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What is Equity and Why is it Important to Your Business

What is Equity and Why is it Important to Your Business
What is Equity and Why is it Important to Your Business?   So, you’ve finally started your own business. You are officially an entrepreneur. While you might feel a fleeting sense of accomplishment, it may not last forever. For many new business owners, the thrill of starting a business wears off quickly and is replaced, at least in part, by worry. Will your business be profitable? Have you taken every legal step possible to make it a legitimate endeavor? Did you borrow too much money to start your business? How long will it take to be profitable? While there are many notions to understand as a business owner, equity is a key concept and you should have a firm knowledge base of how it works. It is essentially what will drive your business and its profitability.   What is Equity? Equity is essentially the value of any asset, in this case your business, minus any liabilities on that asset. A liability may be a loan or debt that is owed against the business. Here is an example: If you bought your business’s physical building for $400,000 and the mortgage balance is $200,000, your equity is $200,000.   There is also the concept of owner’s equity. This is essentially the total amount of equity you, as the owner, have in your company. Let’s look at this in another example. If your company has $200,000 in total assets but also carries $50,000 in total debt, your total equity in the business is $150,000. A simpler way to think of owner’s equity is that it is the amount of money that would be left over if you sold all of your business assets and then paid off all of your business debts. The lower your debts, the likelier you are to have positive equity in your business and the higher the probability you would make a profit should you decide to sell it.   Negative Equity Negative equity, as its name suggests, is not a good thing for any business owner. It applies to the concept of when your ownership interest in your business is equal to less than your liabilities and debts. So, for example, if you purchased your business’s building for $300,000 and took out a loan for $250,000 to pay for it but the value drops to $200,000, you now have negative equity. That is because the value of the building is now less than the balance owed on it. You want to avoid negative equity as much as possible. You would not be able to sell your business for a profit if you had negative equity.   Types of Equity You can have both tangible and intangible assets in your business. Tangible assets are those that you can physical touch. If you run a business that keeps an inventory of product, that inventory is a tangible asset. An intangible asset cannot be touched but may even be more valuable than a tangible one. An intangible asset might be the reputation of your business. This can obviously bring you more customers. Another intangible asset might be brand identity. Everyone knows, for example, that golden arches represent McDonald’s. The more recognizable your brand, the better. If customers know you, they may use you for your services or goods.   Importance of Equity Equity is of the utmost importance when it comes to your business. As your owner’s equity increases as time goes on, you can potentially sell your business and turn a profit. So, if you want to eventually make a profitable business, you need to be consistently building equity in it. This means the value of your business should...
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Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business

Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business
Here’s to New Beginnings: Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business   When you have a great business idea and strive to achieve financial independence, you might be thinking about launching a small business. Every huge corporation started with a small business, so why not? While you can definitely achieve success in the business world, keeping your small business successful for at least 2 to 5 years is a huge work. This game is worth the candle, though. So, if you’re trying to start a small business, here’s your handy guide to help you out:   Start your journey with research Perhaps, you’ve already come up with a unique – or any – business idea, but is it going to bring you success? Does your business idea have many competitors? Before you take any step, do your own research. Consider running your idea through a simple validation process that will help you to figure out the future of that idea. First of all, your business idea should offer something – be it a service or a product – that the modern market needs these days.   There are many ways to find out if a business idea will be successful, such as focus groups, deep research, and in most cases, trial and error. But before you go through trial and error ask yourself:   Does the market need your product/service? Who are the people who will want to use your product/service? What are the companies that offer similar or the same product/service? Will you be able to compete with them? It’s important to ask confidently without any fear or disappointment.   Create a business plan Any business idea requires a powerful business plan, which will become your guide during the process of establishment and business growth. There are many types of business plans, so choose the one that will suit your idea.   If you’re looking for financial support from a financial institution or an investor, creating a basic business plan is essential. This business plan is usually thorough and long, and contains a set of sections that banks and investors check out when they’re validating a business idea. In case, you’re not looking for any financial support and you’re going to invest in your startup yourself, it may be enough to create a simple and short business plan just to give you the initial steps you should take. You can also come up with a working business plan on a piece of paper and change it as you start working on it.   Consider your finances Generally, a startup doesn’t need too many investments, yet you’ll need some money to cover a number of expenses during the first months or even a year before your business will earn a profit. Calculate the one-time startup expenses like property leases, permits and licenses, legal fees, equipment, branding, insurance, inventory, market research, opening events, trademarking, etc. Then, calculate how much money you will need to keep your startup running for a year (your own paycheck, employee paychecks, utilities, rent, advertising, marketing, travel expenses, supplies, etc.)   As soon as you find out an approximate amount of money, think about the ways to find them. You can either save money or borrow from family or friends. Many new entrepreneurs also apply for an SBA loan. Filling out an SBA personal financial statement may be tricky, but here’s a guide to help you out.   Select a business structure Whether it is a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a sole proprietorship, or even a corporation, your next step is to select a business structure. Your business structure will affect a lot...
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How do I Become an Independent Contractor

How do I Become an Independent Contractor
Rolling Up Your Sleeves: 8 Steps to Registering as an Independent Contractor Are you ready to be your own boss?  There are many advantages to becoming an independent contractor, some of which we’ll cover today. But it’s also a big responsibility – one that you and you alone must handle. Here are some general steps you can take to make your dreams of striking out on your own as an independent contractor a reality.   Learn what an independent contractor is.  First, learn more about what being an independent contractor means. To be an independent contractor, you must have multiple clients (companies) annually. You own your business at least in part, work with your own materials, tools, and expertise, and each job you take on is considered ‘temporary’, as you will leave when your task is complete.  Pick your business name.  Now, pick a name for your business. Make it something other than just your first and last name, as you can get some good marketing in with a clever or memorable name.  Get licensed.  Next, head down to your local city or county clerk’s office and figure out whether or not you’ll require a license to operate where you live. This is especially important if you work in any type of labor/contractor field. Often, you are required to be licensed in your trade as well.  Get insured.  Whatever you do, don’t skip this step! Your career as an independent contractor could be over as soon as it begins if you get entangled in a lawsuit with a client. Check out various professional liability insurance companies to find a policy that suits your industry and individual needs.  Take care of the accounting end of things.  Decide whether or not you’ll hire an accountant. In many cases, this isn’t necessary; many independent contractors get by fine on their own with accounting software.  Make estimated tax payments.  This can be a little tricky, but do your best to come up with a ballpark figure on what you’ll make in a year. Now, you must make four estimated tax payments throughout the year. Trust us, you do not want to end up owing all at once, or end up attracting the attention of the IRS in any way.  Stay motivated.  We all lose steam, and we all find ourselves stuck in a rut from time to time. But as an independent contractor, you need to maintain the will to work and consistently formulate ways to draw in new clients. Create a routine and schedule for yourself, even when work is thin.  Enjoy the benefits.  While it can have its tough moments, being an independent contractor is incredibly freeing. You make your own hours, you dictate what you’ll be paid, and most of all, it’s your chance to do what you love for a living. Appreciate it!   Finding the right work-life balance can be difficult, but when you’re an independent contractor, you make the rules. Start off on the right foot by taking care of licensing, insurance, and accounting, and from there, the sky’s the limit....
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8 Ideas For Profitable Ecommerce Niches Right Now

8 Ideas For Profitable Ecommerce Niches Right Now
8 Ideas For Profitable Ecommerce Niches Right Now Image credit: Pexels Choosing an ecommerce niche can be very difficult, but if you can find the right one, it can prove extremely profitable. There are hundreds of potential niches out there and millions of products that you could sell, so you need to commit time and attention to finding one or two to focus on. Prioritization is essential for entrepreneurs. Niche products are easier to market than general products because you can target a very particular group of people with less competition to contend with. You see fewer leads overall, but the vastly-improved conversion rates more than make up for that. Source: ecomdash   Not sure where to start? Here are 8 strong ideas for profitable ecommerce niches that you can use for inspiration. Athleisure wear The word ‘athleisure’ first entered common parlance a few years ago, and it looks set to stick around. Athleisure wear, as the name suggests, encompasses items of clothing that are suitable for both athletic and leisure activities: if you’ve ever been out to brunch in your gym gear, you’ve rocked the athleisure look. Within this category you can sell everything from yoga pants and sports bras to running shoes, all in a wide variety of colors and prints. Athleisure wear interest levels. Source: Google Trends    Millennials are the usual targets for athleisure wear, with a fairly even customer split of 60% women and 40% men. Because the products are centered on fashion, visual channels such as Facebook, Pinterest and especially Instagram are excellent platforms to grow your brand. Buy it for life (BIFL) People are growing tired of buying cheap, low-quality products, and are getting interested in conscious buying — something targeted through buy it for life products. The emphasis here is on high-quality, durable items that aren’t cheap but will last for a long time. As we become aware of the negative impacts of consumerism in our throwaway culture, we are finding ourselves more willing to spend money on things that won’t break within a few months. Source: The Good Human   While the buy it for life niche automatically means fewer return customers and fewer products sold overall, selling premium products offers a better margin. In addition, buy it for life offers the valuable opportunity to build your brand with a great story, which will help you connect with customers and keep them loyal. Night masks Night masks are a good niche to target because they offer a solution to a persistent problem: needing to block out excess light so you can get a better night’s sleep. Night masks can be broken down into three main customer segments: sensitive sleepers, travellers, and beauty fans. This means you can sell related products alongside them, such as relaxing lavender oil, travel pillows, or skin care products, depending on which group you are targeting. Night masks Source: Google Trends    Good sleep is very important for a variety of reasons, and always will be, so this is a niche that isn’t just a passing fad. Shapewear It has been reported that the shapewear market is expected to leap to $5.6 million in sales by 2022, so now is a great time to start establishing your brand within this niche. Shapewear is worn underneath your clothes and creates a sleeker and slimmer silhouette. For many years it has been associated purely with lingerie, but there are now many different cuts and styles that can be worn under everything from cocktail dresses to pairs of jeans and t-shirts. Source: SmartThingz   Shapewear offers you plenty of versatility as a retailer, and can be sold alongside everything from...
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Why Trademark Your Startup?

Why Trademark Your Startup?
Why Trademark Your Startup? Trademarking is very essential to new businesses, but first time entrepreneurs are not adept with the nuances of securing a trademark and often do not realize how vulnerable they are when operating a business without one. Why Trademark Your Startup? It helps protect your business identity It protects against others using the same or similar business name or logo It provides solid proof of your legally protected rights Federal trademark registration rights extend nationwide A trademark registration is an asset (it may be licensed or sold). Registering company names and domain names alone does not provide trademark protection. Must-Know IP Law (Patent, Trademark and Copyright) Beware of mimicking a famous brand; most popular iconic brands such as Coke, McDonald’s and Pepsi are protected by the Trademark Dilution Revision Act. Search Google to see if your intended trademark already exists. Reasons why your trademark may be rejected If it is likely to cause confusion, mistakes or deception with a mark already registered If it simply contains a generic name If it primarily describes or deceptive about the geographic origins of goods and services If it is primarily merely a surname If it is deemed immoral, deceptive or scandalous If it falsely suggests a connection with people, institutions, beliefs or national symbols If it uses the portrait, name or signature of any living person without the approval of the person concerned The Federal Trademark Registration Process 1. Select your trademark 2. Hire a Trademark Attorney Registering a trademark is a LEGAL process with many potential trap doors. Hence, it is advised to hire a trademark attorney to guide you through the trademark search and application process. 3. Availability Search Doing a search by yourself may prove to be disastrous. It is likely you are not familiar with what could create a conflict. A trademark search must be comprehensive and complete to rule out any potential legal conflicts. Doing an inadequate research is a major reason many trademark applications are rejected by the government. Do I Need a Lawyer to Register My Trademark? 4. Application Your attorney will draft and file your application with the USPTO (IN USA) OR THE TRADE MARKS REGISTRY (IN INDIA). If approved you will receive a trademark registration certificate and if refused, you will receive a refusal notice. 5. Monitor and Protect It is your responsibility to monitor and enforce your trademark rights. Failure to monitor can cause complete loss of trademark rights (regardless of having federal registration). COPYRIGHT ...
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