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KillerStartups

Where Internet Entrepreneurs are the Stars

4 Common Money Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make When Starting Their Business 14 Nov 2017, 7:02 pm

It’s great to see so many young people going out and pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Starting a business is a roller coaster of emotions. There will be constant ups and downs and it only gets more intense as your company grows. This is especially true when money comes into play.

Very few businesses will survive. Those who do were the ones who are able to identify a clear business model and maintain a positive cash flow. Starting a business is also very expensive. Whether it’s product development, marketing, or sales you’d be surprised how quickly it can add up. If you don’t pay attention to common pitfalls you’ll be in trouble.

Here are four common money mistakes young entrepreneurs make when trying to start a business:

Sloppy Accounting

When running your business cash is most definitely king. The majority of businesses fail due to the lack of or misuse of capital. If you’re naturally good with numbers then you have a huge advantage when running your startup. However, if you’re sloppy with your accounting you’re going to run into trouble.

Whether you’re doing the bookkeeping yourself or outsourcing it elsewhere you need to be thorough. You need to make sure every single invoice and payment is tracked and reported as you grow. I recommend using some form of digital accounting software that offers features like online invoicingand expense management. That way you’re books can be managed anytime and anywhere.

Failing to Stay Lean and Mean

Every entrepreneur should live by the Lean Startup methodology. It is the bible of entrepreneurship. Why spend your money building something that nobody wants? Sure you can do market research but you won’t really know until you release your product.

Sit down with your team and really try and hash out your core competencies. It’s common for entrepreneurs to feature creep (include unnecessary features in the first phase) which just adds more time and money to the development. Once you’ve built your minimum viable product go ahead and launch and see how the market reacts. If they love it it’s time to put in more time and money. If not – then it’s back to the drawing board. This way you’ll mitigate your risk as much as possible.

Living Above Their Means

The life of a successful entrepreneur is glorious. It’s easy to get caught up in the lifestyle before you’ve actually “made it”. What most people forget is the journey each of those successful entrepreneurs had to endure.

Forget the team dinners, happy hours, and big salaries. The more comfortable you get the more likely you’ll get overtaken by your competition. It’s important to stay grounded at all times and delay gratification. Sure you can celebrate the small victories but don’t be excessive.

Raising Capital Too Early

Every entrepreneur looks forward to the day that they bring in that big Series A round of funding. Now you can pull a salary and your on your way to success. While this can be true it’s common for individuals to jump the gun on funding. When you raise money it often comes at a cost. First and foremost you’re likely going to give up control. Not only that you now have a massive amount of pressure from your investors.

If possible you should try to bootstrap your startup as long as you can. Try to find co-founders who are willing to work for equity and who believe in the vision as much as you do. As soon as you raise funds it starts the clock. The more you can fail and pivot prior to raising capital the better off you’ll be when you actually do.

Final Thoughts

Starting a business is tough. If it was easy everyone would do it. The truth is there has to be winners and losers in life. That said there’s plenty you can do to be on the winning team. Be sure to pay attention to these four common money mistakes and make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Renzo Costarella.

The post 4 Common Money Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make When Starting Their Business appeared first on KillerStartups.

New Social Network App “Dress’d” Puts The Focus On Fashion 11 Nov 2017, 10:12 pm

Do you have a big date, an important interview, or a special event like a wedding coming up? Not sure whether to wear that cute dress with the strappy heels or that sleek pants-heels-and-jacket combo, and want to get input from friends? Instead of spamming your Facebook or Instagram feed with pics of your outfits, try Dress’d: the social network for outfits.

 

Dressd
Dress’d is an outfit-centric social media platform where users post outfits, bringing everyone’s outfit and clothing pictures to one platform and letting people help their friends decide what to wear on the daily or for special occasions. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the app lets users add friends, select styles, post outfit pictures as well as like and comment on outfits, documenting your style and also helping friends decide what to wear.

 

Dress’d aims to become the go-to app for outfit posting, and lets you document your style by posting your outfits, selecting styles and brands, and growing your profile in the process. The app also connects you with your friends when you are deciding what to wear, whether it’s for a party, an interview, prom, or just buying clothes at the mall. Simply take a pic of the outfit, and instead of posting it as a normal post, select an expiry time to alert your friends and get their feedback before you need to make the outfit decision.

As one of the app’s founders said, “Deciding between two pairs of shoes at the mall has never been so convenient!

 

Interested?

You can download the Dress’d app for free as long as you have iOS 10 or above – but not until it launches in the Apple App Store on November 19th at 5pm EST, and only if you’re located in the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom, or New Zealand. Android users (myself included) and fashionistas located in other countries will have to wait and hope Dress’d will be available for them soon.

 

Photos

Dress’d

The post New Social Network App “Dress’d” Puts The Focus On Fashion appeared first on KillerStartups.

How Do You Deal With Customers Who Don’t Pay On Time 11 Nov 2017, 12:46 am

If you’re in business long enough, you’ll eventually run across those clients who never pay on time. If you have to deal with customers who don’t pay on time all the time, this post will help you.

In certain industries, you’ll find that you have multiple clients who are consistently tardy with payment. Understanding how to deal with these situations without alienating your customers and making them feel unwanted is a sensitive issue.

Reasons Why Customers Pay Late 

Trying to understand your customers and why they do certain things is a lot like attempting to understand the opposite sex. Sure, you can get advice, read books, and have firsthand experiences, but you’re never fully going to understand how they operate. You’re wired differently and have an entirely unique way of viewing issues, circumstances, and events.

With that being said, customers can be predictableat times. While you might not always be capable of understanding where they’re coming from, there are plenty of times when you can decipher what’s going on behind the scenes.

In terms of late payments, it’s usually not super complicated. In the majority of situations, one of the following factors is involved: 

Low priority

  • You probably don’t want to hear it, but you might not be a major priority for your customers. Just as you do with your business, your customers rank their debts according to how critical they are to their operations. If your product/service is low on the totem pole, you’re going to get paid last.
  • Sometimes there’s a simple explanation for late payments – like a disorganized accounting department. Despite your repeated efforts to collect, they simply don’t know how much they owe, when it’s due, or where it’s supposed to go. While frustrating, you can overcome this issue with sustained pressure and frequent follow-up.

Lack of urgency

  • Have you been extremely lenient with a customer in the past? If so, they might feel like they can get away with late payments in the future. They know that the repercussions are minor and would rather pay off other debts that have negative consequences.

 Tough times

  • It’s entirely possible that your customer is going through a difficult stretch where sales have tailed off and they don’t have the financial means to pay you. This is one of the scariest situations, as there’s very little you can do to coax them into paying.

Understanding what’s happening at the root of the problem is half the battle. As you study your late-paying clients, consider these possible culprits and try to identify what’s going on beneath the surface. 

Here’s Why it Hurts to Deal With Customers Who Don’t Pay On Time

Late-paying customers are frustrating, but are you overreacting? Are you being ridiculous expecting every client to consistently pay on time? The answer is no. Late-paying customers aren’t just annoying – they’re costly to your bottom line. Here are some of the specific reasons why: 

Loss in productivity

  • According to research conducted by Xero, the average small business owner spends 1.3 days per month chasing down late invoices. Roughly 16 percent of businesses feel like late payments result in reduced productivity for the company, while 18 percent say it has a negative impact on employee morale.

 Cash flow issues

  • Late payments have a direct impact on cash flow. According to a study out of the UK, 20 percent of business owners have been forced to take a pay cut as a result of late payments, while 26 percent have had to increase bank overdraft use.
  • Approximately 23 percent of business owners surveyed have had no choice but to pay their own suppliers late.

 Damaged reputation

  • A single late payment here and there might not be an issue, but repeated late payments can become a major problem, both internally and externally. Inside your organization, employees and staff begin to lose trust in the company and a resentful workplace culture emerges.
  • Outside of your organization, your vendors begin to see you as a risk and may decide it’s best not to waste their time with you (now that you’ve also become a late-paying client).

There are plenty of other situation-specific factors that come into play, but these are three of the biggest reasons why you can’t afford to let late-paying customers continue to slide.

Here’s How You Deal With It

Understanding the “why” behind late payments – as well as how it’s negatively impacting your business on a practical level – is the first step towards achieving a resolution. Once you recognize where customers are coming from, you’re able to make smart and strategic choices about how to proceed.

Every situation is unique and requires calculated execution, but here are a few of the top tips and techniques small businesses like yours use to solve the problem of late-paying customers.

  1. Be Clear on Terms Up Front

Consistently getting paid on time starts with setting clear expectations on the front end. Before you start any project or complete any sale, the customer needs to know exactly how much it’ll cost, when the payment is due, and what the payment terms are.

By clearly explaining the terms and getting the customer to agree to them in writing, you lessen the chances of an excuse. After all, it’s much harder for a client to feign ignorance when there was a clear conversation about the matter. 

  1. Personalize the Follow Up 

Any type of follow up is better than no follow up, but be wary of sending automated emails or phone calls to clients. While they remind the customer that they owe money, they don’t do much in terms of instilling urgency. By personalizing the follow up, you remind them that there’s a face behind the late invoice and encourage them to step up to the plate and make the payment.

  1. Use a Working Capital Loan to Survive

No matter how frequently you contact customers or how hard you try to collect on an invoice, sometimes late payments are inevitable. Unfortunately, you might not be able to handle more than a couple delinquent payments before you notice a problem on your own end. Getting some temporary financial assistance might not be a bad idea in these moments.

“Seeking a small business working capital loan to help cover late invoices gives you the ability to cover your costs so you can maintain good relationships with your supplies, contractors, and employees,” explain the working capital experts at SmallBusinessLoans.co.

You obviously don’t want to continue taking out loans to keep your business afloat. But a working capital loan can help you “maintain” during those periods of instability.

  1. Never Get Angry or Threaten

Late payments are frustrating and will probably make you angry from time to time, but always compose yourself before speaking with clients. Angry threats will further diminish your chances of collecting and could permanently damage your relationship with the business.

“Don’t be aggressive; just don’t stop asking,” says Hunter Hoffmann, head of U.S. communications for a small business insurer. “Emphasize that you want to settle up the accounts so you can both focus on more important things. It will become much easier for them to pay you than to keep dodging your calls and making excuses.” 

  1. Consider Legal Options as a Last Resort 

If you’ve exhausted all of your options and you can’t collect on an invoice, you have a couple of different options.

The first option is to simply cut ties and write the payment off. This is what businesses typically do when the amount is nominal and it would be expensive to pursue a legal remedy or collection. If you do go this route, be sure you learn from the situation. Establish a system so that it doesn’t happen again in the future. Unpaid invoices can add up over time and lead to major losses.

When it’s a $300 or $400 invoice, cutting ties is probably the most cost effective option. After all, legal fees for a lawsuit might double or triple the amount you’d collect. But what do you do when it’s a $3,000 or $4,000 invoice that a client refuses to pay?

In situations like these, you should consider hiring an attorney and pursuing legal action. Not only does this increase your chances of collecting, but it shows your whole organization that you take invoices seriously. It sets a precedent and shows that your business won’t be pushed around. 

Putting it All Together 

It’s easy to write off a late-paying client as a minor annoyance. But what you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice by ignoring what could be a much grander issue. Consider the negative consequences of late payments and how they have the potential to push your business into a tailspin. It becomes evident that you have to act sooner rather than later.

The good news is that you have options. When customers don’t pay on time, there are different methods you can use to set the record straight. Carefully choose the route that you think is best and don’t be afraid to speak up. Your business is counting on you.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Serenity Gibbons.

The post How Do You Deal With Customers Who Don’t Pay On Time appeared first on KillerStartups.

Abovo42 Social Email: Publish And Share Content Online By Sending An Email 9 Nov 2017, 9:37 pm

If you’re looking to publish content online, a lot of the options out there are complex, expensive, or require background knowledge. But if you’re looking for simple technology to publish and share content, there’s a new service in town that does just that – and doesn’t require you to install an app or even sign up.

Abovo42 is a social email consumer technology that allows users to publish and share content online simply by sending or forwarding an email message. Any email sent or forwarded to post@Abovo42.com will be instantly transformed into a publicly available web page and can then be shared across all social networks. Basically, Abovo42 functions like an even more user-friendly imgur, but for more than just images.

 

 

Abovo42

 

How It Works

You send or forward any email to post@Abovo42.com, and within seconds it will create a page that is an exact copy of the email that can then be shared with anyone in the world via text, Twitter, Facebook, email, Pinterest, or however else you’d like. Any and all media that exists in the original email is supported: video, audio, images, documents, PDFs, etc. Basically, if it can be attached and sent, it will be completely accessible on the resulting page. And according to their site, your page will live for eternity.

 

Interested?

Get started now by sending or forwarding your email to post@abovo42.com

 

 

Photos

Stocksnap.ioAbovo42

The post Abovo42 Social Email: Publish And Share Content Online By Sending An Email appeared first on KillerStartups.

Sound Huggle’s Headphones/Earmuffs Combo Keeps Your Ears Warm In Winter 7 Nov 2017, 11:54 pm

Winter is, undeniably, coming. It’s in the 30s today here in Vermont, with the first dusting of snow and below-freezing temps expected later this week. This means layers, winter boots, and the ever-present struggle between keeping your ears warm and being able to listen to music comfortably…or does it?

 

SoundHuggle

 

¿Porque no los dos? With Sound Huggle – innovative fusion wireless headphone/earmuffs – you can get rid of frustration and discomfort of trying to wear headphones under earmuffs in the winter, without sacrificing high-quality sound. In addition to keeping your ears happy during the winter with both warmth and comfort, these headphones offer high-quality sound, a long battery life, and the strength to stand up to cold temperatures.

 

Features

Sound Huggle’s innovative headphone/earmuff combo has a number of features that make this product worthwhile:
  • Wireless listening and talking: The headphones set itself is wireless, so no worries about having any cords to tangle while you listen to your tunes. And because the headphones are Bluetooth compatible, you can even use them to answer your calls and chat on the phone.
  • Warmth and cold protection: The lightweight acrylic knit is designed to retain warmth, be flexible, and maintain color – while feeling softer against your skin than leather or plastic.
  • Easy collapsibility: Quickly adjust or collapse Sound Huggles to easily fit in your pocket or bag.
  • Hi-fi sound: When it comes to headphones, if the sound isn’t amazing, the gimmick doesn’t matter. Sound Huggle’s CEO/founder was aware of this as a DJ, and made sure that their product would be great for EDM lovers, hip-hop fans, and classical music aficionados alike.
  • Durability in sub-zero temps and beyond: Sound Huggles will work in extreme temperatures down to -5C or 23F. The company tested multiple types of materials, eventually landing on polyoxymethylene or POM—a special formulated engineered thermoplastic that is specially formulated to withstand cold and heavy usage from bending and flexing. Beyond their ability to stand up to sub-zero temps, Sound Huggles are just plain durable. How durable? They ran over them with a car, and they were still usable.

 

Interested?

 

SoundHuggle2

Sound Huggle launched on Indiegogo today, which means you can preorder your headphones. Early bird pricing is 33% off – so $117 USD plus shipping.

 

Photos

Sound Huggle

The post Sound Huggle’s Headphones/Earmuffs Combo Keeps Your Ears Warm In Winter appeared first on KillerStartups.

7 Tips for Fixing Your Short Term Cash Flow Problems 7 Nov 2017, 4:11 pm

Most businesses don’t have steady revenue all year round. There are months where sales are high and months where you’ll barely scrape by. There are also sudden expenses and late payments from customers that may threaten to do you in. But for all your business cash flow problems, there’s a possible solution.

Getting to the Root Cause of Your Businesses Cash Flow Problems 

Before you can implement a sound strategy for fixing your cash flow crisis, you have to understand what’s happening at a foundational level. In other words, what’s causing the problem? While there are hundreds of possible causes, almost every cash flow issue can be tied to one of the following three categories:

  1. Sales Issues

Let’s begin with the most common culprit: sales problems. When you aren’t selling enough, you’re naturally going to struggle with cash flow. The key is to understand why you aren’t selling enough.

Sales issues are generally tied to one of three problems: (1) the sales price is too high, (2) the marketplace isn’t receptive to the product, or (3) you’re doing a poor job of reaching the right audience with your sales and marketing initiatives.

In many cases, you’ll find that your sales problems are actually tied to multiple factors. The sooner you dig in and find out what’s causing your lack of sales, the faster you can pursue a solution. 

  1. Inflated Expenses 

If your top line number is healthy, you clearly don’t have a sales problem. The next thing you should look at is your expense sheet. If revenues are high and cash flow is tight, it means something is happening after the sale. Your money is going somewhere and your expense sheet will shed some light on what’s going on.

It’s easy to ignore your expenses when everything is going fine and cash flow is positive, but as soon as your budget gets a little tighter, you no longer have the luxury of turning a blind eye to what’s going on. 

  1. Poor Collection Efforts 

It’s entirely possible that your sales numbers are healthy and expenses are low, yet you’re still suffering through cash flow related problems. If this is the case, you should take a look at your account receivables and scrutinize what’s happening in this area. It’s possible that poor collection efforts are dragging you down. As entrepreneur David Finkel points out, failing to collect on a sale actually puts you in a worse position than if you would have never made the sale in the first place.

“Imagine Acme Inc. has gross sales of $1 million per year, with 5 percent of its sales going uncollected. Well you say, that’s just $50,000 out of $1 million in sales – that’s just the cost of doing business,” Finkel says. “But hang on for a second. If Acme Inc. has 20 percent operating margin (i.e. a pretax profit margin) then that $50,000 of uncollected receivables you were so willing to write off as ‘the cost of doing business’ represents an instant increase of 25 percent operating profits if it were collected!”

Don’t assume that unpaid invoices are normal. You can’t prevent late payments in every situation, but you shouldn’t accept them as a natural part of doing business. Poor collection efforts will come back to bite you if you aren’t careful. 

7 Steps for Fixing a Cash Flow Problem 

Once you understand what’s causing your cash flow problem, you can turn your attention towards identifying a solution and executing in a manner that allows your business to stay afloat in the short-term and thrive in the long-term. Here are a few specific steps you might consider taking: 

  1. Run a Flash Sale

If all of your company’s vitals seem to be fine, then you probably just need a quick infusion of cash in order to help your business sustain what appears to be a temporary rough patch. The simplest and most efficient way to do this – at least for companies that sell physical products and have healthy margins – is to run a flash sale.

A well-executed flash sale allows you to create a quick surge in revenue. The profit margin will obviously be lower, but that’s secondary at this point. You need cash more than you need robust margins.

  1. Raise Prices

Perhaps you aren’t having any trouble with sales, but you’re struggling to make ends meet on the cash flow front – what gives? In this case, a flash sale doesn’t do you any good. You’re already moving inventory at a healthy pace. The problem is a lack of profitability.

In this scenario, your best bet is to raise prices. While you might lose some of your most price sensitive customers, you’ll find that the majority will stick around and more than make up for the lost sales.

  1. Tap Your Line of Credit 

Many businesses frequently face sporadic cash flow issues. If you would count your business in this category, then you need a solution that allows you to quickly respond without compromising the overall operations of your business. One safety net that many small businesses turn to is a business line of credit.

A business line of credit is preferred to almost any other type of financing because of the revolving nature and affordable terms. With a business line of credit, you only have to pay interest on the amount of credit you use. And once you pay off the debt, you immediately gain access to the full amount again. It’s essentially a credit card for your business.

Another great thing about a business line of credit is that there are tons of options. Depending on your credit score and qualifications, you may be able to get a line of credit ranging from $10,000 to $1 million with a term duration of six months to five years. Interest rates typically range from 7 percent to 25 percent; it’s possible for processing to take as little as 24 hours.

  1. Work on Retainer Only

If you’re a service business, one of the best things you can do to prevent cash flow crises is to only work on retainer. While this doesn’t guarantee you’ll always get paid in full and on time, it does ensure you won’t get totally left out to dry.

Retainer-based fee structures allow you to develop more accurate and predictable cash flow projections for a given period. Instead of having to make wild guesses, you at least have a base figure that you can work off. It’s a small piece of sanity in what is a frequently chaotic business world.

  1. Practice Better Invoicing

If you’re struggling with poor collections, then it’s likely that you’re also dealing with bad invoicing habits. Improving how you handle things on this front will help you establish stronger relationships with clients.

Invoices need to be timely, predictable, and clear. They should be sent out as soon as work is completed – never more than a few days after a project has been finalized. The invoice should outline exactly when payment is due, what the terms are, and how payment should be made. Finally, there needs to be a clear breakdown of costs so that there are no questions about how the total amount was calculated.

  1. Negotiate With Creditors 

While your cash flow problems might be rooted in poor sales practices, it’s also possible that your issue has more to do with your own debt and how you’re handling your expenses.

Outstanding payments choking you out and hurting your cash flow? Consider negotiating with your creditors and seeing if you can settle for lower payments (or at least earn some more time). As you know from being on the other side of the table, creditors are often willing to make deals. Especially when a payment has been outstanding for a period of time. 

  1. Hire Better People

At the end of the day, chronic cash flow problems might be a sign that you don’t have the right team handling your accounting. While it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, you may need to fire the individuals responsible and hire better people. A good hire in the accounting department can help you get a grip on the issue and start fresh.

You Can’t Afford to be Idle

A temporary cash flow problem is no big deal. All businesses have weeks where they’re forced to move money around, delay expenses, or restructure a deal. However, when weeks turn into months, you have a serious problem on your hands.

The absolute worst thing you can do in the face of a cash flow crisis is remain idle. The more proactive you are early on, the more positive the outlook will be.

In this article, we discussed some of the top tips and techniques for fixing short-term cash flow problems and getting a grip on your organization’s finances. Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the different options. Identify one or two steps you can implement and work from there.

Doing something – no matter how small – is always better than doing nothing at all.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Serenity Gibbons.

The post 7 Tips for Fixing Your Short Term Cash Flow Problems appeared first on KillerStartups.

How to Present Effectively 6 Nov 2017, 4:05 pm

Presentation skills are essential in today’s business world. If you work for someone else, at some point you will probably need to make a presentation. When you own your own business, you definitely have to make presentations. Knowing how to present effectively is a soft skill that can help you excel in almost any field.

Here’s how to take your presentation game to the next level:

Practice

A few weeks ago, I helped my son put together a presentation for school. I told him if he wanted to present effectively, he would need to be ready to practice. It takes practice to excel at anything, and presentation is no different. My son practiced in front of me several times — and he also practiced on his own. He even ran the presentation by two of his friends.

Get in the habit of practicing, and your presentations will be much more effective — especially since when you know the material, you are more likely to project confidence.

Choose a Message to Present to Your Audience

Next, you need to make sure you have a message you can present to your audience. What is the main takeaway? You don’t want to muddy the waters with a lot of different messages and information overload. Instead, think about three key points you want to make that emphasize your core message. Your presentation should focus on those items.

Start by Drawing the Audience In

If you want to present effectively, you need to start by drawing the audience in. There are different methods of doing this. Some ways to grab attention right from the start include:

  • Tell an engaging story that is related to the point you want to illustrate.
  • Share an interesting fact that supports your presentation.
  • Ask a question to get audience engagement.

Don’t start with who you are. That backstory isn’t something many people want to hear. Instead, they want to be engaged from the beginning. Find a way to begin strong so the audience is ready to listen to your message.

Use Your Voice and Body Dynamically

Do you like it when someone stands at a podium and drones at you in the same tone of voice all the way through a presentation? Probably not. It’s boring.

To present effectively, you need to keep the audience engaged. You can do this by changing the speed at which you talk, incorporating meaningful pauses, and even varying the pitch of your voice. You want to make sure you don’t overdo it, and it sounds natural. But using your voice can be a good way to hold an audience’s attention.

Your body can also add to your presentation. Make gestures that are open and inviting. If possible, move around on the stage. It’s even better if you are equipped to actually go among the audience. Make eye contact with audience members and smile.

Bring it All Back

Finally, at the end, bring it all back to the subject at hand. Make sure that you have gone through a natural progression and now your audience is ready to receive your message as you finish strong.

The post How to Present Effectively appeared first on KillerStartups.

8 Reasons Gen Y Is More Productive Than Any Other Generation 4 Nov 2017, 3:11 pm

Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) are stereotyped as lazy and entitled. It’s hard to forget all the stories about participation trophies that each youngster received just for signing up and playing on a sports team when they were young. Things like this helped build a concept in people’s minds that just doesn’t end up proving true in most cases.  In many ways, Gen Y is more productive than any other generation to have entered the workforce.

Why Gen Y is More Productive Than Any Other Generation

1. They take advantage of technology.

Millennials know technology. They grew up using the Internet and computers. Therefore, they’re very savvy about how to leverage these resources. A young person who doesn’t know how to complete a task will quickly find a YouTube tutorial that explains it, instead of messing around with trial-and-error.

They know which technical resources will enhance their productivity, and use them all the time, whether it’s Wikipedia, an app, or just the timer on their smartphone.

2. They have side hustles.

The economy has forced Millennials – even those with full-time professional jobs – to take on side gigs teaching fitness classes, nannying, or waiting tables. In fact, about one in four Millennials has a side hustle.

These side gigs take up valuable hours in the day. As such, Millennials are forced to balance their time. That way, they can climb the ladder at their day job while succeeding at their side gig. That results in a much-needed secondary paycheck.

There’s nothing better to motivate you to get work done on time than knowing you’ll lose your second job if you don’t make it out the door. That is a key reason why Gen Y is more productive than other generations that had more job security.

3. They highly value productivity.

People tend to do better at those things that they value since they put more effort into them. A recent survey by Microsoft found that 93% of its Gen Y respondents believe productivity is the key to happiness.

Whether it’s finding free meditation apps that help them stay calm, free CRM options for their new sales job, or automation tools for testing apps, this younger generation puts a premium on productivity. Their highly-scheduled childhoods have turned them into a generation of adults who equate being busy and getting things with living well. That’s an excellent sign for employers and anyone else who is eager to find productive employees.

Most are also known for waking up in the more productive hours of the day.

4. They strategize for productivity.

That same survey by Microsoft found that 92% of Millennials keep a to-do list. That helps them know what their priorities and deadlines are, so they can get everything done on time. That to-do list might be on their phone, instead of the notepad of earlier generations, but it’s just as functional.

5. The boundary between work and play is fuzzy.

While their Baby Boomer parents tend to believe that work is for work and home is for home, those lines are much blurrier for Millennials. They might have a little more “play” at work – such as joining the company softball team or attending Friday afternoon happy hour.

However, they’re also much more open to taking their work home with them, and you’ll often find a Millennial on their laptop on their couch at 10pm on a Tuesday night. They’re not on Facebook – they’re working on those reports that are due on Friday. They’re happy to put in the extra hours, as long as they can do it with flexibility. With this always on mentality, Gen Y is more productive than other generations that want a distinct separation between work and play.

6. They learn from failure.

Millennials spent their childhoods playing video games, where a failure just meant a chance to start over and do better the next time. Maybe that’s why they’re so much more open to experimentation and failure than their older coworkers. This generation is okay with diving into a new project, even one they’re unsure of, and doing their best.

Work tends to get done faster this way since they’re less concerned with perfectionism. This can lead some Millennials to work too quickly, and let minor errors slip through – make sure to discuss whether it’s more important for things to be done fast or done well.

7. They have a growth mindset.

Many Millennials watched their parents lose jobs during the 2008 financial crisis. They learned that if you’re not moving up, you could easily get tossed out. So, they’re consistently focused on learning more and doing better. This can be tough for employers since the average Millennials stays in a job only two years. However, they’re more likely to stay longer if they believe their boss is invested in their success and gives them opportunities to grow. If their responsibilities are changing, a young person will remain in a job much longer. They’ll also focus on productivity because they yearn to be seen as improving and providing value.

8. They’re pros at multitasking.

Millennials’ brains live and breathe technology. Therefore, they can respond to dozens of stimuli. If you have a job where people need to be able to handle a dozen tasks coming at them at once, a Millennial will be able to handle it with aplomb. It’s just like Tetris!

Gen Y is More Productive and It Shows

Millennials are a rapidly growing portion of the workforce and are slowly moving into upper management as they age into their 30s. The workplace will need to change to keep up with them as it has for every other generation before them.

If you’re working with or hiring Millennials, you might struggle at first with the different ways that they view work and the office. However, go a little beneath the surface, and you’ll find people who are just as interested in success. You may even find your next great coworker or employee.

The post 8 Reasons Gen Y Is More Productive Than Any Other Generation appeared first on KillerStartups.

4 Ways to Create Recurring Business Revenue As a Freelancer 31 Oct 2017, 3:05 pm

While I love freelancing, I have issues with the business model. Issues that, quite frankly, have been plaguing me for at least 18 months – the fact that it’s difficult to budget on inconsistent income. As such, part of my mission this year has been to find better ways to create recurring business revenue.

Before I get into what I have discovered, I first want to say that freelancing has been the foundation for what I’m about to share. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been blogging and freelancing for years, I wouldn’t be able to create the recurring business revenue I have now.

That being said, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because freelancing still has it’s place. My goal is simply to get you to start thinking about what comes next after freelancing.

Have freelance contracts on retainer.

The first step to creating recurring business revenue as a freelancer is to put as many contracts as possible on retainer. For example, I’ve had one client that I can rely on receiving $X every month for years.

The upside is you know you’ll receive guaranteed money so long as you deliver. The downside is you still have to pitch constantly. It’s also sometimes difficult to get a hold of editors or clients so this is assuming your points of contact are responsive. While it’s certainly an upgrade, you’re still on the hamster wheel.

Start consulting on retainer.

My favorite way of creating recurring business revenue as a freelancer is to start consulting. This year, I stopped offering small three-month consulting packages for $X. Instead, I started getting six to 12-month contracts for $X per month.

The best part is since this is a deeply customized offering, it comes at a very high price point. With just two retainer consulting clients my business expenses are completely covered. This also makes it way easier for me to budget.

Granted, it takes a while to upsell someone to this kind of an offering. This brings me to one of my other favorite ways to create recurring business revenue…

Create a scalable high-end product.

Earlier this year, I launched my first group coaching program. This is a hybrid consulting/on-demand product that sells for nearly $2,000 a person.

Since creating this, it’s become easier to create recurring business revenue. If I sell just a couple of these a month (which is not hard), then I can better budget.

This product also plays a role in my overall sales funnel. Out of all the students who take this group course, I can count on a percentage of them becoming high-end retainer clients.

Have a lower price point offering that supplies recurring revenue.

The last step in creating recurring business revenue is to offer lower price point offerings that still get you paid each month. I’ve started to incorporate into my business in two ways:

  • Affiliate marketing for subscription products. Many of my coaching clients need schedulers and email marketing services. I recommend products, they subscribe and I make a commission each month.
  • A membership site. Individuals who cannot yet afford my higher price-point offerings can join my membership site for a monthly fee.

Final Thoughts

While freelancing is a great start, eventually you’ll have to find other ways to earn recurring business revenue. In doing so, it will become much easier to manage your finances.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Amanda Abella.

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Hitask: A Project and Task Management Software that Gets Things Done from One Place. 31 Oct 2017, 1:28 am

When it comes to project management there are hundreds of concepts, methods, and software in the industry. It gets really complex when you want to manage projects, tasks, and people with multiple apps when most of them aren’t connected with each other.

Hitask is a project management software inspired by David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology. It helps focus on projects, tasks, and people from one place. Removes distractions caused by switching from multiple apps, keeps the team on the same page with automatic status notifications, and simplifies workflow dramatically.

hitask-project-management-software

Hitask also has iOS and Android apps making it easier to create, assign, or track tasks on the go. These are synced with the main account to keep everybody on the same page, securely.

Features

● Organize and categorize work with projects, tasks, events, and notes.
● Upload and attach files to tasks and projects.
● Stay on track with team members by sharing the same calendar.
● Collaborate by sharing tasks with specific people.
● Track time spent on each task with time-tracking.
● Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
● Get reminded of task statuses with email and push notifications.
● Get progress reports with a single click.
● Chat instantly from one place.
● Use sub-tasks for breaking down large projects into chunks.
● Comment on projects and tasks.
● Tag projects and tasks by color, priority, context.
● Set deadlines and get notified when due dates are near.
● Support for 10 languages.
● Synchronize with Google and Outlook calendar.
● Export data with a single click.

Improve Your Workflow
Lots of marketing agencies, design companies, IT consultants, startups, and SMBs already use Hitask in their own way to increase their productivity.

Create your account with Hitask which is free for up to 5 users and start managing your project from one place.

Photo Credit: Hitask.com

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Bloggers Boat Digital Marketing Services: Be Seen And Heard Exactly How You Want 29 Oct 2017, 8:56 am

Whether you’re a new entrepreneur, a mid-sized business, or a freelancer, digital marketing is a corner stone of any business. So regardless of if you’re trying to start from scratch or grow your ROI after the years in the business, looking to improving your digital marketing is always a good idea – and this is one of those areas important enough to hire experts rather than interns. Looking to develop killer social media campaigns, redesign your website, or start creating new and fresh content? Bloggers Boat is the company for you.
bloggersboat

 

Bloggers Boat offers digital marketing services, including web design, that are in tune with recent rends. They also boast well-researched, tailor made solutions from a team of experienced professionals who not only offer premium services, but also prioritize client satisfaction – whether they are offering design solutions or effective marketing strategies.

 

Services

Bloggers Boat offers a number of different of services under the digital marketing umbrella – so you can pick and choose what you need and leave behind what you don’t. Their services include:

 

Interested?

If you’re interested in trying to increase your ROI by improving your digital marketing game, Bloggers Boat has customized pricing based on services rendered. A detailed estimate is provided to you beforehand.

 

Photos

Bloggers Boat

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7 Ideas to Find New Customers Online 28 Oct 2017, 3:30 pm

New customers are the lifeblood of any business. While keeping existing customers happy is important, bringing in new customers helps your business grow and ensures a healthy baseline of revenue even when customers do not return. The internet offers access to more potential customers than any marketing method before, but knowing the right strategies to reach your target audience is not always intuitive. Follow these seven tried and true methods to find new customers online.

Tapping into your network

Before you rush to find new customers in the wild, look to your existing network of friends, family, and acquaintances. Odds are that you know someone who would benefit from the product or service you offer, and if you truly believe you offer something high-quality, you should have no qualms offering it to people you already know. In fact, many successful businesses start by looking at friends and family first. Just don’t relentlessly post about your multilevel marketing product on Facebook again and again or you may find yourself with fewer friends than when you started.

Blogging

started my blog in 2008 as a way to teach people about money. I had no idea it would lead to a thriving, six-figure freelance business, but that is exactly what happened. In the nine years I’ve been writing about personal finance and entrepreneurship, dozens of businesses have approached to perform my service. Many times it does not work out, but sometimes it works great. I have had multiple five figure relationships come out of my blog.

Content marketing is a key path to success for any business looking to reach a wide audience on a budget. In fact, content marketing is exactly why this blog exists! Due uses this blog to bring in potential customers for its various invoicing and payments products.

Podcasting

Podcasting is for audio what Netflix is for video, but it’s free! Podcasts are a growing medium with millions of listeners tuning in every day to their favorite shows. If you are brand new to the world of podcasting, check out this guide to learn more about listening to podcasts. Starting your own podcast takes more work, but it is easier than you may realize.

All you need to podcast is a microphone, a computer, a website (you should already have this), and podcast hosting. The total cost to start is about $10 per month once you have your microphone. Check out this amazing step-by-step tutorial from epic podcaster Pat Flynn to get started. A podcast generates great relationships and engagement with your target audience, and converting from a listener to a customer isn’t a huge leap.

Become a known expert

The internet offers plentiful opportunities to show off your expertise. Putting yourself out there and showing others that you know a topic inside and out is a great way to attract business. When doing so, don’t be overly self-promotional. Instead, focus on the value you can provide to others. Good karma will come back to you with new clients and customers ready to hire.

One great platform to show off expertise is Quora. Quora users ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics, and you can link your profile back to your business website. Reddit is another great place to engage in community, but don’t try to promote your own site there or risk getting banned.

Social networking

Every day, billions of people log into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and other social networks. If you are not there, you may be missing out big time. Every social network is not right for every business, but there is at least one social network good for each business. For example, Santa Barbara based construction business Willhite Grading & Excavation runs a popular Instagram account to bring in potential business and partnerships. With over 20,000 followers, Instagram suggests this account to users who follow other construction accounts.

LinkedIn is a great space for professionals to show off their skills and knowledge. Creating articles on LinkedIn offers many of the benefits of content marketing, and sends users back to your profile so they can click through to learn more about you and your business. They might even hire you!

Targeted local advertising

Smartphones and apps give users new and improved ways of finding and connecting with businesses. Yelp advertising, Google Maps ads, and other hyper-targeted advertising methods may pay off well for your business. Of course, you should move into this space slowly and do lots of little experiments to find what works best to drive conversions for your business. It is easy to spend a lot quickly with little to show for it, so always experiment and test to find what works.

Imagine someone is out sitting in their car less than two miles from your business. They search for what you offer, and you show up first thanks to a good ad. They drive over, make a purchase, and your ad just paid for itself. This great article explains which industries get the best results from Yelp advertising.

Be yourself

When AOL installation CDs used to show up in the mail, common wisdom was to never use your real name online. Everyone had user names like businessman1 or sparkles7285. Those days are long gone. In the 2010s and beyond, you should be genuine and use your real name online. Doing so builds trust and shows you are not some sketchy scammer in Nigeria trying to make a quick buck with an online scam.

People don’t want to do business with faceless companies. They want to know who they are working with. And if that person is you, they should want to do business with you even more!

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Sales Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On? 28 Oct 2017, 3:00 pm

In the world of big data, there’s no shortage information that you can use to increase conversations.

Some examples would include everything from their contact information, demographics, and general data like their interests and shopping behavior.

Sales intelligence is using this type of information to keep the conversation going with your leads in order to close a sale. The reason? It provides more specific information from the customer, so you can provide better service to them.

Your prospective client can provide other answers. Why this prospect is willing to buy from you? What problems or challenges can you assist this prospect with in solving.

Typically, this is geared more toward one-on-one conversations, like during a phone call or a direct message.  The customer will feel relaxed enough to share more information than they normally would on a web form.

In order to help you work on improving your sales intelligence, here are 12 elements that you should focus:

1. Triggers

In you want to move a sale forward then you’re going to have to appeal to the needs of your prospects. Think about what business-driver or current issue your solution is addressing. How is it enhancing the lives of your prospects?

You will know how to proceed by using specific sales triggers that influence purchasing decisions of your target audience.

Sales reps can leverage these triggers when they have an opportunity to convert a lead to sale. [BTW: these sales triggers work brilliantly in your personal life as well.]

Sales triggers help provide the most current and relevant intelligence to keep the lines of communication open. They contribute with relevant information about how you’ll solve this clients current needs.

2. Existing Customers

You can also leverage your existing customers who are satisfied to demonstrate the value that you’re providing them. Examples include, sharing case studies, customer satisfaction reports, testimonials, and reviews on your website.

You can also share examples of customer success stories during sales meetings.

When you showcase how your organization has helped customers overcome challenges, it’s impressive. By showcasing satisfaction of your clients, it demonstrates that you value your customers.

3. Organizational Charts

Closing a sale on average requires between 4-5 decision makers. Too many middlemen (middle-persons?) hold up the sales process. By implementing sales intelligence you’re able to provide your team with detailed organizational charts.

You give visibility to the decision making process, while keeping relevant decision makers in the loop. This means that you don’t have to wait until every department is brought up to speed on a customer.

4. Accessibility with Sales Intelligence

It’s imperative that your sales teams are on-top of any organizational changes. All activity regarding prospect accounts and where they are in your sales funnel is crucial.

The problem is that the burden of research takes away time from the sales process. Sales people need to sell and you don’t want to leave your sales team unprepared to handle specific situations.

Save your sales team countless time by implementing sales intelligence solutions. Keep updates — well, up-to-date. Contacts, and contact information integrates seamlessly with CRM solutions like Salesforce.

Any of the big data solutions can be accessed on multiple devices. Your sales team can keep crushing it while the data intelligence provider keeps them informed of any recent changes.

5. Innate Intelligence

According to Jeb Blountauthor of Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal, remember:

“Ultra-high sales performers possess four types of intelligence that are tightly intertwined, each connecting, affecting, and amplifying the others.”

Blount’s Intelligence Factors:

FIRST

First is your intelligence quotient (IQ), which is “an indicator of how smart you are” and immoveable. “Ultra-high sales performers are smart people,” says Blount.

“They are keen observers and have insatiable curiosity. They have the innate ability to connect disparate ideas, data, facts and patterns to develop unique and original solutions to problems—a critical competency in sales for discovery, challenging the status quo, and developing unique solutions and recommendations.”

6. Acquired Intelligence

SECOND

The second type of intelligence is acquired intelligence. “Innate intellect is useless on its own. It must be honed and developed.”

Unlike innate intelligence, “acquired intelligence (AQ) is not static.” It can be developed through “schooling, training, reading, along with practice, adversity, and experience.”

Ultimately, acquired intelligence makes IQ relevant and useful.

7. Technological Intelligence

THIRD

“Technological intelligence (TQ) is the ability to interact with technology and weave it seamlessly into one’s daily life,” says Blount. “Those who fail to develop this ability or who resist developing it will be left behind.”

For exampleJerry Pharr is Director of Field Readiness at Outreach. Pharr used Chorus.ai to automatically record and transcribe the meetings. This information was then used to be instrumental in their sales process.

“What does that mean? We have specific language we use to discuss each of the four themes in our discovery process” says Pharr. “Using their AI, we know which themes were or were not discussed.

“We quickly listen to parts of a meeting, and tie adherence to our sales process to advance the rates of our opportunities. With this data, we can increase adoption by rep through personalized coaching.”

8. Emotional Intelligence

FOURTH

“The ability to perceive, correctly interpret, respond to, and effectively manage one’s own emotions and influence the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence (EQ),” Blount says.

It’s absolutely vital these days as more and more customers demand more personalization. EI accomplishes this by helping you better understand and empathize with your perspectives.

You can connect with them in order to start building a long-lasting relationship.

9. Content

Detailed content should improve the performance of any sales organization, but it also works the other way around.

Effective content marketers use sales intelligence gathered from sales operations to create content your sales team can use. Useful tools like an infographic of a case study can spark a conversation among your audience.

Gathered intelligence encourages your sales team and content marketers to collaborate on boosting sales intelligence.

Great content also improves processes like:

  1. Lead nurturing. By creating content that is relevant and useful to your audience, you’re encouraging them to move along the sales funnel.
  2. Lead generation. When you improve your sales intelligence, you’re ensuring that your content will reach the right people, at the right place, and at the right time.
  3. Cross-And-Upselling. You want to keep the conversation going so that your customers will remember you the next time they have a problem.

For example, email a survey asking what products or services they’d be interested in. Ask how you can help with current services.

10. Segmentation

Segmentation is simply reaching the right customer with the right message. This is based on their needs, interests, budgets, or other attributes.

For example, if you sold suntan lotion, then you would segment your customers by geographical areas. Some places are having exposure to the sun, while others are in winter.

Selling suntan lotion when an area is in current winter weather will guarantee you a frosty reception. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!)

Other attributes for segmentation can be needs, interests, budgets or other attributes. If you sell products or services to businesses, then you would segment them by attributes. Consider the business size, location, industry, or their specific goals like increasing sales.

You can obtain this information by using analytics. Better yet,  ask leads and customers this information via questionnaires or  a web form. Ask your leads or customers as many questions as possible when you have them on the phone.

11. Initial Pitch

If you have a list of segmented prospects then work on creating an introduction that’s going to hook them in a matter of seconds.

While this will vary from business to business, essential elements include:

  • Company introduction.
  • Brief overview of what your product offers.
  • Focus on your unique selling proposition.
  • Interaction cues, such as questions, affirmations, or pauses.

12. Follow-Ups

We all know customers can be fickle. Some days they may not need your product or service.

It just verifies the importance of follow-ups. By following up it gives you the chance to uncover more information about your prospects.

This time you may catch them at the right team, and strengthen the relationship with customers. You do this by inquiring how the product or service is working out for them.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Angela Ruth.

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12 Tips to Get The Right Loan For Your Startup 24 Oct 2017, 4:05 pm

One of the most common questions that budding entrepreneurs ask is, “How do I find the money to start my business?” They dilemma is whether to get a loan for your startup or get the money another way.

Where there are a variety of of ways to obtain funding for your startup, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. For example, if you only need $2,000 to get started, then you may be able to bootstrap your business. Stay at your current job and save or ask your family or friends for the money. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to think about other funding channels.

To ensure that you find the right loan for your startup, here are 12 tips on finding that loan for you and your business.

1. How much do you need for a small business loan for your startup?

This should be your first consideration. Certain lenders will only work with you depending on the capital you need. For instance, many traditional lenders may not issue a small business loan if you just want $5,000. However, the amount may be too much for your parents. Therefore, a microloan may be an option.

Microloans work with the Small Business Association (SBA). They are for businesses that need to borrow between $35,000-$50,000 and have a limited credit history.

To get an idea of the amount of the loan for your startup, review your projected expenses from your business plan. It may not be an exact amount, but it should give you an estimate. However, working with an accountant provides a more accurate figure.

2. How quickly do you need access to loan funds?

Some loans are structured as installment loans, like your mortgage or car loan. This means that once the loan is approved, you’ll receive the funds in one lump through financing. Of course, you’ll have to pay the loan back in monthly payments, which includes fees and interest rate charges as well, but you’ll have the entire amount you’ve been approved for at your disposal.

Other loans use revolving lines of credit. In this case you are not issues a predetermined amount. However, even though there’s a limit, you get to select the amount of money that you want to borrow. When you start to pay back the line of credit is replenished.

If you’re positive that you need $100,000 right-off-the-bat, then an installment loan may be a better option. If you need $50,000 to start, but believe you’ll need additional capital down the road when you start to grow, you may want to look into revolving credit.

3. What is the loan going to be used for?

One of the factors that lenders will base their decision on will be what you’ll be using the loan for your startup.  For example, a business line of credit is commonly used for businesses that need cash to purchase equipment, make payroll, or launch a marketing campaign. If you seek funding from a VC or Angel Investor, they typically work with startups that they have knowledge and experience in.

Determining what you need the money for allows you focus on finding investors that work specifically for that industry or purpose.

4. How long have you been in business?

If your business is still in the early stages, it may be difficult to secure a loan from traditional lenders like a bank since they require a positive credit history, collateral, business plan, projected financial statements, and cash flow projections.

business loan

In this situation, you may have to search for a small business loan from an alternative lender like an online lender like Lending Club.

5. Do you have collateral?

Do you have an property or inventory that you can put up as a collateral? If not, you may not qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. Instead, you may have to seek alternative funding options where you would offer accounts receivable, future sales, or a percentage of the company in exchange for the loan.

6. Eliminate your bad debt.

As explained by Eric Rosenberg in a previous Due article, “if you are running your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or S-Corp, your personal credit definitely impacts your business.” In other words, you need to get your personal credit score in-order by making on-time payments and eliminating any debt from a high-priced lender if you want to increase your chances of approval.

Even if you are approved, you may still be hit with a high APR.

Once you have your finances in order, search for a long-term, low-rate loan from lenders like the SBA.

7. Research possible loan provider options.

Thanks to the power of Google and review sites like TrustPilot, this shouldn’t be that difficult of a task. Do your due diligence and seek lenders that are transparent with their rates, terms, and have positive reviews from customers.

8. Consider your niche.

What makes your business special and unique? That’s not only going to give you a competitive edge and attract potential customers, it’s also going to be used when finding a lender.

As mentioned above, most investors, particularly VC’s, will only loan money to businesses that they’re familiar with. For example, if your startup is in the healthcare industry, then you would want to pitch your idea to a firm that is involved with that industry, such as New Enterprise Associates.

If you wanted to crowdfund your idea, then you would tailor your marketing content to the tastes and preferences of your audience or locate a grant that is designed for specific business owners or specific business ideas.

9. Find a grant or contest.

Speaking of grants, these are probably you’re best bet on finding a loan for your startup since they’re based on demographics, like grants that are offered to women entrepreneurs. You can visit this site to locate a federal grant based on factors like location, demographic, industry, or those with bad credit.

If you can’t secure a grant, you could try entering a contest or competition. To be eligible to enter contests look at factors like your startup’s values, industry, business size, and if you’re an alumni. Even if you don’t win, contests give you the opportunity to practice your pitch for potential lenders.

10. Crowdfund Your idea.

Crowdfunding has become one of the more popular alternative lending options thanks to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Crowdfunding doesn’t require you to sign terms, but more importantly, it tests your business idea. If your idea goes unfunded, then you either don’t have a market or you need to rethink your marketing campaign.

11. Pay attention to APR, fees, and other costs.

As a new business owner, you’re most likely on a tight budget. This could be an issue when you need to pay back that loan for your startup. A  lenders may have a high APR, which includes interest rate, fees, and loan term. You may also be responsible for other costs like origination fees, processing fees, and application fees.

If you don’t have the cash flow to pay back these fees, you need to find a lender that has more favorable terms, such as the SBA, or seek alternative methods like a grant or crowdfunding campaign.

12. Investor or capital?

An investor and capital are completely different. While both can provide you with funding, capital can come from a variety of sources. This includes your parents, a business loan, savings, credit cards, or crowdfunding.

Investors, on the other hand, do more than just write you a check. They can provide coaching, mentoring, and networking opportunities that can help your business grow successfully.

In other words, if you need to purchase a new piece of equipment, then a loan should suffice. If you’re looking for advice and a loan that will be available throughout the lifecycle of your business, then working with an investor may be a better option.

Just keep in mind that investors have high rates, usually a 30 percent to 50 percent annual rate of return, and will take equity positions as well. In return, you don’t have to worry about things like principal installments, but you will lose some control of your business.

negotiation

The bottom line.

At some point, you will need to find funding for your startup. Before putting yourself into debt, consider if you can bootstrap your business. After all, the less you take out, the more money you can keep in your business. If that’s not an option, then make sure that you find the right loan for your business using the tips mentioned here.

 

This article was originally posted on Due by John Rampton.

The post 12 Tips to Get The Right Loan For Your Startup appeared first on KillerStartups.

5 Entrepreneurship Blogs You Should Have on Your Radar 21 Oct 2017, 9:52 pm

There are great entrepreneurship blogs and publications out there that can be inspiring and provide you with real ideas for your own entrepreneur journey. You probably look to Entrepreneur and Fast Company — some of the big names in entrepreneurship. Perhaps you listen to podcasts like StartUp and Entrepreneur on Fire. Good idea abound on these types of podcasts and in related publications.

But when all you do is focus on the big, splashy blogs and podcasts you might be missing out on some of the gems out there. Every year, I help plan and put on the Plutus Awards. These take place at FinCon, a conference for independent financial media. The idea behind the Plutus Awards is to recognize excellence in the independent financial media community.

If you want to read some great entrepreneurship blogs — and some of these even come with enlightening podcasts — try the finalists in the entrepreneurship category.

Money Lab

This is a fun blog all about one man’s journey to make money online without succumbing to online marketing “bull****”. Matt Giovanisci tries all sorts of interesting things and shares the results. His insights into serial entrepreneurship, what really works, and how you can learn lessons from failure, make this a very valuable blog.

Matt is honest and straightforward, and he’s even transparent about what’s working and what totally didn’t.

The Self Employed Movement

Just as it was nominated for a Plutus Award, The Self Employed Movement announced it wouldn’t make new posts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what’s already there. This is a great blog about side hustling and making money when you don’t have a “real” job. If you’re looking for some extra cash while you get your business going, this blog is for you. One of the great things about this blog is that it also includes reviews and experiments. You can read honest reviews of different side hustles and get an idea of what is likely to actually work.

Side Hustle Nation

One of my favorite entrepreneurship blogs and podcasts is this one, where Nick Loper shows you how to use different types of income to build job-free income. It’s all about freedom on this podcast. On the blog, you can find all sorts of practical resources, including tutorials and in-depth case studies. If you’re not sure where to start, a list of side hustle ideas can get the creative juices flowing.

Smart Passive Income

You’ve probably heard of Pat Flynn and his blog and podcast. And for good reason. If you want the basics on getting started, including building your brand, outsourcing, and more, this blog can help you move forward. Plus, there’s information on selling online products and physical products. You can see reviews, have your questions answered, and find out more from your favorite entrepreneurs.

Yes, I Am Cheap

This started out as a blog about getting out of debt. Now it’s one of the best little-known entrepreneurship blogs. While the blog still has plenty of information on saving money (good to have personal finance skills as an entrepreneur, it also includes plenty of good information on building a business. Sandy Smith has her own businesses, and she takes you through how to establish them, and gives great tips for building your brand and making money.

So, if you need a little extra inspiration, check out these blogs, and then start making money.

 

This article was originally published on Due by Miranda Marquit.

The post 5 Entrepreneurship Blogs You Should Have on Your Radar appeared first on KillerStartups.

Gifted On Paper: A Monthly Giftwrapping Subscription Box That Lets You Treat Yourself And Others 19 Oct 2017, 6:22 am

Subscriptions boxes have become all the rage in the last few years, with options for monthly or quarterly deliveries ranging from sex toys to make-upchocolate to foods from around the world, and even witchy spell boxes to dog treats & toys. Getting mail – especially in the digital era – is just fun, and a package (with surprise items inside!) is an extra treat. While most of the subscription boxes out there are a great way to treat yourself, there’s a new one about to launch that lets you treat yourself, as well as others: Gifted on Paper, a monthly giftwrapping subscription box.
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Giftwrapping can be a way of creating special memories and showing your loved ones how much you care, just as much as the gift inside – especially when you opt for particularly alluring or imaginative wrapping. Gifted on Paper is a giftwrapping subscription box featuring everything you need to create beautifully wrapped presents, including wrapping paper, gift bags, gift tags, tissue paper, and other embellishments such as bows – all of which are hand selected each month.

Interested?

Head to their website and submit your email address for important updates, such as news, sneak peaks, and launch details – AND a chance to win a year of free boxes. You can also follow them Instagram  and Facebook

Photos

ISO Republic | Stock SnapGifted on Paper

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11 Productivity Hacks for Work From Home Newbies That Make Six Plus Figures 17 Oct 2017, 4:30 pm

Working from home is no longer taboo. In fact, it’s become extremely common for millions of people – thanks in part to technology that’s made it possible to communicate and collaborate with anyone around the world.

While working from home can be a blessing, it can also be curse if you’re not prepared. That’s understandable if you’re new to this lifestyle.

If you’re in that situation, I’ve put together these 11 productivity hackers for work from home newbies.

1. Know when you’re most productive.

While there is evidence that waking-up early can influence success. The truth is that not every everyone is cut out to wake-up at the ungodly hour or 4am. Some are not built to exercise, send-out emails, and start diving into work before 8am.

The secret to working from home is knowing the best time of day to work. This will ensure that you’re not only productive, but that you can do more quality work.

Not sure when this is?

Here’s a couple of pointers to figure that out.

  • Ask these two questions; When do I have the most amount of energy and concentration? and When are there the fewest interruptions and distractions?
  • Carve out one to three 90-minute periods, which will be your productive bursts.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Do your most important and challenging tasks first when you have the most energy.
  • Embrace interruptions at the right time. For example, use your lunch break to run errands, do household chores, respond to emails, or play with your dog. You’ll be energized when you get back.
  • Be creative with your schedule. If you want to sleep-in until 10am and work from noon to 8pm, do that. Work when you are at your best. Remember, you’re not tied to the traditional 9-to-5 workday anymore.

2. Keep your days like traditional work days.

This doesn’t mean that you start work at 9am and stop at 5pm. After all, we’ve already established that those may not be your most productive times to work.

What this means is that like a traditional 9-to-5 gig, you keep a consistent schedule where you start and end work at a specific time. If not, you’ll be on call 24/7. It’s the ultimate guaranteed ticket to a place known as Burntoutville. I don’t recommend visiting that place anytime soon. Don’t. Just don’t.

If you start work at 7am, take a break around 3pm if you want to spend time with your kids when they get home from school. Even if you go back to work, make sure that you shut everything down around 6pm so that you can eat dinner and put your kids to bed.

3. Learn keyboard shortcuts.

This may not seem like that big of a deal, but this hack can save you time, boost your productivity, improve your efficiency, and prevent your arms from getting tired. This is a big deal when you’re writing on a daily basis.

Different operating systems have varying shortcut keys, but the fine folks at Computer Hope put together a handy list to get you started.

4. Use the tools that work best for you.

There’s no shortage of tools that can assist you in time-tracking, scheduling your day. Jotting down to-do lists, communicating with clients, and even blocking out distractions is helpful. The trick is to find a mix of tools that work for you.

For example, my colleagues and I used Insightly to collaborate with each other and check off completed assignments. I’m sure that it’s a great tool for larger organizations.

But for our small team it was too time-consuming. We switched over to Slack, which was more ideal, and less time consuming, for us.

When starting out, think about what areas you need assistance with. For instance, do you have hard time keeping track of all of your passwords? Then compare tools like LastPass and experiment with them until you find the tool that works best for you.

5. Set social media and email check-in times.

Unless your job involves staying connected to social media, only schedule specific times to check your social media accounts and emails. If not, you’ll be constantly distracted whenever you receive a notification.

Most successful people check their social channels and emails at set times. Choose first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, and at the end of the day.

Also, don’t check your phone for messages directly before bed. This can have a negative impact on your sleep.

Again, shut down your workday at a specific time – and that includes checking into your social channels and email accounts.

6. Schedule meetings.

This might seem counter-intuitive. After all, meetings can tend to be a waste of time – especially when you work remotely.

In reality, scheduling meetings can be beneficial since they’re a quick and effective way to either solve a problem or build a process.

Instead of going back-and-forth via email or playing phone tag with a client or colleague, schedule a one hour meeting. Everything that needs to be discussed regarding a project can usually be covered.

This way you will complete the project sooner.

7. Follow the two-minute rule.

It there is a task that’s going to take two-minutes or less to complete, then do it immediately. Don’t waste your time or energy writing down these tasks down either.

Just get them done immediately so that your attention and energy is saved for more important jobs.

8. Don’t rule out all distractions.

Peace and quiet sounds like an ideal work situation, right? In actuality, we all need a little background noise and distractions from time-to-time.

For some of us, white noise can be beneficial, like improving productivity and boosting creativity. It just depends on the type of noise and how loud it is.

In other words, a little bit of background noise and minor distractions can be an assist when you’re working from home. The TV on is generally not recommended.

9. Take proper breaks.

Speaking of distractions, taking micro breaks throughout the day. Your brain needs short periods of rest. This prepares your brain so that it can regain focus and recharge.

study from Emily Hunter, Ph.D., and Cindy Wu, Ph.D., associate professors of management in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, found that the most beneficial time to take a workday break is mid-morning.

“We found that when more hours had elapsed since the beginning of the work shift, fewer resources and more symptoms of poor health were reported after a break,” the study says. “Therefore, breaks later in the day seem to be less effective.”

Additionally, the research found that better breaks involve activities that people enjoy.

“Finding something on your break that you prefer to do — something that’s not given to you or assigned to you. [These are the] kinds of activities that are going to make your breaks much more restful. [They] provide better recovery and help you come back to work stronger,” Hunter said.

10. Harness the power of flexibility.

While you should create and try to stick to a schedule, the fact of the matter is that you have a flexible schedule. If I decide to take the day off and go to the beach, I can afford that luxury. It just means that the next day I may be putting in 10 or more hours.

This is a surefire way to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent you from getting burnt out.

11. Design an inspiring home office.

Whether if you’re working from the kitchen table, cafe table on the patio, or in a dedicated home office, your workspace should be free of clutter, comfortable, and be inspiring.

This means that is should be free of distractions, has the proper lighting and coloring, and contains items that spark your productivity. Items like plants and knick knacks that display your personality provide all kinds of benefits.

 

This article was originally published on Due by John Rampton.

The post 11 Productivity Hacks for Work From Home Newbies That Make Six Plus Figures appeared first on KillerStartups.

ChatbotsBuilder: Quickly And Easily Build Facebook Messenger Chatbots For Your Business 16 Oct 2017, 5:44 am

If you’re a small or medium sized business, it can be challenging to spend time on Facebook answering all the same questions over and over again. Instead, some businesses are turning to Facebook messenger chatbots – basically a virtual assistant that can respond automatically to requests from a user, guiding them through a path that naturally them to your business objectives, whether that’s acquiring new contact, qualifying leads, receiving detailed information, or even complete a purchase.

If that’s something you’re in the market for, recent startup ChatbotsBuilder should be at the top of your list. It’s possibly the most complete and effective Facebook chatbot builder for businesses, allowing you to create and customize chatbots for you and your clients – and all in 5 minutes. The platform includes powerful tools like ready-made templates, forms, click-to-call buttons and integrations that provide real value – with minimum effort.

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ChatbotsBuilder empowers small & medium digital marketing agencies and professionals to easily build complete and effective Facebook Messenger chatbots. Not only can you use them for your own for your business, they also enable you to resell the chatbots to clients. The platform also boasts an easy system and complete tutorials that will help you create, use, and sell Facebook Messenger chatbots.

 

Features

ChatbotBuilder’s platform includes easy and fast integration, a wide selection of trigger types, a large list of ready-made templates, integrations with popular marketing tools, and emoji and variables integration (being able to embed the user’s first and last time, the time of day, or the day of the week), along with a number of other interesting and useful features for customizing your bot and maximizing your ROI.

 

Interested?

First – if you’re curious, you can go to their site and chat with some of the bots created with their platform. They have three example options: a web agency, a restaurant, and a real estate agency.

 

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From there, if you’re interested in upping your customer service and marketing game with a Facebook messenger chatbot, ChatbotsBuilder offers a free 7-day trial with no obligations, after which you can choose the right plan for you. Plans range from $9/month to $999/month depending on the level of features included, with all three plans including a minimum of one chatbot, 10 triggers/replies, email support, and access to all templates.

 

Photos

ISO RepublicChatbotsBuilder

The post ChatbotsBuilder: Quickly And Easily Build Facebook Messenger Chatbots For Your Business appeared first on KillerStartups.

5 Things You Must Know Before Starting a Business 10 Oct 2017, 12:00 pm

So, you want to start a business. That’s great! Starting a business can be a great way to make extra money, achieve financial independence, and live your desired lifestyle.

However, before you start things off, it’s important to know a few things. Starting a business isn’t always the glamorous lifestyle you’ve heard of. Here are five things to keep in mind as you move forward:

1. You Have to Know the Right Business for You

Before starting a business, you should know what is likely to be right for you. Not everyone does well in a brick and mortar location. Some people aren’t cut out for business models that involve freelancing.

There are a lot of potential business models and plenty of ideas for budding entrepreneurs. Do the research. Know what’s right for you. Pursue a business idea that offers you a better chance of success.

2. You Need to Know the Purpose of Your Business

Does your business have a purpose? Are you solving a problem? Are you making people’s lives better?

Understanding your purpose is vital when starting a business. You should know the “why” behind what you do. It’s not enough to just want to make money. You should have a clear idea of why you are going into business — and why the model you choose is the right one.

When you understand your purpose as a business owner, you are more likely to stick with it and succeed.

3. You Need to Know the Basics of Accounting and Finance

A basic knowledge of finance and accounting can be a big help when starting a business. This includes understanding how to limit your debt, manage cash flow, and other concepts.

Before starting a business, brush up basic money management concepts, as well as business basics. When you start on a solid foundation, you are less likely to have serious problems later.

Plus, it can help you get your own personal finances in order before you take the plunge. Having your own financial house in order is vital, and you also need to make sure you keep your personal and business finances separate.

4. You Should Know How Your Family Will Operate as You’re Starting a Business

Too often, entrepreneurs jump in without thinking about the impacts on their families. However, before you start a business, you should sit down with your life partner. Talk about the realities and the sacrifices.

You also need to set boundaries for your work. It’s easy to get caught up in entrepreneurship, but you also need to maintain a work-life balance. You don’t want your personal relationships to fall apart — especially those important family relationships. Know how to handle this ahead of time.

5. You Need to Know the End Game

Finally, make sure you understand the end game. Do you plan to build a business you can sell to someone else? Do you hope to start a small solopreneur or lifestyle business that you can run yourself, with no plans to scale up? Are you planning to pass the business on to your kids?

Understanding the end game now can help you build the right kind of business structure and plan for succession if necessary. Pay attention at the start of your business journey, and you will be better positioned for success later.

 

5 Things You Must Know Before Starting a Business was originally published on Due by Miranda Marquit.

The post 5 Things You Must Know Before Starting a Business appeared first on KillerStartups.

Findy: Start Finding What You’re Shopping For Online 2 Oct 2017, 8:21 pm

The internet is an endless black hole, and it can be hard to find what you’re looking for, whether you’re searching for the perfect new furry companion, a weekend (or longer) getaway, or a used vehicle. Generally, you have to look across several websites, figuring out the best search terms as you go, and then still half the time have results included that just make you go, “eww. No thanks.”
The solution? New shopping app Findy. This smart new app learns what you like as you swipe and helps you find what you want. You can browse adoptable pets, vacation rentals, classifieds, hotels, homes, and more – all from one app – and their smart software will continually adjust to your preferences, so that eventually your searches result in more tailored results.
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Features

Findy lets you stop searching and start finding what you’re looking for because of their nifty app features, including:

Discover Smarter: The app learns what you like as you swipe, and then adapts to your preferences, responding in real time so that you only see items you’re most likely to want.

One-Stop Shop: Findy consolidates multiple marketplaces including Ebay, Autotrader, Airbnb, Craiglist, Cars.com, and Realtor in a single application.

Organized Shopping: Whether you’re window shopping or on a mission to find something really particular, the app keeps your search organized for you so you can start, stop, and reengage at anytime, from any mobile device.

Save Your Finds: Findy allows you to curate list of your favorites and even share them with your friends.
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Interested?

You can subscribe to their private beta list on their website, and the app is already available for both iOS and Android through the App Store and Google Play, respectively. It doesn’t seem to be totally up and running quite yet, but the UI is simple and I’m looking forward to using it when

Photos

Pixabay | Findy

The post Findy: Start Finding What You’re Shopping For Online appeared first on KillerStartups.

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