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If you have been in business for years or you are just getting started, you will agree with me that the industry comes with tons and tons of players. What are you going to offer or do in order for your new business to stand out from the crowd? At many times, you have to put in place a very workable plan. To get you started, here is how to set your business apart from the competition.

What makes you unique?

Creating an image is always the first place to start your lead. Take a look around you and try to figure out where you are. Find some of the best and unique aspects of your venture that make you different from others. You may not have your product or service out there yet, but you should be able to find those qualities that make your business unique from competition.

Do your homework right.

Take some time off and carry out an in-depth analysis of some of your biggest competitions. Find their weaknesses and also their strengths. You can even approach a competition as an interested customer so that you can get a glimpse of what it actually sells, and the kind of customer services it offers. Take note of every single detail, and begin to capitalize on where they are lagging behind.

Share your insight and partner with more established players.

Well, you can have some of the brightest brains working for you, but most people won’t know unless you share. Basically, if you want to stand out from the rest, you might want to share your credibility by sharing knowledge across several platforms as that can be one of the best ways to let people know that your business is good in what it does.

Focus on customer service.

What the customers think about your business is the key, and you need to largely focus on customer service. If you put in place a very positive and resourceful customer service, you will surprisingly set your business apart from the rest. For example, if you are a shopping outlet, aim to create some of the best shopping experiences for your customers for that alone will take your business to unimaginable heights.

Maintain your lead.

The last but not least, always maintain your lead and know your business better than anyone else. Be proactive, and make sure you consistently deliver quality service or products to your customers. If that is not enough, research actually shows that some of the most successful entrepreneurs anticipate future advances in technology, production, as well as customer service, and bring them into their game plans. In short, through a complete and extensive research, you need to push your team to greater heights if you want to avoid losing your edge to the competition.
At the end, while there is no magic formula to edging over competition, the above tips are the keys to setting your venture apart from the rest.

Commercial Risk Profile

Expanding your business can be a complex undertaking. It involves a myriad of fresh needs. You need to increase the business finances and its infrastructure to fit your employees and products. Actually, every aspect of business expansion has an investment aspect to it. However, like any other investment, business expansion also poses risks and can be disastrous to your business. So, do you have a risk mitigation strategy in your business growth plan? Some business people who make the mistake of not factoring in the possibility of downsides in their plan are caught unawarewhen challenges strike.
Undertaking a responsible business expansion means having a plan that protects your business from the risks of the unknown. You should therefore factor all the risk possibilities in your plan. Here, we will discuss a number of points on risk mitigation during business growth.

1. Check your business insurance coverage regularly.

As a prudent business person, you should meet with your insurance broker todiscuss insurance coverages. As the business expands, you become more exposed to risks, and it is therefore important to ensure your insurance cover corresponds to your business status.

2. Maintain your former clientele.

As you focus on business expansion, remember that it is imperative to maintain your former customers. Neglecting your previous customers will serve your business growth a dent.

3. Hiring employees

As you grow your business, it is important to take caution in hiring employees. Some businesses hire too many workers at the beginning of business expansion. This could pose a risk if the business faces hurdles in the near future and the employees’ contracts bind you to huge wages. You should consider hiring employees temporarily, and only extend their contracts if rate business growth deems it necessary.

4. Trustworthy banker

Find a smart banker who is ready to genuinely help you financially in your growth plans. Find a banker who is ready to be with you for a long-term.
Immediate needs that come from business growth can adversely affect your business if not properly handled. Factoring these points into your growth plan will give you a head start.

Making it Fundable

Everyday, many businesses have been formed to deal with various products such as clothing, Information Technology, computers, jewelry and others. These businesses are commonly referred to as Startups. One of the major problems of startup and why many people fail is the issue of funding. Where does one get funding? How will I use these funds? These are some of the questions that young and budding entrepreneurs face but in this article, we will show you how to get funding for your startup, factors to consider before sourcing for funds, and the steps to getting your startup fundable.This process is as easy as counting one, two, and three, and it is dedicated to all those who are looking for funding.

With so many businesses coming to birth,several factors must be considered in getting funding from various people like venture capitalists or banks that must be kept in mind.

1. What kind of business are you venturing into?

This usually looks like a question that one may answer right at the top of their minds, but it is one that should be really well thought of. Every idea that you are thinking has been thought by someone else. Is your business unique?In what way?How different will it be from companyXYZ?Andwhat new thing are you bringing to the market?

2. What are your potential clients?

“A satisfied customer is the best strategy of all.” -Michael LeBoeuf. Have you identified your potential customers and their needs? Is your product or service fulfilling a certain need, or solving a certain problem? Remember that your customers make your business.

Having answered these questions successfully, how will you get funding? These are the simple steps to make your business ideas become a profitable business.

1. Business Plan

It is very important before securing funding for a business to have a business plan. A business plan is a document that shows a guideline about your business, reason for business existence, goals, and how the business seeks to attain those goals.This is a very important document as it shows potential investors what you plan to do with the money that they intend to give you, and how they will benefit from it. A good business should have the following (not listed in order):

  • Mission and Vision for your business
  • Potential Clientele
  • A well-written budget
  • Shares (if any)
  • Objective of the business
  • Number of employees

2. Human Resource

Human resource is the most important thing for any business. This includes the people that will be working with you in order to achieve the goals. The team that one is working with should be very reliable and goal oriented.

3. Visibility

Do you have a website? Are you on social media? These are avenues that show your business has started, and that it has a gone a notch higher to try and create a brand for your business.

4. Prototype

If your business deals with software development and focus on mobile apps, it is important to have a prototype that they can use to show potential investors. This will give them a better idea of what your business seeks to do. If you are in the film industry and you seek to start making movies or a trailer of a pilot episode, this will go along with securing funds.

5. Customer Base

As much as it is starting up with a number of customers, a record of sales will play a big role in securing funds. This will show potential investors that despite the little funds that you have to start your business, you get some income, and boost your funds.

6. Personal Investment

Personal investment is all about the funds that one has put into the business and the time that they spend in that business. This is a very good sign for potential investors because they see and know that by risking your own money, they will not be at risk because they see the dedication that you have.

7. Letters of Intent

If your startup is bringing something unique to the market, and “big players” in the market have noticed your product, they may want large quantities from you. Presenting such a document to potential investors shows them that it has already been a recognized business, and as an entrepreneur, you have actually done the footwork and gone out to look for business.

Getting funding for your business is very simple. If one follows the above guidelines, it will be very easy for startups to grow, and it will soon be a very profitable business.

Office with Cats and Dogs

Pet-friendly offices are a growing trend, and not as ‘out there’ as one might imagine. As all owners know, pets are great morale boosters, reducing stress levels, and making their human companions feel more contented. Offices have long had aquariums of tropical fish, clearly understanding how therapeutic it is to watch these creatures.
Advantages for workers (and their pets) are self-evident. Puppy proprietors, specifically, can think that it’s exceptionally hard to orchestrate their puppies to be practiced consistently while they are away at work for extended periods of time.Pooches likewise, require fellowship. Having the capacity to take your pooch to work implies the chance to fit a long stroll into your lunch hour, guaranteeing you get out into the natural air, and take some activity as opposed to having lunch at your work area,which is a distinct medical advantage. Having a puppy to stroke while tending to hold or basically conceptualizing your next venture can be an awesome outlet for anxiety and may make you more gainful.

For some individuals, in any case, this appears like a channel dream. As it would turn out, what could influence your supervisor that you have to convey your Great Dane to work? Interestingly, there are distinct advantages for bosses too. Upbeat specialists are more profitable laborers, and offering a pet-friendly office is an advantage, much the same as offering work from home or an exercise center enrollment. The more livens an organization offers, the more alluring it is to new ability. Permitting pets in the work environment additionally brings about lower levels of truancy, while having a pet-friendly workplace makes a casual air for all representatives, not onlythe pet proprietors.

The advantages of a friendly pooch inviting clients ought not to be neglected, either. A few stores and offices find that having the workplace pooch around really energizes clients. A considerable lot are pleased that they can bring their own particular puppy to shopping, get their PC settled, or their fine art confined.

Unfortunately, not everybody cherishes creatures. Some are hypersensitive or even phobic. Unmistakably, pet-friendly workplaces must consider these laborers moreover. Organizations wishing to be pet-friendly ought to have rules with regards to tidying up, after creatures and the amount of flexibility pets ought to be inside of the working environment. A few organizations demand that pooches be restricted unless in offices with shut entryways or behind security doors. All together for you and your pooch to be glad at work, it ought to go without saying that your canine must be cool, friendly, and all around prepared. Clearly, a few working environments will loan themselves to being pet-friendly more promptly than others. A smaller office may be more prone to energize pets than a vast, indifferent corporate setting. With that said, both Google and Amazon are recorded among the many great pet-friendly work environments in the United States.

Motivating Employees

Introduction

A workplace with empowered employees is often successful. When employees are empowered, they become highly motivated and usually perform their work at a higher level compared to employees who sense hopelessness and feel stuck. Establishing an empowered workplace necessitates putting forth a constant attempt of giving importance to employees and making them feel as though they are essential to the company’s success. There are various ways to keep employees motivated throughout the year.

A. Recognize the value of each employee.

A company that places high regards to its employees is fully aware that the most effective approach to value workers is through a combination of intangible and tangible recognition and rewards. Valuing employees is about balancing family and work. The company must acknowledge and respect the priorities that employees have outside of their work. Providing flexibility is a way for businesses to demonstrate that they value the commitment and time of their employees. Workplace flexibility encompasses giving telecommuting options, job sharing, flexible scheduling, and generous leave policies. Another way to demonstrate value among employees is by making sure that the complete well-being and health of every employee are given importance. This can be accomplished by providing medical insurance and other health benefits.

B. Share the company’s leadership vision.

Vision offers guidance to companies by expressing what it desires to achieve. Vision is not just a picture of the days ahead. It has a fascinating element to it that functions to motivate, inspire, and engage employees. Through shared leadership vision, people are encouraged to work and to strive for its achievement.

C. Share the company’s goals and direction.

Sharing goals and direction is highly essential to every organization. When necessary, workers must be involved in planning and setting goals. Employees are gems. They provide additional knowledge, value, insights, ideas, and experience. With the support and contributions of employees, the organization creates progress on measurable and observable goals. Moreover, companies ensure that all employees have the same goal of achieving positive results.

D. Provide Information for decision-making.

The company must make sure that all employees are involved during the decision-making process. This will not only give a sense of importance and value to the employees, but will also help generate more positive ideas and concepts.

E. Delegate authority.

Delegating authority to employees will not only make the loads lighter on the part of the management. This will also make the employees feel more in charge and responsible. In return, the employees gain new skills and knowledge.

F. Provide frequent feedback.

More than just rewards and recognition, employees seek feedback about their job performance or a compliment on the outcome of their work output. Companies that provide training to their managers and supervisors on how to offer constant feedback to workers are likely to have fewer complaints and better relationships in the workplace.

G. Help employees feel rewarded and recognized.

Employee recognition is the ultimate motivational strategy. Motivated employees are engaged in what they do, and they find their work responsibilities satisfying and fulfilling. Recognizing employees’ efforts is intangible while giving rewards to employees are benefits that are considered tangible. Recognition includes promotions or assigning an employee to spearhead a committee.

hand with tools

It is very easy to talk about innovation. CEOs do it with the help of the corporate communications department. But, how do you walk the talk? Companies want to be known for their innovation. In fact, some want to be called “TheInnovative Company.” But, what can leaders do to drive a culture of innovation and to motivate employees to think outside the box? Here are some tips that can help foster innovation in employee culture:

Create Awareness

Awareness goes beyond sending a delegation to seminars and conferences on new technology. It also entails a correlative ability to understand how various tools and concepts in the company work. Therefore, one of the best ways to infuse innovation culture in a company is to create awareness for employees to be intuitive as they work. There is an innate curiosity about problem-solving that heightens employees’ awareness of the possibilities for problem resolution.

Communicate

Communication initiates most things. Communicate effectively to the employees,and let them know that innovation is an integral part of the company agenda. Innovation must be like blood running through the veins of every employee if the company wants to strive for innovation. The culture of foster innovation should encourage experimentation and risk-taking. Failure in the company should not be rebuked but viewed as part of the ongoing learning and improvement process.

Recognize

Recognition of somebody else’s ideas and efforts is a crucial factor in a company’s success. In fact, it is the greatest motivator of innovative culture in the organization. The success of an organization like Wikipedia and social media rests on recognition. The company should recognize the employees’ contribution to the success agenda, and give them a platform to shine. The company must celebrate the risk takers, the bold thinkers, and the great ideas that did not meet the threshold test. Recognizing the effort will have the same impact as celebrating success and will foster an innovative culture where risk taking is embraced, practiced, and where every employee is thinking outside the box.

A Surfeit of Skills and Competence

The extent to which a company is populated with highly skilled people portrays its innovative capacity. The company should therefore, formulate a measure to allure a pool of talented and competent employees. The company should then engage these employees to critical thinking in the most efficient ways to find solutions to problems facing the organization. It is through creative and critical thinking of the talented employees that innovation will come about. Therefore, create a winning company, attract a pool of talented employees, and the innovative culture will come as time passes by.

Engage

Every stakeholder in the company wants to be involved, motivated, and valued. The outcome should create an interactive platform for innovation that will bring people and ideas together. The platform should continuously demonstrate that the company is interested in the people’s ideas and that it appreciates and emphasizescreativity that can come from anyone and anywhere.
Innovative culture will always seek to change or innovate something in the company’s routine that ought not to exist in its current form.

company culture

The Wikipedia definition of “company culture” or “organizational culture” goes something like “behavior of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to such behavior.” While that might be a bare-bones rendition of the concept, in practice, company culture is much more like an umbrella-term. It sums up the impact of several factors like your company’s visions, agenda, code of ethics, norms, and ambiance among others. Basically, it is that intangible asset unique to your company that makes your employees’ as well as their managers’ tick. Needless to say, corporate culture is going to be a deciding factor regarding a company’s long-time survival and success. It is important to fortify your ground by making sure your employees work and thrive in a rewarding environment. Let us take a quick look at the ways you can enhance your company’s culture:

1.Clarify your visions and goals.

This might sound pretty obvious but it is most often ignored. If your company does not have an articulated agenda and vision that is understandable by your employees, you might soon find it lagging behind projections. Everyone, including the men you hire, needs a clear objective to strive. Once your employees understand your ideas, they are better positioned to contribute towards your success.

2. Keep the men motivated.

Nobody likes working a lot and getting nowhere, neither you, nor the managers, nor the employees. Strive hard to find better employee reward and recognition programs. The right sort of employee engagement can go miles in fostering a better corporate culture.

3. Promptly and effectively deal with problems and concerns.

Try to provide an environment where your employees can freely raise concerns and issues. They will prosper under a management that is willing to listen to what they have to say. Address these quickly and make sure they are resolved.

4.Seek out, and deal with people that are damaging your company culture.

Deal with employees who do not remain faithful to your company’s values and ethics, or spread dissent and negativity among the workforce. Situations like these need to be promptly addressed before damage increases.

How to Hire Great Interns to Support Your Summer Workload

How to Hire Great Interns to Support Your Summer Workload

For a business owner, hiring an intern over the summer to help with their business is a win-win transaction for both parties. The business owner gets a young, eager individual trying to get their feet wet in the corporate world (for little to no pay), while the intern will get either college credit or pay for their work, in addition to the invaluable experience. But how can a business owner know which interns will be a great help to the company?

Since most interns are college students and have limited experience in their respective business fields, the work shouldn’t be overbearing. Fortunately, most companies use interns for somewhat menial tasks that help the company but carry a minimal risk of error, which could hurt the company greatly. If you do plan on using the interns for the more “important work”, it would be a good idea to have them shadow a full-time employee who does the same work that you plan on having the intern do. The employee can serve as a “mentor” to the intern as well, showing them the ropes and whatnot. This reduces the risk of any potential mistake by the intern.

Another alternative is to offer college credit instead of money, or find a mix therein. If you plan on offering less money but adding college credit as a replacement, make sure that it is advertised well. Also, don’t decrease the amount of money too much, as you will likely scare off potential interns that could have been a great asset to your company. Make sure that you are in good contact with the local universities so that you can advertise well and maximize the amount of potential interns.

Overall, you will be hard-pressed to find an intern who wouldn’t help your company. Most interns are eager, ambitious, and take all advice and instructions seriously. Follow these tips, and you’ll find the right intern or interns to help your company thrive!

get funding

The world of business financing is difficult for many people, especially to those who are looking to acquire some help for their working capital. Many small business owners go through traditional channels such as banks to get loans for their business. However, securing loans through a bank has its own set of challenges.

Most banks don’t give loans easily to small businesses. This is especially genuine regarding the matter of those businesses that are esteemed as risky, for example are restaurants, development of audio feature business, education, car sales, tattooing, duplicate business, aviation, and many more. Restaurant financing is hard to get. Once in a while, you may even oblige a little push to help your business. Thus, it is essential to make utilization of the many sites available on the internet that gives unsecured business loans to small businesses. Many banks just offer loans to large corporations, ignoring the needs of the minority. These sites don’t require long business plans, large stacks of paper that give details on your finances, assets, and liabilities, nor they oblige months to actually give you the cash regardless of the fact that banks do approve, and you will just see the cash on your account after several months.
You can increase your chances of securing a loan effectively by being prepared to meet those expectations. Preparation is the way to getting small business loan. In the first place, gather all the records that will help convince the moneylender that you need a loan, and that you are at a decent risk.

Before applying for a loan, you have to make the following ready:

A Business Plan

The business plan will demonstrate the moneylender why you want to secure a business loan in any case, and what you are planning to do with the cash.

Cash Flow Forecast

The main question that any moneylender might want to know is that if the borrower has the capacity to repay the loan. Your business’s cash stream forecasts will give the moneylenders a cement financial data that they could use to assess the risk.

Personal Financial Status Statement

A list of your personal assets and your obligations can also give the loan specialist a clearer financial picture.

Past Business Tax Returns

In the event that you have an established business already and you have past business tax returns, it is also an incredible idea to take them with you to give the moneylender a smart thought of how your business is doing financially.

FICO Assessment Report

You establish a FICO assessment basically by buying things using a loan, and then paying back the cash that you acquired. Your history of repayment plays a major part in establishing your FICO assessment.

A business loan is a monetary loan that is granted for starting a business or improving an existing financial condition. Getting a loan may appear like an exercise in patience and in perseverance, rather than a business transaction. The fact is each business needs to experience getting a business loan to survive, develop, and get to be fruitful.

On the off chance that you are a small business proprietor, you’ll require a loan at some point or another to get the operating capital for a business startup, or finance your business expansion. Whether you’re approaching a bank or a companion for a loan,you haveto take a few things into consideration.

In the event that you always had a dream or a wish to maintain a business you could call your own and are experiencing troubles, it is vital not to surrender. Business loans are your privilege, and in the event that you feel that you can turn it around with a helping hand, then you ought to take the credit. Many sites like these give an arrangement of the businesses they have helped in the past. A small business loan is just a couple mouse clicks away.

alternative loan option

Mezzanine financing has some clear-cut parameters such as the following:

  • It is an alternative instrument for entrepreneurs, SMEs, etc. In that respect, it can even have the effect of a capital injection for a growing business;
  • It is not a substitute for other forms of company finance. It can even be used in combination with venture capital or business angel financing, etc;
  • No or little public involvement, usually targeted, is needed for its functioning. It occurs in the private capital market;
  • It is encouraged by policy makers to be used by SMEs;
  • Since the 2007 financial crisis, some countries have introduced it in order to support SMEs and entrepreneurs as an alternative finance;
  • An important reference to the instrument brings home the idea that traditional bank financing still stands as the best for SMEs business activities.

Although there is no universal definition of the term, the characteristics of mezzanine finance comprise more risk for the investor in comparison with a loan provider. It may involve participating or subordinated loans, as well as other forms. It may be combined with other techniques, and may be used for business expansion.

Usually, the appropriate mix of instruments is tailored according to the company’s needs and investors’ risk taking. The benefit of the latter is described as a “success fee”, according to which the investor receives a share of the company’s profit, as well as other forms of investor’s earnings like “silent” participation, equity “kicker”, etc.

Control acquisition is avoided, and investment and exit strategies for mezzanine financing entities are predominantly related to ensuring debt repayment. In that respect, regular information about the business development of the company, according to pre-fixed financial indicators, should be provided. SMEs respond to strict requirements related to their accounting and information policy line.

Unlisted SMEs are offered with a way to obtain capital via mezzanine financing. Treated as a “subordinated debt”, banks as traditional lenders accept it as an equity increase. The company’s credit rating may be improved when it enjoys a favourable proportion of equity to debt. SMEs backed by institutional investors are usually in a capacity to get credit under good terms. For the entrepreneurs, the reserve capital in parallel to basic finance, reduces dependence on a sole financial source, and contributes to support diversification.

An important aspect of mezzanine capital is that it is best suited for SMEs with a relevant growth profile, solid cash position, and needs financing at a certain life cycle of its business. Against this background, the company has to enjoy a good track record, sound reporting capabilities, an experienced management, stable flows for the sake of evaluation of risks, and drivers of growth.