Getting a Small Business Loan – Will It Ever Be Possible?

With continuing talk of the UK and global economies facing challenging times into the foreseeable future many entrepreneurs are concerned as to how much support they can expect from their banks.

There are numerous stories of business owners suddenly finding their bank facilities taken away, previously friendly bank managers turning into the latest enemy, or being dealt a blow with a dramatic increase in fees or interest rates. Whereas previously loans were being granted in a reasonable time frame it’s not unheard of to be faced with a discussion with banks that can go on for months.

But don’t despair! It seems that banks are slowly dipping a toe back into the market, but bank attitudes have shifted – there is much more focus on serviceability… ‘demonstrate to me that you can repay your loan even if times get tough for you.’

Despite a tougher regime there are still some actions you can take to get the bank on your side.

Review What Your Business is About

All the best plans change as the general business climate changes. Nothing ever stays still and the businesses which will survive know that their market, and the way they do business, never stagnates.

As we start coming out of the economic darkness, and before you think about approaching your bank, now is the time to fundamentally examine where your business is today. How did you deal with the rough times? Has your market changed, even slightly, over the last two years? Are customer’s expectations different? Have recent events dented the confidence or purchasing ability of your target market? Will your customers be thinking twice about ordering your all-singing-and-dancing product? Will they no longer be able to accept your high price even taking into account your quality service? Have your costs significantly increased rendering your idea or business unprofitable?

You must not make the assumption that because your business model was viable two years ago that it is still viable today. Be wise enough to re-look at all the underlying factors that delivered a successful business.

Approaching the bank with a business model which has not been reviewed to take into account the lessons learned, is not going to get you the answer you want.

Write a Business Plan

So many business owners still don’t write a Business Plan; they don’t see the value of investing time in researching and writing one. Even in the good times banks liked to see a Plan but now, when banks need more persuading than ever to say ‘yes’, a Business Plan is essential.

Whilst many regard Business Plans as documents written solely for the bank this is not the case. A Business Plan must be seen as a tool which can act as a convincer for the bank and as a control and check for you. A well researched Plan will help you understand the pitfalls of your new venture or expansion; it will highlight the flaws in your thinking and potentially save you from making an expensive mistake.

Before you approach the bank commit time and resources to writing a Business Plan; it may be less painful than you think.

Know Your Business Inside Out

The bank is not going to rely solely on your Business Plan when it assesses your loan request. Many small business owners fail to understand that the bank is lending to them, not the business. You are the business.

In assessing whether your business has the capacity to repay the bank will want to find out as much as they can about you and how well you know your business. This means lots of probing questions. You must be prepared for this. You must research all aspects of your business; you must know your Business Plan inside out; you must know all the key financial aspects of your business.

Testing serviceability of the loan is one of the key assessment criteria. Do you know whether you afford to repay the loan if interest rates went up by 4% or your sales fell by 10%? Test your assumptions under different scenarios; the bank will, so be prepared to beat them to it by having the answers to hand.

Prepare in advance by thinking about what the manager is likely to ask you. What would you want to know about a business if someone was asking you to invest your hard earned cash? Once you have these questions, find out the answers.

Have Something to Lose

The bank will only want to support committed entrepreneurs. These are people who have committed not only their time but also their financial resources. If you want the bank to support your business then you have to show you are prepared to lose something if it all goes wrong. Asking the bank to take all the financial risk is not going to get you the loan. You must be prepared to put your money or other personal assets on the line. After all, if you don’t believe enough in your business to risk your assets, why would you expect the bank to?

Before you approach the bank for a loan, examine your personal commitment to the business; does it look compelling enough to an outsider? Seeing what you are prepared to lose will help the manager come up with a fair assessment of your commitment to making your idea work.

Talk to Your Bank Manager

If you are already borrowing and your business has suffered over the last year you must ensure that you don’t adopt the ostrich position – head in the sand. Problems do not go away by themselves, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself.

If your problems are affecting the business then one of the first people you need to see is your bank manager. The old saying, ‘Forewarned is forearmed’ is so true. No one likes surprises sprung on them and a banker is no different. You must share your concerns. Hiding away from the bank is no solution. A lack of facts or being kept in the dark is a sure way of creating panic and this can lead to incorrect and disastrous decisions being made. Avoid this by talking and informing.

This regular flow of communication is vital if you are likely to need more bank support in the future. How you handle your relationship today is how you and your business will be perceived tomorrow.

Banks can be known for making life tough but you have a part to play. Make it easier for the bank to support you by providing them with all the necessary information they need so that you come across as a business owner worthy of support.

AdSense for Business

So what pays you money without you paying a cent? Hint: Google. Extra income can be made using AdSense for your business. This article will run through what AdSense is, how your small business website can use AdSense to make money by promoting businesses/services relevant to your business and also offer some inside secrets to get the most from AdSense to supplement your online business earnings. That’s right, Google can make you money.

So lets get started:

What is AdSense?

In very basic terms AdSense is a software application from Google that allows you to put code on your website that creates ads. These ads are chosen by Google based on your website content and visitors. For instance if you have a fishing blog website and you put AdSense on there then Google will look through fishing websites who have signed with their AdSense program. Google then places these fishing business ads on your website.

How Do You Earn Money Using AdSense?

AdSense can be great for your business in supplementing your income with no outlay. Every time someone clicks the ads on your website you get a commission. People will click ads when they don’t find the information on your site/blog but see an ad that is giving them the info they want. Easy right!

Who Should Use AdSense?

Anyone can use AdSense and start earning money straight away. I know people who earn $10k a month from AdSense! Of course the more websites you have displaying ads the more chance you are of someone clicking your ads. Businesses and individuals who use blogging tend to do very well with AdSense.

AdSense Business Rules

Caution: not everyone will get approved to use AdSense. If your online business is adult related or is selling guns, liquor or tobacco then you will not be approved. Make sure you are a good Google AdSense citizen and:

– Do not click on your own ads
– Do not get friends or family to click your ads
– Make sure you don’t have multiple domains with the same content.

AdSense for Business Inside Tricks

Make sure you are getting plenty of traffic to your business website before you monetize i.e. put AdSense on there. There’s no point having relevant ads for people to click if no one is visiting your website. Getting traffic to your website or blog takes time and concerted and consistent effort to achieve search engine optimisation.

If you want AdSense to work for your business online marketing then ditch the default colours and use colours that are the same as your website background. Use 336 x 280 size ads. These are optimum for clicking.

Make sure your website or blog sticks to the main topic of the site. For example if it is all about weight loss then just write content on weight loss. This will ensure that only relevant ads appear. And make sure you post content or blog regularly to build credibility.

How Do You Get Started With AdSense for Business?

– Create an account with Google
– Go to Google search page and type in AdSense
– Click manage ads
– Click AdSense for content
– Where it says manage channels, this is where you put in your domain name.
– Get the code and put it into your website
– Start earning

It’s that easy. AdSense can be highly profitable for business. If you want a complete blueprint to earning loads of money through AdSense then this step by step AdSense guide is a must to start living the dream.

The Staffing Business – Inside The World Of Your Recruiter

There is no Series 7 of recruiting, and yet the industry has the potential to be as lucrative as the field of finance. Even though experts believe that the staffing business dates back to ancient Egypt, it did not get rolling in its modern form until WWII, when a shortage of male workers became a problem for businesses looking to hire throughout the U.S.

However, even after the end of the War, the recruiting industry continued its streak of being able to charge significant fees because with the end of WWII came a boom in technology. Thanks to that new technologically driven economy, there proved to be a shortage of male applicants.

In the world of executive search, when demand spikes for employees, so does the ability for the staffing vertical and all its incumbents to charge exorbitant fees.

However, fees and potential revenue generation aside, ever wonder how your recruiter works, what their day is like and whether you should pursue a career in the field?

Here is some insight regarding the above inquiries:

How Your Recruiter Works:

Recruiters do business either on a contingency or retained basis.

Usually, a retained contract is quite preferable for a staffing firm, as the company gets a portion paid upfront (due upon signature of the agreement) and typically obtains an exclusive on the job. That translates into no other executive search firm or headhunter potentially being able to monetize on or duplicate the placement efforts.

On the flip side of the coin, some headhunting firms will work on contingency-based agreement. That means the staffing company receives no upfront fee nor do they have exclusivity on the account.

In this scenario, the search firm usually charges the client a percentage of the base salary of the successful recruited employee. Depending on the firm, this percentage could be anywhere from 15% to upwards of 30% of the candidates salary or total compensation package that would encompass variables such as insurance, 401k and any form of bonuses.

Either way, your headhunter is bound to make a nice commission off of you getting that job.

What Is A Recruiter’s Day Like?

Depending on the firm, this varies significantly. Staffing agencies designate certain necessary tasks to various individuals. If the search firm is smaller, as with any smaller company, the recruiters will wear multiple hats.

Remember, recruiters work for their clients, i.e. the hiring companies. Those are the parties cutting the checks. However, many staffing professionals leverage this as a way to treat applicants poorly – a practice that is never justified, yet rampant in the recruiting world.

For the most part, a recruiter will get a job req. or a write-up of the client’s needs and begin to shift through what they perceive to be pertinent resumes from various sources, including from posting the jobs on sites such as Monster.com, the Ladders and possibly niche, industry related job boards.

Additionally, recruiters will use contacts, social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, as well as perform search queries on the aforementioned job boards that can yield a high amount potentially solid candidates.

Every now and again, staffing professionals will make the mistake of calling a person’s place of business – a tactic that tends to irritate and turn off even the more desperate candidate.

With relevant resumes on hand, the recruiter will hit the phones, calling and pitching the applicants who can potentially get the job and make them the commission that recruiters depend upon entirely.

To many headhunters, these calls are a numbers games and the tactic is usually transparent to the applicants, thus turning them off.

Whether You Should Pursue A Career In The Field

Ironic, but more often than not I would tell you “no.” There are so many unethical firms out there. There are firms filled with recruiters who are in the industry for a quick payday that never happens.

In any company, the people within the company play a significant part in your success or lack thereof.

However, in the small instance that you do find the right organization, staffing can be fun, challenging and lucrative. It is these search firms that you want to align yourself with.

With regards to compensation, some staffing professionals receive base salaries plus some form of bonus or incentive, while others will only receive commission, without any weekly paycheck. Of course, depending on where you work, the commission per placement can be incredibly high.

Sometimes these figures can get into the $30,000 range, but typically the fees you receive, as a commission-only employee of the recruiting firm, are half of that. Also, upon hitting these accounts, make sure you don’t celebrate yet: most recruiting firms give the client a guarantee about amount of time the employee will last at the organization.

On occasion, a blunder will result in a monstrous refund that can be financially devastating to the search expert.

In the end, it is hard to predict what type of total compensation any particular recruiter will receive. This is something that you would have to feel out for yourself.

When it comes to your estimated paycheck, be cognizant of the fact that many placement firms will grossly over-inflate the numbers and first year earning potential.

Web Marketing For Small Business – Insider Tricks Which Gets You Big Results

The number one trick to web marketing for your small business obviously is to hire someone that knows what their doing. As we all know being a business owner you’re flat out running your business, let alone take on the task of marketing your website.

But if you’re at a stage where you just want to learn a little bit more then this article will explain a few insider tricks which will get you some big results.

First of all you should be promoting your website wherever your name appears, this may be online as well as offline.  The more people you get to your site the better. Because the insider trick I’m about to share with you includes people creating viral traffic to your website.

Alright… so now that you’re doing everything you can to promote your website you need to install options to your website that enables people to share your content, your offers or your products with their friends on other social networking sites.

Yes that’s right. You can install a Facebook share this button on your website or a link that allows people to share your site with their friends on Facebook.

Now just think about this. Let’s say on average people viewing your site have about 50 friends on their account. If this person makes use of your share button their network of friends YES all 50 will see the link on their account also. So in essence this one person has just promoted your business to 50 other people by the push of a button.

Now let’s say you’ve got just 10 people who share your link, that would be a total of 500 people that are exposed to your business. Do you see the power of this?

And all it takes is adding a share this on Facebook or tweet about this link or button next to your content on your website!

But we’re just assuming that each person has only got 50 friends, what if these people had 100 or 500 which is the amount of friends many people I know have.

This is a simple way to virtually distribute your message. And if you’re offering good content that is liked by a lot of people expect a rush of traffic to your website and ready to be monetized.

But to top this strategy off you can add numerous social bookmarking sites to do the same thing. The same way you added the Facebook button you can add social bookmark buttons to your site.

Think about it… you have just a few visitors share your content on several sites… your content would go viral.

But the key to making this work as mentioned earlier is giving away good content that a lot of people will like and will be willing to share with their friends.