Are You Ready to Become a Full-Time Entrepreneur? Here’s How to Quit Your Job

In most cases, resigning is an exciting but scary experience. On one hand, you’re likely pursuing a better opportunity, such as a new job or starting your own business. On the other hand, letting go of a stable job is always tough. This is especially true if you’re leaving your job to launch a company, or commit to your existing business full-time.

Regular employment provides more than just a regular paycheck. It provides a network of relationships and opportunities. Fortunately, you don’t have to give those things up.

By resigning professionally, you can make sure you don’t close any doors or sour any relationships. In this post, I’ll cover how to do just that.

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Resigning from your job, especially a good one, isn’t a decision to make suddenly. Many people spend years building their business on the side before taking the leap. Only you know when you’re ready to leave your full-time job behind.

Before you take the the plunge, there a few things to consider.

Line Up Your Savings

Do you have any savings to fall back on? Being a successful entrepreneur is about balancing risk with reward. You can remove some of the risk if you have money in the bank to get you through the hard times. Even very successful businesses sometimes run into cash flow shortfalls, so make sure you can cover your personal expenses if you don’t get paid for a while.

Whether you’re starting up or scaling up, you need to plan for how things will change once you commit to your business full-time. What additional responsibility will you be taking on? How will you grow? If your business doesn’t grow, you may regret leaving your old job behind. Have a plan to make sure it does.

Prepare for a Lifestyle Change

Things are going to be different when you’re working for yourself. And that’s ok. Great actually. You’ll have more freedom and the control to work how you want, where you want, and when you want. This includes control over your own compensation package.

1. Do you have unused vacation days? Use them up before you go. You may not get another chance to take time off for a while.
2. Do you rely on company health care benefits? Get your own plan lined up before you let go.
3. Can you work at home or do you need an office away from home? Don’t forget to account for the cost of a workspace.
4. Are you willing and able to hold yourself accountable for getting things done? You have to be your own boss now.

How To Resign Professionally

If you’ve made your decision and laid the groundwork for resigning, here’s how to do it right.

It doesn’t matter what your relationship with your employer is. Whether it’s awesome or awful, don’t ruin it. You never know when you’ll run into people in the future when they could help—or harm—you. Keep things friendly.

If you have had a negative experience, take a moment and tell yourself how right you are. And then move on. Now is not the time to air your grievances. Do not try and prove a point.

No matter what, give your employer two weeks notice. This is widely accepted as the standard and it’s the professional thing to do. If you have a good relationship with your employer, you may want to offer more notice to give them ample time to fill your shoes.

However, just because you give notice doesn’t mean your employer will accept it. It is within their rights to terminate your role immediately and some employers prefer not to have people around after they’ve resigned. Be prepared for this outcome.

Also, consider how much support you’re willing to provide during the transition. Plan your limits ahead of time. How involved will you be in finishing up projects, handing over responsibilities, and hiring and training your replacement? Decide on this ahead of time so that you don’t over-promise let your employer down.

Oh, and before you do anything else, read over your contract or the terms of your employment. You don’t want any surprises!

Write Your Resignation Letter

When it comes to actually writing your resignation letter, there are a few best practices to consider.

Be Direct

Don’t take too long to make your point or beat around the bush. Be upfront with what your message. Your boss shouldn’t be left wondering what you’re trying to say. They should know right away.

Don’t Explain

You don’t need to explain yourself. I repeat, you don’t need to explain yourself. You are under no obligation to do so. However, if you want to, you can. Just know that whatever you say could be held against you in the future. Especially if you end up trying to come back.

Be Polite

Even if you hate your boss, you should be polite. Remember, there’s no point in destroying relationships just to make a point. Ideally, go beyond polite and include something nice. Thank your employer for the experience and opportunity.

Outline Next Steps

Your resignation letter is also a good time to outline how much help you’re willing to provide during the transition. How long you’re willing to stay and how involved you’re willing to be in this process. Lay clear boundaries and don’t overcommit yourself. Remember that you don’t have to provide any support, but it is a nice, professional thing to do.

Resignation Letter Sample

Below is a sample resignation letter. Note that it includes three parts: the resignation, the thank you, and next steps. You can modify this sample for your own purposes or download the free template below.

Dear {Manager Name},

I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as {Job Title} with {Company}. My last day of employment will be {date}.

I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at {Company}, as well as your professional guidance and support. The experience and skills I’ve gained will stick with me throughout my career.

I’d like to spend the rest of my time wrapping up {project} and handing over {responsibilities}. I am also willing to help with hiring and training my replacement during that time. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need from me during the transition.

I wish {Company} continued success, and hope to keep in touch in the future.

Sincerely,

{Employee First Name} {Employee Last Name}

What Happens Next

After you submit your letter of resignation, your boss may want to chat with you. Especially if they didn’t see it coming. At this point, you may want to discuss more of your reasons, such as wanting to focus on your own business—but you’re not obligated to.

There may also be some steps you need to take with your human resources department. Once you’ve confirmed your resignation with them, consider making a personal statement to the rest of the company.

A personal statement allows you to take control of the messaging around your departure, rather than letting the rumor mill run wild. Let your fellow employees know that you’re leaving, why (you can be vague), thank them and let them know you enjoyed working with them, and share contact info so they can keep in touch.

That’s it. It’s a big, sometimes scary, step, but you’re moving on to better things. Best of luck with your next opportunity. If you’re resigning to start or grow your own business, subscribe to this blog for great tips and advice.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

HOW TO BUILD YOUR CREDIT WITH JUST YOUR EIN

Business Credit is credit that is obtained in a Business Name, with business credit the Business builds its own credit profile and credit score and with an established credit profile and score, the business will then qualify for credit.

This credit is in the business name and based on the business’s ability to pay, not the business owners since the business qualifies for the credit, in some cases there is no personal credit check required from the business owner.

The business can use its credit to qualify for revolving store credit cards like Staples, Lowes, Sam’s Club, Costco, BP, Wal-Mart, even MasterCard, Visa, and AMEX. The business can also qualify for credit lines and loans.

A credit profile can be built for a business that is completely separate from the business owner’s personal credit profile. This gives business owners DOUBLE the borrowing power as they have both Personal and Business credit profiles built.

Business credit scores are based only on whether the business pays its bills on time. A business owner can obtain credit much faster using their business credit profile versus their personal credit profile.

Personal Credit Scores are based on 5 factors :

Payment History 35%

Utilization 30%

Length of Credit History 15%

Accumulation of New Credit 10%

Credit Mix 10%

Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Paydex Score are based on Payment History:

Expect payment may come early 100

Payment is prompt 80

Payment comes 14 days beyond terms 70

Payment comes 21 days beyond terms 60

Payment comes 30 days beyond terms 50

Payment comes 60 days beyond terms 40

Payment comes 90 days beyond terms 30

Payment comes 120 days beyond terms 20

Approval limits are much higher on business accounts versus personal accounts. Per SBA, credit limits on business cards are usually 10-100 times higher than consumer credit.

When done correctly Business Credit can be built without a personal credit check . Business credit can quickly be obtained regardless of personal credit quality and there is no personal credit reporting of business accounts.

Most business credit can be obtained without the owner taking on personal liability, or a personal guarantee. This means in case of default, the business owner’s personal assets can’t be pursued.

When a business owner applies for financing, their business credit IS reviewed. Not having business credit established will get an owner DECLINED for financing. There are no regulations that require the lenders notify the business owner for their reason for denial, so most never know.

ANYONE can pull your business credit reports without your permission. Clients, prospects, potential buyers, even competitors can see YOUR business info. This means they can see payment history, high credit limits, employees and revenue, past payment performance and much more.

Almost any business can get business credit as long as it has an EIN number and entity setup. You don’t need collateral, you don’t need financials, you can be a startup and you just need to know the proper building steps.

ALL highly-successful businesses have business credit, it’s a “right of passage” to ever reach TRUE success

A business starts building a brand new credit profile much the same as a consumer does. The business starts with no credit profile. The business gets approved for new credit that reports to the business credit reporting agencies.

The business uses the credit and pays the bill timely. A positive business credit profile is established. As the business continues using the credit and pays bills timely it will qualify for more credit.

The perception lenders, vendors, and creditors have of your business is critical to your ability to build strong business credit. Before applying for business credit a business must insure it meets or exceeds all lender credibility standards. There are over 20 credibility points that are necessary for a business to have a strong, credible foundation.

It is very important that you use your exact business legal name . Your full business name should include any recorded DBA filing you will be using. Insure your business name is exactly the same on your corporation papers, licenses, and bank statements.

You can build business credit with almost any corporate entity type. If you truly want to separate business credit from personal credit your business must be a separate legal entity not a sole proprietor or partnership

Unless you have a separate business entity (Corporation or LLC) you might be “doing business” but you are not truly “a business“. You need to be a Corporation or an LLC in order to separate personal from business +.

Whether you have employees or not, your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN

Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number.

Business Address must be a real brick-and-mortar building deliverable physical address. It cannot be a home address, cannot be a PO Box and cannot be a UPS address. Some lenders will not approve and fund unless this criteria is met.

Address only, receive mail and packages at your dedicated business address.

Virtual office, professional business address, dedicated phone and fax numbers, receptionist services, and part-time use of fully furnished offices and meeting rooms.

True Office, your own full-time private office with receptionist services, dedicated phone and fax, internet, full furnishings, meeting rooms, and more.

You must have a dedicated business phone number that is listed with 411 directory assistance, under the business name. Lenders, vendors, creditors, and even insurance providers will verify that your business is listed with 411. A toll-free number will give your business credibility, but you must have a LOCAL business number for the listing with 411 directory assistance.

Lenders perceive 800 Number or toll-free phone numbers as a sign of business credibility. Even if you’re a single owner with a home-based business, a toll-free number provides the perception that you are an even bigger company. It’s incredibly easy and inexpensive to set-up a virtual local phone number or a toll free 800 number.

A cell or home phone number as your main business line could get you “flagged” as an un-established business that is too high of a risk. DON’T give a personal cell phone or residential phone as the business phone number. You can forward a virtual number to any cell or land-line phone number.

Lenders perceive a credible business as one with a fax number. As a business you will need a fax number to receive important documents, you will also need it to fax in some of your credit applications. You can setup an e-fax that goes directly to your email.

Credit providers will research your company on the Internet. It is best if they learned everything directly from your company website. Not having a company website will severely hurt their chances of obtaining business credit.

There are many places online that offer affordable business websites so you can have an internet presence that displays an overview of your company’s services and contact information.

It is important to get a company email address for your business. It’s not only professional, but greatly helps your chances of getting the thumbs up from a credit provider. Setting up a business email address is just too easy and inexpensive to neglect.

Avoid using free email services like Yahoo and Hotmail . There is nothing worse than credit providers seeing an email address like partychic2015@yahoo.com

The Email address should be yourcompany.com. A great example is an email like support@yourcompany.com or john.smith@yourcompany.com.

Your business banking history is vital to your future success of being able to secure larger business loans. The date you open your business bank account is the day that lender’s consider your business to have started.

So if you incorporated your business 10 years ago, but you just opened the business bank account yesterday, then your business started yesterday. The longer your business bank in history, the better your borrowing potential will be.

Having a high account balance is essential in obtaining an excellent Bank Rating. Having a good Bank Rating is essential for loan approval down the road. Try to keep a bank balance of $10,000 or higher for a 5 Bank Rating.

One of the most common mistakes when building credit for your company is non-matching business addresses on your business licenses. Even worse is not having the “required” licenses for your type of business to operate legally.

You will need to contact the State, County, and City Government offices to see if there are any required licenses and permits to operate your type of business.

On licensing State business, County license and/or permit, City license and/or permit filings and IRS filings listed correctly.

Take the time to verify that main agencies (State, IRS, Bank, and 411 national directory) have your business listed the same way and with your Exact Legal Name.

Also take the time to ensure every bill you get (power bill, phone bill, landlord, etc.) has the business name listed correctly and comes to the business address.

Business Credit reports are offered by Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, and Equifax. You will first want to get a copy of your business credit reports to see what is being reported.

Visit http://www.smartbusinessreports.com/ for a copy of your Smart Business report and $49-99 for Smart Business Report. Find out how many trade lines are reporting, see if you have a business credit score assigned, see if you have an active Experian Business Profile, and check on recent inquires.

You can purchase a copy of your Equifax Small Business Credit Report here http://www.equifax.com/small-business/credit-report/en_sb. It typically takes more time to create a file with Equifax Small Business than D&B and Experian

This is why it’s important to apply with the credit providers who report to Equifax and $99.95 for a full report. Obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet number (D-U-N-S #) begins the process of building your business credit profile with them.

Your D-U-N-S # will also play an important role in enabling your business to borrow without a personal guarantor, http://www.dnb.com/. DBC will “roll” this into a package and charge you 2k or possibly more.

You can also enroll for the DNBi SelfMonitor to monitor your credit during the building process. A subscription for D&B Self Monitoring is $39-99 per month.

A business credit report can be started much the same as a consumer report commonly is, with small credit cards. The business can be approved for small credit cards to help them build an initial credit profile. These types of initial cards in the business world are commonly referred to as “vendor credit”.

A vendor line of credit is when a company (vendor) extends a line of credit to your business on “Net 15, 30, 60 or 90” day terms. This means that you can purchase their products or services up to a maximum dollar amount and you have 15, 30, 60 or 90 days to pay the bill in full. So if you’re set-up on Net 30 terms and were to purchase $300 worth of goods today, then that $300 is due within the next 30 days.

You can get products and services for your business needs and defer the payment on those for 30 days, thereby easing cash flow

And some vendors will approve your company for Net 30 payment terms upon verification of as little as an EIN number and 411 listing.

Here are some vendors who will approve you for initial credit… even if you have none now:

Laughlin and Associates

Quill

Reliable

Uline

Always apply first without using your SSN. Some vendors will request it and some will even tell you on the phone they need to have it, but submit first without it.

When your first Net 30 account reports your “tradeline” to Dun &

Bradstreet, the DUNS system will automatically activate your file if it isn’t already. This is also true for Experian and Equifax.

You need to have a total of at least five (5) Net 30 day pay accounts reporting/Some vendors require an initial prepaid order before they can approve your business for terms. Your vendors do not necessarily have to serve 100% of your business needs.

Pay your Net 30 vendor accounts in-full and on-time. You must be patient and allow time for the vendors’ reporting cycles to get into the reporting systems .It typically takes 3 cycles of “Net” accounts reporting to build credit scores.

Most Merchants and major retailers do offer business credit, they just don’t advertise it. There is no benefit to the merchant to promote credit with no personal liability if the business owner is willing to take on that liability so they don’t promote their business credit cards and regularly ask for a SSN.

After 5 trade lines are established using vendor accounts, obtaining revolving accounts is the next step. Revolving accounts are cards a business owner can use and not be required to pay the full balance owed each month.

Revolving account approvals will begin coming from stores. Store revolving credit must be obtained before the business owner starts getting Visa, MC, Amex, type cards.

Most stores will NOT approve a business owner for business credit unless the owner has an established credit profile and score, just like in the consumer world. Vendor accounts must be used first to establish a profile and score, then store credit can be obtained. It usually takes only 90 days or less to establish a score and profile with trade lines.

Most major stores do offer business credit including: Home Depot and Lowes, Office Depot and Staples, Best Buy, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon, Dell, Apple, BP, Chevro, Racetrack and most others.

Once 10 total accounts are on the credit, an owner can then start applying for Visa, MC, Amex type credit. Approval amounts will be equivalent to the highest credit limit account on the business report. Try to have 10 accounts with at least one of hem having a 10k high limit.

It is essential to keep using the credit, keep applying for more, and talk with credit providers to raise credit limits. If you do this, business credit will keep growing until higher limit credit lines are obtained, within 6-12 months.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Should I Form an LLC While Employed or Working at Another Job?

Have a brilliant idea for a new business but personal circumstances won’t permit you to quit your job to start up a full-time business? Or maybe you just need to make some extra income to supplement the money you take home from your day job? If you’ve been thinking about starting up a side business while you’re still employed, and an LLC, or Limited Liability Company, seems like the ideal vehicle for this side business, you may be wondering if you can form an LLC while employed or working at another job.

Starting a business on the side while still holding down your day job is an ideal way to dip your toes into entrepreneurial waters. It’s also a good way to earn some much-needed supplementary income. But in most cases, you want to hang onto your regular job, whether it’s because the regular paycheck will help your new start-up business stay afloat until it becomes financially viable or whether you’re just wanting to start a side business to earn some extra money. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure your idea to start an LLC won’t lead to unwanted consequences when it comes to your job.

State LLC Formation Rules And Regulations

You may think you are barred from starting an LLC while employed at another job because of state regulations for forming an LLC. State laws regulating LLC formation do vary from state to state, but while there are different procedures to follow depending on the state in which you live, states do not look into your employment status when you’re submitting an application to form an LLC. When it comes to complying with the legal rules required to start an LLC, whether or not you’re employed at the time you start a business is irrelevant to your state’s LLC registration regulations.

Your Employment Contract

Probably the most important thing you will need to consider when starting a small business on the side is the wording of your employment or job contract or, if you don’t have an employment contract, your employer’s policy concerning employees running side businesses.

For example, is there a provision about ownership of inventions or innovations created or developed by you as either part of your job, or during company time? Often, any innovations an employee has developed while on the job or while using company resources will belong to the employer, so this is an important thing to keep in mind if your new side business involves the use of such a new invention.

But what if your new business doesn’t involve a new invention or innovation? In that case, will your side business compete with your employer’s business? Or is there some other conflict of interest with your employer that might arise as a result of you starting a business while you’re still employed? Many employment contracts have non-compete provisions prohibiting employees from starting businesses that puts them in competition with their employer; job contracts may also contain clauses prohibiting employees from engaging in work outside of their job that gives rise to a conflict of interest with their employment.

Should You Tell Your Employer?

There’s quite a bit of debate as to whether you should tell your employer you’re operating a side business. On the one hand, if your employer knows of your new business venture, he or she may start worrying about your commitment to your day job; there may also be some worry you’ll use company resources and company time to work on your own business. On the other hand, your new business might provide a good or service that’s ideal for your employer, who could become one of your business’s first customers. While it’s often best to be as upfront as possible with your employer, only you know your employment circumstances well enough to decide whether you should tell your employer about your new business.

Dealing With Tax Issues

Unless you choose to have your LLC taxed as a corporation—in which case your company will be paying LLC taxes as a separate corporate entity and filing its own corporate tax return—you’ll be reporting your LLC income on your own personal tax return by filling out Schedule C to Income Tax Form 1040

Making It Work

So you’ve checked your employment contract, and there’s nothing stopping you from starting your new business while you’re still employed at your day job. Here are a few tips to help smooth the road to running a successful side business while remaining employed:

1. Be aware of the time commitment a side business requires. While you’ll be working part-time hours on your new business venture, these hours will take place on top of your regular work hours. This means you’ll have a lot less free time for your personal life.

2. Be conscientious about not working on your business while you’re at your day job. It might take only a few seconds to answer a customer’s email, but those few seconds should not be done on your employer’s time. Clearly separate your job’s hours from your new business’s hours; giving in to the temptation to work on your own business while on the job is unethical and could also end up placing you in hot water with your employer.

Just as you shouldn’t work on your business while on company time, you also shouldn’t use company resources and equipment for tasks you’re doing for your own business. It might be tempting to make a few copies after work hours on your employer’s photocopier, but again such conduct is unethical and could also lead to unwanted consequences.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Nine Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know When Negotiating with a Landlord

If you’re like most small business owners, you rent your office, retail or restaurant space. Which makes your relationship with your landlord an important one. How can you best manage that relationship and negotiate for what you want from your commercial lease? Here are 9 rules you must know.

Rule 1: Everything is negotiable.
Commercial real estate leases are much more complex than residential rental leases, so don’t assume the landlord is handing you a “standard contract” that you can skim and sign. Landlords carefully craft commercial real estate contracts to protect their interests and maximize their profits. As a result, you need to review every lease carefully and negotiate for any modifications you want. (You may not get them all, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.)

Rule 2: Educate yourself.
Whether you’re moving into a new space or renewing your lease, it’s important to educate yourself on the state of the commercial real estate market before you negotiate. Are there lots of similar properties sitting vacant, or is commercial space at a premium? What types of rent are other businesses in your area paying for similar spaces? (You can find out from a commercial real estate broker or at CIMLS.) This information will reveal if you or the landlord has the upper hand in negotiations.

Rule 3: Value yourself.
If you’ve been a good tenant in a space for several years, don’t be shy about promoting that fact as you negotiate. Most landlords would rather keep a good tenant and get a little less rent than spend the time and effort to find a new tenant who may or may not be reliable. If new tenants in the building or shopping center are getting discounts or two free months rent, why shouldn’t you get the same? Again, you’ll never know until you ask.

Rule 4: Read the fine print.
Commercial leases vary greatly as to what is included in the cost. In addition to rent on the actual space, you may be paying for repairs and maintenance to your unit or the entire building and grounds; utilities; property taxes; insurance; janitorial services; security costs and more. Other times, the landlord pays for some or all of these costs. Know who is paying for what and, if you are paying for variable costs (such as utilities), see if you can negotiate a cap on these costs so you don’t face an unpleasant surprise.

Rule 5: Time it right.
Landlords tend to prefer long-term leases, which lock tenants in. Businesses generally benefit from short-term leases, which give them more flexibility. You can often get better lease terms on a long-term lease, but that can put you at risk if you need to move to a bigger space before the lease is up. At the same time, a short-term lease can expose you to sizable rent increases when the lease is up. To strike the best balance, see if you can negotiate a one- or two-year lease that includes an option to renew, and sets a cap on the amount of annual rent increases.

Rule 6: You don’t have to exercise your renewal option just because you have one.
Exercising the option to renew basically renews your contract under the same terms. Don’t automatically exercise this option. Instead, review current conditions in the market, the state of your business, and what you’re dissatisfied with in your current lease. Then figure out whether it makes more sense to negotiate a new lease altogether.

Rule 7: It’s not all about you.
Keep the other tenants of your building, office park or shopping center in mind when negotiating a commercial lease, because they can make or break your business. One clause you may want to negotiate for is an exclusivity clause, which keeps the landlord from leasing a direct competitor of yours a space in the same property. (Be sure you define what constitutes a “direct competitor.”) Another useful clause is a co-tenancy clause. If a key anchor tenant (such as a large retailer that attracts lots of customers) moves out of the development, your business may suffer. In this situation, a co-tenancy clause gives you have the option to break your lease if the landlord doesn’t find a replacement for that tenant within a certain time.

Rule 8: Keep your options open.
As you negotiate a real estate lease, you hope your business will grow, but it’s important to have a Plan B for the worst-case scenarios. Try to negotiate the flexibility to sublease all or part of your space to another business without violating your lease. Also make sure that any options to renew your lease are transferable. If you ever decide to sell your business, this enables the new owner to stay in the same space, and can be a big selling point.

Rule 9: Get professional help.
As you can see, there’s a lot to deal with when negotiating a commercial real estate lease. No matter how skilled you are at negotiating normal sales for your business, it’s worth enlisting the help of an experienced real estate lawyer in reviewing and negotiating your lease.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

A Few Tips On Ways To Save Your Small Business More Money

One of the challenges small business owners face is dealing with a small budget. With ever tightening regulations and increasing levels of competition, there is a greater need to improve efficiency; to be able to get a bigger bang for the buck that they can then pass on to their clients. Thus, especially for small business enterprises, there is an enhanced need to find ways to save on expenses; nothing can be taken for granted. No matter how small the potential savings may be, they contribute to overall efficiency.

Here are five different ways you can save your small business money:

Don’t Run Your Own Servers

Unless your main line of business has to do with IT, there is no reason why you should maintain your own servers. In fact, it would be very unwise to have to deal with software issues either. The cost effective alternative is to avail of cloud based services which does not cost anything in terms of equipment and software purchase. It is cheaper to use cloud based servers, storage and software because these are offered on pay-as-you-go basis. This means you only pay for the services you actually use. When the time comes when your business needs more capacity, all you need is to notify your cloud provider and they will scale it up for you. You will realize additional savings because you will not need an in-house IT systems administrator.

Take a Closer Look At Your Contracts

Review all your contracts and look for anything that will translate to savings. One of the biggest contracts you’ll ever have is the one for business space lease. Compare your contract to prevailing market prices and terms, and then try to negotiate a rate reduction with your landlord. You will never know what is possible if you don’t at least give it a try. Then there are various supplier contracts. In this day and age, it is quite easy to find similar suppliers for comparison through simple internet searches. By showing your suppliers you have alternatives you may be able to convince them to give you better terms and prices.

Outsource

Outsource as much of your non-core activities as you can. Just as you are an expert in your main line of business, other companies would be experts in other fields. Trying to do everything in-house will be more expensive and distract you from the income generating aspects of your business. Some of the things you can outsource include accounting, payroll, tax, and temporary or seasonal work.

Try Digital Marketing

Try non-conventional modes of advertising and marketing to save costs. Advertising and marketing through websites cost a lot less than gigantic billboards, events, or TV ads, yet they are very effective; many people do an internet search before deciding to buy anything. Social media campaigns are also highly effective because many people keep smart devices at hand almost 24/7.

Know Your Customers

Learn to serve your customers better. Get to know what your customer likes about your products or services and how they want them delivered. Then you can gear your processes toward better and more efficient product or service deliveries. This is sure to cut down on customer dissatisfaction and reduce sales returns. As a bonus, this will help you build a loyal customer base.

There are many other ways to help your business save money, but these five should give you a good place to start.

Lendio’s mission is to empower your business by making small business loans simple through options, speed, and trust. Visit us today to find the best loans for your business, at the best rate, guaranteed.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Six Of The Most Common Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs

6 Common Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs

There’s no definitive formula for success. However, as entrepreneurs, we don’t really need a formula.

We can stand on the shoulders of giants. We don’t need to guess or try to figure out our path to success from complete scratch. We can look to the successful entrepreneurs out there and emulate their habits, common qualities and characteristics.

Here are the six common qualities I’ve found among the entrepreneurs I try to model myself after. This isn’t the definitive list nor the only important qualities. These are just the ones I think you can take the most away from right now. With each quality, I’ll show you a successful entrepreneur that possesses it and how you emulate them and apply that quality today.

1. Perseverance

Arianna Huffington faced rejection after rejection when trying to publish her second book, After Reason. However, Arianna did not give up. When she was 23 years old, she was rejected by 36 publishers before her book was finally published.

Years later, in 2003, Arianna ran for governor of California in the California gubernatorial recall race. However, after seeing only 2 percent support in early polls, Arianna dropped out of the race. Despite this, and seeing the power of the internet through her fundraising campaign, two years later she launched HuffingtonPost.com, which later sold to AOL.com in 2011 for $315 million.

“My mother said failure was a stepping stone to success”

Arianna understood the importance of perseverance despite her failures and roadblocks. A successful entrepreneur knows that failures and rejections are not signs for stopping but instead signs to keep pushing forward and persevering.

Begin looking at failures and roadblocks as learning experiences and stepping stones. Remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it. You will encounter failures, setbacks and other obstacles. But that’s okay. Persevering despite the struggle is one of the most rewarding experiences for entrepreneurs.

2. Self-Improvement and Always Learning

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is known for being someone who learns very fast. Before Elon Musk started the SpaceX program, according to Esquire’s interview, he read and consumed as many rocketry and propulsion books as possible to learn how to build rockets.

When Elon Musk participated in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit, one user asked how Elon is capable of learning so much in such a short amount of time. Elon replied “one bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree—make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.”

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

Even with Elon’s success with PayPal and Tesla, and all of his accumulated experience, he understood he would have to learn about rockets and rocket propulsion systems if he wanted to be a competent leader of a space flight company.

Successful entrepreneurs strive to learn more. A part of this is realizing that no matter how successful you are or how much you think you might know, there’s always an opportunity to learn more and work on your personal growth.

Start reading more, listening to more podcasts, and watching more YouTube videos on subjects that can help grow your business. Put together a regiment and daily routine where you set aside an hour a day to work on yourself and becoming a more knowledgeable entrepreneur.

3. Risk-Taker

Bill Gates risked his future when he dropped out of Harvard when only 20 years old, to co-found the software company, Microsoft.

From Bill Gates’ book, “Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System”, Bill describes his risk-taking as “to win big, sometimes you have to take big risks. Big bets mean big failures as well as successes. Today, looking back, it’s easy to believe that Microsoft’s current success was inevitable. But at the time we made our big bets, including starting the company as the first personal computer software firm, most people thought we would fail.”

“Business is a money game with few rules and a lot of risk.”

What are the things you are most afraid of doing that has the potential to grow your business the most or put you on the most direct path to where you want to be? One way to overcome the fear of taking risks is simply through exposure. Entrepreneur.com suggests surrounding yourself with other risk-takers. To break out of your comfort zone, and start taking more risks with your business, spend more time with people who encourage you, not the ones who think you will fail.

4. Leadership

Howard Schultz’s leadership helped quickly turn Starbucks around when it was on the brink of failure in 2008, during a massive recession. In an interview with London Business Forum, Howard Schultz talked a lot about leadership and what it took for him to revive Starbucks. One of the most notable things Howard says in this interview is “leaders need to be decisive, and you have to be willing to make decisions without perfect information.”

“I think the currency of leadership is transparency, you’ve got to be truthful. I don’t think you should be vulnerable every day, but there are moments where you’ve got to share your soul and conscience with people and show them who you are, and not be afraid of it.”

Leadership means being decisive and executing on the things that lead to the growth and betterment of your business. If you have employees or people that you work with, part of being a leader is also explaining how and why the decision is made.

Taking initiative and taking responsibility (and ownership of problems) are two things you can start doing now to work to develop your leadership skills.

5. Hustle and Tremendous Work Ethic

Even while Oprah Winfrey hosted The Oprah Winfrey Show, she was not shy to take on other projects. She appeared in 12 movies and cameoed and produced dozens of other TV shows, movies and documentaries. Oprah took on many different projects, all while keeping her show at the top of TV ratings and winning awards, including 9 Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show.

Even after the series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011, Oprah continues and continued to be a media mogul with her own television network, Oxygen, her own channel, OWN, a magazine, a website, a XM satellite radio channel and several more movies and television show cameos.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

Success requires a little bit of grit and hustle. In Oprah’s case, her success came from how she built up her personal brand. She hustled to put herself on nearly every channel available to her without sacrificing quality.

How many platforms can you put your business and brand on? Get active and use the channels available, to bring awareness to your brand.

Go out there and work for it. Don’t be passive or wait for the traffic to come to you. You need to go out there and proactively market your product and proactively make a name for yourself. Nobody is responsible for your success besides you.

6. Focus

When Steve Jobs returned to a failing Apple in 1996, he saw that Apple was losing focus on what made them successful and great. By 1997, Steve reduced Apple’s product line from 350 to just 10.

At a developer’s conference in 1997, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying “When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No! Focusing is about saying no.”

Around this time, Steve Jobs had to make a lot of tough decisions to kill off a lot of the products and projects Apple was involved in. Apple’s poor management caused the company to spread itself out too thin. Steve noticed this and began to focus the company which inevitably helped Apple be the powerhouse brand and company that it is today.

When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No!” Focusing is about saying no.

Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of focusing and not spreading themselves out too thin or allowing their business to lose focus from its’ original vision.

Take time to step outside of yourself and your business and see where you have started to lose focus. A simple strategy to employ is to keep it simple. Focus on making the best one product instead of making 10 “okay” products. Focus on growing the best ecommerce business in one industry instead of trying to decently serve several niches.

Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

You don’t have to adopt all of these qualities today, just the ones you resonated the most with. Does your business feel unfocused? Work on your focus. Are you not grinding enough? Start hustling more to get your business and products out there.

Entrepreneurs are not born with these qualities, they learn and adopt them through mentors, influencers and their own personal experience. You can start today to do the same to be a better entrepreneur and business leader.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Give Your Business A Boost With Time Management

As a small business owner, you probably feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. Everything falls on you to get things done, so you often end up working nights, weekends and holidays. One of the most important things you can master when running a new business is time management. If you have control over how you spend your time, you will feel more organized and efficient and ultimately be more successful.

Here are a few ways to accomplish this:

Set Priorities – At the beginning of each day, identify one or two tasks you absolutely need to complete by days end. Finish these before you start on anything else. You’ll also need to account for unplanned distractions such as phone calls, staff interruptions, etc. Planning ahead will keep you on task and you will feel like you have accomplished something each day.

Stay Organized – Keep track of your meetings on a calendar and if you have a staff, use a joint calendar so everyone knows when colleagues will be out of the office and the details of their meetings. Also make sure to set aside time each week to catch up on paperwork and menial tasks that can pile up quickly when left undone. Are you a smartphone user? Earlier this year, Business News Daily suggested several free apps to help you streamline your strategies. If you keep up with the smaller jobs on a daily or weekly basis, it will save you a ton of time in the long run.

Delegate – You might be able to do it all but when you delegate, it takes a lot of pressure off you and frees up your time to tackle the larger ventures of your business. Delegating is often one of the most difficult things for new business owners but if you find hardworking people you trust, it becomes easier.

Take Care of Yourself – This might not seem business related but when you are run down and stressed, your work suffers. Give yourself a chance to recharge once in a while and you will return refreshed and more focused. This is more easily accomplished once you begin incorporating the lessons listed above.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

How to Be a Successful Parent Plus Business Owner All At the Same Time

After Julia Hartz gave birth to her first child in 2008, her husband, Kevin, had to leave the hospital to let their first employee into the office. Today, most people have heard of Hartz’ business, Eventbrite, which processed more than $1.5 billion in gross ticket sales and sold more than 80 million tickets to 1.7 million events last year.

For entrepreneurs who are also parents, Hartz’ story is a familiar one. Growing a business while raising kids at the same time is no easy feat and oftentimes, your business, your family, and your life doesn’t wait for you to catch up. Additionally, life sometimes has a funny way of having your career pick up at the same time your family life does. So, how do these entrepreneurs balance the two? If being a parent takes time, devotion, and work and being an entrepreneur takes time, devotion, and work, how do you become successful at both?

The entrepreneurs below talk about their balancing act:

Stop multitasking: you can only focus on one thing at a time.
Many of us may think that we can multi-task, but when it comes to your business and family, one or the other at a time is the best way to proceed.

For Nellie Akalp, running a multi-million dollar firm while parenting four kids — 13 year old twins, an 11-year-old, and a four-year-old — takes a lot of compartmentalizing. The CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, says that she doesn’t have a computer at home because if she did, she would be working around the clock.

“Believe me, I learned the hard way,” she says. “Now, I’ve learned that work is between the hours of eight to five at the most, and then I’m a parent.” Akalp explains that entrepreneurs aren’t able to give it their all if they’re at the office thinking about their kids or with the kids and thinking about work. So, plan and prioritize your time for maximum results, she suggests.

For Susie Orman Schnall, founder of The Balance Project and author of two books, The Balance Project: A Novel and On Grace, being successful at both — and keeping your sanity — means dedicating work hours while her three boys are in school.

“When I do have to work in the afternoons, I’m very clear about expectations and they’re old enough to understand,” she says. “Each day brings its own set of challenges and I’m also flexible when I need to deal with the unexpected.”

When it comes to planning and prioritizing, Schnall has learned to be realistic about what she can and can’t accomplish.

She says: “[I] have embraced my choice about how much time I personally devote to parenthood and my career. It’s not easy, but it’s worth taking the time to create a structure so I can feel fulfilled professionally and as a parent.”

Perfect balance is unattainable, so define your own version of “having it all.”

It’s impossible to “have it all” all at the same time, so Jill Salzman, serial entrepreneur and founder of The Founding Moms doesn’t try.

“There’s really no such thing as balance, it’s really just a mirage,” explains Salzman. She says that the part she loves most about being a mom entrepreneur is that “some days are weighted more heavily in the parenting department, and some in the business owner department.”

She adds: “You never get it right, and it’s always a juggle. But it’s the juggle that makes it all worthwhile. It’s what drives me, really, and makes me a better business owner and a parent.”

In fact, Salzman believes it’s this juggle that makes moms the best entrepreneurs, as she explains to an audience in her 2011 TED Talk.

Instead of beating yourself up for not having perfect balance, Salzman says to stop chasing “the ever-elusive thing.”

She explains, “You won’t accomplish anything by doing so. Know and appreciate that your days will be very full — full of working hard to grow your business, working hard to grow your family — and that the point is to enjoy it all and find happiness in the craziness. Once you can do that, there’s no need for balance. Your kids will thank you for being a working parent because it will bring out the best in you. Promise.”

If you can’t separate the kids from the business, then involve them.

Adi Tatarko started home renovation and design platform Houzz in 2009 with her husband, Alon Cohen, as “a side project” and today, the billion-dollar company attracts more than 25 million monthly unique visitors and over 600,000 active home professionals. To “balance” as much as they can, the husband-wife team involve their kids with the goings-on of their business.

“I’ve found that being transparent with our kids about the challenges we face and involving them in finding solutions has been incredibly helpful,” says Tatarko. “Both the kids and the company keep growing, that means that I need to adapt and adjust with both of them. While it’s always challenging, it’s definitely doable and fun.”

Akalp utilizes a similar strategy and says she involves her kids “in every aspect of [her] business.”

“We have dinner at least three to four times a week as a family,” says Akalp, “and oftentimes, some of the biggest questions they ask are, ‘How was your day at work? How is the business? What did you guys do?’ They’re very interested to know how the business is doing. To me, that’s very important because I want to raise entrepreneurial kids.”

Learn to say “no” to certain opportunities that don’t serve you well.

Cooper Hudson co-owns two restaurants, Mama’s Boy and Goodie-Two Shoes, as well as a catering business. She’s also the mother to a six-month old daughter, so her priorities which used to involve work, work, and more work at one time, have changed.

“The choice is now more directed at my child or my business,” she says. “I’m less apt to let someone talk me into something that I don’t want to do. I’m less apt to take on three catering jobs in one day — that’s going to make me work a 16-hour day — than I would before. Now, my time is incredibly valuable. It affects me and another human being — and my husband too.”

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Six Free Online Tools Business Owners Should Be Using

Often short on time, sleep, and money, new business owners need all the help they can get.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of free online tools designed to help streamline and simplify day-to-day tasks. By taking advantage of these resources and improving your workflow, you’ll get more done, and spend less.

Below is a list of our favorite free tools for new business owners.

1. Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

Your business has gone mobile, so why shouldn’t your office?

With Google’s suite of cloud-based office software, you can create and edit professional-looking documents, spreadsheets and presentations from your computer, phone, or tablet.

Why new business owners need it:

Create and store documents, reports and presentations in the cloud for easy access
Files saved for offline use can be edited with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Collaborate in real time with simple, yet powerful sharing and editing capabilities

Alternatives: Microsoft Office 365

2. Buffer

Social media is important. Really important. But for new business owners who are short on time and resources, tweeting just isn’t a priority.

With Buffer, you can schedule posts and interact with your audience across different accounts, plus get valuable analytics on how your social media campaigns are performing.

Why new business owners need it:

Connect and streamline your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts
Create and schedule a day, week or month’s worth of tweets, posts and updates
Track the performance of your social media campaigns and gain valuable insights

Alternatives: HootSuite, Sprout, TweetDeck

3. Zoho

Though the age of the Rolodex has long passed, the need for a comprehensive, annotated database of customers and leads remains. In 2015, many businesses use Customer Relationship Management tools — CRM for short — to do just that.

Zoho is just one of many CRM tools available online, but it comes with the added benefit of being free for up to ten users — forever.

Why new business owners need it:

Store and manage customer data, contact info, sales progress and social interactions
Capture customer info on your site and automatically add them to your list of leads
Automatically sorts high-priority activities and leads to help organize your day.

Alternatives: Insightly, Act

4. Pixlr Editor

Professional design software can cost thousands of dollars, but for many entrepreneurs, free online software can offer more than enough functionality to support their business.

Pixlr Editor provides free editing, cropping, and design tools for digital photos and imagery. Web-based and lightweight, it’s an easily accessible and cost-free way to make great looking images.

Why new business owners need it:

Crop, resize, color correct, and retouch images for your online store
Enhance product photography by removing backgrounds and artifacts
Create professional-looking logos, artwork and even product mockups.

Alternatives: GIMP, Sumopaint, Canva

5. Mint

Small business owners need to-the-minute updates on their budgets and finances, so it’s important to have that data on the go.

After giving Mint permission to view your financial data via your online banking account, the software will begin to learn your spending habits, categorize your expenditures and even manage budgets for you.

Totally automated, it’s one of the easiest ways to keep track of spending and stay on top of your finances.

Why new business owners need it:

Set a budget for any expenditure and get notified when you’re near your limit
Keep an eye on incoming and outgoing funds via simple graphs and report
Take advantage of a simple, all-in-one view of your incoming and outgoing funds.

Alternatives: Shoeboxed, Quicken, YNAB (You Need a Budget), Wave

6. Evernote

For daily reminders and shopping lists, physical sticky notes are more than up to the task. But when it comes to your business, cloud-based software is a must.

Evernote calls itself “the workspace for your life’s work,” and for new business owners, it really can be.

The service allows users to keep track of notes, links, lists and photos, and acts as a shareable, cross-device hub of thoughts and ideas. If you’ve been struggling with organization, Evernote can help.

Why new business owners need it:

Photograph and categorize inspiring or thought-provoking marketing ideas
Clip and save interesting articles at home or on the go and organize your reading list
Keep your ideas synced between mobile and desktop and refer to them anywhere.

Alternatives: OneNote, Google Drive, Wunderlist, Todoist

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!

Six Simple Guidelines To Help You With Your Business on eBay

Have your eBay sales progressed from the occasional sale of an item from your home to consistent sales of products you regularly source for profit? If that’s the case, congratulations! But it’s also very likely you’ll no longer be considered a “casual,” or occasional seller. Rather, you’re likely now running a business on eBay.

Why is this distinction important? Operating a business on eBay is just like running any other business in the eyes of the law. So it’s important for you to consider the legal aspects before you run afoul of your local or state laws and regulations.

The fact is, businesses are subject to certain rules and regulations. The following are some of the legal requirements you need to be aware of when you’re running your own business. If you fail to comply with the laws that apply to you, you run the risk of fines and other penalties.

Filing a DBA
If you’re operating your business under a name that’s different from your own name, it’s likely that you’ll need to register a DBA (“doing business as”). Some states, however, do not require the registration of DBAs, so you’ll need to check your state laws to see if registration is required.

Licenses
Requirements for licenses and permits vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Check with your Secretary of State Office to see which licenses are applicable to your business. Most states, for example, require business owners to obtain a general business license. You should also check with your local authorities as well, as they may also have business licensing requirements.

If you take items on consignment—that is, you sell items on eBay for other people for a fee or commission—you may also be required to obtain an auctioneer’s license. Again, whether such a license is required will vary from state to state, so check with your state’s auctioneers board.

Zoning Regulations
Whether you are running your business on eBay from home, or from a leased commercial space, you’ll want to ensure that you’re in compliance with local zoning laws. If you’re working from home in a residential area, you may think your business isn’t noticeable to your neighbors, but it only takes one complaint to land you in serious trouble if you’re not in compliance.

Sales Taxes
As an eBay seller, if you sell an item to someone who lives in your state, and your state charges sales taxes, you’ll be required to collect sales tax on the item (although in some states, certain items may be exempt from sales taxes—check your state’s sales tax regulations if you think the product you’re selling may be exempt). In order to collect sales tax, you’ll need a sales tax number or permit. Depending on your state, this may be known as a Resale Certificate, a Seller’s Permit, or some other, similar name.

If you intend to do business with wholesalers, it’s actually beneficial to have a sales tax number or certificate. With a sales tax certificate, you don’t have to pay sales taxes on wholesale purchases. And, you’ll probably find that many wholesalers will not do business with you if you do not have one.

Employees
If you’re thinking of hiring someone to help out with your business, you’ll need to check into federal and state employment laws. One particularly thorny area is the independent contractor vs. employee distinction. It’s often easier for small businesses to use an independent contractor rather than hiring an employee, but misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in some big headaches, under both employment regulations and tax laws.

Choose a Business Structure
Chances are, you’ve been running your business on eBay as a sole proprietor. You may, however, also want to consider structuring your business as an LLC or an S corporation. Both offer limited liability protection, and an S corporation (as well as an LLC that chooses to be taxed as a corporation) can also offer potential tax advantages. If you’re considering forming an LLC, or registering an S corporation, it’s advisable to speak with a legal or tax expert about the pros and cons of each option as it applies to your particular circumstances.

Running a business on eBay can be a great way to make a living, offering the freedom and flexibility that most traditional jobs do not. But don’t risk the possibility of damaging the success of your business by ignoring the legal requirements. Compliance with applicable laws often doesn’t require much time or effort. Plus, your peace of mind is worth it.

Shared And Posted by Sticky Web Domains, LLC - Visit Sticky Web Domains and The Marketplace today to Purchase Domain Name, Web Hosting, Email Accounts or even the latest in electronics!