Do you Need a Business Credit Card for your Small Business?

The short answer to this question is no, you don’t NEED a business card. But consider the fact that most companies don’t operate without one, and also consider the fact that there are various benefits of having a business credit card for your small business. Some banks even offer credit cards tailored specifically for small businesses! Here are a few reasons you may want to consider getting a business credit card:

1. You’re business will be perceived as more legitimate.

There’s much symbolic power that comes with having an official business credit card. This holds true both for the people you do business with, as well as with your own sense of identity as a business. When you use a business credit card instead of a personal credit card to charge business expenses, your business will have an added sense of legitimacy and professionalism.

2. Business credit cards offer rewards specifically tailored to small business.

Just like with personal credit cards, business credit cards offer certain rewards as you accumulate points. However, business credit cards have rewards that are tailored to specific business needs. For example, business credit cards offer airline miles, discounts for business services, as well as discounts for business equipment.

credit card
Image by Dennis Kim

3. Business credit cards can help you tremendously with business expenses.

As you probably know by now, running a small business entails having various different business expenses each month. If you pay for them as you go, you’ll soon find that your ability to purchase items and services necessary to run your business will be quite limited. With a business credit card, you can charge all your business expenses to the card, and pay off the balance at the end of the month, enabling you to improve your cash flow. Just be sure to stay balanced and ALWAYS pay at the end of the month to keep from incurring fees and paying added interest rates.

4. You can more easily keep business and personal expenditures separate.

For me, this is the best reason to get a business credit card, especially if your business is very small. For those of us who own small, one-person businesses, it can be tempting to put all your business and personal expenses together. However, if you use a business credit card for all business-related expenses, you’ll be able to file taxes for your business and make tax deductions much more easily.

Now that you may be considering a business credit card, you may be wondering which card is best for your business. Be sure to do as much research as possible.

Good luck!

About the Author: Stella Walker is a freelance writer and business owner. She enjoys giving advice about credit cards, personal finance, small business strategies, and debt reduction. Stella welcomes your comments below!

Do You Need a College Education to Own a Business?

Is it necessary to study? If you want to be well prepared for a lifetime, you need to study. Yet, this is not about simply attending school; you need to do your own effort. You must attend conferences, workshops, etc.

Many options are probably going around in your head. Should I study something that interests me or something that will give me money? Should I work or go for both? Is it possible to stretch my time? These are common questions that disturb many individuals. This leads to indecision, frustration, etc. Enough said, read on and make a wise choice.

college grads
Image by Will Folsom

Several factors and aspects

While there are many aspects to consider when trying understanding such conflicting situation and many other large and complex issues, you can start one step at a time. Some aspects need special focus; you may start treating some points that consciously or unconsciously weigh heavily in this sense of indecision and dissatisfaction about your future. It is not only about education, it is linked to many levels of youth.

On the one hand, in recent years, the primary and secondary education system may not be fulfilling the idea of its main function, which is to guide students to decide on their future. Teachers should take control and give the tools to undertake this process. Channeling student interests is a priority. Experts must help every individual decide how to proceed once it is time to enter the next level of education.

Structure and overall content

The structure and content of the learning activities should be determined to provide all children, youth and adults with the skill, knowledge and values they need to survive, to improve their quality of life and to participate fully and responsibly in the life of their communities and nations, to give impetus and properly adapt to all sorts of new and unexpected situations and continue to gain knowledge, according to their particular interests, tastes and needs. For the previously mentioned facts, many students do not know what to study or wish to start a business without studying. Not to mention, those students who do not know what they think about a career, how this will change them or if they should go from one career to another.

In turn, another crisis of education as an institution is its lack of credibility and quality. Note that studying still involves a lot of effort, determination, perseverance and honesty. Yet, this doesn’t mean you will get a job. Do you want to be someone in life or rather be the best entrepreneur? This is the same, you can do both. It also depends on your approach and on external factors; the economic sphere is intertwined with top knowledge.

In short, education is considered an economic hub and not really a vital need to develop a better society. This is a mistake. This is a key point. Dare to become a better person by being well educated. The rest will flow. Your business opportunity will take place.

Author Bio: If you are writing a persuasive essay, Ann P. from SolidEssay.com, a college essay writing service, will be able to instruct you on how to do it properly.

Living the Solopreneur Life

You have a great idea for business and you decide to strike out on your own. But your dream isn’t to build a conglomerate with hundreds or even thousands of employees. Your dream is to work for yourself. Becoming a solopreneur is the way to realize your dream of going into business for yourself.

Independence

When you are a solopreneur, the vision for your company is your vision. You don’t have to run each idea by a board of directors or gain the approval of stockholders. If you don’t like the direction your company is taking, you can change it.

While you may need to appeal to customers or clients to gain their business, you choose the means and strategy that you employ to do so. In fact, you even choose which potential clients or customers you choose to target. If for some reason certain customers or clients become more trouble than they’re worth, you can drop them without the need to justify your decision – except to your bottom line.

solopreneur
Image by Mikael Altemark

Flexible Schedule

A common misperception is that solopreneurs snooze until noon and lounge around all day in their jammies once they’ve made it out of bed. Anyone who actually works as a solopreneur knows better. In fact, one danger facing many solopreneurs is that they are nearly always working.

Nonetheless, one of the great advantages of becoming a solopreneur is the freedom to dictate your own schedule. Of course, you need to be accessible to customers or clients, but your actual work schedule is your own. If you need or want to take time out to run an important errand or just enjoy a beautiful sunny afternoon, you can do that, without making up an excuse to your boss.

Making It Work

It may seem ironic, but every solopreneur needs help to make his or her life work. Going it alone in business doesn’t mean doing it all by yourself. Knowing when to get help is one mark of a savvy solopreneur.

If you’re a writer and savvy about the web and social networking, it may make sense for you to create and maintain your own website and social networking presence. On the other hand, if you are a nutritionist, your time and efforts may be better served by concentrating on attracting and keeping clients – and contracting with a professional web designer and one or more social media experts.

Clerical tasks may be another area where delegation is a wise strategy for a solopreneur. Virtual assistants can take care of tasks ranging from writing correspondence to maintaining your schedule. Contracting the services of a virtual assistant need not involve paying someone full time; many virtual assistants have several clients for whom they only work a few hours per week.

Isolation is another problem faced by many solopreneurs. Find an organization that addresses the type of work that you do and attend meetings and networking events. Take your computer to a coffee shop or to the library to work for a morning or an afternoon. Take advantage of the flexibility and freedom of working solo to meet a friend for lunch or surprise your partner with a romantic dinner.

On the other hand, you may also need to be firm with family and friends who believe you’re freely available to run errands for them. Kindly but firmly remind them that your working hours are just as important as their time in the office or at school. Sweeten the message by reminding them that the sooner you’re finished with your work, the sooner you can enjoy their company.

For Further Reading

  • The Five Rules of Solopreneur Success
    inc.com/marla-tabaka/the-5-rules-of-solopreneur-success.html
  • How to Become a Successful Solopreneur
    chasethepaper.com/2011/how-to-become-a-successful-solopreneur/
  • International Virtual Assistants Association
    ivaa.org/
  • Three Strategies to Help Solopreneurs Tackle the work/Life Tug of War (and Enjoy More Life!)
    selfgrowth.com/articles/3-strategies-to-help-solopreneurs-tackle-the-worklife-tug-of-war-and-enjoy-more-life
  • What Is a Solopreneur?
    freefrombroke.com/what-is-a-solopreneur/

About the Author: Guest post contributed by Stacy Pruitt, a freelance finance writer. Stacy writes about entrepreneurship, advanced trading and forex indicators.

Why Do Savings Matter?

Saving for a rainy day is a lesson we learn from childhood; when we grow up and earning we always want to save some part of our earnings for various reasons. Life is about enjoying the things money can buy but sensible living 9is about providing for yourself and your loved ones in future, with this end in mind we must adopt the saving habit.

If you are still wondering why savings matter then here are some pointers to help put things in proper perspective for you; here’s why you need to save and that too save regularly…

An Emergency

This is the most obvious and prominent reason why you need to save. Setting money aside to tackle an emergency or an unforeseen situation as and when it arises will help you deal with it better. Having to worry less about money when trouble strikes is the good thing about being in any bad situation. It could be anything…losing your job, meeting with an accident, sudden illness, business losses, savings are the buffer against the impact that an emergency has on you.

While any emergency throws you off balance simply because it catches you off guard, having enough funds to cope with it is important.

Saving for Your Retirement

No matter how long you intend to work, retirement is bound to happen one day or the other. It means having to deal with life without the regular steady income that you were used to and balancing your needs so as to maintain a decent lifestyle, equivalent to if not better than what you enjoyed during your working years.

You might also need to add some amounts which you will require post retirement especially if you don’t retire young…amounts towards medical expenses and routine health checks, both of which are necessary to be in good shape physically and mentally.

Realizing Your Dreams

Yes, your savings are the means with which you can realize your dreams…whether it is your dream car, that vacation you always wanted to take or that dream home you always aspired to own. If you have a goal that you want to achieve then saving regularly will help you take a cruise or travel at least once a year. It might also help you buy that condo or villa and yes race around in that sports car. Every aspiration of this type calls for money and that begins with saving.

Reskilling and Education

The economic downturn that has been upon us since the year 2008 or so was the time that many people active in the workforce realized the importance of getting an education or adding a skill to their existing skill sets. Saving some part of your regular income to add to your qualifications in the biggest investment you can make…investing in yourself to meet the demands of the new job market.

So what are you waiting for? Empower yourself today with a savings plan to suit your needs and meet your expectations. Look at easy access savings for example and start saving today!

Business lessons that are not taught in business schools

I have huge respect for these smart and suave MBA guys and believe me that they are the smartest people I have ever met in my life. But I hate when I am being told that you need to have an MBA degree in marketing to be able to be a successful entrepreneur. Yes, the MBA course does include some topics on how to build a profitable brand, what mistakes that you should be avoiding while promoting a brand and others interesting things but what I still believe is that these are not just enough. Theoretical knowledge can help you land on a good paying job but running a business is a different ball of wax altogether. You need to have practical experience and you need to make mistakes just to learn from it. This is the kind of knowledge that you may not find in your MBA syllabus. Here in this article, we are going to share the business lessons that many business owners have learnt the hard way:

business school
Image Source

Do not stick to a single business plan always: Since we are living in a society where the perceptions of people are changing faster than the speed of light, you should embrace agile marketing. Your marketing plan should be as flexible as possible. If you stick to your business plan just because you have some emotional attachment with it, you are making a great mistake. I have seen innumerable companies that started as something but eventually emerged as something else. Now, would they be able to make it that large had they stuck to their business plan? I had great doubts on it. So, you need to change with the changes of the market in order to survive.

kindle
Image Source

Create your niche: I know how tough it is for you to make your mark felt as a newcomer when the market is already overcrowded. Since we are still in a recession, it is all the more difficult for a business owner to make his place secured. So, the only way out is to create your own market. Remember how amazon.com took a huge risk when they launched Kindle. There were not many takers in its early days as people were new to this concept. They educated people, taught them how to use it and now they are the market leader in the ebook reader niche.

Rebrand to Explore More: It is really tough for a company to launch and market a product which is not directly aligned with their existing brand image. This will lead to unnecessary confusion and therefore, it makes sense if you split your brand and create two different brands so that people can relate to the product and the company easily. But this is by far the most difficult part. As you are going to split the company, you are going to need double manpower, and have to invest double amount for marketing purpose.

Do not take your customers for Granted: This is another common misconception that is ruling the minds of marketers. They believe that they know everything about the market and their targeted audience. And they launch the product without doing any kind of market survey and eventually found that either there is no such demand of their service or the demand is far beyond their expectation.

It is not just big, it is all about the Brand: Just having large number of employees working under your banner does not necessarily qualify you as a big company. You are here to build a big brand and not a big company. Google does not have a large number of employees; rather they have a comparatively small team of highly efficient and motivated people. So, focus on creating a big brand rather than creating a body shop.

Author Bio: Michael Evans is a passionate writer and he is currently associated with http://www.insidershostreview.com/.

How to Use Twitter Hashtags – 4 Simple Tips

You might think that businesses are so ‘au fait’ with Twitter as part of their marketing strategy that they’ve got nothing new to learn – right?

Wrong.

The fact of the matter is, they still aren’t maximising the potential of their tweets. You know why? Because they don’t get #hashtags.

twitter hashtag
Image by joe0153

A Twitter hashtag is essentially a keyword phrase or topic with a hash sign in front of it to identify it, and it works by connecting users who are talking about the same topic so their tweets appear in the same stream. Hashtags are searchable in Twitter search so users can easily find the topic they’re interested in – if it’s popular enough it will be deemed ‘trending’.

But what you really need to know is how you can use them to boost your Twitter profile.

So here are some simple, actionable ways you can use hashtags to your advantage and move your Twitter marketing forward:

Be Original

When creating your hashtag you’ve got to be original both to stand out and to ensure your chosen hashtag hasn’t already got a lot of activity around it. The easy way to do this is by using the Twitter search engine to check out the number of hits your hashtag gets. If it gets too many you’re better off selecting something different – it will mean less competition and you will run a lower risk of people outside your target market detracting from the conversation.

Don’t Saturate

Pace yourself! It’s important to tweet your hashtag regularly, but don’t swamp your followers with it -people will start to ignore it and it could be perceived as spam which is totally the opposite of the desired effect.

Put it into Context

This might sound obvious, but let your audience know exactly what your hashtag means. You could choose to create a hashtag with a self-explanatory name, explain what it means in a tweet, or provide a link to a page with a more detailed article or description – particularly good for events and products.

Add value

Ideally you want to give your followers something valuable with your hashtags. This most often applies to when you are using hashtags to advertise an event like a webinar, competition or product release. Make sure you decide on a single hashtag to represent your event early on so you can use it throughout the event promotion. Choose a hashtag that’s got a bit of pizzazz to grab attention – keep it short and snappy.

Remind your followers of the event regularly – and by that I mean several times daily. However mix it up with tweets on other topics and keep it light-hearted not pushy. Make sure people are aware that using your chosen hashtag will mean everyone can track anything related to that event easily – demonstrate its value.

So if you’re one of the many entrepreneurs who aren’t sure how hashtags can help their marketing campaigns – these tips are a sound starting point for you. Get to grips with these simple basics and you’ll be well on your way to being a hit hashtag success!

About James T Noble: James makes small businesses bigger. He’s worked with some of the world’s largest brands and companies to market their products and services online – including Disney, Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Virgin, Coca Cola, MTV and many others. Find out more and read business growth tips at http://www.JamesTNoble.com

Increasing Your Return on Investment Via Advertising

Advertising is one of the only ways to let customers know about new products and special sales. Since marketing managers want to reach customers who are most interested in buying their products, they are willing to pay more for targeted groups. Most advertisers are aware that online advertising reaches more customers, but only those who are Internet-savvy know that targeted groups may be found on the Internet.

An increasing number of companies use a technology that tracks websites that Internet users visit. The website is recorded, and interest content is accumulated. Knowing the subjects that interest the user is beneficial to both the user and advertisers. Subjects that interest the user are made available to him or her in additional information, then so are recommendations on finding information that would otherwise be missed. For example, when the user makes a search about baseball, he may be given an opportunity to access the latest information from news sources, blogs and videos.

targeted online advertising
Image by cliff1066

Advertisers are guaranteed a targeted customer because the user has already been verified to share an interest in a specific niche. Knowing that the customer is interested, the advertiser can make specific offers, and tailor the ad to be more personal and relevant.

The service is contracted through ISPs and may not be available in some areas. Although the service is free, the user must subscribe to it through the ISP. Since random numbers are assigned to browsers, the user’s identity is always protected. In addition, no records are kept, so the user’s privacy is always protected as well.

If concerns over privacy persist one might consider learning about PhormDiscover, which is at the forefront of the targeted advertising industry. Companies of this caliber will always give you access to the latest information, though some topics–politics, gambling, religion, race and ethnicity, use of drugs, psychological conditions and others– are considered too sensitive and are excluded. Most customized ad developers strive to provide the best environment for possible for those who practice good business. Everyone in the industry has an invested interest in maintaining a stellar reputation among consumers.

In another example of industry innovation, the Open Internet Exchange has made it possible for advertisers to target audiences with greater precision in larger numbers than ever before. By suggesting websites to users, this service draws them to the advertiser’s website, resulting in more profits and greater returns on advertising investments.

Once the user is drawn to the advertiser’s website, the advertiser’s imagination must convince the buyer to buy the product. Naturally, good products sell themselves, but the advertiser has limitless possibilities. Those possibilities exist because the advertiser knows about targeted advertising, and the potential to customize advertising campaigns based on niche demographics and individual tastes.

Starting a Small Business Using Minimum Investment

Starting a business is always a daunting exercise that needs a lot of strategizing and planning to execute. This exercise becomes more challenging when it comes to starting large enterprises. This is why most business gurus of this world start out small before graduating into acclaimed entrepreneurs. There are numerous advantages associated with starting a small business company.

Small enterprises are beneficial since they are easy to operate especially for business upstarts. For example, they can easily record transactions and monitor the progress of the business. Owners of small businesses are also spared from the hassles associated with management of liabilities and assets. Investments are the other reason that makes small businesses an appealing prospect for many people. These enterprises do not require humongous amounts of money to start.

Starting a small enterprise using low investments

Even though small business can do with minimal investments, some people do not how to make these investments. This is quite worrying because these investments will be influential in the success of the business. Those who know how to invest in small businesses will therefore be able to profit greatly from their enterprises. The following steps could be helpful for those grappling with how to make the perfect investment:

Arrangement of relevant skills

Before thinking of an investment, it is important to list the important skills that might benefit the business. Business upstarts must think about the relevant skills that would be in great demand among the residents in their areas of operation.

Think about the business type

The next step is to consider the type of small enterprise to start. Generally, people can create separate entities from their enterprises or start as sole proprietors. In the latter’s case, such individuals need not undertake any tedious paperwork. In most states, they can use their legal names as their basis for their business operations. The main problem is that they cannot protect their personal assets from the enterprise—this would be a major problem in case of bankruptcy.

Creation of portfolio

After establishing the business, the new entrepreneurs would have to start looking for prospective customers. In this regard, a website or portfolio would be helpful in reaching out to customers. Alternatively, they can make use of testimonials from people who have previously sampled these services or products. Since the business is still on its feet, entrepreneurs can provide part of their services at no fee or slash their prices considerably. This would have the desired effect of attracting customers.

Advertising campaign

This is arguably one of the most difficult tasks that await business people after forming their enterprises. However, it is a necessary exercise for those who want to create publicity for their products or services. Fortunately, there are many advertising strategies that can work wonders for small businesses. By researching the Internet, owners of small businesses can discover these affordable ways of publicizing themselves among their target markets. Such helpful methods include word-of-mouth, mail campaigns and flyers.

Business entrepreneurs must be wise enough to make wise investments in their small business. They should ensure that these minimum investments multiply into high profit margins. Granted, the infancy stage of all businesses is usually rough. However, the fruits of wise investments in small businesses will eventually come to fruition.

About the Author: Tom Clark is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. His blog Insurancecompanies.org  focuses on insurance. You can follow him on Google+

How to Get Your E-commerce Business Idea Funded

Introduction

As technology has taken over the marketplace with ecommerce many entrepreneurs decide to begin there journey with an online business. It makes sense; online businesses are attractive options due to the gaining popularity of ecommerce among consumers across the globe. And, in most cases, online businesses require less capital investment as compared to traditional models, especially stores selling goods. However, it is not without a justifiable amount of seed money that you can start and online business, it does require its share of capital. This article discusses how to understand you’re the financial requirements of your online business idea and subsequently raise the funds needed.

money
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/30360780@N02/3328400343/

The business plan

The entire saga begins on paper with a watertight business plan. A well researched and carefully drafted business plan will help you understand the real requirements of your online business. Once you start penning down the details, you will be surprised at the number of revelations a business plan surfaces. Many new factors will come forward and you will become better prepared to take on the challenge.

You must include every facet of your business in the plan and take the pain to make each sectioned meticulously detailed. Special focus must be given to the financial section for that is where you will determine how much money you plan to invest and what are the revenues you are aiming at. This section will also be the first one your potential investors will scrutinize.

Roping in the Investors

Unless you have existing sources of steady incomes that generate extra cash, you will need to approach funding sources or lenders in the market. Banks are usually more interested in funding traditional businesses over virtual ventures. However, this trend is slowly changing and some banks are considering online businesses for loans. It is a difficult option but also one which shouldn’t be ignored.

Your friends and family can be a great source of funding if they are willing to show confidence in your ecommerce plan and back it up with their money. Don’t for a moment think that a smile and familiarity will get you through to their bank accounts; the only way is to present a solid business pan with exact future projections.

Other more professional lenders include angel investors, venture capitalists, peer and peer lenders. These lenders can we found through the internet and funding is again based on the promise that you business plan brings to the table. These types of investors are usually fully involved in the business they invest in, as a result, their levels of interest in you plan and projections will be much higher than your acquaintances. Some might loan the money to you on interest while most will be looking for a stake in the business.

Whoever you approach you will need to be presentable and show credibility. Any financial source who will bet his money on you and your business plan will need to know that they are going ahead with a trustworthy person and a feasible business plan. It is your job to portray these requisites and get your funds releases.

About the Author: Penny, the author, is an expert associated with Ezbob.com, an online financial solution for that provides instant business loan to e-commerce and other online traders for their working capital and operational expansion requirements.

Employees Worry as Managers Track Their Activities

Employees have a reason to get anxious about the security of their cell phones and invasion of privacy of their personal lives. Employers are now taking advantage of Google that has come up with the latest tool which works as a cell phone spy.

This tool will enable employers to detect movements of their employees outside the office.

Google Maps Coordinate has joined hands with employers to facilitate them with a new cell phone spyware that will be available to them for payment of just $15 a month per employee. The application will allow employers to keep track of the activities of their employees and save them time in giving instructions.

employee tracking tool

All team members can be tracked via a Google Map – image from Google Maps Coordinate

Employers spy with Google Map

Employees will be shown as moving pin-points, monitored by the employers anytime of the day. These pin-points work as a navigation tool to allow employers to track their employees anywhere at any part of the day.

This tracking device comes in handy for companies when they send their employees on outdoor work. Through the use of this application, employers can stay connected to their employees working in the field. However, employers would have a hard time tracking them if the device is switched off. Not only does the device locate people in open air, but it also picks signals inside a building or covered area, reports Daniel Chu, senior product manager, Google.

Service Industry makes the most out of tracking device

Google understands the importance of time. The device helps the service industry perform maximum in a limited time. Mr Chu is hopeful about the success of the device. Chu said employers in the field of financial services, manufacturing, sales and repair services will find the application extremely useful.

Mr Chu gave a demonstration on the use of Google Maps. Suppose an electric company receives a complaint about failure of a powerline in a suburban area quite far from the office. The entire town is out of power and the line repairman would take at least an hour to reach the town – what will you do in such a situation? Google Map comes to your rescue – you can detect the location of a line repairman in the vicinity of the town, contact him and get the job done in minimum time!

iPhone users skip the spy radar

Cell phones have become a basic necessity of life. According to a study done by a research firm, IDC, the number of cell phone users will increase to 1.3 billion by 2015, which accounts for roughly 37% of the employee workforce.

Google assures employees of complete security of their privacy. Employees will be able to switch off their tracking device when they are off duty or during luck breaks. A notification will be shown on their cell phones to inform the user of activation of the tracking device.

However, iPhones and iPads users need not worry, as the device is not compatible to the functions of their cell phones. It operates in Android phones as an Android spyware and monitors every move of the user. But the relief of iPhone users can be short lived as Google is working rigorously to make the app compatible for Apple’s iOS within a year.

Author Bio: Natalia David, an author significantly contributes towards cellspyexpert mobile spy software and android monitoring software. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4.