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Traditional sources of financing business such as bank loans pose a challenge to small and medium businesses. In particular, innovative, new, and fast growing enterprises with higher risk profiles can’t get the funds they need from conventional sources.  The same is the case for firms in transition like those in the process of changing ownership or control.

Every business needs funding at different stages such as when starting, embarking on a new project, during expansion or when finding its footing following losses. External financing in the form of just right loans is the most suitable means of achieving these objectives. In fact, external financing is essential to start, meet operating expenses such as payroll and inventory, and to grow the business.

Challenges of obtaining a bank loan for enterprises

Financing is a major hurdle facing most enterprises. Yet, many entrepreneurs are intimidated by the prospect of obtaining funds from the traditional sources, especially the banks. This is because these institutions set high lending standards which few enterprises can meet.

The situation is such that it is difficult for small businesses to find, request for, and obtain financing. Most financial experts think that this problem stems from the fact that most enterprises don’t take time to prepare for the process. They say that the issues around bank loans can be sorted out through due diligence.

This means that entrepreneurs looking to obtain external financing must have all the necessary documents needed by the lenders. This may work for established business. However, the problem remains for innovative, newer, and fast growing enterprises with higher risk profiles.

Alternative sources of Entrepreneurship Financing

To overcome the challenge of obtaining financing from conventional sources, many entrepreneurs are exploring new approaches to funding. This means that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who think outside the box. They think creatively about what they have to offer and also how to secure funding.

They know relationships are the key to securing funding, so the develop quality networks. Their approach is to sell themselves, more than what they have to offer, to secure all alternative sources of financing. Also, they remain open minded and never rule out any approach.

Some of the top new approaches include-

Personal financing

The most successful entrepreneurs use their own resources to start the business. They save money over time and grow a fund they can use to start the venture. They also know that no investor will finance a deal where the entrepreneur has no financial stake in it. Personal financing is necessary to get the idea off the ground.

Personal credit lines

Credit cards come to the rescue of many small businesses. They are easy to get because they don’t need a lot of credit history. In fact, there are many startups that have used this approach. The main benefit is that the entrepreneur retains complete control and ownership while meeting the minimum payments.

IRA financing

The Investment Retirement Account monies and 401k’s are among the most accessible alternative financing sources for new businesses today. An entrepreneur can easily find many people willing to loan them money from their funds for the right terms. However, the entrepreneur must sell themselves and their idea to the lenders.

Microloans

There are private lenders and non-profit organizations that offer small business loans. These can be useful to entrepreneurs who can’t qualify for bank loans. Also, they are suitable for micro business.

Online lenders are useful for entrepreneurs who lack collateral, need financing quickly and lack a track record.

Crowdfunding

The internet has revolutionized the way many things are done including business funding. Now entrepreneurs can find a group of likeminded people who can back their businesses through small contributions. This approach is evolving beyond non-profits and will soon include small equity investments.

Peer to peer financing

In this approach, a group of peers comes together to help each other financially. This approach can be used for a wide variety of financial needs. Entrepreneurs can use it to find successful peers willing to finance them.

Vendor financing

In this approach, the entrepreneur talks the manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services into deferring their payments until the products are sold. This can lead to an extension of payment terms to a duration of months or longer. However, this depends on the entrepreneur’s creditworthiness and payment of additional fees.

Purchase order financing

Purchase order financing firms enable new businesses to overcome scaling problems. Most startups are unable to accept large orders because of lack of funds to make and deliver the products. Purchase order financing firms provide the needed amounts of cash directly to the suppliers. This enables the deal to be closed, and profit to accrue to the new business.

Account receivables

This approach is similar to purchase order financing. The difference is that the funds are provided to cover unpaid balances not yet due or received from clients. This approach is useful for high volume new business beginning to scale up. It provides the funds on the sales immediately instead of waiting for payment which can stretch from 30 -60 days or longer.

Family and friends

Many successful entrepreneurs tap into this resource. Usually, the commitments are positioned in writing as bridge loans or promissory notes. These can be converted to equity at a rate decided by other investors later on.

In conclusion

Every business needs funding at various stages such as when starting, embarking on a new project, during expansion or when finding its footing following losses. External financing in the form of loans is the most suitable means of achieving these objectives.

 Yet, traditional lending institutions have set high lending standards which few enterprises can meet. To overcome this challenge of obtaining financing from conventional sources, many entrepreneurs are exploring new approaches to funding.

They think creatively about what they have to offer and also how to secure funding. Their approach is to sell themselves, more than what they have to offer, to secure all alternative sources of financing. Also, they remain open minded and never rule out any approach.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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How To Manage A Team Working Remotely

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Once upon a time, practically all businesses were run on a local scale, meaning that they were within a short distance of their core consumer group. Even the largest, most expansive firms in the country have broken their territory up into smaller regions, cities, and zones. Through the use of eCommerce solutions, remote working, and outsourcing, modern firms are no longer constrained by their physical locations. This has allowed the wheels of industry to continue rolling.

In point of fact, the time has come when a proprietor of a company may now conduct their entire operation from the comfort of their own home and the benefits of a distributed workforce

 are now more commonly known.

Let us get started with our discussion of how to manage remote workers.

Improve the efficiency of communication

You may probably guess that clear and concise communication is one of the most important aspects of managing a workforce that is geographically dispersed. The very last thing you want is for anything significant to be lost in the shuffle as a result of a mistake that was made with the logistics.

As a result of this, it is of the utmost importance that you establish a clear chain of command and make every effort to simplify and expedite your communication process. You do not want your workers to be uncertain about who they should report to or where they should deliver paperwork, do you?

Establish early on how you intend to conduct business, and then modify your approach only when it makes logical sense to do so. Your team will not benefit from continual upheaval in any way.

Place emphasis on the big picture.

How do you plan to make sure that everyone is on the same page? Paying attention to the whole context is one of the most effective responses to that query. Not just the deadlines and information that they “need to know,” but also the end goal of their job should be communicated to the members of your team.

The likelihood of your employees becoming interested in the various projects they are working on increases in proportion to the amount of involvement they have in the firm as a whole.

Use modern tech

It ought to go without saying, but it is important to emphasize that managers should make use of the most cutting-edge technology available in order to link the members of their teams. Skype, Zoom, and other video chat platforms to assist in maintaining continuity despite the large distances that separate them.

The use of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems in establishments such as hospitals, legal firms, and private schools will make it possible for members of the team to share vital information instantly.

Keep in mind that managers have a responsibility to encourage their staff to investigate all of the possibilities and benefits that current technology offers. It is a waste of resources to invest a significant amount of money on a communication or software programme that is not utilized to the maximum possible degree. Remember to keep this in mind prior to making any more investments.

Face to face meetings

When it comes to bringing your team together for regular meetings, video chat is an upgrade over phone calls; but, neither of these options is as beneficial as having everyone in the room together in person. Create recurring activities in which all of your employees may interact with one another and spend time together. When people like one another, or at the very least have a healthy mutual regard for one another, they are able to collaborate more effectively.

A frequent “catch up” session with the team might involve either work or play. The culture of the team is an essential component in the process of constructing a company in which all employees, irrespective of their location, respond to clients in the same manner, utilizing the same templates, and communicate in the same manner.

The culture of your company, which includes how your employees interact with one another and with customers, is shaped from the very top, by the person who owns the firm. Maintaining a positive reputation for your company depends on providing consistently high-quality customer service. Now that the majority of business is conducted online and is less dependent on foot traffic, the way in which we collaborate has altered, which has produced issues for the management of the team.

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How To Scale Your Business In 10 Steps

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It’s no secret that businesses today face more challenges than ever before. In order to stay afloat and thrive in today’s economy, businesses need to be able to scale their operations effectively.

The good news is that there are a few key things you can do to make sure your business is able to scale successfully. In this article, we’ll go over ten essential tips for scaling your business effectively.

1. Define Your Target Market

The first step to scaling your business effectively is to define your target market. Without a clear target market, it will be very difficult to focus your efforts and resources in a way that will allow you to scale effectively.

2. Know Your Costs

Another important factor to consider when scaling your business is your costs. It’s important to have a clear understanding of all the costs associated with running your business, such as overhead costs, production costs, and marketing costs.

3. Streamline Your Processes

Another important tip for scaling your business is to streamline your processes. When you’re first starting out, it’s common to have a lot of different processes and procedures in place that may not be entirely necessary.

4. Invest in automation

Investing in automation is another great way to scale your business effectively. Automation can help you save time and money by taking care of tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually.

5. Focus on Your Core Competencies

When you’re scaling your business, it’s important to focus on your core competencies. These are the areas of your business that you’re most skilled at and that provide the most value to your customers.

6. Delegate and Outsource

As your business grows, it’s important to delegate tasks and outsource work to other people. This will allow you to focus on your core competencies and leave the less important tasks to others. For example, you may need to involve Het Vertaalbureau to assist with translation of your website and documentation.

7. Get Feedback from Your Customers

Another great way to scale your business effectively is to get feedback from your customers. This feedback can help you improve your products or services and make sure you’re meeting the needs of your target market.

8. Focus on Your Marketing

Marketing is another important aspect of scaling your business effectively. When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to focus all of your attention on the product or service you’re offering.

9. Expand Your Team

As your business grows, you’ll need to expand your team. This means hiring new employees or contractors to help you with the additional work.

10. Keep Your Costs Low

One of the most important tips for scaling your business is to keep your costs low. This means finding ways to save money on overhead, inventory, and other expenses. There are a number of different ways to save money, so it’s important to find the ones that work best for your business. You can negotiate with suppliers, use cheaper materials, or find other ways to reduce your costs.

In Closing

By following these ten steps, you can effectively scale your business while still maintaining a high level of quality. Automation, delegation, and feedback are key to success. Keep your costs low, focus on your marketing, and keep moving forward. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to scaling your business effectively.

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How To Make SEO Work for Your Business

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When businesses want to get noticed on the internet, they usually turn to something like search engine optimization (SEO) so that their business appears higher on Google searches. SEO can be a wonderful way to help your business grow on the internet. It’s been tried and tested by plenty of businesses, and there’s no denying the power that it has.

But with that said, trying to make SEO work for your business can be tricky. It takes a lot of time and effort in order to make it work, and you need to pour a considerable amount of effort into making content that appeals to Google’s search bots. So before you start investing precious time into your website’s content, here are some considerations to keep in mind on how to make SEO work for your business.

Focus on creating content instead of designing your website

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when designing their website is focusing too much time on the look of their website. Sure, making your website look fancy with loads of unique transitions and animations can attract some people, but those are the wrong things to focus on if you want to get noticed by Google’s search bots.

Instead of focusing on the design and look of your website, focus on the content you have. After all, Google’s algorithm will take content into consideration when deciding on your search rankings–they really don’t care about how your website looks. This is where it helps to focus on content marketing so that you know exactly what kind of keywords to focus on and the types of content you should be making to appeal to a wider audience.

Be consistent with creating content

And if you do focus on content marketing as a priority, you’ll want to try and be consistent with your content releases. Google values websites that regularly update their pages with new content. It’s more stuff to rank, there’s more space for keywords, and it ultimately provides more value to your customers as long as the content is useful somehow. It could be guides and how to use your products, or it could be an FAQ on using your services. As long as you’re creating content on a fairly consistent basis, you’ll have a much easier time getting noticed.

To make this easier, you may want to consider hiring a writer. It doesn’t need to be a full-time employee and can just be a freelancer or even an outsourced service. This will save you a lot of time when writing content for your website.

Consider working with an SEO agency

All of this sounds great and can greatly improve your SEO efforts, but you could just as easily leave all the decisions to a reputable service such as Sofia Marketing. This will take a lot of the responsibility off your hands and you’ll find it much easier to create content that consistently helps your website rank higher. They’ll also help you with technical SEO aspects such as designing your website to work on mobile devices in addition to desktops.

Simply put, SEO agencies can make things a lot easier in the long run. Whether it’s finding the right writers to make valuable content or helping you choose the right keywords to target, their expertise and guidance will be invaluable when you want to get the most out of your SEO efforts.

Choose topics and keywords to focus on

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to pick some keywords and topics to focus on for your SEO efforts. For example, your business might want to specialize in appealing to a certain kind of demographic, so you’d research various topics and keywords that the group is more likely to search for. Keyword research can take a lot of time, but it’s something that can be made a lot easier with help from a marketing service. There are also plenty of keyword tools that you can use to help identify strong keywords to focus on.

Identify what your website will be used for

And lastly, figure out what your website will be used for in the long run. This can help drastically improve the user experience and will help you give a purpose to your content because you know who you’re trying to appeal to. If you know exactly what your website is going to be used for, then it cuts out a lot of the decision-making and helps you laser focus your efforts to optimize your time.

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