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Income

Keys to Wealth When Starting a Business

Getting rich is the number one goal of people thinking about starting their own business. But what are the actual factors that launch entrepreneurs from struggling startup to lifelong financial security? Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if your startup goal is to make yourself rich.
Work for yourself
It is very difficult to become wealthy working for somebody else. At the end of the day, employees are another business expense that must be controlled, and there is little motivation for the guy holding all the cards (and all the risk) to pay you any more than the minimum required to get someone to do the job. Working for yourself takes back control over your work life and financial future. If you want more money, you can do what needs to be done to increase your income.
Carry no debt
Debt is a wealth killer, both for a business and for your personal life. Paying interest is like flushing your cash down the toilet. Run your business and personal budgets on a cash-only basis, at least during the early stages of startup. Be stingy with your money and pay attention to fees and interest on any credit terms you are extended. You’ll be surprised how much better the cash flow looks when you are not wasting money on debt fees!
Develop multiple income streams
As long as you are taking responsibility for your worklife and financial future, you might as well throw as many hooks in the water as you can handle. Whether you develop multiple income streams through a single business idea or you pursue several opportunities at once, the more chances you have of making a profitable sale, the more likely you are to succeed.
Learn the numbers
Whether you consider yourself a numbers person or not, you will need to understand how to look forward and back at the numbers to make the best strategic decisions. Accounting is the primary record of where your business has been and those results are used in financial ratios to determine the present health of the company. You MUST understand how these systems work so that you can identify problems and opportunities as they come. And, you must be able to develop strategic plans based on viable financial projections. Don’t leave these critical tasks to anyone else. The bottom line in business is making money, and you need to have a firm grasp on what all those numbers mean to you.
Balance your priorities
Be careful of devoting ALL of your time and energy into the business, especially as the venture grows and develops. Don’t be afraid to delegate when the time comes, because blowing off other important parts of your life can be financially devastating. Basically, that’s a PC way of saying divorce is so are health problems. Take care of your whole life on the path to wealth, or you might well find it all up in smoke when you least expect it.…

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Business Line

Making Big Changes, Even When You’re Broke

The past few years have been difficult for many Americans. Jobs have been lost, the future is up in the air, and unexpected changes are all around. The one great outcome of hard times is that we tend to reevaluate what is important and take steps toward creating the life that we want. Of course, having plenty of cash can make big changes easier to accomplish, but being broke is no excuse for complacency. Even if you are struggling financially, make 2011 the year that you take back control and make some big moves in the right direction. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Design and Plan.
Take a good look at every area of your life – work, health, hobbies, family, whatever – and create a picture of how you’d like your future to be. Think big, as if there are no obstacles to getting what you want. Talk your ideas over with your spouse and close friends and family, but avoid the naysayers and negative nellies – you don’t need to hear all the reasons it can’t work right now! Once you have decided who, how, and where you want to be, develop step-by-step plans for getting from here to there. The more detailed the plan, the better, and be sure it includes steps that can be implemented immediately. Organize your plans so that you are doing something every day that moves you in the right direction.
Make the tough decisions.
The odds are that the exercise of connecting where you are now to where you want to be is going to reveal some serious obstacles. Whether those obstacles are financial (debt, income limits), personal (relationship issues, lack of support), or career-related (hate your job, lack of control), you are likely going to have to make some tough decisions to affect real change in your life. Those decisions might include bankruptcy or moving or taking bigger risks than you normally would, but they must be made to get to the life you want. Be honest with yourself about what needs to be done, then make the decision and go after it. Most of these things are like pulling off a bandaid – if you jump right in it will only hurt for a little while.
Do good.
One of the best things you can do to put your own life in perspective is to help out those less fortunate than you. Whatever your situation, there is always someone who is worse off and could use your help. Volunteer through a local nonprofit or church and spend a few hours each week doing good. Not only will you feel better about your own life, you will be helping out those who really need it as well. And, if you skip the movies and volunteer instead, you can save up your entertainment budget to put towards the parts of your redesigned life plan that require cash!
Knock off the To-do List.
Most of us have a ridiculously long to-do list in our head. You know, all those pesky chores and projects that pop into your thoughts at the most inconvenient times. Those tasks are a distraction, and if you are serious about making changes in your life, you should get those items off the list. Write them all down, set priorities for completing each task, and knock them off one-by-one as you are working on redesigning your life.
Start a business.
Owning a business is a dream of a great many of us, and there is no time like the present to follow that dream. Business that are started now will be poised to explode as the economy recovers, and there are some incredible deals available to small businesses right now. Commercial space is inexpensive, vendors are flexible, and quality workers are available and willing to work cheap. The recession knocked out the businesses that weren’t well-managed, and there are opportunities in just about every industry, in every part of the country. If launching a business is on your wish list for 2011, don’t wait another day!…

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Starting A Business

Accounting For New Businesses

Starting a business is an invigorating experience. Taking a new idea and converting it into viable business proposition is exciting as well as demanding. Working out a marketing strategy and selling to the first potential customers contains enough highs and lows to fill your experience bank for a decade. If it wasn’t exciting and challenging we wouldn’t be doing it would we? And especially in the early days when we’re often working long hours for next to nothing.
Probably the only thought we give to money at first is the amount we hope to make! Yet it’s that lack of attention to the detail of the business finances that trips up so many entrepreneurs. If money isn’t controlled, measured and accounted for accurately then even – maybe especially – growing businesses hit the cash flow buffers long before they reach the point of being profitable. So, if you don’t take care over the boring financials and find a good accountant to help you, then your dreams may end up accounting (pun intended) for nothing.
So make sure you think about how to keep your financial records before you start. Ask for advice and set up a system that works in your business, both to enable the VAT returns and annual accounts to be prepared as well as to ensure you can keep a check on the numbers – who owes you money, who needs paying and how much profit you are making. It’s almost always a mistake to leave this until the business has been trading for a while. We are talking about ensuring that crucial information is regularly available so why not have it from the start, particularly as it will cost you more to sort out the mess later on.
If the business is small and likely to remain so then you may be able to run it on a spreadsheet. But beware of just creating one yourself. Any accountant will tell you horror stories of spreadsheets that have been deeply flawed and often dangerously so. If you are going to use a spreadsheet then make sure it has been thoroughly tested and accurate in what it reports. If it’s just a list of entries with no categorization then it will be of limited or no value.
Accounting packages come in all sizes and cost but they all tend to do the same thing. In the end they have to be easy to use (or you won’t) and easily readable by whoever is completing your accounts. Make sure you test it properly before you purchase and get a professional viewpoint on its suitability for your business. There are plenty of good online packages too which are worth checking out.
Good, professional tax and accounting advice at the start of the business ought to be able to save you money initially and set you on the right course with effective systems to provide you with the information you need to know exactly where your business is and to plan where it is going. Find a recommendation, check out different people… but get an accountant! It is a distinct advantage if they speak a comprehensible version of English not just an obscure accounting language. They ought to be keen to suggest solutions not just raise problems and they must be interested in understanding your business.
So enjoy starting your new business, but make sure you are clear about how to count the numbers before you start.…

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Small Business Ideas

Online Business – Are You Ready to Work From Home? Let’s Get Real If You’ve Never Done This Before

It’s very simple. Let’s just put it this way and I’ll use myself as an example. When I was a little kid, Bruce Lee was the man. With Bruce came a flood of Kung-Fu movies. So guess what I wanted to be? That’s right, Mr Kung-Fu fighter. Being born and raised in the mean streets of the Bronx (New York City) I did have plenty of practice, I also did join a few martial arts schools in my neighborhood. However, most of my fighting skills were learned in the streets and I did get very good with my hands, so I thought.
As I grew older, now an adult, this passion for the martial arts remained deep inside of me. So I joined another local karate school. On Friday evenings we would put on the fighting gear and I would do very well against the other white belts in my class. On one weekend, the Dojo (Karate school) had a special class and a bunch of blacks from New Jersey, upstate New York and Connecticut would visit, train and fight with our Dojo. So my teacher allows me to join this event. All I can say is that it was like getting beat up by every great fighter that you can think of. The bottom line is that I thought that I was going to float like a butterfly, but instead I saw butterflies and stars doing circles around my head. It took me five years of training, hard training, before I could stand up to these men and women.
Question, what belt are you? When it comes down to the internet online business world. How much do you know? The reason I ask this is because many of us come in with unreal expectations. Fueled by the people that are getting us involved in these home based businesses. And you can’t blame them. They’re just doing their jobs. Does a car sales person care about how good you can drive? No, his job is to sell you a car.
So, if you think that just because you can type a million words a minute or that you’re a great sales person. That you’re going to be an overnight success. Wrong, I don’t think so. Because just like me at the Dojo, I had to train long and hard, five, six and even seven days a week. Even though I thought I knew how to fight. I was dead wrong. It took me five years and a whole bunch of lumps to achieved my first degree Black Belt. And that was just the beginning.
Black Belts, Internet Marketing, starting a business it all takes a lot of work, dedication and perseverance to achieve success in whatever it is that you want to do.…

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Profitability

Starting a Business With a Website – A Practical Outline

This article is meant as a practical outline for starting a web/world based business from someone in the process of doing so. I started to put a merchandising business together about a month ago and assumed that a presence on the internet was a necessity. The first thing I did was to research tax laws and file a DBA (“doing business as”) in the counties clerk’s offices where I anticipated doing “physical” business. The tax laws for an individual doing business “under an assumed (business) name are simpler than the more complicated corporate tax laws. Filing the DBA legally establishes you under the business name chosen. At each step from here you need to ensure compliance with manifold regulations, such as permits and licenses for your activities if you wish to sell things in various venues.
Next, you need to ensure the production of your product. This depends on what you produce. Keep record of all your business related expenditures and income. Do not do this in an electronic database only. Keep hard records!
When you have or are close to having a product, you need a website. You should look up “web hosting services” and compare reviews and rankings from those who have used them. Good customer service is essential with a web host. For a small business, you may want to use a shared server or a “VPS” (virtual private server), which costs a bit more. You need to either build the site yourself with software provided by the host or chosen from the marketplace (varied options) or hire it out. It depends on the scope of your site, but inquire about building it yourself as this can be cost effective and more fun. You will need to configure your e-commerce setup by providing online payment services. You can use Pay Pal, Checks, or Credit Cards as a few possibilities. Credit Card processing generally requires a merchant account with Visa/Mastercard. This can be an involved process. Once you are online, you need to promote your site. While there are tricks to web programming (search engine optimization) that make your site accessible, traditional real-life contact is indispensable where you share your name and website while building a rapport with the customer is just essential to a startup business. I am now at the point of marketing and advertising. Best of luck with your own start-up business.…

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Business Letter

Small Business Advice – Convert Prospects to Clients With This

I remember the conversation vividly. An entrepreneurial couple came to me for help because of a chronic problem with late payments from clients and the impact was, of course, their own financial struggle. I listened to what was happening and suggested they change their business model to require payment up front.
They said “Oh we couldn’t do that – no-one would pay us up front. No-one in our field does that.” I asked why and they didn’t really have a good reason other than being afraid that they would lose business if they asked for payment up front.
What I suggested next, however, brought on an immediate gasp and even more fear. But in fact, when they got past that fear and implemented this strategy, they easily got payment up front AND converted more prospects to paying clients.
The answer was to require payment up front AND include a guarantee. The word “guarantee” for some reason, makes a lot of entrepreneurs fearful. They are deathly afraid that if they offer an guarantee, they will end up refunding money to client after client.
But in fact, that’s just a fear. If you are 100% confident in the product or service you provide as a small business owner, offering a guarantee should be a no-brainer. Here’s how:
Guarantee the results:
If you have a track record of proven results in business, and you are confident in your ability to help your client achieve the result, then there’s no reason you couldn’t guarantee that result. One of my clients is a makeup artist. Having done hundreds of brides, she was confident in guaranteeing natural, flawless makeup application that lasts throughout their wedding day. That’s a result her clients are always looking to achieve, so it was a brilliant focus for her in converting prospects to clients.
Guarantee the service:
If service is of high importance to your client, it could very well be the thing to focus on in your guarantees. It can be the level of service you provide. For example, you can guarantee that your client will always get a response from you within a certain time frame.
Guarantee the experience:
Depending on the type of product or service you offer, you can also guarantee the experience your client would have. It’s similar to the service guarantee, but focused on what your client would experience after having done business with you. For example, if your clients tend to be afraid of the hassles in your industry, you can guarantee them a hassle-free experience.
Guarantee that they’ll be fully equipped:
For some services that depend on the client’s commitment to taking action, it may not be possible to guarantee the results. That’s because you have no control over how much action they take. However, you can certainly guarantee that they will walk away with everything they need to achieve the precise result they were seeking. For example, when I do a live workshop, I guarantee that my attendees will walk away with the exact formula for attracting a steady stream of clients like a magnet to their businesses.
So what’s your guarantee? Overall, it is important to pay close attention to the key objections or hesitations your prospects may have and insert some powerful guarantees around those objections so that you can easily convert prospects into paying clients.…

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Business News Articles

Unemployed? Put Yourself to Work!

The latest figures show the unemployment rate in the US is topping 10%’s one in ten people out of work! And, the future isn’t looking particularly bright. Recent reports estimate the lack of work will continue through 2011, at least. You can’t sit around and wait for big business or the government to turn the economy around, so it’s pretty much up to you to take control for yourself. How can you get your financial life back on track? Put yourself to work!
Starting a business of your own is the best and only way to take complete control of your work life. Working for yourself means no layoffs, no wage freezes, no begging for a day off, no hoping that the big bossman will grant you a meager year-end bonus. When you work for yourself, YOU set your income goals and work as hard (or not) as needed to reach those goals. YOU develop a company culture that fits your personality. YOU establish your own work hours. And YOU decide when it’s time to grow.
Of course, starting a business requires a good bit of time and effort, but at least the work you do is just for you. When you want to earn more income, you put in more work. When you want a little time off, you take the time you need. Because it’s all on you, you will do the work to control the risks and because you are taking control of your worklife, you are more likely to stay motivated.
For many new entrepreneurs, the toughest part of independence is taking the first even figuring out what that first step would be. If you’re just not sure where to start, start here:
Define Your Goals
Take a look at where you are now and where you want to be. Write it all down and cover all areas of your life.
Make the Tough Decisions
If you are drowning in debt, decide how to handle it. If you hate your job, set a deadline to make the change. If you don’t have any startup cash, figure out how to raise it. Look at the gap between where you are and where you want to be and create a concrete plan to close up that gap. If it seems like it will take forever, don’t let that bother you. If you start today, you are one day closer to where you want to be!
Pick a Startup
Brainstorm business ideas, find a modified version of your own big idea, talk to your friends and family about startup opportunities. It really doesn’t matter where you start with your independence, just that you get started. Most wildly successful entrepreneur change direction a number of times before landing on the perfect opportunity. And, more opportunities seem to appear once you’ve taken the first step.
Educate Yourself
Entrepreneurship is its own separate profession. Becoming an expert requires that you learn the fundamentals of a bunch of other professions, including accounting, marketing, financial management, sales, logistics, even secretarial and janitorial duties. Beyond that, you will learn to incorporate all those basic skills and add the key ingredient to success – innovation. Innovation is finding a new, better way to get things done. It might be a change in the product, the sales process, or even in administrative functions, but innovations are the one factor that will make you a success. To be able to identify those innovations, you have to know the basics.
Watch for opportunity
Once you have taken the first leap into entrepreneurship (which might even just be making the decision to go out on your own!), you will begin to see opportunities all around you. Don’t be afraid to pursue multiple opportunities. As long as you manage your time well, having a bunch of hooks in the water will multiply your odds of catching some fish!…