• July 12, 2017 /  Business Center
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    As February rushes by, those New Year resolutions may be turning into distant memories if not forgotten dreams. Except for that one significant promise, to become master of your own destiny and invest in your own business.

    If you are dreaming of owning your own business, there are some trends in your favour. Slow to moderate overall economic growth in many countries hard hit by the recession is forecast to continue through 2011. In the US, the small business sector remained in recession in 2010, lagging in recovery, and is now predicted to see stronger demand and better business conditions this coming year. Key trends seen as driving the growth of small business are
    small manufacturing businesses in niche markets aided by technology making barriers to entry lower,
    the weak dollar aiding US manufacturing cost competitiveness,
    the internet becoming more widely known to small business as a low cost way of sourcing and selling goods and services.
    Small business growing more familiar with and making greater use of social media in their local marketing efforts -think Groupon Inc and its highly successful coupon business supporting local deals!

    When time is not on your side, the resilient and proven franchise business model allows you a faster and often comparatively risk adverse track to generating positive cash flow. Although its your own business, you don`t have to go it alone making a proven franchise operation a smart choice. Strong viable franchise opportunities are there for the qualified buyer, so how to join that select group?

    Access to financing from traditional sources is expected to remain tight in the US throughout 2011, in spite of the Governments continuing efforts to support small business through tough times. We recommend that potential franchise buyers be cautious when selecting companies to do their 401(k) rollovers or when selecting a financing company with all of the fraud that has occurred in the banking sector over the last several years, finding a reputable company to provide your financing is more important than ever and a winning point in your favor with franchisors.

    MatchPoint Franchise Consulting Network was founded in 2006 with a mission of helping companies expand their franchise networks and improve their system. The advice offered freely to franchise buyers by MatchPoint consultants is vital to the buyer in making a better, prudent, buying decision. The advice offered by our consultants does not make us lawyers; it is there to help the investor with a high quality due diligence process.

    MatchPoint consultants know the red flags in the investment field. It takes the very few promoters that practice business fraud to taint the dream of the franchisee and their family.

    That`s where seeking the independent advice of an expert franchising consultant is prudent and invaluable.

  • July 9, 2017 /  Business Center
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    Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to save money on their taxes.

    1. Incorporate Yourself: If you`re still a proprietor or partner of a business, it`s time to incorporate yourself. Not only will you limit your liability, but you may enjoy lower tax rates on small business income and other tax advantages as well.

    2. Be Home Based: If possible, continue (or switch to) being a home based business. Not only will you keep your overhead down, but you will be able to write-off (or deduct) the business use of your home.

    3. Income Split: Pay reasonable wages to your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family members that are in a lower tax bracket.

    4. Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings: Can you make some changes to turn your hobby into a moneymaking business? Can you use that extra room in your house as a home office for your business? Can you arrange to use your car more for business purposes? Can you arrange for more of your entertainment expenses to be business related?

    5. Document Your Expenses Well: Do you document your expenses well so that they would survive a tax audit? Have you kept a mileage log so that you can prove the percentage business use you claim for your vehicle? Have you kept receipts for all your entertainment expenses and listed the business purpose on the back of each receipt?

    6. Be Punctual: File all returns and pay all taxes due (income, payroll, sales, et cetera) on time. This way, you avoid expensive late filing (and payment) penalties and interest.

    7. Develop a Tax Planning Mindset: Some people only worry about their taxes during tax season. However, you will save a fortune in taxes, legally, if you make tax planning your year-round concern. Do you make business and personal purchases, investments, and other expenditures with tax savings in mind?

  • July 3, 2017 /  Business Center
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    If you’re opening a small business, you need a small business bank, pure and simple. Using your regular bank won’t net you the benefits that a specialized banking account can come with. No matter who you choose as a host for your banking needs, you always need to open a new account for a business. Never use your personal bank account as this can make it next to impossible to discern your business income and expenses from more personal sources. Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible. The right bank will have a deep understanding of your business needs.

    One of the most important features of a small business bank is an assortment of affordable banking solutions. Money is usually tight when you’re starting out. You don’t want to have a high minimum amount on your account that you can’t possibly sustain. If you need to make a large withdrawal for business purposes, you should know that you can do so without jeopardizing your bank account. It’s also important that you’re able to make deposits and withdrawals without a lot of fees. The right business bank will work with you so that you can maximize your profits early on.

    Small businesses today are far different than what they were in the past. A mom and pop shop used to be a brick and mortar store with an easily-defined address and actual location. Today, many businesses are run online. You could be running your business from locations all over the country, or all over the globe. You can’t always work with the bank down the street. You need a small business bank that will go with you everywhere you happen to be. Online banking, mobile banking, and more are essential for a business banking account. You don’t want to be tied down to one location, and with the right account you won’t be.

    When you’re getting ready to open a new banking account for your business, it’s important to take the time to do your research. Look into a variety of banking opportunities to find the small business bank that’s right for you. When you look at other offers, you’re sure to notice where the best deal really lies. It’s important to understand what’s out there so you don’t get sucked into the first well-worded advertisement you see. Compare your options and look for a small business banking account that provides all the services, benefits, and convenience you need to make your company a success.

  • June 14, 2017 /  Business Center
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    Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.

    Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.

    The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.

    Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.

    For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.

    Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.

  • June 12, 2017 /  Business Center
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    One of the most important decisions a small business owner, or any business owner for that matter makes is what bank they are going to use. Small business banking provides a wealth of financial services beyond simple deposits, check writing, and withdrawal. Many small businesses need to establish a line of credit or perhaps even take out a loan. Another one of the many services that small businesses need to setup is credit card processing, payroll services, and automatic bill pay. A small company cannot function without the proper financial setup. In order to withstand the financial needs of a successful business, the company needs to set up an account with a bank that is familiar with small business needs.

    In order for a bank to attract small businesses, they need to provide aggressive attractions and a wide variety of services. The bank must offer convenience. For example, many small businesses deal with cash and coin. Therefore, they will likely make many trips to the bank to deposit and withdraw money. A bank must also offer plenty of convenient ATM locations so that the small business can have access to their account at any time of the day or night when they need it.

    Many banks charge fees ranging from credit card fees to ATM charges, wire transfer fees, and many other normal fees. As a small business owner, you should not find any surprises. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask the small business bank of your choice what fees they charge so that they are not caught by surprise. Make sure and choose a bank that is upfront about their charges, one that is capable of providing you with the lowest rates, the most feasible financial options, and the best in banking service so that you can run your business smoothly and efficiently.

    Small business banks must also provide excellent customer service so that when a small business owner has a problem; bankers that can guide the business owner through their problems address the problem. There are many reasons why a small business owner would experience a banking problem such as transaction issues or a forgotten PIN. That is where the small banking specialists step in and take care of your worries so that they can get you and your account straightened out.

  • May 29, 2017 /  Business Center
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    For the business user, the main advantages to working in a company that has an exchange server are:

    1. File sharing
    2. Access to email from any configured computer
    3. Contacts access
    4. calendar syncrhonized and shared between all employees

    Essentially it means the office worker can use any configured computer to access his or her files, emails and calendar. The company will often configure a laptop and provide remote access so the member of staff can also work from home or while travelling and still have complete access.

    The problem with this kind of product when it comes to a small or mid sized company, is that it requires someone to manage it and there is a huge cost, in terms of both initial cost and ongoing expenses.

    So if you manage a small business and you want your employees to have a high level of flexibility i.e. to be able to telework or while travelling, or even to hotdesk at the office, you will need an exchange substitute.

    There are two alternatives which will offer you many of the features of Exchange without the expenditure.

    The first is a hosted exchange server. The second is the Easy-Email synchronization solution plus file synchronization software.

    A Hosted Exchange server is a great solution. You get almost all the advantages but you are spared the resource cost and management time. You simply pay according to the number of users. This allows for quick expansion so as the business grows you just increase a user.

    Easy-Email is a fabulous alternative for small firms.
    Its an email sync answer set out in the form of a series of guides that you, or an IT professional you hire, can follow. It will sync a users mail and contacts on their desktop, laptop, home computer, pda or netbook. In addition it will allow them to manage their email from any other computer via Gmail.

    The Easy-Email solution is incredibly good value compared to any other alternative solutions It’s just $67 US for the Advanced Guide to Outlook and you can get all of your staff set up for this fee!
    The disadvantage in comparison with exchange is that there is at present no shared calendar so you will need to use a google calendar or similar.

    And in terms of shared files and folders its really simple. Set up Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with a system of shared folders that are all automatically sync’d via the internet but they are also stored on the computer so you dont have to be online to access the files. You can select which people have access to which folders and the first 2GB of storage space is free (and it’s very reasonable after that).

  • May 29, 2017 /  Business Center
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    As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.

    Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.

    Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?

    Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.

    And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.

    Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.

  • May 29, 2017 /  Business Center
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    Small Business Cash Advance is almost similar to a small amount of business loan your business house applies and receives the funding and can utilize the funds for various uses in the business and your business house needs to repay the advance. However, there are substantial differences.

    The Small Business Cash Advance is by nature, unsecured. The approval for business cash advance is not subject to the investigation or scrutiny that is undertaken in the case of a small business loan. You do not need to prove your credentials or demonstrate your plan.

    Additionally, Small Business Cash Advance does not require any kind of share in equity ownership in the business house and the business house is free to utilize the funds in any manner whatsoever, as is required. The lenders of Small Business Cash Advance determine the amount of Small Business Cash Advance based on the amount of cash flow from the monthly credit card charges.

    The approval rates of Small Business Cash Advance almost ten times higher than that of a regular bank loan. This is mainly because of the multiple barriers and the long winding application cycles and processes banks thrust upon the loan applicant.

    If you want to procure a Small Business Cash Advance from any of the institutional lenders, your business house will have to accept the credit cards as a standard mode of payment.

    The applicant of the Small Business Cash Advance will have to process a minimum amount as credit card sales every month, and additionally, the business must have been operational for a period of at least a year. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

    The biggest advantage is that the funding is made steady and is always consistently available to the applicant business house so that at no point in time, lack of cash becomes a hindrance in the development of the business and puts the business house in difficulties.

    Small Business cash advances can be repaid by credit card sales and the repayments are usually processed through the merchant account of the business house. All other kinds of payments received in the form of check, cash or any other means are not accepted for repayment. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.

    The biggest advantage with the small business cash advances is that they are hassle free and the business houses can procure such loans or advances very easily and with minimal documentation. The only downside is that these advances are unsecured and unsecured business cash advance can tend to become a liability.

  • May 9, 2017 /  Business Center
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    A business credit card offers many benefits to a small business. A business credit card helps to keep business and personal expenses separate. Having a credit card solely for business use can make a lot of difference in the business finances. Many small business owners do not understand how beneficial a business credit card can be.

    Establish Credit And Creditworthiness

    Just as you personally want to establish credit, your business needs to establish credit. It is common for small business owners to use their personal credit for their business credit, but this can get rather tricky. When it comes to taxes and financial liability it is much better for the business owner to keep personal and business credit separate.

    Easier Accounting Saves Hassles

    A business credit card will help simplify accounting. There will be no need to sort through papers to figure out business form personal expenses. Using a credit card, the purchases for the business are all in the statement. These figures can be easily transferred to the books. This helps to make accounting much easier by keeping expenses streamlined.

    Simplified Spending

    A small business owner may find himself having to okay purchases or write out checks for purchases made by employees. With a business credit card, the owner can get additional cards for those who have spending power. This will help cut down on time wasted getting purchases approved and also save money because far less checks will have to be written. It will make the business more efficient.

    Reward Possibilities

    There are many credit cards that offer rewards for purchases. With a rewards card a business owner can get an additional incentive by earning things like free airline miles, gasoline and even cash back on purchases. This is something that can be very helpful to a small business. Rewards are earned through purchases, so a business is earning something for money they would have spent anyway. It is like getting double for your money.

    Business credit cards are a great idea, especially for small businesses. Many small business owners do not understand just how beneficial they can be, but as you can see they offer many perks. A small business owner would be very smart to get a credit card that will make it much easier on them in the long run. They will find they save money, save time and make the business more efficient and run smoother.

  • May 8, 2017 /  Business Center
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    Statistics prove that the demand for unsecured small business loans have been rapidly increasing over the past few years. The idea of an unsecured loan creates new financial horizons for individuals that may not have collateral. This is also of special interest to new business owners that are interested in entering a new business venture. Potential business owners are always interested in a business loan to provide working capital for their new endeavor.

    The paradox when applying for most unsecured small business loan programs is that a new business owner does not yet have any collateral. This can quickly shatter a business dream. The only other consideration such an individual can have is to use his or her personal assets to secure a loan. But new business ventures have a risk associated with them, once that many people are not willing to transfer to their hard earned assets.

    Collateral is often the biggest obstacle to the prospective business owner. Not only does a new business not yet have any commercial collateral to provide; but it is asking a lot for an entrepreneur to put his hard earned personal assets at risk in order to start a new business venture. Yet, without collateral, getting a business financing can sometimes seem impossible.

    Small entrepreneurs, who do not have collateral to offer, find unsecured small business loans as an alternative, which help them expand their business to new horizons. They are only required to make regular repayments to the creditor without any apprehension of their business assets being repossessed by the lender in case of defaults. At the same time, small businessmen who opt for unsecured small business loans should be prepared to pay a little higher interest as compared to other credit options. However, interest rates may vary depending upon the credit history of the businessmen.

    No collateral unsecured small business loan products are now available through select lenders, although they can still be relatively difficult to find among traditional banks and lenders. The revolutionizing force is coming from a plethora of web based lenders that are offering innovative new financial solutions, including no collateral loans. A variety of unsecured loan products for business and personal needs can be found via web based financial companies.

    Applying for unsecured small business loans is easy, all the business owner need to do is just go on line and submit their loan details. Then the lenders will refer back to you with the loan decision in a few days.