Why Seniors Citizens are Thinking About Starting a Home Business

Most people think that senior citizens should continue to live a life of leisure as they’ve earned the right to take it easy. However, some people who are at an advanced age may not be inclined to do so as they prefer to find other ways to stay engaged with the world.

Extra Cash In Retirement 

Some active seniors who live at home, and even those who reside in assisted living communities, often find that the monotony of doing nothing at all can lead to boredom or loneliness. While a steady or part-time job may be out of the question at this point in their lives, some find that starting a small business is the perfect way to pass the time while making a bit of money in their golden years.

For seniors who have the entrepreneurial spirit, the desire to have a small home business or online business has nothing to do with accumulating more wealth. Cash may be an important determinant of a person’s life satisfaction, but its effect declines over the age of 75. For business-minded seniors, acquiring more money is not the purpose of any endeavor – it’s about doing something meaningful to fill their days.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Some seniors have even become so passionate about what they do that they became successful later in life. There’s Col. Harland David Sanders, who franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 62. Then there’s 82-year-old Dorrie Jacobson, who started a very successful fashion blog to inspire women over 60 and has become the darling of the fashion world.  

If you’re a senior citizen and are thinking about starting a small home or online business, you’re in luck – there are lots of opportunities out there for you that aren’t physically demanding. Even if you’re in an assisted living facility and have impaired mobility of movement, there are other things that you can do that don’t require you to move around as much.

Here are a few business ideas if you’re planning to start a home or online business:

  • ·         Take a call center job. This is a great online job if you have low mobility as all you need to do is talk on the phone.
  • ·         Follow in Jacobson’s footsteps and start a blog where you can give expert advice. Pick a topic that you know and start writing. If you aren’t tech savvy, there are tons of tutorials out there to get you started.
  • ·         Do you love to sew? You can start an alteration business or take on small sewing jobs from your neighbors.
  • ·         If you’re into crafts or DIY projects, you can sell your wares at craft markets or at an online shop, such as Etsy. Many seniors earn a decent amount of money by selling handmade soaps, lotions, knitwear, and other items on this site.
  • ·         Got a winning cookie or pie recipe? You can sell baked goods at home or online. You can ask younger members of the family to scout for places where you can sell your food if you want to earn more.

There are many small businesses that you can launch from the comfort of home. All you have to do is to find one that you’d enjoy doing, and most importantly, one which will give you happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

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Electronics for Beginners: Launching a Lucrative Hobby at Home

Electronics makes for a fascinating hobby. It’s not difficult to get started, nor is it too expensive, and you can soon find yourself creating all kinds of things either for fun or to use around the home. You could even turn it into a lucrative hobby by making a side business out of it.

So how should you get started?

Here’s a quick guide to the basics you need in place to get your electronics hobby off the ground and start making fun and useful things at home.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

You’ll need to get a lot of equipment and tools before you can start making anything interesting, but these are all easy to get and relatively affordable.

A soldering iron is one of the most basic tools you’ll need. You will use the soldering iron to solder parts onto the PCB or solder parts together. Start with getting just one, but if you get more serious in your hobby, you might want to invest in a couple, such as one for thicker wires and one all-purpose solder. And you’ll also want a de-soldering tool as well so you can remove components.

A prefabricated PCB is a necessity. This is easier than making one yourself and they are not expensive. You can use them for creating simple circuits up to about 100 components, which is perfect for getting started.

A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a semiconductor device made of Configurable Logic Blocks (CLBs). This allows you to change a design after the device has been soldered onto the PCB, and you can find a wide variety of these online at sites like RS.

A wire stripper is another essential tool. You’ll be stripping a lot of wires, so you’ll want to get yourself a good one. You’ll also want to get a set of pliers for cutting wires.

A VOM/DMM (which stands for Voltmeter Ohmmeter and Milliampere Meter and Digital Multimeter) is essential for any hobbyist. It is used to measures thinks like the ampere, voltage, and resistance.

You’ll also want to get a sharp knife, either a penknife or a cutter, which you will use regularly.

Take Your Safety Seriously

Before you start, always make sure you take safety precautions and learn about the risks. These can range from burning yourself with a glue gun to electrocuting yourself with a capacitator, so be careful. Also remember to turn off all your devices before you work on them.

Learn About Components

You will also need to learn about components to enjoy a successful electronics hobby. You can do this on a course, from books, or just from practice. The most common include capacitors, resistors, inductors, transistors, and diodes. Learn the basics, find out what they all do, and then start practicing with them.

Learn Some Useful Techniques

You will also want to learn a variety of basic techniques that you will use on a regular basis, and using a soldering iron is one of these. Read up about it, go on a course, or watch YouTube videos to find out how to do it properly.

Other techniques like using a breadboard (which involves constructing a circuit without soldering), how to use a glue gun, and how to use a multimeter are also essential skills.

Start Up Your Hobby from Home

These are some of the basics that you will need to know to start up a fun and rewarding electronics hobby. As long as you have an interest in making things and finding out how things work, you will love playing around with electronics. So find a suitable space to work, invest in the basic equipment, learn some techniques, and have fun.

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Coworking 101: How to Thrive and Survive In a Shared Office

coworking

When you’re new to a country and a culture, meeting people can be a little daunting. We all know that customs vary wildly across the globe and eastern practices, in particular, tend to be quite different from those in the west. Often, a lack of knowledge can lead to insult, especially in the business world where first impressions are everything.

This is just one of the reasons why foreign investors and those looking to launch a company in Singapore are encouraged to try out coworking spaces. These shared offices are a great place to people watch, learn from others, and get to know the locals. They bring together like-minded entrepreneurs from all walks of life in a creative, collaborative environment.

Keep reading for some advice on the best ways to thrive and flourish in the coworking spaces of central Singapore.

Respect the Culture

Shared office space is so valuable precisely because it gives foreigners a chance to observe local people in a relaxed and polite way. So, for this reason, you shouldn’t worry too much about causing offence. If you show good manners and respect Singaporean customs, people will be glad to work with you. Just remember that people in Asia aren’t as direct as westerners.

They place a lot of emphasis on conversational niceties and greetings are important. Don’t ask too many personal questions until you know somebody better and always accept business cards with care. They should not be placed out of sight until the giver has left. Visit www.servcorp.com.sg/en/virtual-offices/ to check out coworking spaces in central Singapore.

Be Helpful and Supportive

One of the easiest ways to make connections in a coworking space is to be a helpful presence. Even something as small as carrying extra pens can make a difference because you only have to offer somebody a tiny bit of assistance to show that you’re worth their time. It is also a good opportunity to spark up a conversation and find out what industry they are in.

It can take a little while to get used to a shared office, especially if you have never experienced one before. The tenants here are open to collaboration and discussion, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll always seek it. Use your instincts, don’t disturb anybody who is obviously hard at work already, and try to restrict your introductions to slower moments like coffee breaks.

Stay Safe and Secure

The best coworking facilities have robust security features. They don’t just let anybody walk in off the street. Most have a system of some kind. It might be a key code or even a key card which tenants can use to get into the building. This is important because you wouldn’t leave a conventional office unsecured. Virtual workspaces are no different in this regard.

Again, the high-end providers use a range of cutting edge software solutions to keep data safe, but it is always a good idea to double up. Make sure that your laptop and any mobile devices you use are secure, protected against network intrusions, and built for the safe transfer of data. Cloud storage is very valuable because it automatically updates itself.

Why Coworking Is the Hot New Trend in Singapore

It is great news for small businesses and entrepreneurs when commercial rent costs start to fall. Launching a company in a high profile region like Singapore can be very expensive. The thing to remember, however, is that traditional leases are always apt to rise again. So, virtual workspaces continue to be a much more affordable option for businesses trying to streamline their expenses during those risky first years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marketing Ideas for your Bootstrap Business

These days, it is easier than ever to set up your own business. While there are a variety of ways to finance your startup, the idea of bootstrapping is often the most attractive. By setting up your business on a miniscule budget, you do not have heavy debts or financial backers to worry about, and whether it succeeds or fails, the business is all yours.

The digital world is perfectly aligned to this kind of business model. In essence, all you need is a laptop, an internet connection, a great idea and a working knowledge of WordPress, and you are good to go. But while it is easy to get started, can the bootstrap philosophy be equally applied to an effective marketing campaign to grow your business? Management consulting firm Global Resources reviews numerous small businesses, and says that the answer is a resounding “yes.” Here’s how.

Use Social Media

Did you know that one in three people on the planet use social media? Chances are, you are one of them, and if you are not, you are missing out on the best digital marketing tool around. Facebook alone has two billion users, and LinkedIn just celebrated passing the 500 million mark.

It is not just cost effective though – it is also something that your customers will expect of you. Facebook and Twitter are great ways of sharing blogs, news and video content, and LinkedIn is the perfect place to build a reputation as an expert in your field, particularly in the B2B world.

Understand your Customers

If you have limited financial resources, then bangs for bucks has to be at the top of the agenda when considering your marketing strategy. To get the best return on your investment, you need to have a clear understanding of who your customers are, and what they want from you.

There is more data like this available today than ever before. Take a look on Google Analytics and you will be presented with a raft of information about who is visiting your site, the search query that is bringing them there, how long they stay and lots more.

Digital Marketing for Less

The real beauty of digital marketing is that there is so much that can be done with a minimal spend. Focus on building the brand through social media and increasing conversions with a better understanding of customer needs, and you can achieve some great results without breaking the bank.

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How to Enhance Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration is possible using a few key tips and technologies

Entrepreneurs understand the value of a having a team that is highly collaborative. When starting a new business, every employee has to be on the same page — a task that is increasingly difficult if your team works remotely, as many start-ups do. Without the forced face time that comes with a traditional office, how do entrepreneurs promote collaboration among employees? Luckily, as the number of remote workers has risen, over 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, there has also been an increase in helpful collaboration tools for all kinds of workplaces. For truly effective collaboration, though, you not only need to choose the right tool, but you also need the right equipment and a culture that encourages openness and sharing.

Essential Equipment

Start with the basics — the equipment. Even the most amazing collaborative software will be ineffective if it is not paired with good hardware. For remote employees, a smartphone is the most important tool you can provide. Pair a good smartphone with affordable, unlimited coverage that won’t stretch your budget and will allow your team to use the other collaborative tools you decide to employ with no restrictions. In addition to a smartphone, your team will need heavy-duty laptops with video capability and fast and reliable internet access.

Choose a Collaborative Tool

The right tool for your team will depend on the nature of your business and the size of your team. You want whatever system you choose to be able to function fully as an app on a smartphone or on a laptop or desktop. Here are four of the best workplace collaboration tools.

a) Slack – Slack, and its competitor HipChat, are real-time communication apps. The Slack app allows team members to message each other, screen share and video conference. Slack stores and archives conversations so that they can be retrieved later easily with relevant hashtags. For many businesses, Slack is used in place of email.

b) Dropbox – Dropbox is a filing sharing app that allows team members share and edit files and documents in real time from any device.

c) Asana – For a more robust workflow system, Asana is hard to beat. PCMag gave it their Editors’ Choice award, and use Asana as their internal project management system. Among many other customizable functions, Asana allows users to break projects into tasks, assign tasks to the right team members, monitor progress and communicate at every step. Asana also integrates with other platforms like Slack for communication and Dropbox or Google Drive for file sharing.

d) Igloo Software – For an all-in-one collaboration tool suitable for a smaller business, check out Igloo Software. Igloo is a pre-built intranet system with features including real-time communication, forums to discuss specific projects, task management templates and file sharing. While not as slick as other intranet systems, Igloo is intuitive to use and easy to set up.

Create a Collaborative Culture

The truth is that no collaborative software system is going to be effective if you don’t put in the work to create a culture of collaboration. Effective collaboration happens when teams brainstorm openly and feel comfortable discussing and questioning ideas in a non-judgmental way. For this to happen, you need to actively encourage regular interaction with programs like mentorships, staff retreats and regular meetings to share successes and shortfalls.

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Business Brainstorming: Creative Ways to Finance Your Startup

You’ve got the idea; you’ve got the drive. Now all you need is the money to get started on your new business. Unless you are one of a very small group, you are going to have to raise it somehow. You can approach the bank for a loan, or you can explore some different options.

Loan or Equity

There are two main ways to raise cash to start your business, and you need to decide which works best for you.

A loan can be straightforward. You receive a sum of money to invest in your business, and you pay it back later. You remain in control of your business, but your overheads now include the interest and your cash flow is affected by repayments.

Equity is effectively the sale of part of your business to an investor. You do not have the burden of repayments, but you will share the profits and lose some control.

Do It Yourself

You may not have cash to hand, but you probably have assets that you could use to raise a loan—your house, perhaps. You are borrowing money against your own property to invest in your business. If the business fails, you could lose your home—but the fact that you have put your money where your mouth is will encourage other investors.

Family and Friends

Many entrepreneurs start off by borrowing from close contacts, or by offering them a share in the business in return for a startup investment. If you go this way, have your agreement drawn up professionally—informal arrangements are a recipe for disaster. Remember that if things go wrong, you could lose your friends as well as your business.

Line of Credit

A flexible way to borrow money is through a line of credit, where you negotiate a maximum amount that you can borrow (rather like a credit card) and then borrow and repay in a way that is convenient to you. http://businesslineof.credit/ is a good source of information about the loans that are available.

Crowdfunding

This online way to find investors has become very popular in recent years. Using one of the many platforms, you can put out your business vision to a very large number of individuals, who can either lend money or invest in the equity of your business.

Angels

Rather than seek a large number of small investments through crowdfunding, you could try to reach a smaller number of individuals with significant funds to invest. They often operate through groups, and your local chamber of commerce may be able to put you in touch.

Small Business Administration 

The government is committed to creating a good environment for small businesses, so you may qualify for an SBA loan. These are targeted at particular areas, and it is well worth researching whether you are eligible.

Explore the Ground

There are many avenues to raise cash to get a new business off the ground. By getting to the stage of needing startup money, you have already demonstrated resolution and commitment. You need to draw on that same resolution to nail the deal that is right for you.

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Small Business Loans: A Miniguide for First Time Applicants

If you are launching a new business or trying to grow an existing small venture there is a good chance that you will need to apply for some funding to help you fulfill your plans and ambitions.

Applying for a small business loan can be daunting and confusing in equal measure, so here are some pointers to help you negotiate your way through the jargon and the various requirements you will normally be asked to satisfy.

It starts with a business plan

You can check here for some details of the loan options available but before you make any sort of application for a business loan you will need to have a few things ready for when you are asked to provide further information to support your application.

Anticipating the sort of data and details that a lender will want will help speed up the process and will also show that you are organized and on the ball.

The standard procedure for making a business loan application is to provide supporting documentation that demonstrates why you need the money and how you are going to repay the amount borrowed.

Your business plan should include a comprehensive set of projected financial statements, which should include profit and loss figures, a cash flow projection and an up to date balance sheet.

If you are unsure how to put all these figures together or need some help, it would be a good idea to use an accountant so that the data is accurate and credible, which is vital to the success of your application.

Expect a grilling

It would be fair to say that lenders are very thorough and stringent with their loan application checking process so be prepared for plenty of additional questions and requests for further information.

You should not take these higher expectations and additional questions as a negative, in fact, it shows that they are taking your loan application seriously and are trying to tick all the boxes so that they can lend you the money.

Collateral requirements

The strength of your credit profile and your business proposal can influence how much security your lender requires which means they might ask for collateral in return for granting the loan.

Some loan programs do not require any collateral and if you are asking for a smaller amount it might not be considered necessary. If you don’t want to risk your home or business ownership by offering collateral, you might be able to get a business loan for the amount you need but it will probably limit your choice of lenders and options.

Check your credit score

It is always a good idea to keep track of your current credit score and know what existing lenders and finance providers are saying about you and your payment history.

You will need to have a good clean credit file if you are going to get the best loan rates offered to you, as your risk profile is adversely affected by bad credit.

Make sure you check your file before you apply so that you have a good idea of how successful you might be with your loan application.

Lenders are often willing to try and guide you through the process so if there is anything you don’t understand or want to question, don’t feel like you are unable to ask, as it is important to get everything right.

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South of the Border Startups: Understanding the Legalities of Starting a Business in Latin America

Many people move to Latin America after they’re retired, but those who aren’t ready to bid farewell to the workforce may consider moving down south to start a business. Though opening a successful business is difficult no matter what country you’re in, there are some unique challenges to starting your own company in this particular part of the world. Here are some basics for those who want to build their startup in paradise.

Don’t Be Afraid to Work With Agencies

In many Latin American countries, agencies facilitate many of the processes of starting a business. You’ll work with real estate agents and lawyers just to get a property, and it may be worthwhile to get involved with other local agencies that can help you make connections with your target end consumers.

Build Relationships

As with any business anywhere in the world, building relationships is one of the key components to finding success. In the United States, we’ve grown accustomed to doing a lot more networking over digital channels as opposed to taking clients out for dinner or having in-person meetings. Yes, Latin America is rapidly catching up with the US and Europe when it comes to using social media channels and beyond, but don’t underestimate the power of getting to know potential partners and consumers in person.

Understand Your Market

Avoid thinking about Latin America as one, single place, and really dive deeper into the culture of the country where you’re planning to open your business. This goes for setting prices points that are in line with what people in the area expect to spend if you’re catering to locals. Consider hiring people who understand the current business climate, as well as people who work in the country of your choice and can cater to on-site needs.

On the flip side if you’re thinking of opening a hotel or other type of business with a target audience of tourists there’s another set of rules to take into account. Entrepreneurs looking for hotels for sale in Costa Rica, for example, will need to look at the location and get a sense of the demographics of the people heading into town.

Know There’s a Difference in Legalities

In Costa Rica, for example, there are a number of laws that dictate how your company must be named. The name of your Sociedad Anόnima (or S.A. the Spanish language equivalent of a Co.) must be unique and approved by the Registro de Marcas de Comercio.

Additionally, there must be at least two owners in order to establish a company in Costa Rica, and you must account for small details like how many times you’ve been married, if you’re divorced and why you only have one last name (in Spanish-speaking cultures, most people take both parents’ last names). You’ll also need to set up an official home address, which may pose some problems if you have yet to make the move down south.

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How to Have a Successful Trade Show

Trade shows are a great way for your company to make an in-person introduction and pitch to potential clients. For many companies it is the only opportunity to meet them face-to-face, display their products and create a working relationship. Companies often spend months and tens of thousands of dollars on their display booths at these events hoping to present themselves in a good light. The stakes can be high, so it is imperative that they put their best foot forward. Here are some tips to ensure that your company has a very successful trade show.

Make Sure Your Booth is Special

There will be hundreds of booths at the trade show and at least a dozen or more from companies in your same product category all fighting for the attention of the same potential clients. To make sure attendees pay attention to your booth, you need a booth that really stands out in the crowd. This of course starts with your getting the best location for your booth which requires you booking early and maybe paying more for prime space, but it could be worth it.

Your booth needs to be high quality and convey your company’s image, values, and product or service capabilities and at the same time be attractive and compelling to attendees. Good quality booths can be used for years. So splurge on high-end materials throughout.

Consider using popular themes for your booth. Movie and television theses are a good choice. Just make sure you can fully commit to making it look great. A poorly executed popular theme could backfire.

Make abundant use of display plinths to strategically place your products and company brochures around your booth so that no matter which way someone might enter they will be front and center.

Your booth theme should also include your team and how they dress and act. Perhaps putting everyone in cool or funny shirts might work. It is also no secret that many companies hire pretty young ladies to work their booths. This strategy can be really effective as long as you make sure that attendees make the connection between them and your company.

Whatever strategy you choose, the bottom line is you want your booth and your company to get noticed.

Giveaways Really Work

A sure way to get people to notice you is by offering them something for free. It is a fantastic way to engage people and educate them on your products as well. The best giveaways are something related to your product or even the product itself. If you are a food company set up free samples of your product and have your team standing by to explain the benefits of each one being sampled. If your product is software, you can offer sample versions of it and have the sample being displayed on computer screens in your booth. This gives attendees an opportunity to see your product and then walk away with a freebie they can try later.

Even offering a cup of coffee or piece of candy is a great idea. Freebies also position your team to ask for contact information about the person. When you give something people often feel obligated to give something in return. Take advantage of this and have a quick way to take down someone’s details.

Use Social Media to Increase Activity

Social media sits at the center of many people’s lives and many of those people are your potential clients. So it can play a critical part in your having a very successful trade show. Before the trade show use social media to connect with clients and potential clients and give them a preview of what they can expect from your company. Use this as a chance to preview any products you will be showing and if new products will be unveiled, use this medium to build up the hype.

During the trade show you can use social media to keep everyone informed about what is going on at your company’s exhibition booth. Any special performances, giveaways and demonstrations can be touted on a minute to minute basis. Using social media can also give you quality feedback during the trade sow and help your team to better manage their time. You can also use it to give directions to anyone who is having trouble locating your booth.

For those who could not come to the trade show social media gives them an opportunity to experience what your company did at the trade show. They will also see how active you are about your company and products and this will garner additional excitement about being in business with you.

Use these tips to improve your performance at your next trade show. They can make a huge difference in returns on your investment.

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Mastering management skills to help your business succeed

There’s no getting around it: one of the key contributors to failure in small and medium-sized businesses (and sometimes even big ones) is poor management. Altogether too many people think that because they can build a business they can run one, and try to learn on the job. Others get out of their depth at a departmental level, inadvertently undermining the rest of the enterprise. However, it doesn’t need to be like this. What makes the difference is recognizing that a manager isn’t just there to tell people what to do – good management requires specific skills. If you want to make a success of it, these are some of the things you have to learn.

Strategic thinking

The first thing you need to understand is that management isn’t just internal – it’s about understanding the position of each department within the company as a whole, understanding how that company fits into its sector, and understanding how that sector fits into the wider economy. This makes it possible to make effective decisions about actions that are needed and how finances should be managed. A manager has to be able to see the big picture, and should aim to plan about three years ahead while remaining flexible enough to account for changing circumstances.

Networking

Part of a manager’s job is to network, both within the company and outside it. Good networking brings in opportunities for improving the mechanics of the supply chain. It provides the chance to keep on learning new techniques for internal use, and it helps you to keep your finger on the pulse as far as developments within your sector are concerned. Networking doesn’t just take place at formal events, so you should be ready to get out and about and build up useful social connections.

Time management

In order for a business to run smoothly, everybody needs to be coordinated. This means that sticking to deadlines is really important. Managers not only need to get their own work done on time but also need to make sure that everybody in their teams do. This isn’t just about pushing people. You’ll also need to be aware of their individual capacities and make sure that work is portioned out in a manner that is practical, even if that doesn’t always seem fair.

Setting objectives

In order to facilitate work getting done on time and employees being able to engage with it enthusiastically, managers need to be able to set clear objectives and persuade their teams of their importance. At the most basic level, employees know that their livelihood depends on the company’s success, but they need to understand why particular actions are important to that success, and they need to have a clear picture of what’s required of them. As a rule, they will be more efficient when they can see how what they have been asked to do will contribute to the whole.

Communication

Communicating successfully with employees, board members, and others requires real flexibility on a manager’s part. This is one of the most important aspects of the job, and the reason why, for instance, Washington State’s online MBA program offers specialist courses in communications. First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that individuals vary and that information can’t always be delivered in a one-size-fits-all way. To be successful, you will need to be able to identify and adapt to the needs of your team. You’ll also need to be strong on formal communication techniques, especially for external use.

Investing in people

Ultimately, a manager can achieve nothing without a good team, but it’s the manager’s job to refine and develop that team. This means that you’ll need to be able to identify talents that should be brought to the fore, deal with clashes between team members, and identify weaknesses that suggest the need for additional training. All this will be more successful if your team members feel valued as individuals and are able to develop real trust in you, so you will need to work hard to be seen as supportive, attentive, and fair.

Good management enables a business to optimize its assets – including human ones – and punch above its weight in the marketplace. Management skills can be learned, but this is only possible when managers accept that they don’t know everything already and are willing to see themselves not only as bosses but also as functional parts of a larger business organism. If you’re ready for this, sharpening up your skills could enable you to take your business to the next level.

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