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How To Open a Business Bank Account with Bad Credit

Having bad credit doesn’t have to mean that you can’t have a business or even a business bank account, complete with a separate credit score for your company and the ability to potentially get lines of credit.

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Before pursuing the route of getting a bank account despite your bad credit, you need to consider the reasons that you have bad credit and keep you from getting a small business loan, and whether or not a business will ultimately make your life worse.

If you’ve recovered from whatever situation led you to have a poor credit score, and you’re in a stable enough position in life to consider opening a business, then the first thing to do is make some attempt at improving your credit score.

While the methods in this guide will help you despite having a bad score, you having a better score wouldn’t hurt. So kill two birds with one stone: as you build your business and eventually find yourself with excess funds, pay off anything that’s depressing your credit score.

Moving forward. It’s possible to do a lot of types of business without having a bank account, but it’s less than ideal. Several solutions including PayPal attempt to offer as many services as they can which might traditionally be handled by banks. It’s rare anymore that you’ll be paid by check. In most cases, you’ll be handling cash or debit transactions. Something like PayPal is more useful than a bank for the latter type, and will be necessary anyway.

First, Consider Improving Your Credit

You’re about to invest in building a business, but perhaps you should first invest in yourself. People looking bank accounts for bad credit should always consider simply becoming people with good credit. This is the first, most obvious, and fastest way to securing a bank account for yourself or your business.

It’s never easy. There are a variety of credit repair services that will offer you a path, as well as legal aid when necessary, to getting your credit back on track.

Steps will include disputing some marks on your credit report and making payments on some accounts. There are also specially designed credit products, such as secured credit cards, that allow you to earn good marks on your credit score without actually risking any credit on you.

One of the easiest credit accounts to get, for yourself or your business, is a wireless provider. Keeping an account in good standing with a wireless company is another way to build your credit, especially if the account will extend you devices on credit. This is essentially the same thing as any other credit account, and can be used to establish a history of good payments.

You can pursue the other steps of this article while still doing this – it never hurts to do whatever you can to get your credit in good standing.

Business Without Banking

In case you don’t have a bank account right now, PayPal will issue you a business debit card. The drawbacks of using PayPal without a full bank account are obvious: for one thing, you can’t issue checks. You can’t deposit cash easily. You can’t withdraw cash easily. There are more ways to get a business credit card even if you do have bad credit.

There’s also the very important matter of your business transaction history, which can come in handy when trying to get a business loan with bad credit. If you properly run your business, track your expenses, and bring in plenty of income, then you’ll find your bank more willing, eventually, to extend you credit for your business. You don’t necessarily get this with PayPal, whose Working Capital product is a very different approach to lending than what most new business people might be comfortable with.

Separation of Funds

From a legal standpoint, it’s incredibly important that your new business be treated as its own independent entity. That means you can’t be commingling your personal and business funds, as much as possible, in order that you never find yourself in a state of confusion when it comes to authorities.

The best position to be in if a tax agent ever contacts you is one where you can just produce the documents they demand. It’s a great sigh of relief for any businessperson. You’ll soon find, as your business grows, that anything which puts your mind at ease is worth a time investment.

The type of business you are in will play very much into the type of records you keep. In essence, you want to be able to say where your money came from and where it went, as well as how much there was in every case. Between receipts, bank records, and invoices, you should be able to provide yourself – or those with the authority to demand it – a clear picture of what came in and for what as well as where it all went.

What Can Be Done With A Business Banking Account

Having a business banking account will help you as you expand your business. You can use the bank records to show potential investors or lenders the money you’ve brought in and your expenses.

This alone can be a powerful assistant when trying to acquire the capital to expand your business.

A business checking account shields your personal assets, as well. If someone conducts a fraud against your bank account, or for whatever reason a check bounces, your personal accounts won’t be affected.

Acquiring A Business Bank Account For Bad Credit

Steps To Acquiring A Business Bank Account For Bad Credit

After you’ve properly assessed the reasons you have bad credit, determined how serious you are about getting into business, and set your heart on getting a business bank account despite your bad credit, there are some important steps to take.

Step 1: Get Your Business Legal

In the US, you have three options: an LLC, incorporation, or “doing business as.” You’ll want one of the first two to maximize the utility of a business bank account and entity.

You have options for doing this part. You can hire a lawyer, or do it yourself. You can also pay a service such as LegalZoom to do it online. Or you can track down the forms yourself at your state website and try to do the paperwork on your own.

As part of registering your business, you’ll be issued a tax identification number. This is the number you can use in place of your social security number when applying for bank accounts.

A business is just like a person in terms of credit worthiness: a new one has no credit history, and therefore no real credit, but it’s still better than the “bad” credit score you personally have. As part of founding your business, hopefully you’ve assessed your options for credit repair.

Step 2: Fill Out Applications

Now you have a legal business. From here on out, you should attempt to keep your business and personal finances separate. If possible, simply pay yourself a salary out of the business every week, that way your personal finances are clearly defined.

Most of this is in the event of an eventual audit. The more organized and properly executed your accounts, the less likely you are to get into unnecessary trouble, or have the worry of being unsure.

You should go around to banks first and gather applications, or for most banks these days you can simply fill out the applications from home. In the latter case, get a list of the banks you’re interested in using together.

Most of the banks will have a required deposit that you’ll need to be prepared to make. If applying online, the deposit functions as a refundable application fee – if your application is rejected, they return your funds.

Getting a regular checking account without a request for a line of credit will be your fastest route to success in getting a business bank account with bad credit. If you request is denied by the bank or if you are looking for a faster way to obtain a loan for bad credit, you can seek for funds from online alternative lenders.

Some banks may not require much information about you personally, other than your name as the person who has access to the account and owns the business.

Your personal creditworthiness will become more important when you eventually decide to seek some type of capital from a traditional route such as a bank loan.

Therefore, it’s important that it be reiterated again: having a business with a fresh credit history and a bank account despite your poor credit doesn’t mean you should ignore your bad credit report.

Step 3: The Credit Union Approach

Assuming all the banks you’re interested in trying deny you, another option, for both personal and business banking, is a credit union.

Credit unions operate quite differently from banks. Many credit unions don’t allow membership from outside of a certain community, such as an employer or a group of them.

You may have relationships in your personal life that give you a fast-lane to getting accounts at a credit union.

As a rule, credit unions work with less capital, so long-term you’re probably less likely to get a loan or other cash injection from the credit union. However, it gets your foot in the door – when you go to apply to the banks that have recently denied you, you can reference your good history with the credit union, and your erstwhile efforts to repair your personal credit.

Step 4: Maintaining Your Account

Now your business is almost a whole entity. It has a tax identification number, it has access to banking, it has a purpose, and it has an owner: you.

The wealth and health of your business doesn’t come to down your poor credit report. It comes down to your discipline.

If you’ve followed all of our advice so far, you know that the funds in your business account belong to the business. You can use them to expand the business, increase your salary, pay business expenses, and so on.

The second you start thinking along other lines, such as “a little here won’t hurt,” you’re putting everything you’ve worked hard to establish at risk. In hindsight, it probably won’t be worth it.

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume you do the right thing. After all, it would take a series of articles to help someone stuck on doing the wrong thing.

Diversifying Accounts

After a certain point, you’ll have enough money in your business that you’ll understand the risks of leaving it all in one place. For any given legal reason, funds in a single account can be frozen, and if this is your only account, that can shut your business down.

Once your business has grown beyond a certain point – you can operate without making a profit and survive, and so forth – you’ll want to consider broadening your banking horizons.

At this point, your business will have established such good credit that getting an account virtually anywhere won’t be a problem. Therefore, during this phase, it’s advisable to take meetings with bank representatives to discuss your business and its goals.

A good bank can be an essential partner in the growth of a business, and a good bank representative will identity the ways his or her organization can best help yours.

Depending on the size of your enterprise, you might need multiple relationships, or you might be better served at a bank where you can receive dedicated service. In either case, the richer your company becomes, the more necessary it is to employ people who keep it that way.

Business Beyond Banking

Now your business is going well. You’re expanding. Your accounts are growing. Your house is getting full of nicer things as you’ve been able to take more and more home.

Great. What now?

Simply letting money stack up in your business bank account won’t do you any good. As a business, you need to be using that money. If you’re now at this stage, you immediately need to consider the options available for the following: a part-time accountant to ensure that you keep your paperwork in order, a consultant to help you strategize for the future of your business, and a financial planner/money manager to invest for your long-term plans.

If you have bad credit today but you’re serious about starting a business and turning your life around, then you will have “good” credit by following simple steps and resolving not to become delinquent again.

The best position to be in is unknown to some: never borrowing at all. If your business is able to both operate and expand without the involvement of lenders, you’re better off, and your creditworthiness will only increase the longer you build your business’s assets that way.

In short, when done right, a bank’s refusal to extend credit gives an entrepreneur the opportunity and motivation to repair their credit histo

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Do You Have a Small Business…or a Big Hobby?

People start businesses for all kinds of reasons. Some do it out of boredom, some do it in hopes of growing their personal wealth, and some do it because they don’t know anything else.

But in the modern era, far too many do it as an extension of their personal hobbies.

You know what we’re talking about.

A thousand breweries and soap makers for every town with any degree of hipster credibility. Are these people running businesses or monetizing their hobbies?

Research says they might be doing both. Micro-breweries have a remarkable ability to stay afloat, with not even a quarter of them shutting down within the first year, but once they attempt to go beyond the “micro” phrase, things might become more difficult.

That difficulty won’t be eased any if an entrepreneur lacks a solid plan from the beginning. It makes no sense to get into an industry you don’t love, but that doesn’t mean you should approach a “craft” business any differently than you would another kind of business.

Soap makers may one day face regulations that ensure they have to be serious about their business. At present, there’s probably no telling just how many thousands of independent soap manufacturers exist, or how many are financially solvent or will be in business five years from now. An industry blog warns would-be soap-preneurs:

“One of the most common mistakes soapmakers make when they start a soap business is creating a product line around the products they like the most.”

Does It Matter If You Like Your Products? Depends On If You Want To Make Money

We can modify and expand that statement.

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when they start a business is creating a product line around the products they like the most.

Among other mistakes, only selling things that you like is a sure way to limit your potential revenues. Customer feedback is paramount, and it comes down to whether you want to sell a lot of products or just products that you enjoy being around.

Let’s look at another industry: hospitality.

Restaurants already have an unattractive failure rate. The US has a wider variety of eateries than some countries have people, with over 650,000 as of last year. As a whole, services businesses tend to fail almost 20% of the time.

Therefore, if you’re going to open a restaurant, you have to take everything into account.

Let’s say you happen to be a vegan, or worse, a “Bitcoin carnivore.”

To be true to the former, you can’t serve any animal products, which will necessarily increase your supply costs.

To be true to the latter, you can’t accept regular US dollars and you can’t serve vegetable products, which are easier and cheaper to store.

In either case, you’ve already limited one crucial aspect of any business: location. Neither of these types of restaurants will thrive in a rural area, or even cities beneath a certain size. To do business in a larger place like New York City, your start-up costs and your monthly bills will be higher. Therefore, your per-plate cost will be higher.

In both cases, you necessarily rely on a niche customer base. And in both cases, your odds of failure are unnecessarily high.

For every rule, there’s an exception. There are highly successful butcher/deli businesses as well as there are highly successful vegan eateries. There are also stories of abject failure.

Given that vegansim takes over every part of one’s life, it may be unavoidable that certain business decisions will be made in service of ideals. The lifestyle choice is popular enough that an entire class of investors and businessmen known as the “Vegan mafia” exists to ensure that veganism thrives in the current century.

But is that the point of your business? Every day you’ll be serving people that have no interest in the plight of animals. They might just like your pudding.

Such is the fine line you’ll walk as an entrepreneur. How much should your personality enter into your business?

As a rule, the less, the better. Other people have different tastes, different interests. If you just want like-minded people to give you money, a non-profit might be in your interest.

Still, You Must Enjoy Your Line of Work

Does this mean you shouldn’t enjoy what you do? Absolutely not. In fact, one might argue that you must enjoy the work you do, especially as an entrepreneur, if you’re going to thrive.

Niche businesses can be wildly successful thanks to the advent of the interconnected economy. If you make and sell soap, you can now easily compete with other makers – and major corporations – around the world, with relative ease.

But the most successful businesses in the world cater to large swaths of the population. You can find anything on Amazon, including a lot of “niche” products you can’t find elsewhere. As a result, Amazon is one of the top three most valuable companies in the world on a consistent basis.

This data shouldn’t push you to try and found a valid Amazon competitor. That is certainly not the realm of the small business, even if Amazon started as a small business selling books. But the lesson is still important: to capture the most business, cast the widest possible net.

So if you want to make soap, make every kind of soap you can afford to make, at least at first. Do research to see what the most popular ingredients are. Have a clear, written strategy and a myriad of other planning documents to help you remember why you started your business in the first place. Keep track of the most popular items. If possible, attend events and give out free samples – waiting for new customers to approach you as opposed to actively garner them is a common mistake among new entrepreneurs.

How can you apply these lessons to your chosen industry? Simple. Remove the soap. Whatever product or service you want to offer, free samples are a great way to give potential customers and clients a risk-free chance to try you out.

It can also cost a lot, especially in services.

While it’s a good way to get people to try something new, as a marketing tactic it’s hit or miss. It will be particularly hard to gain new customers in an “accessory” or non-essential goods business.

People have to eat and drink, but they don’t have to do either in your restaurant. People also need to bathe, but there’s nothing stopping them from buying the cheap soap at Walmart.

As a transcriptionist, I founded my own firm in 2011. I offered 1-minute free samples and guaranteed the work. Within a few months, I went from a client list that filled one page to a client list that filled an entire book.

You might be surprised to learn that my success had little to do with the free samples.

After surveying some of my top clients – many of whom were spending upwards of $1,000 per week with me – I found that getting them on-board was primarily the result of word-of-mouth recommendations, and keeping them around was the result of my 100% accuracy guarantee.

Expensive Hobbies Don’t Get Less Traction Than Small Businesses

If you’re funding an expensive hobby instead of running a business, you’ll quickly find that word of mouth marketing won’t take you very far. The types of people who will feel welcome will be limited to the types of people who could become your friends, which will limit the type of people who will ultimately accept a recommendation and try your product out.

Another pitfall of many new entrepreneurs is a failure to follow-up. Is there any reason you shouldn’t have an e-mail mailing list, or even SMS marketing ability? Square and other neo-point-of-sale companies offer such capabilities by default. Have you studied the art of writing an occasional newsletter, reminding customers that you exist, or effectively hired a content writer to do so for you? In general, what does your marketing strategy look like?

It’s possible to fund your hobby through a “boutique” business. You see this a lot in music and publishing. If your goal is simply to have some fun and make a little money doing it, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the problem you’ll encounter is that you might one day change your mind. When you do so, you’ll find that your processes aren’t ready to do real business. Converting from a “boutique” shop to an actual enterprise is probably more difficult than creating a new enterprise from scratch.

Can Your Business Function Without You?

If your business relies too much on you (instead of well-trained and trusted employees), expansion will be a nightmare. As Shopify’s Mark Hayes says:

“I don’t want you to be the “Hi, can I help you?” kind of person. You’re going to find out that buying is a full-time job. Being in the background, doing the paperwork, doing all the other administrative things really takes up your time. You cannot open up other stores if you don’t set operational procedures in place.”

A real business always plans on expanding. If all you’ve ever wanted was one location, and that location happens to be a bar, microbrewery, soap shop, or boutique wine store, then you’re probably looking to be a professional hobbyist. For the purposes of this article, all I can say is good luck.

Now let’s suppose you’ve written your business plan.

You’re ready to open your first location, in a place that makes perfect sense for your industry.

You’ve got the funding for it. You’re getting started.

This is when the typical entrepreneurial mantras come into place.

The Difference Between An Entrepreneur and a Hobbyist

In many ways, hobbies and business ideas can seem to be the same thing. Especially for the motivated entrepreneur, who will see a profit opportunity in virtually everything he does.

What separates a hobbyist from an entrepreneur is a multitude of character differences, primarily surrounding the “seriousness” with which they approach the industry.

An entrepreneur will often risk everything they own, up to and including their home, in establishing their venture. They will sleep, breathe, and eat while thinking of their new business.

A hobbyist may also take some financial risk in establishing their hobby business. The purpose of this article and articles like it is to ensure they’re fully aware of what they’re doing as they do such a thing.

An entrepreneur will do serious market research. If all of your friends have started craft breweries, how many of them can be your customers? Perhaps the thing to do in that case is open a store that sells unique brands, but it would take a more entrepreneurial view of the industry to reach that conclusion.

Five Ways To Determine Your Business Isn’t A Hobby

  • You actively seek out new customers instead of waiting for them to come to you.
  • You sell products based on their popularity and profitability, rather than your feelings toward them.
  • You have organized things in such a way that the business could potentially operate in your absence.  You have a plan that your business is following to achieve previously set growth goals.
  • Customer feedback and word-of-mouth marketing play a crucial part in your growth and your future plans.
  • You have explored ways to remain in the consumer consciousness even when they aren’t shopping in your store or on your website.

It’s Your Life

So you really love drinking rare brews and you think you’d be great at making them, or you make a killer vegan specialty, or you can butcher a deer like nobody’s business.  There’s nothing wrong with any of these things.  There’s also no rush to start a business around any of these passions. Perhaps you should consider, in any of these cases, working in the industries a bit first. Take a job in a brewpub, work in a vegan cafe, or get a job as a butcher or deli.

The experience will inform your later decisions around potentially starting a business, which you should never do without a clear plan and well-established goals.

It’s also possible to start out with a business, but have it evolve into an extremely expensive hobby. Consumers may always want coffee, beer, soap, et cetera, but over the life of your business their preferences are bound to evolve. If you fail to keep on top of these things, you could easily find yourself trapped in an expensive hobby.

Thus, as a final piece of advice: after going into business, it’s important that to keep track of trends, and do constant research.

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10 Options For Hosting Your Website

Doing business in 2019 means having a website. It’s really that simple. You’re either online or you’re not in business.

But many new entrepreneurs find the task of getting their web presence established to be daunting. Let’s be honest: it’s never going to get easier until you throw yourself into it. Expecting it to just come to you without putting the work in is essentially planning to fail.

Here we’ve rounded up, in realistic terms, your options for getting online and hosting your website. Out of these ten options, hopefully one will work for you and your new endeavor.

1. Rely On Social Media

You may already be doing this, or you may have seen others doing this. Instead of spending money and getting their own web presence, more and more entrepreneurs start out by simply leveraging social media to the max.

A Facebook group provides as much of a forum as you need when you’re just getting started, and a properly used Twitter page can lead to genuine interest in your product.

There are positives and negatives to this approach.

A positive of this approach is that you will likely have an insight into the people who are interested in you if you rely on Facebook. You can use this information to tailor your message.

A negative of the approach is that you will appear less in search engine results. If your business doesn’t rely on the general public to just make purchases, but is rather more of a person-to-person business, then relying on social media probably isn’t out of the cards for you.

However, if you want to sell products, and you want to sell them far and wide, you’re going to have to get your website online. Fortunately, our modern internet offers a wide array of options for someone looking to publish.

2. WordPress

By far the most-used content management system in the world, WordPress is an easy-to-use virtual operating system for content. It’s easy to install, and you have a lot of options about where to host your WordPress site.

Perhaps the easiest to recommend is WordPress.com itself, which is an inexpensive way to jumpstart your business.

WordPress has a complete plug-in system that enables you to install things like shopping carts. You can also choose from an absolutely massive selection of themes. Simply search “Wordpress themes” if you don’t believe us.

As a base platform, WordPress prepares you for success. Then, if you choose, you can fine-tune its presentation and mechanics through plugins and superficial tweaks.

Nearly all web hosts – even DIY hots like VPS providers such as DigitalOcean – offer some form of express installation for WordPress. Then you just login and use your new online operating system.

By far the easiest way to publish a good-looking site, we can’t recommend it enough. It’s no mistake that millions of sites today operate on WordPress – it’s hard to go wrong with it.

3. Wix

Wix has grown up to be an extremely popular option for a quick website, on par with services like SquareSpace that are perhaps more geared toward a certain type of business.

For general purpose websites, Wix is useful.

Think of your website as a type of business card. You need to be reachable online. Having your own content appear in searches about you is a good way to stand out in your field.

Especially if you live in a more rural region which is still coming online, being among the first generation of businesses to get completely online is a clear value proposition.

Wix is an express way to do this. The service comes packed with a number of templates, reasonably priced hosting, and do-it-yourself. What you don’t invest in money, you’ll invest in time perfecting your site.

If you’re not looking to do daily content on your site, then Wix is a good option. You can build a decent, static “business card” style site that will help customers find you online when searching for your type of business.

Wix has a number of built-in SEO tools, and likely has a package that includes Google advertising credits.

4. Google Sites

Speaking of Google, no guide to building your own site is complete without mention of Google Sites.

Much like GeoCities was to the early web, Google Sites is the common man’s express lane to getting online. It’s not quite as fully featured as Wix, which is why it comes after it in this guide, but it does include everything you need to get up and running – for free.

For a small fee, integrated Google Domains can give you a web address. Google Sites can quickly be integrated with other services like Google Analytics and Google AdWords, so you can quickly promote your site and see how it’s performing.

Google Sites, like Wix, is useful if you’re not trying to create a site that is updated regularly with content. If you just need a way for customers to reach you, or find your business, or learn a little bit about your business and find it, then one of these options is good for you.

With little effort, you can generate a modern website that will be compatible with any devices. Nearly no coding knowledge is required, and the bit that is required depends on your desire to do custom things with your site. If you’re comfortable with a sleek design as provided by Google or Wix, you can be in operation in an hour or so with either service.

5. GoDaddy

GoDaddy is best known for selling domains, but the company also has a variety of quality services for novice entrepreneurs looking to get online.

You get a lot of bang for your buck when you host with the same company that issues your domains. Similar options are available at Namecheap, but GoDaddy is in fact geared toward entrepreneurs, so more worth considering.

With GoDaddy, you can first determine what your online presence will be (your domain name) and then tailor a package to your needs.

You can, for example, create a WordPress site with a few clicks.

The downside of services like GoDaddy and Namecheap, of course, is that you have to pay for them to do things that can be done in-house with a bit of training or hiring.

The trade-off is well worth it for starting entrepreneurs, but as you progress, it’s important that you take your web presence as seriously as you take every other aspect of your business.

Thus, when possible, always upgrade to a better service or a more robust hosting package, such that your website is superior to your competition.

6. Linode or Similar

Both Linode and DigitalOcean are good VPS options for starting entrepreneurs, especially those who will have a significant web footprint.

If you expect your site to get a lot of traffic, for example if you’re going to sell content of some kind, then this option will be more aligned with your goals.

While Linode and DigitalOcean both have one-click installations, using these platforms is going to require you to have or be willing to acquire some basic system administration knowledge. If your business is doing well enough, you can also consider hiring someone for the task.

Securely running a server can be a daunting task at first, but it can be significantly cheaper in the long run to invest in learning how to do so as opposed to paying excess hosting fees. For example, at Linode, $5 can get you a relatively powerful web server with 1 TB of transfer. That’s enough to support an awful lot of traffic with no overage fees.

The drawback is that you need to have some knowledge of Linux and server management for an inexpensive option like this.

7. Alternative CMS

WordPress is one great CMS, but it’s not the only one. You should have a look around the various content management systems to see which one fits with your style.

People who like to have a lot of control over every aspect of their site, for example, might prefer a WordPress alternative like Drupal or Joomla.

Both have an entire ecosystem of plugins, just like WordPress, and either one may in some cases be better suited for your purposes.

Careful research is an important part of the process in getting your website online for a reasonable budget. Once you know exactly what you need to do, you can consider where you stand and what it will take to get you there.

For example, if you’re a web hosting novice, you may determine that you’ll need to learn how to install a CMS and properly (securely) manage it.

8. Use An Online Store System

You may think that option #7 is for you simply because you’re looking to run an online storefront, but in the modern era of the web, there are a number of options available which can be more expedient.

If you’re looking to sell handmade or craft goods, a solid community-based site to check is Etsy. Etsy is like a cross between Facebook and eBay, enabling you to fully customize your storefront, handling checkouts for you, and having an in-built reputation system. Etsy is also well-known around the web, which lends your store some SEO credibility.

Other options that have low or no start-up costs include Fastspring, Big Cartel, and, of course, eBay. For selling on international markets, you can check out Alibaba, which will essentially give you access to the world outside the US.

You can use one or all of these. Managing your store will be far easier using these sites – everything will be point and click, and if you have a problem, each site will have a support staff.

The downside to this option will be the time invested in maintaining all of the sites. It’s important to note, also, that you can use these sites in addition to building your own site. A common early-phase setup is a mixture of this option and the next – a business owner will create a custom website and use one or more of the above-mentioned store systems for checkout.

9. Build By Hand

Building your own website can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Thanks to modern web technologies, you can build a relatively beautiful site with little effort. The time you invest in learning basic web development techniques wouldn’t be wasted, since you can re-use those skills at a later time.

If your business is primarily service-based, and all you need is an elegant, static website to funnel customers to your phone or e-mail, then building a handmade site is actually one of the best options.

Most WordPress and other CMS templates are designed for continuous content, and if they’re not updated regularly, they look abandoned.

However, with a static page, it makes sense that the content hasn’t changed – the information hasn’t, either.

All you need to do is pick up some web design skills using a free course on YouTube or elsewhere online, and find a nice modern template to start with. Libraries like Bootstrap and Material will give you a huge boost, and you’ll find yourself with a pretty, modern website in no time at all. Many templates even include responsive code, which means they can work with mobile devices.

10. Hire A Designer

If the work outlined in this guide sounds like too much of a headache, your best bet is hiring a team to handle all the mess for you.

These days, web design skills are fairly common, so finding a reasonable rate is definitely within the realm of possibility. You should expect to spend from $500 to $2500 for a decent basic website, and some fixed regular fee for maintenance.

If you know that all of the above is going to be too much effort for you, it’s wise to build web development costs, including the potential hiring of professional help, into your business plan.

An Exciting World of Online Businesses

Now that you’ve built your website and put it online, it’s time to take in the exciting new world you’re entering.

Have you considered all the ways that you could be utilizing technology in your business flow?

For example, are you getting the best price on all your stock?

Have you considered employing digital consultants to help you track down the best possible situation for your supply chain?

What do you know about your payment processes?

These are the some of the questions you can now begin to explore as you learn just how much more money you can make by fully partaking in the world wide web with your business.

There is one more crucial consideration for any entrepreneur looking to get their business online, however: in 2019 and beyond, it’s all mobile, mobile mobile.

Providing a great mobile experience is paramount in modern business.

Imagine: someone may be looking you up at a red light. Ideally, within a few clicks they need to be able to find your business or service. This should be kept in mind whenever you are working on the digital aspects of your business, as well things like modern payment options and processing.

Overall, though, as sad as it is, just getting your business online will give you an edge. Ensure that all your directories (such as Google Maps and Yellow Pages) are updated and accurate. If you own a restaurant, ensure that your menu is accessible, respond to as well as encourage reviews, and find other ways to build your online presence, such as giving out coupons to followers on Facebook.

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A Complete Guide to Small Business Term Loans

If you’re one of the millions of modern citizens who has decided to strike off on your own and start a business, you may be in need of funding to bring your dreams into reality.

One of the simplest options available to a new entrepreneur is a term loan, either long or short-term, which amounts to a one-time lump sum of cash from a bank. You and your business then repay the loan over time in scheduled installments. In the majority of cases, your payments also service any outstanding fees that were incurred when you established the loan, as well as maintenance fees a bank or institution might charge.

Like any other loan, a small business term loan can be secured or unsecured, and the collateral can come from a variety of sources. If your business has already generated a stockpile of money, or you have some capital to start with, a down payment is the best sort of collateral you can give – you take what you have set aside and acquire a much larger pile of cash to work with.

Are You Ready For A Small Business Term Loan?

It’s important to remember that loans are not for everyone. Businesses with a solid operating income and a detailed plan for the future are the kinds that both bankers and individuals want to invest in. Not having either of these things doesn’t make you a bad business owner, but it may make it harder for you to justify asking for a loan. When a company is managed well, it shows in just about every aspect of its operations.

Loan officers learn, over the course of dozens of applicants, what to look for. If you’re disorganized, lacking in clear vision, or fiscally unprepared, their job is to identify that and deny your application. Therefore, it’s good to consider the credit health of your business before seeking any kind of funding.

Your Business Credit Score

Just like people, businesses have credit scores. These can be based on a much wider range of information than the credit scores of individuals. Businesses do a lot more types of commerce, generally, than individuals, and can source other types of data to prove their ability to repay a loan. For example, a seasonal business might be able to point to a previous year’s receipts to justify a loan to secure stock for an upcoming busy season. A business might with a good banking relationship can potentially secure a loan with no formal credit check.

Banks want to retain your business. Your banking relationship is one of the most important relationships you will develop as a business, and hopefully by the time you’re interested in flexing your credit, you’ve established a good relationship with the bank you primarily intend to approach.

A long history together is one way to help ensure that a lender will give their blessing to your request, but it’s not necessarily a requirement, but if your business has good relationships with vendors, makes all its credit card payments on time, and doesn’t owe any utilities companies, you likely have a good business credit score.

You can check your business credit score using major services like Experian, as well as services designed specifically for business credit scores.

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Consider Other Types of Credit

First of all, you should never seek a business loan just for “general purposes.” If you’re expanding, then you should have a detailed plan, with expenses, detailing the expansion. Remember, this is a lump sum loan – it differs from installment loans, where banks will award you at various milestones based on your progress.  Thus, you need to have a complete plan at the time you ask the lender to extend you some cash. But, suppose you’re just trying to get your inventory up. Have you thought of asking the supplier directly for credit? Perhaps another supplier would be willing to start you out with a credit account for switching to them. For material needs, consulting the source directly is always an option.

Maximize The Credit Score Gains of Every Debt Move

Suppose you’re not trying to build up your inventory, but instead improve the place you store – your storefront. Instead of seeking a general loan from the bank, it may be more expedient – and more reflective for your credit – if you get a store credit account from a place like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

 

Here’s a maneuver to consider if you’re in that situation. Get a Lowe’s or Home Depot card, buy the things you need for your improvement project with it, and then apply for a term loan to pay off the debt. This isn’t an unwise decision, as you’re likely to get a better rate from a bank. You can get the items you need without waiting. The only drawback is that while you’re awaiting approval from the bank, you’re going to pay whatever the credit rate is on the store card you get from the home improvement store.

These can range at the same level with personal credit cards, or more than 20%, so it can be a risky move. The upside is that by establishing the store credit card, you further build your company’s creditworthiness, and by seeking a loan to erase the debt, you’re basically getting two good credit histories out of one event. That will come in handy down the road when you seek larger loans.

Get Creditworthy

As we said, it’s possible to get credit through your business without ever asking for a loan. By doing business with various vendors for years, you’ll establish a credit history. The quickest business credit account to establish is a wireless account with a company like Verizon or AT&T. To be considered worthy of credit, you need to make decisions within your means. Your company may be issued a lot of freedom with a company like Verizon. So use it – buy a state-of-the-art phone, tablet, and perhaps a laptop, all of which you should use in your business. Then make your payments in a timely manner.

Look out for other places that might give you a business account, including Sam’s Club. Many of them will report to credit bureaus, which over time will build you a rapport with credit agencies – especially if you follow rule number one, which is to never miss a payment.

If there’s a second rule, it’s to continually push the limits. If you want to be considered a good credit risk, one way to accelerate your profile is to continually buy things you can pay off within 30-60 days. Convert your regular expenses into credit account expenses, and pay them off fast.

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Before You Expand

The above steps to building a good credit profile will come in handy for a regular business operation, but there will hopefully come a time that you need to expand. Expansion, for nearly all businesses, is the end goal and a high priority. Expansion is not always cheap; it often requires the purchase of a new location, hiring of new employees, and more. During expansion, companies often take on new debts. As an entrepreneur looking to expand your business with a term loan, you have to consider every aspect of your existing business.

First of all, have you considered every aspect for non-debt-based expansion? Does your existing operation offer everything it can?

This is to say: are you currently operating at 100%? Or would your efforts (and money) be better spent improving your current operations, as opposed to growing them into new areas?

Building A Solid Plan For A Term Loan

When thinking about these questions, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Entrepreneurs like to believe they’re ready for expansion long before they are. In some cases, you could make 40% more without borrowing a dime, or even taking on new clients/attracting new customers.

How you answer questions about your business will depend very much on the type of business you run. If you work online, your options for both finance and expansion are infinitely greater.

For example, long before you consider asking a bank for a term loan, you might look at working capital loans geared toward online businesses. When you approach banks for a loan, you’ll need what amounts to a pitch deck. You will want a vibrant presentation which brings the bankers into your vision for the future of your business. For this part, it may be worth considering hiring a writer or other creative professional to develop something that shows you in the best possible light for you. These services can be contracted online, always for much less than the cost of rejection. If you can include an itemized budget to show your loan officer, your odds of getting approved will increase – the officer can see that you have thought this out.

At the same time, you’re not wholly at the behest of the banker. Remember that your business is doing fine. If you can’t find terms you want, simply walk away, and hope to get them at the next bank, or the next time you come back.

Cast A Wide Net

Now that you’ve hopefully taken appropriate steps to build a credit score worth writing home about for your business, and considered all your other credit options, it’s time to start looking for partners in your long-term business goals.

That’s the way to look at your current endeavor: you’re involving banks or other types of lenders as partners in your company’s long-term success and growth.

Think about it, in some cases you might be stuck with the choices you make today for 5 to 30 years. With that in mind, your first application should be with your primary bank, but you should establish a list of other banks and credit unions you might consider doing business with.

If you’ve done some version of the other processes mentioned in this article, and you’ve been with your bank for at least a few years, you’re likely to get an offer from them within a few days. Don’t accept the offer right away. Now you have a base line.

If you’re using any other banks, take that offer to them, and see what they’ll do based on that information. The offer is from the bank that should know you best, but it may not be your best offer. Another bank may want your business enough to offer you a more preferential rate, a lower down payment, or even more capital to work with.

Be Patient

This part very much depends on you and your business, but not every bank is going to generate an offer you like. In some cases, no banks will generate an offer you like, or several banks will generate no offer at all. In cases where the entrepreneur is simply not ready, banks, including your primary bank, may not make an offer at all.

In any of the above cases, it’s important to remain patient. After all, you’re asking to pay a fee for a long time. Servicing a loan is a big commitment, and if you can’t find a bank willing to make it with you, then you might be doing yourself a favor by waiting and trying again later.

In most cases, a loan officer will give you some idea of the things they’d like to see done differently. Often, a bank will counter with an offer for a different amount, which is why your business plan is important – you can decide, with the banker, whether such a counter-offer even makes sense for you.

Consider All Options

Whether you get a loan or not does not define whether your business is good or not. Banks authorize loans for different reasons all the time, and they also have their own bills to pay, which dictate how they decide to allocate funds. This is to say that sometimes you may have simply picked a bad time of year to get a loan.

Whatever the case, if you’ve now secured a loan, you need to keep it constantly on your mind. It, too, can function as an asset, something you can take to a new financial institution and potential negotiate with.

A competing bank may be willing to take over your loan and give you a better price through a process called balance transferring. Like all aspects of your business, your company’s debt requires time and attention, and it should not be wasted. Just because your company is capable of handling more debt does not mean you should find reasons to exercise it. In most cases, any potential gains are neutered by the increased burden of servicing the new debt.

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Best Short-Term Business Loans

Short-term business loans can give your business the fast cash it needs to handle emergencies or to take advantage of a business opportunity.

Below are our picks for Short-term business loans for fast cash:

Kabbage

Our top pick, at this point, is Kabbage. Kabbage is a reliable online lending platform that prides itself on giving businesses another chance to obtain financing. Kabbage doesn’t put too much weigh on your credit score; they are primarily concerned about your cash flow.

[element-for-review-cta id=1393 text=”Small business funding options that fit your business. Qualify in 10 minutes for up to $250,000 line of credit”]

Bluevine

BlueVine’s short term business loan may be right for your business if you need cash fast. Funding times for BlueVine’s loans range from 12 to 24 hours.

[element-for-review-cta id=1424 text=”$5,000 – $5M fast funding for your business. Apply online and get approved in as fast as 20 minutes”]

 

Ondeck

Ondeck is one of the few lending platforms that offer high dollar loans (up to $500,000). The best part of using Ondeck is that its repayment period can range from one year to three, giving most borrowers sufficient time to pay back the loan. Funding is also easy, and once you have met all the requirements, you will be funded in three business days. Besides a traditional loan, Ondeck also offers a line of credit option.

[element-for-review-cta id=1431 text=”A+ rating with BBB, 9.8/10 customer ratings at TrustPilot. Relaxed eligibility requirements and transparent Information for fast financing solutions”]

 

LoanBuilder

Loanbuilder provides access to a business loan of up to $500,000 and the repayment duration of the loan will range from 13 to 52 weeks. Loanbuilder allows you to choose the loan amount and repayment term, with your choice the determinant for the interest rate. Fees on Loanbuilder are fixed, so there’s no fear of interest accumulating over time.

[element-for-review-cta id=1526 text=”LoanBuilder Loan offers one type of funding and that is a short-term loan with amounts that range from $5,000 to $500,000″]

 

Congratulations on your serious plan to expand your company with a term loan from a bank or other financial institution. Now that you know how to get such a term loan, what you do with that knowledge is entirely up to you!

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8 Characteristics that All Successful Entrepreneurs Must Have

Being an entrepreneur is hard by nature. There are certain characteristics that you will certainly fail without. In this article, we attempt to define eight that we’re sure must be possessed by everyone trying to make it on their own.

The wild world of business can be daunting. As such, you must be prepared for just about anything to happen – especially failure. Much of this article will focus not only on the aspects of a person who will succeed, but also on a mindset that is bound to succeed. Success isn’t only a matter of perception, after all. It’s measurable – in business, you can measure it by the health of your bank accounts. Adopting the right mindset and building the appropriate character for business will get you a long way, but there is always the issue of good and bad luck, as well as larger cycles like the economy at large.

There are probably times that any business will fail trying to start, just due to the nature of the economy.

Even during these times, though, a healthy mindset and a clear approach could yield success where others might fail.

1. Enthusiasm

If you want to succeed in business, you’re going to have to believe in yourself, your enterprise, and your industry. People will pick up on a negative attitude, and it will scare them off. You have to remain positive, even when things aren’t going well – even if they’re going awfully. The only way out of a bad situation is by envisioning a better one and getting to it. A negative attitude typically won’t help you do that.

Entrepreneurship involves failure, often enough, among other problems. The bottom line with working for yourself is sacrifice. Things that employees enjoy aren’t enjoyed by people who strike off on their own. You can’t be sure that just showing up will be enough anymore, and that can be stressful.

But you must remember why you’re here: to succeed on your own terms. That means that you’ll need to keep your chin up, even when things look bad. Which they will, often, especially if you’re the kind of person with high hopes for your enterprise.

2. Decisiveness

If you want to succeed in business, you’re going to have to take risks, and you’re going to have make decisions – fast.

Often enough in business, you’ll find yourself making decisions that could have either disastrous consequences or amazing benefits – depending on the outcome of the decisions themselves. Being decisive in moments like those descried means that you’ll be able to see yourself through. Lacking the ability to simply pull the trigger and make a decision can have more negative side effects that occasionally making the wrong choice. Making the wrong choice, after all, has a benefit: you learn from the mistake. Not making a decision at all can mean that whatever the problem is might stick around longer than it has to.

To be an entrepreneur is already a daring exercise. Taking risks and making decisions is a big part of the job. You need to be sure that you’re up to the task, because in starting your own enterprise you will frequently be called upon to make important decisions.

3. Dedication

So, you’ve decided what you want to do with your life, and you’re now taking a little risk to get there. You won’t actually know you’re all in until you’re perceptibly taking some losses, and the opportunity to quit presents itself. There are definitely times that quitting will seem easier. There are even times it will seem to make more sense than carrying on.

Yet, quitting on the way to your vision will never feel as good as seeing it through. Yes, you will struggle sometimes, but if you possess this vital quality – dedication – you should find within you the strength to carry on. The times when quitting truly seems like an option are the times you have to fall back on your dedication to the goal. Being goal-oriented certainly helps in this respect – the satisfaction of reaching a goal means different things to different people.

Simply staying independent, or remaining your own boss, can be a goal in and of itself. Other goals can include income-based goals, and goals regarding sales or client acquisition. As long as you’re going to be your own boss, you may as well challenge yourself. At the end of the day, you can’t necessarily fire yourself, so you’ll have to learn from your own mistakes. Keeping yourself actively focused on various improvements to the business overall will keep you building your enterprise and growing your bank roll.

4. Flexibility

You’re going to need to be ready for the changing tides. You can’t have a rigid personality, or approach to business, if you expect to succeed as an entrepreneur. One of the key elements of survival is an ability to adapt – and that requires a flexibility that many don’t possess out of the gate. You may be surprised, but you will have to learn to let things go. You’ll notice that small things will begin to matter less. When this starts happening, you’re on your way. Being flexible doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll give up on your goals.

You may be willing to change your goals, or adjust your expectations, based on certain realities. But another core part of winning as an entrepreneur is maintaining a strict discipline to achieve goals. All the same, troubles will come and go in business. You’ve got to be prepared to take them as they come, and jump the hurdles that present themselves.

While being flexible doesn’t mean being a pushover, it also doesn’t mean being too headstrong. If something needs changing, a willingness to change it can translate into either profits or savings, depending on how important it is to the business.

What works in one business may not work in another. True to form, what works in one location of the same business may not work in another. The only way to find out what will actually work is to get into the weeds and experiment.

5. Constant Learning

Going into business doesn’t mean you know everything out of the gate. In fact, it should mean that you’re out to learn, and to learn as much as possible. If you take the lessons of one day and roll them into the next, your business will probably thrive. Just trying the same things over and over again is bound to yield the same results. If your goal at the beginning was to yield better and better results, it makes no sense to continue using the same methods. Suppose you run a sale one day and it does reasonably well. You notice that certain items in the sale did better than others. The next day, you run a second sale, with only the items that did well the day before, this time more of them. Now you make even more money. This means you incorporated a lesson you picked up from the day before. It required you to learn from the experience of running the first sale.

Being willing to learn is a primary trait of the true entrepreneur, and maintaining your curiosity will take you far in business.

6. Responsible Management

No business is safe without good and responsible management. It’s vital that you manage your business like you would another person’s – with duty and care. Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you should let yourself get away with a lot of nonsense. When you’re at your place of business, be at work. When you’re away, be away. One thing that separates a good entrepreneur from a bad one is the ability to discipline and push themselves. Good entrepreneurs find it within themselves to keep on task, while failures often find it “hard to focus.”

You can make excuses for yourself, or you can find and do the work. There’s never a dull moment when you’re actually running your business. There’s always more to do – find new contracts, deliver work, collect money. Or in the case of a more standard type of business, figure out which products will sell and offer them more aggressively, and so forth.

Ensuring that the business gets attended to is the most important part of being your own boss. Otherwise, you will certainly fail. Even being good and responsible doesn’t necessarily, on its own, mean you will succeed.

In the end, it’s important to note, you can do everything right in business, and still fail.

7. Good Planning

You won’t do much of anything in business without a good plan. It’s really as simple as that.

To succeed, you need to have a clear path to the finish line. It doesn’t matter what sort of business you’re in – any kind of business will afford you the ability to make a plan for the future.

If you’re running a brick and mortar business, for example, you have to ask yourself what your ultimate goals are. Are you going to expand, and open more locations over time? If so, where will they be, and how much will they cost? What are the current barriers to get there?

Questions of this nature will have to be answered, and then a plan can be based on the data. If you’re running a service-based business, the task is perhaps a bit easier. You have to ensure that you’re utilizing the best tools. That’s the first and foremost rule of contracting – use the best tools.

For physical contracting, that often means renting the best tools. For digital workers, though, it means using decent hardware and employing the best software tools. Finding work effectively means employing the best websites dedicated to that purpose. To do this best, you’ve got to employ characteristic number 5 – and be a constant learner. The sites that will give you work today may not be the sites doing so tomorrow. Even then, you’ve got to have a clear plan to get to your desired income level, and then get there. Over time, as you become more experienced, with more work to show for yourself, you can demand more money.

With more money comes a greater standard of living, but eventually you also have more relying on you. In this respect, it’s important to consider the angles with every move, and to move carefully.

8. Networking

Finally, the last skill you’ll need in business: the ability to keep your friends and peers close.

There are definitely times you will need your network. Using business-based social networks like LinkedIn is one way to keep in touch with people you meet in business. Another, simpler way is to maintain your contacts book, and always save numbers when it makes sense to do so. Keeping a vast network of people will come in especially handy when you find yourself, for example, in need of work. If you’ve got 1,000 or more connections on a network like LinkedIn, then you may as well post that you’re looking for a certain type of work, and see what happens.

Being an entrepreneur means trying new things, as well. Have you thought of advertising? Reading a book on the subject, and other subjects which could have an impact on your business, should never be out of the question, either. You have to remain willing to do whatever it’s going to take to keep your business flying. In some cases, that will mean hard work. In others, it will mean pure luck. Often, it will mean severe risk.

Staying in business isn’t always merely a matter of doing everything right. It’s not a science. You can certainly do everything right and still fail, but most businesses can scrape by when everything is in order. Keeping the basics in order is a minimum demand you should make of yourself. Don’t mix up your books, keep your costs in reasonable control.

At the same time, you’ve got to enjoy the work. Keeping a large network of colleagues and friends can help you remember why you enjoy the work, as they share their experiences, and you share yours. This is the ideal reason to be at least somewhat skilled at networking.

While it is the last skill we mention as regards being an entrepreneur, it should not be understated: keep your network as vast and intentional as you can.