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Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Starting a small business is becoming more of a necessity these days than a luxury; with the amount of jobs in decline and the ability to easily start your own business online, more and more people are flocking to entrepreneurship.  Here’s a few pitfalls that you need to avoid, especially if it’s your first time starting a small business.

  1. Use a Unique Business Name 
    There are plenty of reasons to use a new and creative name for your business (brand awareness & loyalty, differentiating yourself in the market, etc.) but even if none of those appeal to you, there is an important legal component.  Using a name that another business has, or even using something similar that could cause confusion (like starting a hamburger stand called MacDonalds and using lets say a light green M as your logo) can land you in court and potentially cost you your business.
  2. Carry The Proper Insurance
    Insurance needs vary greatly depending on the business you start, but it’s one of the most important bills you’ll pay each month, because it protects you from potentially bankrupting liability.  If you’re unsure of what insurance you should carry, you can talk with an insurance salesman, but a better idea is to find someone in the same business with some experience and see what they purchased.  Find the proper balance between leaving yourself vulnerable and carrying too much, thus hurting your bottom line.

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There is a lot you need to know before applying for a small business loan, but even still, it’s amazing how many people and websites out there will try to charge you an arm and a leg for the information.  There’s nothing wrong with seeking advice, or even hiring a consultant, but before you go and pay a website for the “20 things you need to know before applying for a small business loan”  here’s 5 that will get you started, and the rest can be figured out with a little googling.

  1. Business Plan
    This is probably the most important thing you’ll need; a properly constructed business plan will explain the goal of your business, your monetization strategy and a slough of other details related to your business.  There’s plenty of information available on how to best construct your business plan, so start researching (of if you like, hire someone to write it for you).
  2. Personal Credit Report
    Your credit will play a significant role in your denial or approval from the bank, so getting ahold of your credit report will allow you to make sure there are no surprises lurking on it.  There are three major credit rating agencies, so it’s not a bad idea to obtain a copy from each of the three.

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A Citigroup Inc.-backed fund has awarded millions to nonprofits aiming to boost small business lending in low-income areas.

The New York-based bank will send $60 million by the year’s end to loan funds managed by Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, Citi said Wednesday. Community development lenders are nonprofits that seek to expand economic opportunity in areas that are underserved by traditional banks.

The money will go to CDFIs in 39 states and the District of Columbia. It comes from a $200 million fund of which $199 million came from Citi. The remaining $1 million was provided by Calvert Foundation and the Opportunity Finance Network.

Tight credit for small businesses is a major obstacle for the economic recovery. Small business owners say they can’t get loans to hire or expand because lenders worry the economic picture could darken.

Community banks traditionally have provided much of the credit for small businesses. Many bankers now say there aren’t enough creditworthy borrowers to merit an increase in lending.

Lending to small businesses has remained low for much of the year, after falling sharply during the credit crisis of late 2008 and early 2009.

Citigroup’s program aims to fill that need. For example, it is helping a Chicago nonprofit open a 60-seat restaurant that will serve low-cost meals to 3,500 low-income families. The nonprofit expects to add 12 full-time employees to its 49-person fulltime payroll, Citi said.

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From angel investors to venture capitalists, these days there are plenty of ways to fund a business, but in the past, the most common and usually the only option was to get a loan from a bank.  This may not seem as exciting as finding an angel investor to put up the money with little to no risk to you, but it definitely has it’s advantages (not the least of which is that the bank will not take a hefty founder\’s share of your company).  So, you’ve decided that a bank loan is the best move for your new small business; but what\’s the best way to go about securing the loan you need?  The best place to start is to get prepared for what banks are looking for when they draft a loan, and here\’s the top 3.

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As the recession of 2008 doesn’t seem to be bouncing back as fast as everyone had hoped, one thing that many people are noting is that now, more than ever, being an entrepreneur makes a lot of sense.  And while home based businesses are becoming increasingly popular, there are still some additional steps that you should take to maximize your effectiveness and minimize your bottom line.  The idea here is that while you’re immediately going to be able to run a lot leaner as a home based business, cutting down as much as possible within your home business will not only help you net the highest profits possible, but it could ultimately be the difference between your business failing or succeeding.

Read about three methods to saving money while growing your home business,