Friday, June 27, 2014

Find Funding for Your Small Business Ideas



Government Grants to Finance Your Business

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Many individuals have dreams of opening their own small business. Although they may have a great business plan and other items needed to get started, few actually have the funding that is required to begin such an endeavor. Entrepreneurs who do not wish to drain their personal savings or take out any personal banks loans are often left wondering what other types of funding may be available to them. The U.S. Small Business Administration work directly with these individuals and can offer new business owners grants and other tools to help get businesses off the ground.

Government Small Business Grants

First and foremost, it is important to note that the Federal Government does not provide grants for opening or expanding businesses. Since these grants are funded by tax dollars, there are strict regulations on how the money can be distributed. Federal Government grants are only issued to non-commercial organizations, like non-profits and educational institutions which cover areas such as scientific research, technology development, and advances in medicine. What the Federal Government will do, however, is provide grant funds to state and local governments for economic expansion.

At the local and state level, there are grants available to help individual’s start a business. Grants may also be available through non-profit and other types of organizations. These grants can be used to fund a number of projects, specifically in area such as child care or elderly care center expansions, tourism marketing and even the development of energy efficient technologies. But, this is not simply free money – many grant programs have a set of criteria they follow and many require the recipient to match the funds that are being dispersed for the project and the amount will vary from one project to the next.

U.S. Small Business Administration Search Tool

The U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, has developed an online tool to help would-be small business owners locate the funding they need to start their project. This search tool helps to pinpoint what government investment programs may be available to help start or expand a business. After putting in some basic information, this tool can help match a business owner to exactly what programs may be most beneficial to them. This tool was created by BusinessUSA in conjunction with SBA and can be found at www.SBA.gov under the Loans & Grants headline.

Finding funding for a small business can be very stressful – even those individuals with the most thought out and researched plans often struggle to find the financial backing to make their dreams a reality. When personal loans and savings accounts are not an option, it may be time to look into alternative funding. Small business grants from local and state governments, or even some non-profit organizations, can be a great alternative to traditional funding. Whatever the case may be, it is always valuable to research what options are available to you when opening your very own small business.

How are you doing with your small business? If you need help finding an opportunity to start your own legitimate home business, contact Stacy O'Quinn and click here.

*Photo Courtesy of 401(K) 2012 via Creative Commons License

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Growing Your Small Business



Important Tips to Making Your Small Business a Success

Many people say that planning and starting a small business is the most difficult part of the process to begin a startup business. Although no one would disagree with this statement, what happens within a business after it has opened and gotten off the ground is often forgotten. Running a small business and working to make it grow and be successful can also be a difficult process, but one that can be met with great reward if done correctly. Once the excitement of beginning the business wears off, and the day-to-day grind of becoming successful begins, there are some tricks to help the business continue to grow.

Be Mindful of Expressing Your Doubts

In order to launch and run a business, an individual needs to have passion and drive. Although these individuals are inspiring in that way, it does not mean that doubts don’t creep up every once and a while. As the leader of a business, there are many people looking to you – employees, partners and consumers all rely on the business owner for reassurance that the company will continue to thrive. When thinking about expressing doubts, be selective of with whom you share –rumors spread like wildfire through an organization and can have a negative effect on the productivity and confidence of employees.

You Cannot Be a One Man Show

Part of the allure of opening a business is for an individual to be their own boss. This is often associated with doing everything within the business that needs to get done and playing many roles such as owner, accountant, marketing manager, and sales representative. Although doing everything alone may work in the beginning, it will become impossible once the business begins to grow. Make sure to recognize when it is time to seek out talented individuals to help manage day-to-day tasks of the business and help you to focus on being the business owner instead of the chief, cook and bottle washer. 

Be OK with Hearing ‘No’

One of the only decisions an individual makes when opening a small business is the decision whether or not to open the business. Only they can decide to embark on the journey to become a business owner. After that, there are going to be other individuals involved in the decision making process and it is best to get used to hearing the work “no” early on. There are going to be lenders who say “no” when applying for funding, investors who say “no” when presented an idea and consumers who say “no” when you try to sell them on your passion. But when these individuals say “no” it should not be discouraging – “no” is an opportunity to revisit, rebuild, rework and try again.

Every aspect of a business will need to grow at one point or another in order for the business to continue to be successful. The space, the personnel, and technology – all of these things will need to be added to and upgraded to make the business run. The decisions that are made from when the business opens to when it begins to expand will all have an effect on the company’s potential. How a business owner handles this growth will directly determine how much success the business will see.

How is your small business doing? Would you like some help from one of the best small business mentors available today? Stacy O'Quinn has helped dozens of work from home professionals earn a six figure income by teaching them Dani Johnson training techniques. If you would like to learn more about Stacy and how he can help you, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Richard Moross via Creative Commons License

Friday, June 20, 2014

Saving Money with Your Startup Small Business



Money-Saving Tips to Help Make Your Small Business More Affordable

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Many entrepreneurs have visions of opening their own small business – they often imagine an office space that is shiny and new, employees who are happy and productive, and a business model that runs like a well-oiled machine. Few, however, envision how they will begin this process and forget about the chaos and costs associated with it. The truth is that many small business owners take out personal loans or even drain their savings to get the business off the ground. Although the costs are high, there are some ways that aspiring business owners can save some money and still begin their company.

First Things First: Manage Your Budget

It is easy to understand how new business owners can get lost in the overwhelming costs that are associated with startups. In the whirlwind that is known as a startup business, how much money is being spent can often get lost in the shuffle. Just like money management apps can help individuals with their personal finances, they can also help entrepreneurs manage their business costs. Many of these apps are free and can make managing and controlling day to day costs much easier – not to mention it will help outline where money is being spent and if those expenses are necessary to the business.

Offset Expenses by Salvaging or Selling Home Office Items

Many new businesses begin as work-from-home operations. When it is time to move to an actual office space or store front, it may be tempting to buy all new office equipment to outfit the space. Before heading to the office store, take a hard look at what you already have available to you – many of the items in a home office, such as computers, filing cabinets, printers, and other office equipment can be easily transitioned to a larger space. If the items simply will not work in the new office, consider selling the items to help offset some of the costs that will be incurred when purchasing new equipment.

Try Doing Marketing In-House

One of the most important aspects of a new business is marketing that business to consumers. Marketing is key in making consumers aware of the new business, what it offers and how it can benefit them in their day-to-day lives. But, outsourcing this crucial business aspect can be very expensive. Before hitting up local advertising and marketing agencies, give marketing a shot yourself – social media has made marketing a little simpler for business owners, not to mention there are many websites and blogs out there that discuss best practices and different tactics to help business owners market effectively.

Startup businesses are two things, above all others – exciting and expensive. For many entrepreneurs, the costs associated with starting and owning their own business pale in comparison to living their passion and dream. Although the costs may be great, there are some creative ways to help minimize the impact a business startup has on the owner’s wallet. While it is important to enjoy the process, it is also important to keep costs front and center in the chaos and make sure those budgets and dollars are being manager properly in order to get your business off on the right financial foot.

Are you having trouble making money with your legitimate home business? You could probably use some help from Stacy O'Quinn! He has served as a  business mentor for many work at home professionals and he would love to help you too! For more information about Stacy, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of 401(k)2012 via Creative Commons License

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Deal with “Talkative” Employees



Effectively Handling Outspoken Team Members

Every business is made up of a team of individuals – all of these team members are unique in their own ways. Great leaders understand how to deal with and manage different personality types in order to keep their team working efficiently. “Talkative” employees pose an interesting challenge for leaders. These team members are outspoken and persuasive, causing more introverted team members to follow their lead. It is important for leaders to manage these employees effectively to keep their team running.

Managing “Talkative” Employees in a Meeting Setting

One of the areas where talkative employees usually cause the most disruption is during meetings. These team members may have a tendency to talk over others, lead the conversation when it is not their turn or even steer the entire group off the topic at hand. These behaviors may cause the entire team to follow the outspoken team member’s lead, which may have an otherwise structured, productive meeting go completely off track. There are ways that leaders can mitigate the impact of talkative employees during these meetings while also being respectful and allowing them to contribute.

Before the meeting begins, have a conversation with the employee. Although this may be uncomfortable, it is important to express what needs to happen and that off-topic conversations are not allowed. Make sure to approach this in a calm, respectful manner noting an understanding of their passion. During the meeting, address other employees directly before the talkative employee can jump in – “Nancy, what do you think about the ROI on this project?” Statements such as this allow others to speak their mind while alerting the outspoken employee that it is someone else’s turn to talk.

Another great tactic that can be used is going around the room and giving each team member a few minutes to express their thoughts or concerns without interruption. This will allow the talkative employee to speak without over taking other team members. If the employee does begin to overtake the meeting, politely interrupt them and bring the conversation back on track. If they continue, turn away from the employee and continue the topic of conversation with the rest of the team – if the outspoken employee notices no one is listening to them chances are they will stop the behavior.

How to Get the Most Out of “Talkative” Employees

Outspoken employees are often very passionate and thoughtful about what they do – the problem is that they think and speak at the same time! Make sure to respect the process they go through to get work done and let them know you appreciate their passion. When talkative employees come and ask the age old question, “do you have a few minutes?” make sure to establish with them exactly how much time you have to talk. Before the conversation begins, ask them for the main point or question before they start with an explanation. Finally, when time is up, stand up and ask them to walk with you to your next meeting – this will be a great indicator that time is up and they need to get to the point quickly.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stop Wasting Money in Your Home Office



Controlling Hidden Costs When Working from Home

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At-home professionals face a challenge that many of their office bound colleagues do not – managing the costs associated with their home office. Business professionals who work in a traditional office setting very rarely worry about the different costs the building accrues over time such as printing, electric, and software costs . At-home professionals need to take these costs into consideration and, luckily, there are some simple ways to help control the costs of working from a home office.

Leverage Available Technology

It is no secret that software packages can be very expensive. More often than not, corporate companies have contracts with software developers to get these programs to their associates on a discounted basis. But, at-home professionals do not always have those connections but still need basic and updated software to do their job. A great way to avoid these steep costs is by researching and utilizing free software that is available through a number of big name companies. Google, for example, offers online spreadsheet, presentation, and word processing tools that account holders can use for free.

It is also no secret that travel is expensive – gas for vehicles, plane tickets and other travel services can definitely have at-home professionals taking a big hit right to their wallets. Instead of traveling for every client or colleague meeting, considering using an internet based conferencing tool. These tools allow people to meet face to face over the Internet and are usually much less costly than the gas it would take to travel to every meeting an at-home professional has scheduled during a regular work week. Some of these programs even allow meeting members to share documents and data live through the internet.

Minimize Printing Costs

One of the largest expenses that businesses have is printing costs. This includes the printing equipment, ink, maintenance and, of course, paper. At-home professionals face these same challenges with printing costs but they also have an advantage when it comes to reducing them. Pay close attention to exactly what is being printed in your home office – do all of these emails really need to be on paper, or can they be filed digitally? This is the type of question that should be asked every time you reach for that print button. By analyzing what is needed on paper, it can help to majorly cut down on this cost.

Additionally, there can be a huge cost benefit to investing in a high-quality printer or multifunctional device. Although these high-end pieces of equipment will cost more up front, they can often lead to big savings down the road. Newer printers are using less and less ink to print documents meaning that less cost will be incurred replenishing the supply. Not to mention, newer printers are fast and can also perform multiple jobs just as printing, scanning, faxing and even sending emails – this can help increase an at-home professional’s efficiency which can lead to a boost in productivity and even profits.

Many corporate professionals never wonder or worry about the costs associated with their office space. At-home professionals, however, pay much closer attention to where money is being spent. Leveraging technology and reducing printing are two very effective ways to control the costs associated with running a home office. Not only do these techniques reduce spending, they can also increase efficiency and productivity overall, which can have a great, positive impact on the business and its profits.

What? You don't have a home office because you haven't started your own legitimate home business yet? Then you need to talk to Stacy O'Quinn! If you already have an idea, he can help you as your business mentor. If you need ideas, Stacy has opportunities for everyone that wants to work from home. For more information, click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Levine via Creative Commons License

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