If you’re thinking of starting a business, or are already a small business owner in need of funds to expand or stay profitable, one of the first things to consider is where the money will come from. Bank loans are acceptable for some business owners, but they often require collateral. If you have bad credit you might not be able to secure one. Being turned down for a loan can be a discouraging prospect, but there are other options available. Here’s what you need to know about alternative business financing. Photo credit: LendingMemo / Foter / CC BY If you’re looking for a way to fund your business’s expansion, buy new equipment, or pay off existing loans, the options can seemingly be endless. You may have heard about alternative methods of funding and wondered what makes them different from traditional bank loans. Here are a few reasons why a different funding option might work best for your business. Flexible Repayment With a merchant cash advance

If you’re thinking of starting a business, or are already a small business owner in need of funds to expand or stay profitable, one of the first things to consider is where the money will come from. Bank loans are acceptable for some business owners, but they often require collateral. If you have bad credit you might not be able to secure one. Being turned down for a loan can be a discouraging prospect, but there are other options available. Here’s what you need to know about alternative business financing.   Photo credit: mgbjay / Foter / CC BY-ND What is a Merchant Cash Advance Program? A merchant cash advance program involves a merchant borrowing a lump sum against future sales, usually paying back the money through a portion of each credit card transaction. Generally, they feature short repayment terms and small daily repayments as opposed to the monthly payments associated with traditional loans. Merchants agree upon a percentage of their sales to be paid

Navigating the financial landscape that comes with running a small business is often difficult, and it’s made even more tough by the presence of certain potholes and mirages. One common scam that small business owners should be aware of is the grant scam. How does a grant scam work? This type of scam is kept alive by a simple misdirection. Business owners will either stumble across or otherwise be made aware of a grant that their business is able to apply for, which, should they receive it, will give them what essentially amounts to free money. This should be the first logical red flag, but many business owners are willing to take the existence of grant programs at face value as fact. Once the business owners are sold on their grant applications, the next phase of the scam kicks in. You will be sold (or attempt to be sold) an expensive audit of your business plan, additional help filing your request, a one time fee, or

Let’s face it, we love our employees, but when cash flows are tight, it can be tough to find extra ways to show them how much we appreciate them. Fortunately, it’s often the thought that counts when it comes to providing employees with extra on the job benefits, and with a little creativity and a positive attitude, you can make a little budget go a long way. Some of the benefits of providing additional fun for your employees are more dedication to your company, as well as potentially more hours spent on the job bouncing ideas off of each other. This can lead to much more creative solutions coming from your team, as well as a better atmosphere in the office for communication. Many start ups and high growth companies make it a point to have many employee perks, and seeing as how a large number of them do quite well, it’s not a bad idea to inject the same level of excitement into your

While the last bit of nippy weather is finally fading away, small business owners everywhere are waking up to the promise of Spring, and a brand new busy season for many industries. Even as volume picks up and orders for seasonal products and services start to roll in, it can be helpful to get you and your employees energized and in a different frame of mind in order to make the most of the new season. An overhaul of your company culture isn’t necessarily in order, but doing something to celebrate the season and inject a sense of excitement into the office can be a good idea, especially if there have been morale issues on your team due to slow business, the cold, or both. Here are three simple ideas for greeting the Spring season that any small business owner can do. Try a classic activity, such as hosting a company picnic. Sure it’s cliche, but a company picnic is both simple to organize, low cost,

Following debates surrounding the federal minimum wage, small business owners are now in the center of yet another struggle regarding a proposed change in the way they must pay their employees. As reported by smallbiztrends.com, President Obama signed an executive order last month calling for an increase in the threshold of earnings over which employees become eligible for overtime pay. In plain English, the law would raise the threshold from the current $445 per week mark to somewhere around a suggested $640 and include more white collar and managerial employees in the group who would qualify for overtime pay. The rationale behind the law is to give back to those who work hard for the economy. As corporate America has begun to make more profit, the idea that these revenues should be shared with the employees who put in extra hours to make them seems like it makes a lot of sense. However, many warn that small businesses will become unintended collateral damage. While profitable corporations

One great thing about small businesses is the fact that as a business owner, you are able to constantly reinvent yourself and your brand. Reasons for doing so are many, and range from a desire to attract more customers, create some new buzz around an older business or just because you think a new look is what you need to get your employees energized. Sometimes, you will have inherited or purchased a business whose former owner had different tastes than yourself and you want to make your personal mark on it by changing the logo. It’s also possible that you are interested in creating some logo designs for use on themed days like holidays or during special sales, in which case you could be designing multiple logos all at once for a wide variety of uses. Whatever your reason for switching things up, when creating a new symbol that your business will be recognized by, it helps to put some extra thought into the process

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

Many will point out that altruism is it’s own reward, and that is certainly true. The value one gets out of helping another person is truly the unique and special feeling that it brings. That being said, there are plenty of other good reasons why a small business should consider ways of giving back to their communities, not all of them solely based on the positive moral quality of those who help others. These benefits include positive PR, networking and . There are as many ways of making a positive community impact as there are businesses, so finding a way to participate that you are comfortable with can be done with just a little thought and a few helpful suggestions. Do you run an artisanal business? If this is the case, consider holding a weekend craft demonstration. Inviting a group to check out your creative processes is a wonderful way to give back, especially to younger generations in order to inspire the next skilled craftsmen who will

Small business owners who are in the market for business to business services and products generally have social media presences put together on the biggest and most accepted networks. These include Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to name some of the first that leap to mind. However, the wider the dragnet cast for business, generally the better off you will be, and small business owners should consider the fact that maintaining a presence on just the three or four most obvious social networks is missing a much larger and more vibrant social media picture. If you are already pretty comfortable using the “big three”, then chances are you stand a lot to gain by taking the social game you’ve already honed and applying it to some other social media networks. Here are a few that you have probably already heard about, but may not yet have tried. LinkedIn. Ok, so you most likely have a profile here already, and chances are also good that you have even

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