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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tips for Home-Based Entrepreneurs Looking for Angel or Venture Capital (VC) Funding

Tips for Home-Based Entrepreneurs Looking for Angel or Venture Capital (VC) Funding

Know your investor: Investors are typically intrigued by companies that fall within current trends, but that is not always the case. Different angel and venture capitalists are looking for different things, and most have a track record of the

A favorite VC saying is, "investors would rather have a second rate product with a first rate management team...

type of company, and even rate of return, they are looking for so—do your homework and know who you are pitching to.

Know what they like: Investors want to see that your product/service not only fits a market, but also stands out amongst the competition. Without proper market research, a unique selling proposition, and a solid marketing plan, investors will be wary in investing in your idea.

Focus on creating a first rate management team: If your management team is not educated about the product and its market, it poses a great risk to the investors. A favorite VC saying is, "investors would rather have a second rate product with a first rate management team than a first rate product with a second rate management team."

Have a great pitch: Your pitch should be short, straightforward, and clearly articulate the value proposition of the company. Start with a quick elevator pitch which should include basic information on the product and its market.

Have a great presentation: After your pitch, include a visual presentation to go into further detail. Keep it simple and don’t use too much text. Investors are interested in how they will see a return on their investment. The better they can visualize this, the better your chances are for getting investments.

Stay Focused: Be approachable and on target with your key points. Remember, you’re not just selling your company; you’re also selling yourself.

Get some cash flow before raising capital: Show potential investors that your product or service has already produced a little capital. It will speak volumes of your likelihood for success if you can show that you already have paying customers or a positive cash flow.

Think realistically: Different venture groups will have a different rate of return based on the type of investor. Know your market: how big is it, who are the competitors, how you are differentiated. Find an investor who is familiar with your industry.

Use your resources: The Internet is full of resources. There are business coaches, matching services, university classes, local angel groups, business incubators and entrepreneur forums with strong education programs and workshops that are open to the public. Also, try speaking or networking with other successful entrepreneurs.

Learn from your failures: The biggest mistake you can make is to not learn from your mistakes. Learn from every situation, continue to practice your pitch and strategy, and keep moving forward. HBM

Christopher Lynch is the Vice-President of Business and Economic Development for the Irvine Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Lynch oversees the Irvine Chamber’s programs to promote tourism as well as to attract, retain and incubate businesses in Irvine. He is also the founder of the Irvine Entrepreneur Forum (, and is an economic expert who works with different investor groups to teach start-ups on how/what they should present to receive money for their businesses.  View the original article here

Forget the Bad Economy in Buidling a Home-Based Business

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3 Ways to Boost Profits NOW!

By Nathan Jamail    

Many companies are not choosing to participate in the “recession.” They are choosing to take control of their company’s economy. There are three areas to focus on in order to make your own economy:

Three areas to focus on in order to make your own economy:

1. Fight the “Power of New”: Company leaders who are willing to do what they know and fight the “power of new” will truly win by increasing profits. The “power of new” is the event when the leaders implement a new program and after 60 days the newness of it has worn off and it starts to look like a lot of work. Fighting the “power of new” takes a strong leader and commitment to keeping the team excited and motivated.
2. Go Back to the Basics: In this recession, it’s going to take great leaders to get down to the basics: commitment to practicing; coaching the team; holding team members accountable to getting to the next level; and team building.

3. Focus: While other organizations worry about how to hold out until this “economic downturn” is over, the winning companies will focus on how to take advantage of the current economy and will implement their own “economic stimulus package.
The economy can be the greatest excuse for failure or the greatest motivator to succeed.  The choice is yours! HBM

Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group and author of "The Sales Leaders Playbook," is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former Executive Director for Sprint, and business owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. His clients include Radio Shack, Nationwide Insurance, Metro PCS, and Century 21. To book Nathan, visit or contact 972-377-0030.   View the original article here

Ten Ways to Keep Cash Flow Problems from Putting You Out of Business

Staying in the Money in Your Home-Based Business

By Tage Tracy and John A. Tracy

Every small business owner knows the trouble that comes with managing the ins and outs (pun intended!) of cash flow. You can have tons of loyal customers and be an expert at getting new business and still be kept awake at night with cash flow worries. Cash flow is an issue that can send good businesses to their graves.

When you have the proper systems in place and know what to look for, you can keep cash flowing, helping you to grow a successful business.

     Cash flow problems have a habit of sneaking up on a business, especially in a rocky economy. If a business is earning a profit, many business managers simply assume that cash flow is satisfactory. But even if profit is good, cash flow can be bad.
Cash flows pose an unending challenge to business owners and managers because they have to be carefully managed. Read on to learn what you can do to make 2012 the year of the cash flow reboot for your business.

Respect and understand financial statements. According to some surveys, 25 percent of businesses don’t even maintain accounting records (let alone produce financial statements). The bottom line for small business owners is simple.  If you don’t make an effort to prepare, review, and completely understand your financial statements, then you need to ask yourself why you’re in business in the first place. And this especially holds true for the statement of cash flows, because an abundance of invaluable information is available from this most commonly overlooked and mismanaged financial statement.
Plan, do projections, and plan some more. Proper planning is essential to the launch, growth, management, and ultimate success of your business as measured by the ability to generate profits and, just as important, to avoid running out of cash. Having access to sound financial plans structured for different operating scenarios is an absolute must.  

Focus on capital and cash—the lifeblood of your business. One of the most common reasons small businesses fail is that they lack adequate cash or capital, not only to survive difficult times, but also to prosper during growth opportunities.
Remember, one of the greatest losses a small business can realize is that of lost opportunity, which has its roots in not being prepared to properly capitalize on market opportunities.  The harsh reality is that this great loss is never accounted for or presented in any way, shape, or form on the business’s financial statements. Rather, missed market and business opportunities lurk in the torturous thought, “Imagine what I could have achieved! “

Understand your selling cycle. The length of the complete selling cycle is often much longer than the aspiring entrepreneur projects and/or wants to believe.
The selling cycle in its entirety spans the time from the very start of the process when a product or service is first visualized and developed to supporting customers after the sale and developing additional products or services that may be in demand.  And if not properly managed, the selling cycle generally becomes one of the largest consumers of cash in a business. Without fail, almost every aspiring business owner, at one point or another, will experience delays in the selling cycle.  

Manage your disbursements cycle. To counteract the selling cycle cash consumption machine, businesses need to understand that the disbursement cycle (managing expenditures and cash payments to vendors, employees, and other creditors) can be leveraged and managed to be a primary source of cash for your business. Invoke what’s called the matching principle.  That is, similar to properly matching revenue and expenses to ensure that an accurate measurement of a business’s profit or loss is obtained, you should be able to match cash inflows and outflows.
Be creative to generate cash. The following three areas offer significant opportunities for creativity when looking to improve cash flows:
1. Turn your assets over more quickly. The more quickly you can turn over assets, the more quickly they turn into cash. It’s as simple as that.
2. Leverage your vendors, suppliers, and financing sources. They don’t want to lose your business, so placing just the right amount of leverage on these groups can result in enhanced cash flows because liabilities offer a source of cash.
3. Manage external sources of cash proactively. Proactively manage your relationships with banks, leasing companies, and even the federal government to ensure that cash is made available when needed.

Balance the balance sheet. Many businesses overlook the concept of properly managing the financial structure of their balance sheet, which has gotten more than a few businesses in trouble. Your business needs to strike a proper balance between making sure that current assets are financed or supported with current liabilities,  and making sure that long-term assets are financed or supported with long-term sources of capital such as a five-year note payable or equity. Every business should strive to achieve a financial condition that ensures constant maintenance of adequate levels of both solvency — the ability to pay all just debts — and liquidity — the ability to quickly access cash to support business operations.  

Understand external capital markets. When it comes to external capital markets, think well ahead. In today’s economic climate, it takes a long time to identify external sources of capital and to secure them. So plan well ahead to make sure that you’ll have cash available when needed, because it’s not a process you can rush.

Protect cash at all times. Cash has a unique characteristic unlike other assets that makes it highly susceptible to additional risk of loss: Cash is an extremely liquid and marketable asset.

Always think of CART. CART equals complete, accurate, reliable, and timely. Your company’s financial and accounting information system needs to produce complete, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information, reports, data, and so on, which management can use to make informed business decisions. 

When you have the proper systems in place and know what to look for, you can keep cash flowing, helping you to grow a successful business.  Let 2012 be the year you place a renewed focus on properly managing your cash flows.  HBM

Tage C. Tracy is principal owner of TMK & Associates, an accounting, financial, and strategic business planning consulting firm. John A. Tracy is professor of accounting at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the author of Accounting For Dummies®. Cash Flow For Dummies® (Wiley, 2011, ISBN: 978-1-1180-1850-7, $26.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 762-2974. 

How to Avoid Bad Debts

Here’s a quick checklist that will help you avoid bad debts in the first place.

1)    Publish a written credit policy to all of your customers.

2)    Don’t bend the rules—if you do it once, your customers will expect it again and again.

3)    Insist on personal guarantees if your customer’s business is new, or you’re unsure about the business’s history.

4)    Use a credit application to get to know the customer’s business. Outline the consequences of not paying the debt in the document — such as the responsibility for attorney’s fees and the maximum allowable interest rate—and then have the customer sign it.

5)    If the debt is large enough, attach collateral to it. This could be the product itself, or something else of value. Get it in writing. HBM
Suzanne Kearns has been a full-time writer for 20 years. She specializes in writing about small and home-based business issues and writes website copy, articles of all types, and books — both under her name and as a ghostwriter. In addition, she blogs and ghostblogs for numerous sites. She can be reached at

View the original article here

5 Financial Tips for the Home-Based Entrepreneur

5 Financial Tips for the Home-Based Entrepreneur

By Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, Inc.

    Here are 5 financial tips that will help entrepreneurs be more successful in their business ventures:

1.    Build an emergency fund. Before you even start your business, you should make sure that you have a nest egg to fall back on since most new business owners struggle the first few years.

Financial advise for the busy home business business owner.

2.    Manage the cash flow. The money has to keep flowing in, or business will come to a halt. Also make sure that if you have a business that’s seasonal, that you save for the times when business is slow.

3.    Skip the office. If possible, work out of a home office as long as possible. A portion of the business related expenses may be deductible on your tax return.

4.    Take advantage of retirement plans. You may be able to put away significantly more tax deductible contributions into a SEP IRA, Single 401(k) plan, or a defined benefit plan depending on your corporate structure and profits.

5.    Work with a tax advisor. Work closely with a Certified Public Accountant who specializes in working with small business owners to help decrease their taxes and to keep them in compliance with the IRS. HBM

Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, Inc., has provided financial management strategies and investment services since 1981. The company also offers professional women’s financial planning services, led by Samantha Fraelich, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional. Visit the website at View the original article here

Additional Tax Assistance Options for Your Business

Additional Tax Assistance Options for Your Business

If you would like to get the advantages of having a professional do your taxes, but you feel you cannot afford it, there are still options.

    You may be able to hire an accounting student to prepare your taxes as a much less rate than an actual accountant. You will still be receiving professional preparation, and a knowledgeable preparer, but you will not have to pay as much for the service. Many accounting college students are willing to assist you with answering questions and helping you find the answers you need.

    You may even want to expand your own accounting knowledge. The field of accounting is a solid choice for those who would like a strong career choice, good earnings potential, and plenty of opportunity to work for themselves. Stratford University offers a variety of degree and non-degree programs in the areas of business and accounting, including a diploma, certificate, associate degree, and master’s degree. The programs in business and accounting are offered both on campus and completely online. Those interested in studying accounting can contact Stratford University to take a tour, meet with staff, and learn more about their accounting programs. HBM


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