What Is The Best Online Business to Start?

You might think that if the economy is so bad, what hope have I got with an internet business or digital business. Well, the first thing to remember is that a digital business has to potential to sell products and services to people from all over the world. So the best online business to start is one that has a wide appeal – although not too wide as the competition might be too strong.To start an internet business you do not need a lot of technical skills nor do you need to spend a lot of money to get started. But what is the best online business to start?Start an online business about something that you are interested inThe best online business to start is one that is about something that interests you. It is going to be very challenging for you to keep your enthusiasm going if you are trying to start a business about, say, computer games, and you have no interest in computer games what so ever. When you start your own online business you are going to have good days when everything goes right and days when everything goes wrong. When things go wrong or when people get stuck, it is normally the time that people give up on their business idea. But, if you enjoy and believe in your product or service you will be more determined to keep going.Make your online business easy to understandWhen people look for information on products or services on the internet they jump from website to website very quickly. You have to make sure that when somebody visits your website that they can instantly see and understand the benefits of the products or services that you are offering. Your products and services should solve problems for your target audience, or make life easier for them. If they do not see how your business will help them, they will move on to another website, never to return.The best online business to start will need some investmentIt is important to remember that your online business is a business and not a hobby. Some people still think that they can somehow have some sort of website that will cost them nothing but earn them millions. These ‘push button, get rich quick’ programs do not work. Whilst the set up costs for a legitimate internet business are a lot less than a traditional bricks and mortar business, it will need investment for such items as a website, hosting, marketing and training and education.Proven success recordIf you have been looking on the internet for the best online business to start, you will have found many different and tempting business proposals. Before you jump in, do check a few things. Make sure you check the quality of the product or service that you are going to promote. Ideally you should buy it to test it yourself to make sure that it is a genuine and viable product. Check the history of the business. Look into their previous and present sales data, their marketing systems and other people’s experiences with them. Remember that your online reputation is very important and if you try and sell rubbish, it will be very difficult to repair a tarnished reputation.Education and trainingThe best online business to start is one that provides you with regular training and updates to ensure that you can provide the best possible value to your customers. It is also important to have a mentor. This person will be able to guide you and help you avoid any mistakes that will have made when they started their business. Your business will find success quicker with proper guidance.Finding the best online business to start does require some work upfront and there is no ‘one size fits’ all solution. However, if you follow the points above you will be well on your way to online business success.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

How the Right Clothes Can Make the Man

Ask any fashionista if clothes are an important part of our identity and they will probably talk about how vital style is to their success. To break it down a little further and step away from high fashion and instead focus on the man in the street, how important are his clothing choices? Was Mark Twain right in saying “the clothes make the man” and has this adage been taken too literally of late? Everything that we do has a cause and effect impact on the world, so in that aspect our clothes will to some degree have an effect on how we are treated by others, but in what way?A simple example can be found at a high-end Michelin-starred restaurant. Unless your face is immediately recognisable as being wealthy and successful, it will often be your clothes that the host or waiter makes their decisions on and, if you’re not wearing the right clothes to a restaurant or nightclub, then the chances are you won’t get in. Call it ‘power dressing’ or dressing to impress, but the fact is that a man’s clothes determine how society sees him, this is something that women probably got to grips with a lot earlier than most men too.We’ve all heard the expression ‘first impressions count’, and it is absolutely true; as the average stranger takes no more than 30 seconds to assess another stranger on first meeting them, and this impression can then take up to five years to erase. You can forget the other saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’, as anyone in publishing will tell you that it’s the covers that make the books stand out on the shelf.Obviously Hollywood has taken this idea a little too far, with movies like Jackie Chan’s ‘The Tuxedo’, where a down-and-out cab driver’s life is turned around thanks to the discovery of a technologically advanced tuxedo, and obviously James Bond has been known to pick particular threads too. To find serious real-world examples, you don’t have to look far. Politics is full of power dressing, where subtle messages are portrayed in candidate’s clothing choice, like Gordon Brown’s persistent red tie, or George W Bush’s choice of slightly oversized suit jackets to larger his appearance. In the first Kennedy-Nixon presidential race, radio listeners favoured Nixon thanks to his authoritative voice, while TV watchers favoured Kennedy as he looked fresh-faced compared to Nixon’s tired and unconsidered choice of mens clothes.To really understand how clothes can make a man’s appearance though, you can think back to childhood fairytales like ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ or try a simple test. Picture in your head the manager of a petrol station, and then picture the manager of a successful advertising agency. The two managers might be in charge of the same number of people and earn the same salary, but they will probably be dressed pretty differently.