How to Raise Money For Your Start-Up Today

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One of the greatest challenges any entrepreneur faces in terms of starting their own business is ensuring that they have enough capital behind them to launch.  The word ‘capital’ relates to the amount of money a business has in its bank that is required to launch the business; taking it from the idea stage into something more tangible.

Funding your business is both an art and science.

There are many things to consider, and it can get very tiring to keep all the plates spinning; where one second you’re having HR meetings and the next you’re having finance meetings with your bank manager whilst also resolving a customer service issue.  It can be exhausting.

Raising capital is rarely an easy task, and for many entrepreneurs it can be a scary process – going before a panel of investors and being grilled about their business or securing a sizeable business loan on their house, can all be very stressful.

Entrepreneur’s can face immense emotional pressure and work very long hours; all the time knowing the odds are heavily stacked against them, but the one thing that allows them to turn their vision into reality is to have plenty of capital behind them, and this doesn’t have to be in the form of loans.  If you are looking for an invoice finance company you’ll be surprised by how helpful and flexible they can be; this is where a finance company offers you a loan based on invoices that are due in the future.

This article offers three suggestions for raising capital:

GET A BUSINESS LOAN

The most traditional route for setting up a small business is to get a business loan from a bank.  This is one of the most easy, reliable, and independent ways of financing your business as you retain complete control of your company, because you aren’t having to offer equity to external investors; and sometimes convincing one person can be a lot easier than multiple investors.  

The downside, however, is that this finance is usually secured on an asset such as your home.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

In some ways, the best place to look for financing your start-up are to your own savings account, yet there’s a good chance your savings have already been invested to get you this far, meaning you might need to turn to friends and family for some support.

If you have people who are open to backing your business for a small incentive (such as interest on the loan or equity in the business) this is one of the cheapest ways to raise finance, that said, it can result in a stressful experience that can ruin friendships.

CROWDFUNDING

A recent trend in raising start-up capital is crowdfunding; this is where you pitch your idea on an online platform such as www.crowdfunding.com and strangers pledge cash to back your idea.

Crowdfunding is particularly effective if your project has an element of social value about it or a sense of “giving back” as people are keen to back projects with a compelling social story.  

Reasons To Start Trading Today

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If you have a business or you are looking for a new avenue to travel down in your career, one of the things you may have thought about is trading. Trading is a simple way to do business and can be incredibly lucrative for anyone involved. If you want to become more successful this year and grow your business or personal brand, you should start trading.

A wider market

The issue many businesses have, especially during hard times in the economy, is relying on one particular market for all of your business. If you are working with a product or service which is very niche, it can be difficult to make enough of an impact to grow and develop as a company. By adding trading to your roster you will be able to spread your wings and open yourself up to a wider market. By doing this you have more financial stability and you have the chance to stand out in your industry and get ahead of your competition. You can use an automated trading software for trading if you don’t think you’ll have the time during the week to work on it.

Better chance of success

Trading is always a great way to increase your sales because you are opening yourself up to an international market. You will be in front of many more people than you were before and therefore you have a much bigger chance of successful sales. People will come to you for their needs and you will be able to gain some amazing success outside your regular sales channels.

More efficient

The beauty of trading internationally is that you will be able to sell to a wider range of people and suit a wider range of needs throughout your year. One of the biggest benefits you will see if that you will no longer have to worry about seasonal dips in sales. For example if you are a garden furniture company, you may be used to suffering from low sales during the September- February period. However, in the Southern Hemisphere this is summer, so where your sales will drop in the northern part of the world, it will peak in the southern part. Trading internationally can make a massive difference to your business and allow it to run more efficiently.

Productivity

Another great benefit of trading internationally is that your business productivity will go up dramatically without you even having to do anything. The mere presence of trading in your business will make you more productive and allow you to carry out business passively throughout the working week. More work will be done throughout you working week without having to hire an extra and or carry out lots of new jobs!

Financial stability

When you decide to bring trading in as part of your wider business, one of the advantages you will notice right away is the fact that you don’t suffer as much with any financial issues the country is facing. When you trade alongside your regular business, you are making sure that you have a stable form of income streaming through to your business throughout the year. It means that you won’t suffer from those dips in sales because you have money coming in from elsewhere. For a small business in particular this can be incredibly helpful and save you from falling through and into debt,

The ability to grow

When you put your business up in the trading market you are bringing your brand to the forefront of many different people’s minds. The beauty of being in front of a wider audience is that you will be able to gain more feedback on the workings of your products. By having more opinions on your products, you will be able to work to change your products and evolve them so that they are more successful and in keeping with what the customer wants. You will be able to grow and expand your business by pleasing your customers and giving them what they want.

When you think about getting into the world of trading, remember that it will be a risk to take however it can be a brilliant decision for yourself and your company. Trading is such a diverse way of doing business which can fit every industry. No matter what size your business is or the type of products you sell, taking part in trade can bring you in front of a bigger audience, allow you to improve your products and make more money overall. It’s a win win situation.

Fraud-Busting Ways to Protect Your Business

Being the victim of fraud can be devastating for individuals and companies alike, which is why you will want to do everything you can to stop this from happening to your business. Threats are evolving all the time as scam artists find new ways to gather personal information and deprive your company of its hard-earned cash. So, you should be doing everything that you can to ensure that your company is not swindled. Here are just a few of the best ways that you can achieve this goal.

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Understand the Different Types of Fraud

Before you do anything else, you need to understand what the different types of fraud that can affect your business are. Some of the most common include identity theft, mail fraud, employment fraud, wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. There is plenty of information online which details many of the different methods that hackers use to get access to your vital business files, as well as some common prevention methods.

Prevent Employee Fraud Losses to Your Business

Once you understand the threats you are facing, you can start to take steps to prevent the fraud losses to your business. To start off with, you can implement a system of background checks for new employees, and particularly those who have financial responsibilities of any kind. You could look at getting an ID verification service to help out in your mission. Next up, you could separate financial duties so that no one is responsible for everything.

Review Your Invoices

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You should get into a habit of reviewing your invoices, accounts payable, and purchase orders on a regular basis to make sure that they are all from real vendors. You should also check the items that you are receiving against the invoices to make sure that your suppliers are fulfilling their end of the bargain. If you handle all your accounts alone, it is very easy for something to get missed and you could end up missing out.

Deal with Cybercrime

Many of the biggest fraudulent threats facing businesses today exist in the world of the internet. First of all, you need to have your antivirus software and firewalls kept updated. You should also be wary of the details that you give out online – particularly if you have not dealt with the individual or company in the past. If anything does happen to go wrong, it is essential that all your files are backed up in a secure location.

Prevent Cash and Inventory Losses

If you run a shop or business of any kind that isn’t online, you should take extra steps to prevent cash and inventory losses. Train your employees on the art of spotting counterfeit money and stolen credit cards. Set up inventory control policies which help you to keep track of all your supplies.

Fraud is one of the most frustrating and potentially devastating negative events which can impact your business. Use these methods as a way of reducing the risks that you face.

3 Ways Introducing Loyalty Programs Can Improve Your Small Business’ Bottom Line

If you are new to the small business world, the chances are that one of your top aims for the next financial year is to improve your business’ returns. One of the most effective ways that come to mind? Well it begins and ends with your customers. With the rise and globalisation of ecommerce, businesses have seen their reach extend beyond borders. On the other hand, they have also seen a rise in competition on a worldwide scale. In addition to building great employee relationships and securing any financial risks to your business, it is incredibly important that you focus on both attracting potential customers to your new small business and of course, retaining them.

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It Can Cut Your Costs

Customer loyalty schemes and programs are a great way to help your business achieve this. It is also one option that many businesses are increasingly embracing. There is a great rationale behind this as well. It can cost businesses between 2 and 5 times more to attract new customers than it would cost to retain them. The amount of funds to be spent on advertising campaigns and market research to specifically target new customers along with introductory discounts can add up to a sizeable amount at the end of the financial year.  With the reduced spend on marketing and the increased repeat sales benefits of a successful loyalty program, you can see increased profits in no time. In the end, a low customer turnover is much more cost efficient than repeatedly attracting new customers every day.

You may have seen major corporations advertising their alternatives to this customer retention tool but it can also be applied to smaller businesses across the UK and worldwide. This goes beyond incentives such as discounts for repeat purchases and extends into your customer service as well. One thing to be noted is that loyalty programs are no longer effective being structured as they were a decade ago. In Deloitte’s 2017 Customer Loyalty survey, over 54 percent of people still valued a points based system but an increasing 32 percent of them would prefer to be given rewards that are better suited to their lifestyles and interests. So when you are considering the different customer loyalty programs to incorporate into your business, take the time to understand your customers’ expectations and your business goals.

It Can Help You Attract New Customers

It may seem counteractive but yes, focusing on retention tools can also help your business to attract new customers. Customers in the UK are increasingly loyal compared to their worldwide counterparts with65 percent considering themselves as loyal shoppersin 2017. It is therefore increasingly important to get customers to make first time purchases and have the chance to win their loyalty. A customer loyalty program can help you do this. In a study by Deloitte in 2017, over a quarter of the respondents said that a customer loyalty program would be a factor in them remaining loyal to that business or brand.

The benefits offered by the loyalty program are attractive to new customers. The idea of their purchase being rewarded every time they shop can be quite alluring to not only keeping customers but getting them in the door initially. Why choose a competitor and be rewarded for their support? Be aware that the relevance of your loyalty program is paramount. The rewards should be something your customers would appreciate and be happy with.

It Can Act Be A Great PR Tool To Build Your Brand

Great marketing and promotion can play a huge part in your income generation as a business. Using a well tailored loyalty program can improve the communication channels between you and your customers. In addition, you are able to better tailor this communication to your customers’ needs and interests including through emails and follow up offers. By recognising your customers individually, you are building a great foundation for customer satisfaction. In the end,customers will feel valued, differentiated and appreciatedfor their choice in shopping with your business.

Happy customers are a significant aim for all business  regardless of size. Positive word of mouth from satisfied customers is one the most powerful marketing tools a business can employ. Positive messages can improve a business’ market share by up to 20 percent in two years. On the other hand, a dissatisfied or unappreciated customer can tell up to 15 people about their experience. This tackles both aims of attracting new customers through word of mouth and also keeping current customers happy to encourage repeat business.

There are a variety of strategies you can adapt to achieve a better bottom line for your business. These three ways are great examples of why a customer loyalty program would be an essential strategy to include in your plans for business and profit growth. Customers are a key part of any business and encouraging their loyalty should be a priority.

PASSIVE-INCOME BUSINESS IDEAS ‘GUARANTEED’ TO MAKE YOU MONEY

Many of us still think that starting a business means we need a certain degree of capital, money or goods upfront, but in the digital world of ecommerce these things are not always necessary. A case in point is dropshipping whereby the retailer doesn’t actually keep goods in stock but acts as a conduit to transfer customer orders and shipment details to a supplier who then ships the product directly to the customer.

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There are many benefits to dropshipping both in terms of income, no requirements for stock and low risk and reading around the topic will give you a picture of how dropshipping works. Once you have assessed this by researching and understanding the concept you will want to take the first steps towards setting up your business.

For entrepreneurs who want to make money without a big investment this model is ideal, and this type of business is flexible and can wrap around other jobs or commitments that people may have. In addition, setting up and starting to run a shop is relatively straightforward particularly when combined with an essential dropshipping app to enhance and simplify the process. Just make sure you truly understand what dropshipping is before diving in head first.

OBERLO

One such dropshipping app is Oberlo which provides an effective tool to assist with dropshipping and enables integration of products from a number of suppliers to your shop to create an even simpler and more streamlined service.

Oberlo provide comprehensive guidance on how to set up your shop on ‘Shopify’ which is one of the premier ecommerce platforms used for setting up a dropshipping business. The platform is easy to use and doesn’t require any prior technical expertise and entails a number of steps including creation of a name and account and designing that all-important look for your shop prior to launching.

WHAT TO SELL IN YOUR STORE

Once you have completed the steps needed to set up your shop, you will need to begin to add products so that you can start to reap the financial benefits of dropshipping, and this is the point to install the Oberlo app which works as a platform to import dropshipped goods into your Shopify store and is the leading app on the market.

OBERLO PRODUCT SUGGESTIONS

Oberlo have created a guide with a range of great suggestions for what to sell in your shop and methods you can use to find out what might be the best items to include, and the site also lists a number of unique products such as moon lamps, gold-plated flowers, dog water bottles and puzzle mugs to name a few suggestions.

DROPSHIPPING SKILLSET

Typical skills that an dropshipping entrepreneur will need include sales, marketing, customer service, creativity and time manangement to name a few, but the beauty of this kind of business is that with perseverance and determination to succeed some of the skills needed can be developed en route to becoming a successful dropshipping entrepreneur!