Make The Bank Love Your Business Plan

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If you have big dreams of starting your own business one day, then you’re certainly not alone. Countless professionals currently stuck in an unfulfilling nine to five want to start a business at some time in the future, but it’s only the brave who follow through with it, for better or worse. If you’ve decided that it’s time to take the plunge, but you’re not sure where to begin, again, you’re not alone. Every business, from the smallest to the largest, starts with a good business plan. This will help you monitor your progress, make rational adjustments, and above all, secure financing. Obviously, you want a business plan that investors will lap up, so here are some tips for making sure it’s as bank-friendly as possible.

Financial Projections

Every bank will be looking at your financial data before anything else, and will want to establish that you actually know and understand how much capital you need, and whether your business idea is financially viable. If the financial projections you come up with don’t pan out the way the bank needs them to, then you can kiss your funding goodbye. One of the two main things that investors look at are your individual cash flow, made up of personal cash flow, personal debt, business cash flow projections and business debt. The second is your debt service coverage ratio, which will indicate whether or not the business can ultimately cover the debt that it takes. If you want the bank to look at your business plan favorably, you need to get your financial projections in order, and understand your cash levers so that you can speak intelligently about what you need from your line of credit.

Your Professional Experience

Your personal, professional experience is also going to have a big impact on how credible you appear in the eyes of lenders. Have you shown previous responsibility for your profits and losses? Do you have a length of experience in the industry you’re targeting? Do you have a solid way of demonstrating that you have the ability to manage your chosen niche effectively? One useful and straightforward exercise during your business planning is creating a list with two columns. The first one should contain all the major factors you need to operate your chosen business model effectively. The second should have your accomplishments and experience that are tied to those factors. The completed list should make it as easy as possible for the decision makers at the bank to see that you and your team have all the qualities needed to run a successful business. If you draw up this list, and discover that you have some glaring hole in your professional experience, you need to work on this issue before actually asking for money.

Location, Location, Location

Although fewer and fewer businesses need any kind of customer-facing premises, you might be planning to launch one that needs to be seen by customers. If this is the case, your location and the available commercial properties in that area are all going to be important factors to lenders. They’ll want to know whether you’ll be able to establish your commercial premises on a corner with a lot of foot traffic, or far away from the high street and hard to spot for passers-by. Addressing how easy it will be for customers to find you in your business plan is essential to make sure prospective lenders will look at it favorably. Understandably, addressing these things can feel pretty overwhelming to a lot of entrepreneurs, particularly if they’re inexperienced. It’s important that you remember your overarching goal should be keeping the plan concise and thorough. The banks already know what it is they’re looking for. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible for them to find this information. You don’t need to pull all-nighters composing a 50-page document covering every little detail. However, you do need to provide clear, accessible information, and let it speak for itself. Wherever possible, make sure you’re getting input from trusted third-party advisers, such as real estate agents, lawyers, and experts in your field.

Your Marketing Strategy

Every responsible lender will want to know that you can attract new customers to your business. Whether you’re starting out as a small, independent business, or a franchise of an international brand, the bank will need some kind of evidence that you know your customer, that there’s a target market in the first place, and you have some innovative ideas about how to dangle yourself in front of those people. This is where it’s essential to drop the “build it and they will come” attitude. This saying may have come about at a time where it was true, but it certainly isn’t today! Even if you have the most innovative product or service to hit the market in decades, you’ll need to have some kind of plan in place for getting the word out and differentiating what you do from what your competitors do. Without getting on your customers’ radars, you won’t make any sales, won’t turn a profit, and won’t be able to pay back the considerable amount that you’re planning to borrow. Take the time to study the market, find out what your most successful competitors have been doing, and how you can improve on these tactics. Again, seek out an adviser. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to come up with a decent strategy, but talking it over with one will certainly help!

There you have my best advice for drafting a business plan that will have lenders reaching for their wallets. Your plan shouldn’t be an academic exercise or a single hurdle to overcome. It should be a living document which will show your investors, partners and advisers that you’re serious about turning your dream into a tangible, profitable reality. Remember that there’ll almost always be some flaw in your assumptions and projections. Once you get approved and open the doors to your customers, look for holes in your plan and work on patching them up!

Get Your Product Out There!

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So you have invented a product. It could be anything. A game, a new kind of furniture, clothing, whatever you have done would have taken hard work on your part, so well done. But, if nobody sees it, it would all have been for nothing. You need to get your product under the noses of the right people. It needs to be let free. You may be nervous. All creative types are. Yet, if you don’t give it a chance it will never succeed. There are all kinds of ways you can push your product towards success. But the key is never to give up. If the many millionaire inventors gave up on their first try then they wouldn’t be successful as they are. You must secure the future of your business and it can only be done by promoting your product. You can find many ways to do so in this article. They are in no particular order, and you may have tried some of them. But try the others and see if they work for you. If you have yet to try and sell your product, then doing a few of these at once is your best bet.

Get Your Product In A Video

Videos are watched all the time. Just look at social media and the amount of videos that pop up as you scroll down through its pages. They are far easier to watch than read. There are some great examples of video marketing success out there too, one small college increased enrollment and quadrupled endowments using targeted video marketing. It is possible to make a huge hit with it. If you get your product in the right video it could do you wonders. It all depends on the product you have created, it will dictate the video. Just look at all of the advertisements on TV. Each one is a video catered to a specific product. Look at similar products to yours and see what the competitors have been doing. Video marketing professionals can help you out, but you should be there to give some direction. This medium can reach millions and is a sure fire way to drum up interest in your product.

Pitch It

You may have seen Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank. This is the kind of things you want to do. The best way of getting your product out there can be through investment. These investors will have an insight into the world of business and can get your product out there or into the right stores. You just need to give a good account of yourself during the pitch. They are investing in you too, not just in the product. Dress in a suit or tidy businesswear. Have the facts and figures to hand. How much does the product cost to manufacture? How much are you selling it for? What is the history behind it? How will it benefit the life of the purchaser? These are all aspects you need to consider and have the answers for. Don’t be afraid to take a notepad in with you if you aren’t good with your figures. These pitches happen all the time. You could be pitching to get into a huge retail chain or simply pitching for some extra cash.

Get Some Feedback

Get a group of customers who could be interested in the product you are offering and ask them for feedback. This is one of the first steps in getting your product out there. They could come up with key issues of points of interest you had yet to think about. Getting a customer listening group together is easier than you think. They can poke holes and it may hurt, however you could really make some startling discoveries and there will be positives to take from it too. It can be a nerve wracking experience if you are yet to show it to others beyond friends and family, but feedback is a gift. It is better to have this on board before taking your product out to the major players who will decide if it is a success or failure.

Ask A Professional To Review It

This can be a tough thing to do and something that really gets your nerves on edge. However, it can really make the difference to the potential sales. People are more likely to buy a product if it is proved good by someone who really knows their stuff. If you have a game, ask pro gamers to take a look. The exposure on youtube channels will be huge. Or a game’s journalist. You can do the same for clothing or makeup. Ask reviewers to take a look for you. If the reviews aren’t good, suck it up and realize there are improvements that need to be made. If they are good, you’ve just got the seal of approval form industry experts. Their resulting article may be published in magazines or on internet websites. It’s a great way to get out there. Offer the product freely as an incentive. It could make completing the review a more alluring prospect and pull in people who would otherwise say no.

Sell It Through A Website

To start a following you can start selling it privately through websites like Amazon and Ebay. This can be your springboard to get into more prestigious sales environments. If you have a proven track and sales record then people will be far more likely to take you on. You can also see general consumer feedback and act on it. Amazon provides reviews, it is one of the aspects that make the site great. Use these reviews to work out how well your product is going down. This is a good way of picking up some initial sales for your product and a good way to gauge its success. You may think it is amazing, others may not. But, you will never know until you get your product out there for the world to see. Good luck!

Things to Consider Before Hiring Software Developers

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A software developer seems to be the employee of choice when growing your startup idea. This is because creating a custom piece of software to match your exact needs can be cost effective, but it’s also highly customizable and you don’t need to fiddle with plugins or add-ons to get the right features that you need to be a productive company. This is why software developers are so highly sought after; they offer a way for companies to become self-reliant.

However, before you hire a software developer there are a few things you need to consider. Below are just a couple of points to think about before you start the interviewing process.

Is it too early to hire a software developer?

Keep in mind that it takes time before a software developer is fully integrated into your business. Developing an application for your needs can take some time, and there are a lot of extra tools needed in order to accomplish that. For instance, you’ll need something like a Stackify logging service in order for your developers to collect data on how the software they created is functioning. This adds to the additional costs of maintaining a software developer, and these costs might eat into your startup’s budget, making it an impractical investment.

You also need to consider your personal needs. A software developer can be a powerful asset, but they aren’t needed for most companies that could get by with just typical software. There is probably some cheap or even free software solution out there that can be used by your startup that doesn’t need much maintenance.

What tools and languages they will be working in?

If you already have a basis of what you need, then you should consider the developer’s credentials. For instance, if a system you use focuses on Java, then you’re going to need a Java developer. If you need something created that accesses an SQL database, then you’ll need a developer who is proficient with SQL. Web developers are also a different field compared to software developers that work in C# or C++, and program knowledge is also important because using Eclipse and Visual Basic is different.

However, the sign of a great programmer is their ability to understand and learn multiple languages. If you aren’t entirely sure what tools or programming languages you need, then a software developer will be able to advise you on additional developers to hire, programs to use and which language will suit your needs.

Summary

If you don’t have a plan for your developers yet, then it’s a good idea to hold back and wait until you have a proper use for software developers. They’re expensive to hire and their work can take a very long time to start showing results, so you have to be a hundred percent confident in the investment you make if you want to get the most out of your new employees. In short, wait until you have a clear use for a software developer before you put out a recruitment message.

Mobile App Development For Beginners

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Mobile apps are essential if you’re serious about making your business a success. They provide you with a way to tap into the mobile market, can help increase sales, and also bring in more money for your business too.

With that being said, here’s a guide to creating an app for your business:

The Idea

To begin, you need to think of an idea for your app. To come up with this idea, consider how it will benefit both your business and consumers. There are so many different ideas you can pursue with regards to a business app. If you sell products, your app could simply be an extension of your online store, a place for people to shop and buy your stuff. Some businesses use apps to help customers manage their accounts, others make apps that provide customers with a tool they can use – the list goes on and on. Before you move on, make sure you have your idea nailed down.

The Cost

Next, you have to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on your business app. Suffice it to say, if you wanted to know how much does it cost to create an app? Then you might be disappointed to hear there’s no set figure. App development costs vary depending on the app you’re developing. For example, if you want one created from absolute scratch, then it will cost the most amount of money. However, let’s say you’ve come up with designs for your app and have an idea on how you want it to work, then it will cost a lot less for a developer to get your app up and running. Of course, you can minimize costs by trying to do everything yourself. However, you may find it difficult to get to grips with the nitty gritty of app development. Most companies outsource, it’s far more convenient.

The Platform

You also have to think about what platform(s) your mobile app will be available on. Are you creating one for iPhones, Android phones, or Windows phones? Picking one platform reduces costs, but picking multiple ones expands your reach as you make it possible for more people to download the app. It’s a tough decision, but you can always compromise by originally releasing it on one platform, then developing it for others if the reception is good.

The Profit

Ultimately, you want to make some money from your app. So, think about how you want to do this. Are you going to make money through a free app with advertisements? Will the revenue come from your app costing money to download? Or, will you have in-app payments that people can make? All three ideas have their pros and cons, and they’ll all help you make money and turn your app into a profitable resource for your business.

Make the most of modern technology and develop an app for your business today. It brings so many benefits, you simply have to invest in this idea. The present and the future is mobile, so, get your business involved as soon as you can.

Jack Of All Trades?

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Start-ups are unlike any other type of company for a number of reasons. But one of the reasons that stick out the most, for many is, as they are so small, employees need to be pretty flexible with their job description. That is, they have to be a bit of a ‘jack of all trades.’ As there is no one else in the company to pick up the slack. Even if the are employed as a specialist first and foremost. But is this a clever and economical way to work? Or could it be damaging your business? Read on to find out.

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One problem with the lack of specializing in some start-ups is that the quality of the job being done can suffer. That is why there is specialization in the first place. So someone that is trained and experienced to a high level can work solely on jobs that are relevant to said training and experience. Which of course enables that job to be done to the highest quality possible.

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However, a lack of specialization isn’t all bad. In fact, in small start-ups, it can be the most cost effective way of covering all of your bases. This is because the reality is that most start-ups only have a finite budget, to begin with. Which leaves employing a specialist for every single job role, out of reach.

Finding folks that don’t mind picking up some additional roles apart from their main job means you can get done everything that needs to be sorted. Without ruining your budget before you have even begun.

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However, you do need to consider the effect of this in the long term. Some flexible folks might not mind picking up a few extra bits here and there when you first start out. But over a longer period of time this can lead to frustration and stress for them.

Remember they have spent a lot of time and money to become fluent in the area that is their main specialism. So constantly doing work outside of this isn’t going to help them maintain much job satisfaction. That means you can risk losing good employees because you are asking them to spread themselves too thin. You can find out more about employee retention at http://www.resilium.com.au/advice-centre/staff-resources/.

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Another issue that you might want to be aware of when asking your employees to be a ‘jack of all trades’ is how effective their efforts will be. Especially in the areas in which they are not experts.

For example, you might ask your SEO specialist to branch out and have a go at your entire marketing strategy. But are they going to be able to do a good a job as a professional trained in this area? This is something to really think about before handing out extra jobs willy nilly. As it doesn’t matter how much money it is saving you, if it is not effective in bringing money in.

If you, do find yourself in this sort of situation, it can be more cost effective the long run to contract in professional companies. You can browse at flagshipdigital.com.au/lead-generation/ for more information in regard to doing this for marketing.

Using a professional for things like marking instead of handing it to someone who has a vague idea of what they are doing, can make all the difference. Particularly in start-ups, where the margins are slim to begin with.

Hungry For Success? Tasty Tips For Starting A Food Business

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Globalization has meant a growth in the food business like never before. The rise of travel and immigration have brought people closer together, and they have brought their native dishes with them. Not only this, people are a lot more adventurous these days and are willing to try new things. Entrepreneurs often see creating a new snack or sauce as a quick way to make vast sums of money quickly, but it’s rarely going to be easy. Firstly, you need a great idea coupled with the drive and enthusiasm required to make any business a success.

If you are thinking of starting your own food business, here are a few things you need to get started.

An Innovative Food Product

If you are starting a food business, it may seem that an innovative product is an obvious one! But if you are offering something that other companies are already doing, you are much less likely to get that valuable bit of shelf space at the supermarket. Instead, you need to experiment in the kitchen. If you have some inside knowledge or an old family recipe you are trying to mass produce, all the better.

A Gap in the Market

As with anything else in business, it’s about finding that crucial gap in the market. Head down to your local supermarket and look at the categories you know most about. Think about exactly where your product would fit in. People are increasingly time poor these days and are looking for a product that can solve meal preparation problems. Or else they are looking for a new tasty type of snack. Ask yourself what unique qualities your product has to offer.

Set Realistic Goals

Of course, you will have some hugely ambitious long term goals, but you need to make sure that you don’t set your sights too high, too quickly. Aim for step by step growth by getting your product into some smaller independent stores before trying to get it into the big name supermarkets.

Large Scale Production

Obviously, you will want to scale up your production over time. You may well start off in your own kitchen, but you then need to scale up your recipes, testing everything for shelf life and safety. Large scale food production is likely to require a relatively high amount of capital investment, and you will need certain pieces of equipment that can be found from the likes of eclipseseal.com. Ultimately, it is likely that you will need to start securing some big order and scale your production up over time.

Packaging is Key

Even if you have a world class product, if the packaging isn’t right it’s simply not going to sell. Enlist the help of professionals who can guide you, and don’t rush into anything too quickly. Conduct extensive market research before leaping in head first. People will often buy products based on the strength of the packaging and brand name alone, so their importance simply cannot be overstated.  

Important tips start-ups need to keep in mind

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One of the main problems a great deal of startups tend to face is the fact that getting funding at the initial stage is no easy feat. The first deal with an investor almost feels like the birth of a grand new plan that is bound to work out eventually.

Now with a good flow of investment coming, you may just be fooled into thinking the hard part of your journey is over. Well, sorry to burst your bubble but this is just the beginning. Not only have you raised the bar as far as expectations from others are concerned, but there is also the pressure of pushing your company to greater heights.

On that note, here are a few vital points to keep in mind during the journey :-

  • Make a proper plan for all your expenses: Once that first bit of investment comes your way, it is extremely easy to go head over heels about it and spend most of it without even realising. No matter what the scenario might be, you will certainly need to keep a beady eye on each and every one of your expenses, however small or big.

    Just remember that it all adds up in the end. If you plan to gear your startup for the eventual long haul of becoming a recognized company in the future, there’s just no way you can afford to be lax about your spending.

  • Keep an eye out on ROI: This is something that you will have to keep a constant track of. ROI is the key to the growth of your startup from its very beginning to the time where it is able to break even. Whether it is product development, marketing or hiring, you will certainly need to calculate your ROI.

    Another fact is that investors do keep ROI in mind and will have a lot of expectations from your startup based on your ROI to boot. Having a good ROI will pretty much guarantee future funding as well.

  • Thorough goal setting: This is one of the few and sure shot ways that you can gain the much needed confidence of your respective investors. Just think about it. After all, your main aim should be to get as much done as possible in the first 2-3 months time period.

    Keeping this in mind, you also need to be careful and not bite off more than you can chew. This includes setting goals that are ultimately impossible to fulfill. Be crystal clear about what exactly you want to achieve, do things slowly and systematically and then move forward. Most importantly know what factors exactly to outsource. For example you should definitely outsource the concept of payroll service providers as only they would be able to provide that particular point of view which differs from yours.  

When all’s said and done, It would be worthwhile to remember that at the end of the day, you are still a startup. Just a small drop in the ocean and there is still a long way to go. As a company that has just started out, you will need to do whatever it takes to stand out from the rest of the faceless competition. Knowing what to outsource and what not to is one of the first steps in the right direction.

How to Increase Your Brand’s Visibility

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There’s more ways than ever to get your company noticed, but unfortunately, everyone else is trying to get their business noticed too. That makes it something of a saturated marketplace, and it takes a little bit extra than simply having a great product or service to make yourself stand out from the crowd. While many people rely on the tried and tested ways to get their name out there – traditional advertising, etc – there are other methods too. Here’s a few ways to increase your brand’s visibility without breaking the bank.

Become a Commentator

There’s plenty of great content that people love out there. Have you seen what’s trending? My oh my, is that stuff gold. You might not be able to come up with something as good as that, but don’t worry – you don’t have to! You can piggyback on the back of others, providing you give credit where it’s due. On Twitter, you can re-tweet the latest and best content related to your ‘image’. Note that we didn’t just say ‘your industry’: your image. Cool and hip? Plenty of content for that. Pro-environment? Same!

Branding

Have you ever noticed how people walk around with shopping bags with the names of the shop on the side? You probably haven’t, but you definitely know the names of the stores. They’re visible in plain site! Put your company name and logo on the name of anything and you’ll have walking, breathing adverts spreading your name far and wide. A custom USB drive, pens, hats, and other goods are good ideas. And if you have a shop, then it goes without saying that your name should be on the side of your packaging. It’s affordable and can also be clever: who won’t take a free USB drive off you?

Talking with Others

You know what your marketing budget is and how far it’ll get you. Now what if that budget could be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled: how far would that take you? There’s no reason to think of yourself as an island, swimming in an ocean of competitiveness all on your own. Talk with companies who match your ethos (but which offer different products/services) and team up together. You’ll both benefit from a project that is mutually beneficial, you’ll get new ideas, and you’ll also make your money go much further than it would if you were on your own. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved…

Do a Good Deed

Now before you think we’re all cynical by telling you to partner with a charity just for the exposure, let us say: the benefits for your company should be a secondary thought. Your primary motivation should be to do a good deed because it’s a good deed. Still, making your business charitable can have a good impact on its success, too. If you pick a charity that you genuinely care about, then get involved and see how you can help. You’ll be helping them improve while also getting your name out there!

Simple Reasons Why Your Website Visitors Are Leaving In Droves

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So, you’ve built a website for your business, filled it with content and product descriptions, and invested a whole bunch of banknotes with a local SEO expert to drive traffic to your site. But, while the number of people visiting your site is impressive, your analytics is telling you that no one is sticking around. And your sales figures are showing you that no one is buying a single thing. What’s going on?

The good news is, you are likely to be making some simple, schoolboy errors. And with a bit of work, you should be able to pull things around. Don’t panic, because your website is not a write-off – yet. Try these ideas, and you might see a dramatic improvement in your performance.

Your design is appalling

Online consumers are pretty tuned in to what looks good regarding websites these days. And that means that design has to be a real focus when you have an online presence. Yes, free templates and cheap developers from foreign countries are available, but if they don’t help you keep people on site, they will end up costing you in the end. Invest a little more by hiring a reputable, skilled web designer with strong UX experience, and you will see improvements within a few days.

You chose the wrong web host

There are plenty of web hosting solutions out there on the market. Some are good, some are bad – and some are absolutely terrible. And the problem with a terrible web host is that it will, ultimately scare people away. Slow loading times are a genuine pain that most consumers have no patience for, these days. And, as www.wizzhosting.co.uk point out, you need to look at things like uptime when you are choosing the right web host to use for your site.

You need better content

The web is full of millions of articles that all say the same thing. And if you are just regurgitating the same old stories, advice, or guides, no one will stick around and read it. Take some time to create compelling, interesting information and present it in an attractive way. Hire a good blog writer if you have to, but be aware that if you are only prepared to pay 1p a word, you will, inevitably, get garbage in return. Great content costs money – and it will see a massive increase in the number of visitors to your site who stick around, and it will eventually give you a good return on your investment.

There is no clear vision

According to bdaily.co.uk/, your site needs to inform people who you are and what you do within a few seconds. Whether you are a business selling products, a service provider, or just a blogger, you have to get your message across in an instant.

People don’t know what to do next

Finally, every visitor to your website needs a nudge in the right direction. Make it easy for people to take the next step by including some compelling call to action buttons, or strong call out boxes that makes their decision for them. And while you are working on this little project, take a look at your checkout process. Again, make things as simple as possible for your customers – there is no need to make them fill out a myriad of forms when all they want to do is buy something.

 

Without The Green, Your Company Won’t Be Seen

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The biggest roadblock for your company is always going to be the cost. In the early days of your business idea, you’re going to be looking at your model wondering how you’ll pay for it all. The answer is that you most likely won’t be able to. Businesses are expensive, and even if you are able to keep costs as low as possible, they’ll still be too high for what you probably have to spare in your bank account. However, don’t be mistaken into thinking you should just give up. That’s not what we’re saying at all. Rather, you need to start looking at the different options for financing your company. Without the green, your company won’t be seen.

Borrowing The Cash

One of the first options you can consider is borrowing the money. You can do this by looking at the many, many online business lenders. There are plenty of companies that are willing, nay eager to give you the cash that will get your company off the ground. But you have to be careful about using them because some will be offering obscene levels of interest on any loan that they are willing to give. Others, will include hidden costs and many more will just be running a scam. Make sure if you borrow you use a reputable company that you can trust. Otherwise, things are going to go downhill rather quickly.

Don’t forget if you’re borrowing money you don’t have to use a private lender. You can borrow straight from the government. However, loans will only be granted from the government if they think your startup has a great chance at success. As such, you need to think more than just a couple years ahead. Plan for the next five years and make sure you layout where your company has been and where it could be in the future.

Relying On Support

Your business idea might already have a strong following online. This might be the case if you know how to use social media effectively and have gained some interest from potential customers. If that’s the case, you can look at alternate financing options such as crowdfunding. Through crowdfunding, potential customers pay to get your business off the ground. However, to do this, your business does need to be commercially viable. You need to be able to market it in a way that makes it seem attractive and exciting. If you don’t do this, your business crowdfunding campaign will be completely lost in the ocean of others eager to find support.

Working From Home

Or, if you’re serious about not borrowing any money to start up your business, you may want to think about running a home company as a solopreneur. By doing this, you can cut out all the costs and establish a business model that is dirt cheap. At least it will be for the first few months. The trick is to build up the business, and the costs as the interest grows for your company. That way you won’t be limiting the potential your company has on the market.

4 Taxes Every Small Business MUST Know

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‘The taxman’s taken all my dough, and left me in this stately home, lazing on a sunny afternoon.’ Fifty-one years later, and The Kinks aren’t the only people getting screwed by the taxman. Yep, even in 2017 the taxman is still having his way and taxing small businesses for a ride. As an SME, you would love to reduce your bill to almost zero, but it’s almost impossible. You can lower your contributions and save money, but you have to know tax inside out first. With that in mind, here are the most important taxes and how you can push back.

Income Tax

Income tax is an individual tax that the government takes from your wage. As the boss, you are bound to take a wage, so this is a very important tax. In the US, the threshold for income tax is $9275, which is pretty low. On this amount, you will have to pay ten percent income tax, and the percentage increases depending on how much you earn. The trick to lowering your income tax is to pay yourself without triggering the tax. If you structure your business correctly, you can, legally, lower your contributions. Anyone that doesn’t understand business structures should look at this guide.

Corporation Tax

Corporation tax is a tax on your profits. As soon as the business starts to make a profit, it will have to pay up. And, because there is no threshold, there is no cool down period. In regards to corporation tax, you can make a couple of bucks profit and still have to pay the government their due. Of course, you don’t have to pay if you don’t make any profit, which is a positive. Small businesses just need to focus on surviving, so making money a profit isn’t the most important thing. In your first year, breaking even is more important so you can worry about tax later.

Eco-Tax

Eco-tax is a new one because the world (apparently) is about to explode. There is no doubt the earth is getting warmer and global warming is real. And, there is no question that governments are laying the blame at the feet of businesses. As a result, a business has to pay tax on anything deemed dangerous to the environment. Thankfully, there is a way around this tax – don’t harm the environment. It sounds easy, and it is pretty easy. Haitham Alaini Yemen entrepreneur outlines how you can appease this tax with a vertical forest.  Plenty of businesses, on the other hand, have lowered their output with green light bulbs. There is no need for a small business to pay an eco-tax.

Property Tax

Any business that operates from offices or retail premises has to pay tax on the building. The reason is simple – you have to pay rates on your home, so you have to pay rates on your business property, too. Thanks to the internet, there is no need to pay rates on your business for a very long time. Working from home, without any physical employees, means you will be exempt from this tax. Until you grow big enough to cope, you can work remotely and still grow.

 

Taxes are mandatory, but how much you pay isn’t mandatory.

Lessons Learned From The Trenches: Entrepreneurs Share It All

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It’s quite amazing: entrepreneurs are some of the most valuable people in society, coming up with new products and service which, in general, make our lives better and push humanity forward. Yet there’s practically no training either in school or college for people wanting to pursue that type of career. Training is all about fitting into the existing mold, rather than breaking out of it and doing something fundamentally new.

Entrepreneurs, therefore, have to feel their way to success. Along the way, they inevitably make mistakes, but the difference between a failed entrepreneur and a great one is in how those mistakes are handled. Those who are successful learn from their mistakes and don’t make them again in the future. Those who fail keep on making them until they eventually go out of business.

The ability to reflect on oneself is, therefore, essential. Entrepreneurs need that external “observing eye” – a tool that allows them to look at themselves and their company critically and objectively.

Admit You Made A Mistake

The reason entrepreneurs need insurance, like general liability insurance from CompleteMarkets, is because they make mistakes, according to Tori Utley, a seasoned entrepreneur writing in Forbes. But the best leaders don’t shy away from their errors: instead, they admit them up front and take ownership. Being open and honest about your limitations is an excellent way to get the rest of your team on board and outsource to them new ideas for how to solve problems, she says. Businesses that succeed, she argues, are those that take a more collegiate approach to problem-solving.

Recognize Leadership Is A Gift

Utley also points out that leadership is a gift, rather than something a person’s intrinsically deserves, separate from their actions. People don’t have to work with you: they can go off and find somebody else who treats them better or offers them more challenging and interesting work. As a leader, she says, she learnt that people had chosen to follow her out of their own free will, which dramatically changed how she thought about her position. She saw her aims, not so much to grow her company, but grow the people around her so that they could grow the company themselves.

Entrepreneurs Must Commit

Utley points out that one of the reasons why some startups ultimately fail to reach their potential is because their founders don’t commit. They’re full of ideas for the future, and yet the rubber isn’t hitting the road.

Top entrepreneurs lay out their plan and their vision for the future, and then create a series of measurable, practical steps to get there, based on time and financial constraints. By committing fully to an idea, Utley says that entrepreneurs will naturally bring their entire teams along with them for the ride. Personally investing in your own ideas is the best form of advertising for your investors and motivation for your staff to commit to the same degree that you have.

Finally, Utley says that humility is essential. Confidence and humility is a rare combination, but it is essential if an entrepreneur is to remain adaptable.

Surprising Signs That You Might Be An Entrepreneur

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What makes an entrepreneur? There are the obvious things that everyone knows about, including resilience, self-belief, and being passionate about getting stuck in. You’ll need to be comfortable with networking, too.

But let’s face it, you can display all these qualities and still prefer working for an employer, or jumping aboard the corporate train. To work out whether you are suited to entrepreneurship, we need to scratch the surface a little deeper. Let’s take a look at some of the surprising signs that you might well be an entrepreneur.

You are a complete control freak

One of the biggest challenges all entrepreneurs go through is developing an ability to let go. And some never actually manage it – or, at the very least, ever feel comfortable with the idea, no matter how much they try. As it is part of your makeup, it is something that you might not be able to change, but you will need to address it. Micromanaging will end up causing tensions between you and the people you hire. It’s a big block for productivity levels, too – both for you and your employees. Being a control freak is often part and parcel of being an entrepreneur, but it’s how you deal with the issue that will determine your success.

You feel the need to launch new ventures

If you start a business, you might think you are an entrepreneur. But unless you start another, and then another (and often at the same time) then you can’t really call yourself that at all. Take the likes of Nicolas Livsit and many others as an example: people who start off in one industry and end up with other, entirely unrelated enterprises. In fact, if you can call yourself an entrepreneur, you have to start calling yourself a serial entrepreneur. Sure, it’s masochistic, and it means you are exposing yourself to a lot of risks. But in your mind, it’s all part of the thrill.

Money doesn’t drive you

Everyone likes money, of course. But if it is your single biggest driver, you are better off avoiding entrepreneurship and should consider getting a job and working for a big corporate company instead. Because it’s the thrill of the chase, and finding success in any field you take to that is the most important thing about why you are an entrepreneur.

The black sheep

Look at all the biggest entrepreneurial spirits in the world and they all, to an individual, are a little bit different to everyone else. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ray Kroc – all of them are people who didn’t have a traditional route to success and could be classed as black sheep – or even college dropouts. So, if you think of yourself as something of an outsider and one of those people who sees things differently than everyone else, there is every chance you could make it as an entrepreneur.

You know how to listen

Finally, there is a common assumption that to make it as an entrepreneur you need to be extroverted, loud, and bold., But the truth is that introverts sometimes make the best entrepreneurs, purely because they know how to listen. Mark Zuckerberg is a good example – as are Bill Gates and Google’ Larry Page. Loudness and boldness don’t mean anything, but if you have the ability to listen, entrepreneurship might be for you.

How Important is Data To Your Business

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There is every chance there’s a whole world of information out there that you’re not currently making the most of. In an age where there’s more data available than ever before, in details and quantities that in the pre-internet age would be unthinkable, every company should be using the data available to them to determine where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. It’s simply a smart way to use your time.

Finding the Right People

You don’t want everyone to come to your business. If you had a store and the whole town paid you a visit then that’d be great, but wouldn’t it be better if your employees were interacting with people who might actually give you business. With the right data, you can establish where you should be focusing your energies. If you were in the hospitality business, then timeshare owner leads would give you a concentrated collection of people who might use your service. Similarly, a home contractor would benefit from a list of new homeowners. Don’t go after everybody; go after the worthwhile ones.

Honing In

Data has a whole bunch of purposes, from finding new leads to reaffirming your relationships with your existing customers. It tells you how how they spend their money, how much they’re earning, their typical goals, and so on. It’s not just enough to have the data, however: you need to also analyse what you have and determine how it applies to your business. By doing that, you’ll naturally find a path you should be taking. It can also help you determine how much you should be charging and what kind of promotions you should be having – and when you should be having them.

And for the Employees

Data doesn’t just have the potential to boost your revenue – it can also boost your productivity. You can bring big data to your workplace to monitor how effectively your employees are working, where they’re falling short and the areas they’re doing well in. As a company looking to move forward, knowing exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are will enable you to make better use of your time. You might also find that you’re spending too much time having meetings, or not enough time discussing plans for the future. Whatever it is, it’ll all help, though only if you pay attention to what the data says!

Other Factors

You should be monitoring just about everything to do with your business. For instance, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping tabs on your website – how it’s used, how many people visit, where they click, and so forth. This will help you to develop your website as you move forward, getting rid of certain pages and adding other features. You can also establish from where on the internet your internet visitors come from. How many come through search engines, and how many through your newsletters and so forth? Find this out and you’ll know which areas of your marketing tactics need more work.