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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Easy but Effective Saving Tips to Help You Buy a House

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Buying a new house is definitely exciting but it requires a lot of hard work and discipline most especially for people who are just starting to work and earn money. Most often than not, young people get blinded by material things that they can now afford with their salary so the usual ending is that they save nothing from their salary. So how’d you expect to buy a house when you spend all your salary in things you don’t actually need?

It is not too late to start fixing your spending habits and teach you how to save for a Lendlease house and land package.

  1. List down all your expenses – first of all, you should make sure that you have clear idea of all your expenses. To do this, you should list down all your monthly expenses starting from the most important ones like rent, gas, food allowance, electricity, phone bills and others. This way, you know how you will budget your salary in a way that you will still have some left for your savings.
  2. Spend according to your budget – coming up with a weekly or monthly budget plan is definitely a good idea. But you should make sure that you will indeed follow that set budget. Spend money according to your budget and do not go overboard or else you will find yourself broke.
  3. Allot specific percentage of your salary to go to your savings account – just what mentioned earlier, it is best if you will put money to your savings account every time you receive your paycheck. It is best to do this first thing before you pay your bills or other expenses.
  4. Pack lunch – you would be able to save money if you will bring packed lunch to office instead of eating out every day. You should prepare and cook your own meals. Not only you will be able to save money but also, you will ensure that you are eating healthy.
  5. Avoid drinking alcohol every Friday night – do you usually go out every Friday night? Well, you can unwind once in a while but do not make this a habit. Do not spend all your money on booze just to unwind. Not only you are burning your liver but also your money.
  6. Refrain from using credit cards – it is also advisable that you stop using your credit cards most especially if you know yourself to have no control or limit. Using credit cards lure you to believing that you can afford something that you actually do not. So it is best that you just spend cash.
  7. Minimise your shopping – lastly, avoid shopping impulsively. Do not buy things unless you really need it. Always think of other goals that you wish to achieve like buying a house so you can stop yourself from spending thoughtlessly.

Related: Tips to Save More and Spend Less

Sometimes, the smallest things can help you big time and can even get you closer to your goals like buying your dream house. Do not take for granted small actions like the ones we discussed. You should do your best to become more responsible with your finances. It will definitely pay off!

You might also enjoy: MILLENIALS: FROM 30 YEAR CAREERS TO FREELANCE

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Donations to Charitable Institutions

Momentum Ventures, a venture capitalist firm based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada,had been keeping busy with a variety of initiatives that aim to create a positive impact on their environment and help the causes they care about. Last 2016, Momentum Ventures had started handing out monetary donations to charities and society organisations that they believe in, just like they believe in their own subsidiary businesses. Distributed throughout 2016 is a total of $75,000 in cash donations which is an amount that Momentum Ventures employees voted for, along with their chosen charities.

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In February of that year, the company donated a total of $25,500 to the Canadian Cancer Society, and then $25,000 to Unicef Canada in March 2016. “With the Canadian Cancer Society donation made earlier this year we were able to help make a donation that could help people across Canada, with this donation [Unicef Canada] we are able to extend our helping hand to those across the world,” Momentum Ventures CEO Matthew Keezer said of the latter, adding, “we look forward to future donations to worthy causes over the course of 2016.”

Companies that had established themselves in the industry have a tendency towards giving back to their community, being more generous to and creating a work-friendlier environment for their employees, or finding causes they could align themselves with their growth:

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On top of the 2016 donations, CEO Matt Keezer and his team extended their season’s greetings to two Montreal families to have a merry Christmas with a combined $3,600 in material benefits and assistance covering winter clothing, toys, transit passes, and other essentials. Under Keezer’s management, the company also initiated a 50% car subsidy to make purchasing eco-friendly hybrid and electric cars more of a reality, in consecutive years’ moves to make Momentum Ventures an environmentally- and socially-friendly workplace.

Introducing the Momentum Ventures Background

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Momentum Ventures has had a 100% proven track record in launching successful businesses ever since they started in 2007. As a venture capitalist company, they had attempted to introduce seven new businesses and all seven were consecutive successes. Their flagship brands and most popular ones include online travel businesses JustFly and FlightHub: JustFly is an online travel agency launched in 2014 that caters travel needs to the American demographic while FlightHub was launched in 2012, and has been Momentum Ventures’ biggest success to date, generating more than $1.5 billion in annual sales and serving millions of travelling Canadians yearly.

Conclusion

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Momentum Ventures is growing as one of the firms that makes a difference and approaches their business differently. The company’s winning streak is pushed by the strength of their endeavours as a team and as an enterprise. CEO Matthew Keezer had noted the importance they place on their personnel, and their winning strategy includes the people they value and what their team is passionate about.

If you have anything to add, feel free to leave your comments here below!

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Will Skyrocketing Debt Plunge the World into Another Financial Crisis?

Less than a decade ago, unsustainably high debt fueled the worst recession since the Great Depression, and millions of people all over the globe are still in various stages of recovery. But lest we think the worst is over, consider the fact that world debt overall is now far above the levels it was in 2008, and rising at a rate far higher than income. It appears that collectively and individually, we may be spending ourselves right back into another financial crisis, which could very well end up being worse than the last one.

debt

Where is all this debt coming from?

Among the egregiously overextended are numerous governments – Economist Intelligence said that total government debt has doubled since 2008 to $59 trillion – but governments aren’t the only offenders. Add household, corporate and bank debt, and the grand total was $199 trillion in mid-2014: an increase of 40 percent since 2007, according to a 2015 study by McKinsey Global Institute.

And one of the most dramatic increases has been in United States student debt. According to data collected by the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loans have swelled from to $589 billion in 2007 to $1.35 trillion in 2016, a 130% increase. This leaves 2016 graduates with an average student loan debt of $37,172, a 6% increase from the previous year alone. Graduates’ average earnings for the year are $50,556, which represents a 5% increase over the previous year, and a slight decrease from the $50,900 the average graduate earned in 2007. Despite having done exactly what governments and central banks wanted them to do to help end the Great Recession– take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow and spend – more than seven million are in default on their student loans, and the economic picture for 2016 graduates overall is bleak.

Students aren’t the only ones whose debt levels are surpassing their ability to repay. Overall, the U.S. debt-to-GDP percentage increased from 217% in 2007 to 233% in 2014. Other countries, notably Greece, Italy, Spain, and Japan, have seen their debt-to-GDP ratios swell even further. In all these cases, the skyrocketing debt levels have left many people with little money left over for spending beyond basic necessities, which can only hurt economies that are dependent upon consumer spending to thrive. Still, governments continue to hold historically low interest rates to encourage spending, despite the fact that doing so sends a clear vote of no confidence in their economies.

Even the student debt crisis isn’t insolvable

The U.S. government could make student indebtedness much less of a burden by taking a couple of straightforward measures, as other countries have done. First of all, reducing the interest rates charged for student loans would make a marked difference. As it stands now, the rates applied to student loans are higher than those applied to business and mortgage loans. Some suggest that there is a moral as well as economic imperative to cease treating student debt as a profit center, and that it would be appropriate for banks to charge at or near the base rate that the Fed charges them for working capital, currently near the 5% level.

In addition, extending the time period between graduation and the onset of student loan repayments would significantly ease the burden on students, who typically begin their careers at low wage levels, and for whom the almost immediate burden of student loan repayment cripples their ability to become consumers.

Also consider that student loans in the U.S. must currently be repaid within ten years, with monthly payments much higher than those paid by students in Germany, where the debt repayment is spread out over 20 years, or in England, where repayment of student loans is stretched out over 30 years. In Australia, students get an even bigger break, as they are not required to begin repaying their loans until their income reaches roughly $40,000. Once that income level is achieved, the student pays approximately 4% of their income until the loan is repaid. In addition to offering lower payments and longer payoff time, the Australian model is structured so as to increase or decrease the required payment amount in sync with the debtor’s income. This minimizes the burden in the event of decreased earnings. Students in the U.S. are given no such latitude, and are required to meet the established payments regardless of any fluctuations in their earnings.

In short, the burden placed upon students in the U.S. are onerous in comparison to that which students in other countries face. By treating an educated populace as long-term assets rather than shorter-term profit centers, the economic health of the country would be improved, as well as that of the graduates themselves. Without the crippling burden of massive debt hitting them during their early years in the workforce, students would become more capable consumers, driving the need for additional products and services, and expanding the workforce. It is possible – even likely – that the inevitable surge in the overall economy would reduce the need and temptation to go further into debt, thus avoiding the financial brinkmanship in which not just the U.S., but the world as well, finds itself at the present.

Current global trends aside, what can you do to avoid a personal financial crisis?

Making smart choices can keep you out of trouble

Although student loans are a big albatross for many, particularly in the U.S., it’s pretty clear that other types of debt – credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, small business loans – are problematic for millions who may still be financially fragile from the last global crisis. Debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, and in fact it’s often necessary to fund a business, make a major purchase or simply to build a credit history. But many people have found to their dismay that debt is a two-edged sword and can quickly become unmanageable if not handled properly.

Fortunately there are numerous resources to help consumers avoid problem debt or find a way out of a debt hole once they’re in too deep. For instance, online resources such as loan-comparison site and credit brokers provide much more than comprehensive side-by-side comparisons of lenders; they also include honest reviews from real customers, as well as abundant moneysaving tips and information about managing personal finances.

There is no reason for any prospective borrower with Internet access to make an uninformed choice. Being well-informed is a prerequisite to making intelligent choices about borrowing, saving, investing and anything else that will affect your bottom line. And ultimately that will be good for the global bottom line as well

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Where do I start with buying shares?

In recent years, buying shares has become an increasingly appealing investment opportunity. In today’s technologically advanced society, there are now all manner of platforms through which you can buy shares, whether it’s over the phone, via post, online or even through a mobile app! However, with all these options on offer, the practice of buying shares can often seem daunting. Here are our top tips on where to start:

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Carry out extensive market research

Due to the fluctuating nature of the stock market and share prices, it is important to carry out extensive research before you commit to purchasing and selling shares. By investigating online and learning about a company’s recent stock market performance, its reputation within its field of industry and the economy as a whole, you can assess the short term and long term risks of investing in particular organisations.

It is also important to consider your long term stock market prospects. Do you want to rapidly buy and sell shares to make a quick profit or are you interested in becoming a minority or majority shareholder within a particular company or organisation? Although the stock market offers rife opportunities for rapid sales and quick profits, becoming a shareholder within an expanding organisation or an established corporation can equip you with the opportunity to benefit from exclusive shareholder discounts, or even to influence how the company is run.

If you intend to become a minority or majority shareholder within a company, it is important that you research the practice of shareholder’s agreements and the Disclosure Letter, UK laws differentiate from other areas of the EU so be careful that you are reviewing the correct information for your locale. Understanding these important legal documents can prove crucial in protecting your rights, responsibilities and long term investment opportunities as a minority or majority shareholder.

Choose a suitable stockbroker 

You have to buy shares through a broker who is registered with the stock exchange. As matters stand there are several stockbroker options at your disposal, including established City traders, the stockbroking divisions of large banking corporations or building societies and financial advisory firms who offer stockbroking services, as well as various online stockbroker companies. It is important that you extensively research the legitimacy, brand reputation and share purchasing processes of these organisations in order to find a stockbroker who is best suited to your particular investment interests.

Create a brokerage account

Now you have a stockbroker you can set up a brokerage account! This is the main account through which you will buy and sell real shares either online, over the phone or via the postal service. When choosing a broker account, you should scrutinise the terms and conditions of each account in order to assess whether it is suited to your investment interests. For instance: will you be charged inactivity fees if you don’t trade regularly? If you intend to rely on your shares for a regular income, how much will the withdrawal fees be? What are their interest rates? You should consider all of these factors before committing to opening a broker account and commencing trading.

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The Best Digital Nomad Hubs of 2016

digital nomad hubs of 2016

Digital Nomad is the buzz word of 2016 and if you are like thousands of people around the world you find the idea appealing.  Working from an exotic location can be a fun, rewarding, and even enlightening experience. With thousands of cities to choose form, here are the best digital nomad hubs of 2016.
digital nomad hubs of 2016


Chang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s low cost of living, relaxed vibe, and beautiful scenery have made it one of world’s hubs for digital nomads. Chang Mai takes this a step further. This city in northern Thailand offers all the conveniences of a larger city such as Bangkok without the chaos and pollution many are trying to escape. Chang Mai offer affordable housing and daily expenses, high speed inter infrastructure, all while being surrounded by northern Thailand’s scenic mountains and reasonable climate. It is also far less touristy than much of southern Thailand. Combine this with a large convenient airport and you have an excellent choice for one of the best digital nomad hubs of 2016.

Santiago, Chile
Another warm city tucked away in the mountains, Santiago is the perfect place for a creative expat on a budget. This city features a low cost of living and world class amenities. It is also the perfect jumping off to spend your weekend enjoying Chile’s insanely diverse natural splendor, from deserts, to mountains, to penguin rich Patagonia. This capitol city is home to a number of university’s which has sustained a vibrant youth culture of artists. It is also home to a vibrant street food scene. Santiago houses over 6 million people, rich cultural history, great public transport and with a stable economy you may love it so much you could  find yourself transitioning from a nomad to a resident.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This Southeast Asian megacity is often over looked by digital nomads but I’m not sure why. With it’s tropical climate, low cost of living, and access to surrounding beach towns; this modern metropolis is the perfect to spend some time while trekking the world with your laptop. In the shadow of the worlds largest twin buildings and with massive modern infrastructure and ample co-work locations, Kuala Lumpur on of the ideal digital nomad hubs in 2016. So if you have a taste for adventure (not to mention spicy food) put Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on your digital nomad shortlist.

The are just a few of the cities that offer a good bang for the buck as a digital nomad. There are countless more and if you play your cards right you hopefully will get the chance to see most of them. Whether you are just spending a few weeks or end up spending several years; any of these locations will be perfect for your work and travel.

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Millenials: From 30 Year Careers to Freelance

careers to freelance

In previous generations you picked a trade after college or high school and chances are you stuck with it but for many this is changing. Today’s millennials are opting out of this process due to personal preference or the labor market. They are working as freelancers instead of choosing 30 year careers. Like many things, the transition from careers to freelance has it’s pros and cons, lets explore some of them.
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Benefits
Traditional healthcare, dentistry, 401k, and many other benefits have been provided by your employer but this is not the cause in many modern freelance positions. Working as a freelancer you may likely be required to take care of these things yourselves. This is an important thing to keep in mind while you looking at salary in a freelance role. Remember these things are often very expensive but freelance hourly pay is often higher than a salary role.

Job Security
The traditional 30 year career promised job security, though we have found this is not always the case. While it was definitely harder to get fired from a job where you have seniority, it is also harder to find a new if you are. A freelancer is by definition flexible, if you are expecting your job to end shortly, chances are you are ready for the next one. The key to thriving as a freelancer is keeping your skills marketable and current.

Hours
The forty hour work weeks of previous generations, complete with overtime pay are becoming harder to find. Today’s millennials are more likely to have a feast or famine work schedule. It is becoming increasingly common to work multiple jobs at once, logging well over 60 hours for months on end only to be followed by periods of little to no work. For the millennial freelancer it is crucial to be aware of this and like a squirrel, stash away your earnings during the busy periods so you will be okay during the inevitable slow times. The savvy millennial freelancer can also use this to their advantage and plan vacations around these downtime or even take it a step further and spend your life on vacation as a digital nomad.

So the debate rages on whether this transition in work style is for the greater good or not, there is not denying the impact it is having on the millennial generation. Those young workers who are most successful are flexible and constantly adapting to the changing demands of the workforce. They also need to be self reliant regarding savings and benefits. You can no longer count on a salary and career for your life from a single company. The workforce of today and tomorrow will be shaped by freelancing millennials moving from careers to freelance.

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Ways To make Money From Home

Making money from home sounds too good to be true right? While you are right to be skeptical, there are plenty of legitimate ways you can make money from home. So have a look at this list for some tips of you want to make your living from the comfort of your home.
Make Money From Home

Choose Something You Are Good At
Do you know multiple languages? Maybe you would make a good translator. A sports nut? Maybe selling collectibles online would be a good way for you to make money from home. Do you have a history in the medical field? Maybe you could make a good living transcribing medical records from the comfort of your couch. The key is to isolate your skills, what sets you apart from others. With today’s global economy, the more niche your skill is, the more you are in demand and the more you can make.

Do Your Homework
Whether it is asking friends, family, or just about anyone; it is important to ask around to find a way to make money from home that will work for you. Web searches are a useful tool as well. Online forms are a good place to start. Try to find people that are doing what you want to do. Ask them how they got into the field and what advice they have. The more you know, the better. Make sure you have a good sense of the job markets, the salaries, and the required qualifications before you quit your day job.

Use Geography in Your Favor
Apartments cost more in Manhattan than they do in Idaho. This basic principle can be key to being successful making money from home. Just because your client or boss is based out of a city with a high cost of living, doesn’t mean you have to but it likely means the pay will be. So if you are living in a city with a low cost of a living and entry level position in a city with a high cost of living could be very lucrative. You can take this a step further and go the Digital Nomad route, earning an American salary while living a low-cost life abroad

Remember just because you may being working from you couch or in your favorite Sponge Bob pajamas, doesn’t mean you are not working. Don’t expect working from home to be any easier than your traditional day job, in fact it may be harder. When your boss (or clients) are not seeing you face to face, they will be more adamant about seeing your results, so be prepared to work. Keep that in my mind if you are planning to make money from home.

 

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How to Design the Ultimate Home Office

Ultimate Home Office

Are you lucky enough to have a job that lets you work from home? Then you know the importance of a home office. Whether you are remolding your current house or building out a new condo, here is a guide on how to design the ultimate home office.

Ultimate Home Office

Choose the Right Space
Depending on your unique situation you could have a large spare room, an attic, a basement, or maybe just the kitchen table in your studio apartment; no matter your situation once you choose a space you can start getting it ready for work. So pick a space that will have ideal privacy and ideal space. You don’t want to feel cramped and you also do not want constant distractions.

Make sure you pick a place with good wifi and plenty of power outlets if needed. You also want to pick a place that will feel cozy, while you can make an attic or basement work; chances are you will be spending a lot of time in your home office so you want to make it a place you’d like to stay. If you are going to be working from home long term, maybe it is a good opportunity to have AnyWeather Roofing inspect your attic and roofing system for a potential loft conversion. Loft spaces are all the rage nowadays and with adequate use of windows, they provide the perfect amount of natural light.
Get Inspiration
There are plenty of online publications to provide inspiration for your ultimate home office. Whether you are looking for a playful, hip, tech vibe or a classic leather, classy, madmen feel; you can’t find out unless you look. You can also head to furniture show rooms to get an idea for what trends are in and you may come home with plenty of fresh ideas. Also try searching online, once you have your furniture in mind, don’t forget about the decorations! Once you have an inspiration for your style, make it your own. Add a coat of paint and some framed art and your space will show your personal style and get you on the right track to coming up with creative ideas. You don’t wan’t to have a cookie cutter office, there is a reason you left the cubicle remember? So make some unique changes that reflect your style, needs, and your space.
Budget

So you have your space picked out and you have plenty of inspiration for furniture and style. Now it times to determine your budget. Take into account the amount you bring home from your home business and plan accordingly. Maybe the five-thousand dollar leather couch can wait until business is really booming. It is important stay to your budget once you fix it, remember to focus your budget on the most essential pieces, you can add more fun and secondary furniture pieces as you business grows.

What are you waiting for? Start walking around your place and deciding which area would make your ultimate home office. Once you have your space decided, get your inspiration on by searching online or heading out to your local furniture showroom. Don’t forgot the last step, plan your budget; while it it may not be the most fun, remember you are running a home business here. Next thing you know you will be working in the ultimate home office.

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Best Homebased Businesses To Get Into

Homebased Businesses

Tired of your morning commute? Sick of your boss or career?  Want to spend more time around the house with your family and pets? Maybe you want to be able to travel more? One solution to all this problems is to work from home. If you are not sure where to start here are some of the best homebased businesses to get into.

Translator
Knowing two or more languages can be a head start in many ways, and it is definitely a major advantage if you want to be a part of a homebased business that deals with translations. Working through an agency or as a freelancer there is plenty of money and flexibility provided through translating. So long as you can read and write or in some cases just speak more than one language you will likely be able to find a job in this lucrative industry.
Homebased Businesses

Jewelry Maker
Jewelry is something that can requires very little space, inventory, and start up cash; this makes it a very tempting idea for a homebased business. If you are a creative, hip, and business minded person, there is no reason you can’t start a business selling unique jewelry via the internet. Whether you sell through your own site or an online marketplace, if you have a product people want, you can make a good living selling unique earrings and necklaces form home.

Copywriter
Was language arts your favorite subject in school? Or do you have a natural gift with words? How about working as a freelance copyrighter. No, unique skill set is required just a good understanding of the english language and the knowledge of the subject the matter is helpful too. A copyrighter can make a good living writing for advert agencies or on a freelance basis. Though it is sometimes a difficult field to get your foot in the door, once you get going there is a plenty of lucrative work in this field. It is also a notoriously flexible position with the ability to work from home.

The primary trick to getting into a successful home based business is to utilize a skill you already have. If you have a knack for creativity or fashion, perhaps selling unique handmade clothes or jewelry is for you. Maybe you know multiple languages (including computer programming languages) you can utilize these skills to make a large profit from home.  You look through your previous work experiences, educational history, and personal passions and try to find an idea that utilizes two of them. Once you have that idea do the math and see if there is a way to make this economically feasible from your home. Remember life is short and the sooner you get your idea off the ground, the faster you can be relaxing and working from your couch.

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