding events yourself, and keep space reserved for events. This way, people that are close by will know that there’s a trendy-looking place in the area that’s all prepared to hold a small event.

Make Use of Windows

Windows offer an intimate look into what’s going on in a particular location. Hence, they’re commonly associated with curiosity. People have a general instinct to look into shop windows, even if they’re not paying attention.

Enhance awareness of your brand among potential customers by placing your best products at the shop window. Or better yet, make it a more personal experience by allowing others to have a look inside at the activities you hold. These are very significant factors because of how they can encourage people to walk into your store.

Talk to Local Media

There are countless ways that you can boost your visibility in the area. Hence, you can make a seemingly bad location work out for you. By talking to local media outlets, such as radio stations and magazines, you can get some flattering press, which adds value to your brand.

People who hear about you through such channels are likely to want to have a look at your products. If you’re up for it, you can write pieces for local publications or give interviews. This step allows the community to know you better. By developing a closer bond with the people around you, the chances of them putting your first before any other brand become higher. These are just a few ways that you can overcome a bad business location. While you needn’t try all of them, it helps to test more methods.

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Debt Is Not the Death of Your Business

Business Debt

“Debt” and “business” are two words you don’t want to see in the same sentence. Unfortunately, it is not always a smooth ride for every business owner. High hopes can often make business owners get carried away. That’s why experts want you to be realistic with your expectations as a business owner. It does not matter how unique your product is or how differently you have planned to serve your target audience. You cannot expect too much unless you have tested the waters beforehand. Perhaps, you set your hopes too high at some point and dug your way into the debt trap.

Good news is that debt is not the death of your business – at least not always. Some proper planning, persevere attitude, and calculated strategies can help you dig your way out of debt too.

Free up the Money That belongs to You

The first thing you ever want to do is free up the money that belongs to you. Perhaps, you are in a business where credit transactions are common. The problem with this format is that customers can delay your payments more than the specified period quite often. They have received the product, and they have consumed it too. Not clearing your invoices does not really hurt them as much as it hurts you. Consequently, you will have to get in touch with these customers and remind them of the pending invoices.

You can ask these customers to pay you sooner. Set a deadline and ask every customer to pay by that time. It won’t be easy but do not forget that you are fighting for the survival of your business. You can boost your cash flow significantly even if half of the customers agree to pay you on your set deadline.

Boost Your Revenue

This is an area where business owners have an advantage over people who do nine to five jobs. Salaried individuals don’t have any control over their salaries. It is a fixed amount that they will receive at the end of the month. On the other hand, you as a business owner have your revenues under your control. You can decide what your business earns at the end of the month. You can change prices, launch promotions, and cut your costs significantly to increase your revenue and profit.

One of the ways to get your customers’ attention is to launch promotions. However, you have to design your promotions carefully. You don’t want to shrink your profit margins until you know your promotion will increase your customer count considerably. If you have a loyal and repeating customer base, take advantage of that. Increase the prices a little to generate more revenue.

Slash Your Costs

Cost-cutting can be a huge step for a business. You have a hundred different costs that you can cut down. First, talk to the vendors that supply you the materials for your products. Quit the marketing campaigns that are not generating any returns. Reduce your operational costs as well. If possible, ask your workers to work from home to save yourself some money on office space. In fact, you can cut down your computer, internet connection, utility, etc. costs if you can make your employees work from home. Reduce office hours if your calculation tells you that certain hours are not as productive as much as they cost you.

Pay Your Debts First

A common mistake that business owners often make is treating debts as a secondary concern. You might feel tempted to buy more inventory, fulfill some orders, and pay the overhead expenses first, and then worry about your debts. However, this strategy can go against you. You will never be able to pay your debts if you make other business expenses first. The thought of repaying the debt is stressful. You can’t make great decisions when you are stressed. You will see a huge improvement in how you tackle your business related matters once you have paid off your debt.

Consider Consolidation

You can consolidate your loans to make things easier for you. What makes debts scary and stressful for business owners is that there can be many of them. Even if you pay one debt, you then have another to worry about. This format can be mentally devastating for the business. Moreover, you might be paying different interest rates on different debts. Consolidation helps you simplify your debt repayments.

First, it combines all the debts that you have to pay into one. As a result, you have to make just one payment every month that serves as the repayment of all your debts. Secondly, it helps you take advantage of a more affordable interest rate. The fact that you don’t have a bunch of different credits knocking on your door every day can be quite relieving too.

Find a New Partner

You want to take this step only as a last resort. Of course, the sight of seeing your business shut down is more painful than anything else. That’s why you can make a new partner in business by offering some equity rather than letting your business sink to the bottom. You can ask your new partner to finance your business for the chunk of equity you are offering him/her. A crucial consideration here is not to offer too much equity. You don’t want to lose control of your business as a result of this deal. Offer only enough equity that keeps the new partner interested but does not make you lose your control over your company.

Concluding Thoughts

You must not forget that these are only the extreme measures to dig out of debt. The first cure for avoiding debt is care. Make sure you start with a solid business plan wherein you have sorted out your expenses and loans already. Sometimes, venture capitalists are not the best option to fund a business. In that case, you have crowdfunding options available. Using the latter option, you can fund your business amply without necessarily giving up equity too much equity, if any at all.

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Banks Have a Lot of Reasons to Reject Your Small Business Loan

For a small business to grow into a big business, it needs a loan unless it has exceptional sales and profit margins. A small business owner has quite a few places where he/she can go with a loan request. Banks seem to be one of their options on most occasions. What these owners might not realize is that banks have recently developed a reputation for rejecting small business loans. It seems that banks are more interested in financing large businesses due to their benefits. A bank can come up with a variety of reasons to reject loan approval for a small business. Some of the common reasons are as under:

Reasons for Banks to Reject Your Small Business Loan

Credit History

One of the barriers between you and the business loan is credit history. When you go to a bank, they look at your personal as well as business credit reports. Some people are under the impression that their personal credit does not affect their business loans. But that’s not always the case. A majority of banks look into both the types of credits. One of the aspects of credit that matter a lot to the banks is credit history. The length of your credit history can affect your loan approval negatively or positively.

The more information banks have at hand to assess your business’ creditworthiness, the easier it is for them to forward you the loan. However, if your business is new and your credit history is short, banks will be unwilling to forward you the desired loan.

Risky Business

You must be aware of the term high-risk business. In fact, lending institutions have created an entire industry for high-risk businesses to help them with loans, credit card payments, etc. A bank can look at a lot of factors to evaluate your business as a high-risk business. Perhaps you belong to an industry that is high-risk per se. Examples of such businesses are companies selling marijuana-based products, online gambling platforms, and casinos, dating services, blockchain-based services, etc. It is imperative to understand that your business’ activities can also make it a high-risk business.

For example, your business might not be a high-risk business per se, but perhaps you have received too many charge-backs on your shipped orders from your customers. In that case, the bank will see you as a risky investment and might eventually reject your loan application.

Cash Flow

As stated earlier, your credit history matters a lot when a bank is to approve your loan request. While having a short credit history increases your chances of rejection, a long credit history isn’t always a savior too. Any financial incidents on your credit history that do not favor your business can force the bank to reject your application. One of the most important considerations is the cash flow of your business. When you have cash flow issues, you are at risk of receiving a “no” from the bank for your loan.

Your cash flow is a measure for the bank to know how easily you return the loan. If you are tight on cash flow, how will you manage the repayments? However, cash flow is one of the controllable factors for you. Find ways to increase your revenues and lower your expenses. Once you have the right balance, you can approach the bank for a loan.

The Debt

A mistake that small business owners often make is trying out too many places for loans. They will avoid going to the bank first but get loans from several other sources in the meantime. Once you have obtained your business funding from other sources, it makes sense to return it in time. Approaching the bank when you already have a lot of debt to pay is not advisable at all. Do keep in mind that the debt you or your business owes affects your credit score as well. In short, the bank does not even have to investigate to know your debt. An overview of your credit report can tell the story.

The Preparation

Sometimes, your business is doing fine, and your credit score is in good shape as well. However, what’s missing is a solid business plan and proper preparation for loan approval. If you haven’t already figured out, banks require you to present a lot of documents with your loan approval request. Here are only some of the documents you will have to present to the bank to get approval for your loan.

  • Income tax returns
  • Existing loan documents
  • Personal financial documents
  • Affiliations and ownership
  • Business lease documents
  • Financial statements of the business

You have to be exceptionally careful when these documents and presenting them to the bank. Any discrepancies can result in loan rejection.

Concentration of Customers

This one might come as a surprise to some, but a lot of banks consider this aspect of your business seriously. You must not forget that loans are banks’ investments. Businesses that approach the banks are their vehicles to multiply their money in the form of interest. If the bank senses that your business does not have the potential to expand, it can reject your loan request. Think of a mom and pop shop in a small town with a small population. If it only serves the people of that town and has no potential to grow further, a rejection is imminent.

In this particular case, even if the business has considerable profit margins, it relies on its regular customers for that. The bank might see it as a returnable loan but not as an investment opportunity.

Conclusion

The good news is that you have a lot of funding options as a small business owner. Today, banks are only one of the many options for you to fund your bank. You don’t necessarily have to apply for loans when you have crowdfunding platforms actively helping small business with their funding needs. If you are seeking a business loan from a bank, that’s fine. However, if the bank does not approve your request, it should not worry you much.

 

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

 

Some Unnecessary Small Business Expenses to Avoid

Business Expenses

When you start a business, you have to be extra careful with how you spend your capital. There are many ways for small business owners to increase their profits. Reducing their costs is one of the simplest and most effective ones. A lot of the times, entrepreneurs would add costs to their budgets that they don’t necessarily have to make. It might appear to them that these are necessary expenses when that’s not the case. They can add many of these expenses once their business has established.

Expenses That Small Businesses Should Avoid

Excessive Advertising

Yes, advertising is quite important for businesses, but excessive advertisement is not. It still makes sense for large businesses to go full-on with advertising because they have the budget to do so. However, when it comes to small businesses, they must do intelligent and selective advertising only. Their first course of action should be to identify the advertising channels that work best for them. Just because you are a restaurant at the corner of a street does not mean you have to use awnings, vinyls, neon signs, and all other types of materials for advertising purposes. Pick the ones that work and skip what doesn’t.

Too Many Work Hours

You don’t necessarily have to follow the trends of your competitors to compete with them. It does not matter how good they are, even the best ones can make mistakes at times. Many business owners choose to keep their premises opened for customers for long hours. They will open the business early in the morning and close it late at night just so they can serve more customers. However, one must do cost calculation before taking such a step? What if you are getting only five customers in the first three hours of the business and five more at the last two hours?

Now imagine the cost of utility, wages of your employees, etc. Are you covering the costs of keeping your business opened for five additional hours with only 10 customers? Even if you want to continue this way, you better test it for a week only. If the response is cold, you should quit this practice as soon as possible.

Pursuing the Best of Everything

The idea sounds great but is not the way to go about doing business when you are in your early stages. You should spend your money on things you need, not the things you want unless you have the budget to do so. If you are renting space for your office, you should look for a place that you can easily afford. Going for the best location in the most commercial area will cost you a lot of money. You can save your money even when it comes to internal equipment. Why buy new couches, seats and brand new computers when you can do with high-quality used equipment?

Why go for a printer with fancy looks and capacity to print hundreds of pages in a minute when you won’t ever need that many printouts at a time? Go with simple and beautiful when it comes to decorating your office. You don’t want to spend your budget on things that are not going to yield any benefits for your business.

Hiring IT Staff

IT is integral to any business today, tech or non-tech. However, it does not mean you have to have an IT team on board. One of the beauties of modern technology is that it allows you to outsource a lot of the business processes. The best thing about outsourcing business processes is that you can save a lot of money by doing so. Managed IT services are a perfect way for you to save IT costs while benefitting from expertise of the best professionals of the industry. Rather than paying thousands of dollars to three or four IT people, it makes more sense for small businesses to outsource their IT processes for a small monthly fee.

The good news is that you can outsource almost anything IT-related. From basic helpdesk to on-demand data officers, IT outsourcing can cover a lot of ground for you.

Unnecessary Debts

Taking loans when starting a business is imperative for your growth and to have enough cash in hand to support your operations. However, there are more ways to fund your business than you might realize. Many small business owners follow venture capitalists and conventional banks when it comes time to fund their businesses. However, crowdfunding has emerged as an amazing funding option for startups and small businesses. The good thing about crowdfunding is that you do not necessarily have to offer equity to the investors in your business. Sometimes, you can just reward them with a sample of your product.

Hiring Only Full-time Employees

If you own a small business, you might want to consider hiring interns. Interns can benefit your business in many ways. First, you do not have to pay them the salary of a full-time employee. Second, you can ask them to do a lot of the mundane tasks that otherwise affect the productivity of your full-time employees negatively. While it might not be the best practice, in some countries of the world they have free internships as well wherein you do not have to pay your interns. However, that’s not the right thing to do, and you should compensate their work to keep them motivated.

Conclusion

You should consider avoiding these expenses if you are a small business owner or about to be one. You can always take advice from those who have their own businesses to figure out what’s necessary and what’s not. Keep yourself up-to-date with new technological advancements. Taking advantage of modern software and hardware solutions can help you save a lot of money. Take the example of a printer with duplex printing option. You could cut your paper costs in half by printing on both sides of the paper. In the end, look into your current setup and operations to see what some expenses are that you can easily live without.

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

Best Easy and Small Business Ideas for 2018

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Every international company today was once a small business serving its local community. If you are brave enough to lay the foundation of a small business and stick to your mission tenaciously, you too could be the owner of an international brand tomorrow. Consider yourself lucky for being born in an era in which starting a business is easier than ever. You could literally start and run your business from your bedroom today. The key to success, however, is to be confident, trust your skills, and start your small business with a big vision.

Best Small Business Ideas 2018

A Digital Marketing Agency

It is for you to decide if you want to start a solo marketing agency or have people with you. Online marketing is not as technical as it might seem to some. Email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, etc. require you to have an understanding of these platforms and the many tools that are used for marketing on these mediums. If you have been active on social media, you probably understand a lot about social media marketing already. However, if you are completely new to the world of internet marketing, you can take advantage of the many affordable digital marketing courses available online.

The best thing about this type of business is that you have an international outreach from day one. Start your professional journey with a proper website that clearly states all the services that you provide. Do not forget to target your local audience with more emphasis.

A Digital Influencer

Influencer can be a vague term when it comes to digital marketing. Influencers can be in many different forms e.g. bloggers, YouTubers, celebrities, sports stars, etc. The good thing is that you can be an influencer even if you are just an ordinary person today. The first thing you have to do is find a segment of the market that interests you. Maybe you like bodybuilding or doing makeup. Once you have decided your niche, create a blog and start writing about that topic. Keep writing quality posts and wait for new subscribers to pour in with time. Once you have enough of them following you on social media, you can turn yourself into an influencer.

Your job as an influencer is to promote certain products to your social media followers. You don’t have to have millions of followers. If your penetration into your audience is deep i.e. a large number of your followers respond to your posts, even a few thousand followers will be perfect for promoting brands. It is not always the size of your followers that matters. What matters more is your penetration into the market. Influencers can be nano, micro, mega, macro, etc.

A Website Designing and Development Company

Website designing and development are also a form of digital marketing but this is where things become technical. You have to learn to code to create websites. Yes, there are other ways to create websites such as learning to use a website builder and designing websites without requiring any coding knowledge, but the control that comes with being a coder can never be experienced when designing with a builder. If you can get in touch with a few people who happen to be website developers like you, starting a website development company should be no big task for you.

If you don’t have any knowledge of website designing but the field intrigues you, there are many ways to learn web development. A lot of online websites now offer you web development courses. In fact, they officially certify you when you complete the course and even send a hard copy to add to your credentials.

A Graphic Designing Company

Graphic designing is different from website designing as you can tell from their names. Website designing is specifically limited to your designing skills to create a website. It is not really “graphic” designing. It requires you to have some knowledge of coding, even if it is basic HTML. On the other hand, you don’t need any coding knowledge to be a graphic designer. As a graphic designer, you help companies design their marketing materials, most important of which is their logo. Every business owner wants their brand to have an identity and a logo plays a crucial role in that.

In addition to logo designing, you will be doing a lot of artistic work to create letterheads, advertisement animations, magazine covers, e-book covers, etc. as a graphic designer.

Professional Online Photographer

A photographer in today’s age is completely different and much more than a photographer from a few decades back. Your market is not limited to marriages, wedding anniversaries, corporate functions etc. Today, you can be a photographer on the internet and sell your pictures to just about anyone. One of the best ways to earn money is to be a photographer for companies to complement their blog posts and enhance their content marketing strategies. You can ask them about the topics on which they are creating content, and then professional photographs that fit the criteria.

You can create a website, add watermarks to your pictures and make previews available so commercial entities can find their desired photos and pay you for them. Many photo galleries are already available on the internet but taking custom orders and then snapping photographs that fit the content can make you unique.

Final Thoughts

You can see that most of these businesses are possible to start right from the comfort of your bedroom. You don’t require a lot of capital to start them. In fact, even a student can start any of these businesses. What matters the most is to stick to your initial plans consistently and patiently. Sudden surges of passion can often make people think of doing big things but such excitement settles down within a few minutes. Do not start a business just for the sake of it. You have to have a vision that motivates you to go keep going even when conditions don’t look their best.

 

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

Crowdfunding for a Business Is More Than Just Money

In the recent years, startup and small business owners have seen crowdfunding rise tremendously. Today, it is one of the most popular ways for business owners to fund their business operations without having to go to a bank to ask for a conventional loan. Of course, crowdfunding does not stop someone from approaching a bank for a business loan.

However, it only makes sense for someone to plan their roadmap carefully and fulfill all their financial needs with an effective crowdfunding campaign on the right platform. For anyone who believes crowdfunding is just a way to collect funds from many different people, they need to rethink that.

Crowdfunding Is Much More than Just Collecting Money

Much Easier than Traditional Funding

Traditional funding is quite a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. As soon as you are at a point where collecting funds for your business is necessary, you start approaching the wealthy people, angel investors, venture capitalists, banks and other lending institutions for investments. The issue here is that you start at the wide side of the funnel and narrow down your options from there to reach the pointy side of the funnel i.e. finding the right investors. If you are unable to strike a deal with your final option, you will end up wasting all your efforts and time.

On the other hand, crowdfunding is the exact opposite of traditional funding. You start at the pointy end of the funnel, create your crowdfunding campaign and let the right people discover you. Those who find your concept attractive and appealing will invest. You will not have to go door to door to find the right person to invest in your, your business and your idea. This makes crowdfunding much easier than traditional funding.

Better Market Outreach

For you to increase your chances of getting the right investor on your side, you have to be at every venue, seminar and meeting where you think you will get a chance to meet the potential investors. However, you can only do so much in the limited time you have before someone else copies your idea and capitalizes on it. On the other hand, when you pick crowdfunding as a way to fuel your business financially, you don’t have to rely on your efforts and marketing outreach solely. The first step of crowdsourcing is finding the right platform since there are many to choose from.

You have to pick your crowdfunding platform based on its popularity and reliability in the public. In short, you benefit from the market outreach of the platform. If your crowdfunding platform is popular in multiple continents then you can expect your funds to be coming from all those places.

Less Riskier than Traditional Funds

One of the biggest issues with traditional funding, especially venture capital, is that such funding has a lot of risk associated with it. Venture capitalists are people or institutions that are oftentimes more interested in their own financial gain than they are in watching your business grow. Their purpose of investing in your company is to double or triple their investment. For that reason, they will often have very strict regulations associated with their investments. If they have doubts about the success of your idea, they will often try to give you the money as repayable loan – the regulations will still be strict.

If they think your product/service will become a massive success, they will try to throw in permanent royalty deals or attempt to take away as much equity in the business from you as possible.

People who fund your business through crowdfunding might not even ask for any stake in your company. Their contributions can be as small as $5 and they might not even expect anything in return. Sometimes, they can make big investments without asking for a lot of equity. On many occasions, their rewards are as simple as a free sample of the product.

Brings Professionalism Out of You

Just because crowdfunding is less risky than traditional funding does not mean you can be all casual with it. Asking for the world to invest in your concept is serious business and you have to be at your professional best to convince people to invest in you. The first thing you will have to do is come up with a proper business plan. Secondly, you want to have a team of right professionals by your side that people can look at and trust. If the air around your team is negative, people will not invest a single dollar in you. You also have to have a good explanation of where you will be spending the money you collect.

If you have prototypes, bring them to the front. Create videos to showcase your technology. Be sure that your product/service is a solution to an existing problem. Do not create a problem and then fix it with your product. Angel investors often frequent crowdfunding platforms and they have to make sure that they are investing in serious people and business, not a hobby.

Helps You Create a Community of Followers

A lot of investment on crowdfunding websites comes in the form of small contributions. These people are not investors but regular people who like an idea, and want to see it in practical form. They believe your idea can solve one of their issues or maybe make the world a better place. If you can convince them that your idea does either or both of those things, they will actively invest in it. These people are early adopters of your technology/product/service and will also act as word-of-mouth marketers for your brand.

Final Thoughts

It is not a coincidence that crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways for new businesses and entrepreneurs to support their early growth, marketing and expansion through crowdfunding. They must be seeing some benefits of funding their efforts through crowdsourcing over conventional funding. If you are someone who is considering the same route, the first advice for you would be to choose a platform with trust, reputation and outreach for your crowdfunding campaign.

 

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

Why It Is Not Advisable to Not Have a Business 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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The Right Way to Arrange and Manage Small Business Funds

Managing funds

The sustenance and growth of a business depends on how well it manages the funds available to it. The first step is to arrange the right funding based on a proper business plan. As a business owner, you don’t want to end up getting more funds than you need because you will then overly spend the money and end up with debt that’s hard to pay off.

The second step is to manage the funds properly and invest them for short-term and long-term benefits both. The biggest challenge for most new businessmen and entrepreneurs is capital. They either don’t know how to raise the money and fund their business, or mismanage the funds they have available.

Raising Funds for a Small Business

Looking at how easy it has become to arrange funds for businesses today, there aren’t many excuses left for entrepreneurs as to why they were not able to start their business. The first thing you want to keep in mind when raising funds for your business is to avoid accumulating too much debt. Avoid any kind of debt if it is possible. If you have saved some money from the jobs you have been doing, use that money to fund your business. If your parents or someone in your family is willing to fund your business, do not be hesitant to accept their help.

Among many good options to arrange funds for your small or starting business you have microloans. Microloans, as the name clarifies, are small loans. Since the amount is not that big, it is easy for the borrower to return this money. In most cases, microloans will not be more than $50,000. The good thing about such loans is that they are easy to obtain even if you don’t have the best of credit score. In many cases, you will get the loan amount credited into your bank account within two weeks after applying. However, the biggest drawback of microloans is that they have a huge interest rate associated with them.

Another way you can avoid burying your business under debt and still receive enough capital to fund the business is by having a partner on board. Rather than starting a sole proprietorship, you should consider making a partner. Making partners is easier when you already have a running business, even if it is a small one. The partner will come with their personal investment and help you fund your business. In fact, you could have a partner on board without offering any investment yourself. You can agree to be the service provider and allocate the partner to fund the business monetarily.

Managing Funds of a Small Business

Once you have arranged the funds for your business, it is time you get a grip on how you will spend that money. The most sensible thing to do here is to ask for investments only after you have created a business plan which clearly states how you will be spending the investment money. You don’t want to spend the invested funds randomly. Here is how you should manage your funds.

  • Separate Business and Personal Account

The first sign of your seriousness with your business is you separating your personal account from your business account. If you have use your personal account for your business as well, you will never know how much money you made from the business, how much you spent back on the business and how much you spent on your personal needs.

  • Be Cost Cutting

You don’t make a business successful by just increasing its revenue. The true art is to reduce the costs of running your business. Work on your B2B connections to partner with entities that can help you reduce the costs of manufacturing and production. Pinpoint the marketing campaigns that produce converting customers and stop spending money on campaigns that only bring in traffic but contribute nothing to conversions. Investors think the money you spend on your operations is money wasted. You want to spend money on productive processes. On the cost cutting side, you should use energy-efficient appliances, all-in-one office equipment, virtual office space, etc.

  • Hire Professionals

Sometimes, you have to spend more to save more. In some areas, it is the professionals who can help you the most. For example, when it comes to tax filing and the calculation of your tax deductions you want to have a professional on your side. Professional accountants can help you reduce your taxable income by working on your business expenses and figuring out any deductions and exemptions that your business qualifies for.

  • Create Cash Reserve

While you are managing your funds and running your business successfully, you want to put some money in cash reserves as well. It will be hard for you to manage a cash reserve amount if you are already making thin profits but the long term benefits of this sacrifice are huge. Your cash reserve saves you from obtaining loans and hence getting buried underneath debt.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that having a lot of money in your bank account does not guarantee a successful business. It does not matter how much money you have, a business owner who does not manage his/her finances properly will end up burning even millions of dollars without making a dime in profits. Use the options you have available today for funding the business. Do not think they will not work for you before you even try them.

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What Makes up a Perfect Business Plan

Doing business plan

Whether you have a small business or a large one, you have to have a business plan in order to set a path for it. A business plan is more like a manual or guide that lists your goals in an order, and how and when you will achieve them. It is even better to have a plan B if things do not work out the way you expect them to. But an important question you should ask yourself is “what makes up a perfect business plan?” What are the important factors that you have to take into consideration to create the perfect business plan?

Of course, you can’t make a plan randomly because business matters are a game of numbers—you have to be precise and accurate.

Describing Business and Writing a Summary

The first and foremost part of any business plan is the executive summary. It is a summary of what’s included in your business plan. You have to keep in mind the word “summary” i.e. you are supposed to summarize everything. You will face two challenges when you do that. First, you will have to find the most selling and appealing parts of your reports to grab the attention of the readers of your business plan instantly. Secondly, you have to find a way to shorten all the descriptions. Bear in mind that the details are in the plan itself, so you have to efficiently summarize all the points.

Furthermore, you have to explain the industry and your business. At this point, you want to talk about what industry your business serves, what the industry looks like and how much potential of growth your business (and the industry) has in the future.

Market and Competitor Analysis

At this point, you will have to put in some work to gather the details that will fill this section of your business plan. You have to know the market that you are about to target. For this, you will have to analyze the market and the sub-markets within it. By doing this, you are trying to paint a clear picture of your target audience. Without this type of analysis, you could end up selling the right product to the wrong people, which means your business will not survive. As you are describing your target audience and how you will approach them in the most effective way possible, you will have to do some analysis of your competitors.

It is just another level of market analysis. You want to get a good idea of what your competitors are doing to run their similar businesses and how much they are succeeding with their strategies. You should also pinpoint their weaknesses and why certain strategies are not working. When you have a business with many competitors, your investors will always ask you several questions about your competitors. They do this not only to know how knowledgeable you are about your target market but also to figure out if what you are about to do is going to work at all.

Development and Design

This is the section where you will define not only the design of the product but how the development takes place. Are you creating the product in your garage or do you have manufacturing plant working for you? How do you get the materials for creating the product? Are you producing your product within the country or outsourcing the production? In case of either of the options, you will have to explain why you have chosen that path. Investors will also ask you how much it costs you to design your product and make it available on the shelf.

What they don’t want you to do is pay more for the production and design of your product than you should. If there are other options available but you are sticking to the expensive ones, it will show them either the stubborn side of your personality or the less knowledgeable.

Costs of Operation and Management Planning

The ongoing processes of the business are the most important ones to pay attention to. How have you planned to take care of the daily matters? How have you assigned the roles and why have you assigned them to certain individuals? At this stage, you also have to talk about the costs of operations. You have to keep your costs realistic and justify that what you intend to spend is not an excessive by any means. In the costs of operations, you will also have to have an estimate of how much you will be spending in salaries. You can include this particular piece of information under the financial planning section as well.

Financial Planning

In this section you have to describe how you intend to finance the business. Are you using your own money to start the business or have you borrowed it from a family member? What kind of debts are there on your business. Debt is deadly for a business, so you want to have a very strong plan on how you will handle the initial debt when starting the business. You also have to show your management of the financial resources and knowledge to prove that any loans that you are taking for the business will be paid off in time and with ease.

If you have given a detail of various loans that you intend to use for your business, you will also have to state how you will use the money. Your usage of the money should be precise. At no point should the investors get a hint that you are going to use the money for something personal or something that will not benefit your business in any way.

Conclusion

Last but not least, make projections a part of your business plan as well. You will need to ready balance sheets and income statements for the coming years. It is imperative to know here that business plans are just assumptions, not facts. You should always expect things to go a bit away from how you planned them. However, such minor setbacks should not stop you from going forward and turning your small business into a large one.

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Importance of Location for Your Small Business

Location

If you are thinking of starting a business that benefits from walk-in foot traffic, you have to pay attention to the location you choose. Whether it is a retail store, a motel, a restaurant or a spa, the right or wrong location of the business can decide its fate. Yes, some businesses reach the heights of their success at the oddest locations possible, but it is not very wise to keep exceptional cases in mind while starting a business. So, what role does a location play in the success of a business? Here are some important points for your understanding.

The Foot Traffic Matters

Now, the area you choose must have ample foot traffic for you to take advantage of. Of course, you are a business that benefits from the foot traffic, so you need a lot of it. For this purpose, you first have to look for commercial areas where people normally go for shopping. If there is no place available in the commercial area, you want to explore further to look for locations from where a lot of people pass. Think about your marketing as well. If you are going to use billboards, neon signs or vinyl for marketing purposes, you want them in places where people can see them. The more people there are at the location of your business the more they will notice your marketing signs.

There aren’t a lot of people at the location that you are considering for your business, you are already at a disadvantage. It shows that people don’t naturally walk in that direction when they are looking to do business. It is the same way on the internet. You bid for keywords that have the highest number of searches. You want to put your banner ads on websites that have a lot of traffic. In short, foot traffic matters.

The Buying Power of the Community

Before you choose the location, you must know the type of audience your business attracts. Are you a fine dining restaurant? Will you be selling low-cost meat burgers? You have to decide your location based on the type of business. If you are opening a fine dining restaurant, you want to open it at someplace where people have the buying power to afford expensive foods. It requires a lot of research for you to be able to find such locations, but the time you spend researching will always pay off in terms of a good return on investment.

Businesses in Proximity

A lot of businesses try to avoid having their competitors located close to them. But believe it or not, it is extremely beneficial for small businesses to be located near other big businesses. By doing this, your business benefits from the traffic of other businesses. It solves a lot of problems that can be detrimental to businesses at locations where there are no other businesses. The first benefit is that you already have foot traffic, so you can already move on to the next step of pulling those potential customers into your premises. Secondly, you don’t have to force people to walk away from their daily routes to come and do business with you.

If you already have a lot of similar businesses located around you, people already come there for that type of business. So, if you are opening a boutique in an area where there are many boutiques already, you can rest assured that people already come to this market for buying clothes.

The Expenses of Operation

This item has to be on your checklist of choosing the right location for your business, otherwise, you are going to regret your decision. Sometimes, you find a place that has high foot traffic volume and lots of other similar businesses in the vicinity, but the operating expenses are through the roof. The businesses that have already established might have adjusted according to those expenses, but things will not be the same for a starting business like yours. You want to keep your operating costs as low as possible. What if the area you are going to has private companies providing electricity?

What if the availability of clean water is a challenge at your desired location? What is the rent of the building if you are considering renting a place for the business? A starting business already has very thin profit margins. Add high operating costs to the equation and even those little profits will be gone.

The History of the Location

The location you have chosen has proven to be ominous for many businesses in the past, you have to dig deeper even if everything sounds right. When a lot of businesses have opened and closed at the same location, it is an indication of something wrong but not visible with a casual survey. You will have to be very careful in finalizing such a location. If nothing, it could be the owner of that building that might be an issue for its renters.

Some landlords are overly interested in their profits and do not care how much damage they are doing to a starting business with their demands.

Many small businesses need some favors and flexibilities from their landlords for them to be in a stable position. Some building owners will even lower your rent to allow you to establish first. If the landlord’s reputation is okay, check to see that the place is not a frequent picnic point for robbers.

Final Word

Many of the things mentioned above might sound basic or understood to you, but you will be surprised to know that many new businesses shut down because they fail to realize the importance of these same points. Believe it or not, you cannot take any of the points given above for granted. And while they might sound very understood and intuitive, lack of time and capital can often push you in a direction that you don’t want to go in. Stay tenacious to this checklist because a compromise at this point will give birth to several compromises in the months to come.

 

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