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Branding / 11 simple steps for a successful brand
« on: June 19, 2019, 02:42:07 PM »
What is a brand?
Simply put, your brand is defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business.

A successful brand has to be consistent in communication and experience, across many applications:

Environment (storefront or office)
Print, signage, packaging
Website & online advertising
Content marketing & social media
Sales & customer service
Now, brand building being simple? The truth is: it doesn’t happen overnight…or even in a few months.

What is brand building?
The definition of brand building is to generate awareness about your business using marketing strategies and campaigns with the goal of creating a unique and lasting image in the marketplace.

In 2019, the amplification of your brand image can be done effectively through various digital marketing activities:

User Experience (i.e. your website)
SEO & Content Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Email Marketing
Paid Advertising (PPC)
Together, these channels are fundamental to gaining brand awareness and growth. We’ll dive into each of these elements in detail, later!

I simplified the path for a brand building process below, to help your business or personal brand gain a more loyal following.

Building a brand is definitely a process. However, the ongoing effort will result in establishing long-term relationships with your customers.

This can lead to a steady increase in sales, more projects, word-of-mouth referrals, and advocacy for your products or services.

How to Build a Brand

1. Determine your brand’s target audience.
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on.

You can’t be everything to everyone, right?

When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs.

The key is to get specific. Figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyle of your consumers.

I’ll explain with a few brief examples:

Single moms who work from home
Tech-savvy early adopters
College students studying abroad
Executive recruiting professionals.
Brand creation relies on truly understanding the buyer persona. Here are a few of the things to document when describing your ideal customer:

Education Level
To get even more definition for your persona, dive into these details:

Pain points
Brand affinities
You may come to realize that the competitive advantage when branding your business is to narrow your audience focus. This can help ensure that your brand message comes across crystal clear to the intended recipient.

Identifying the target audience for your services or products is an exercise that will affect and benefit all areas of your brand building process, particularly marketing efforts. You want the right person consuming your content, clicking on your ads, opting into your email list, etc.

As a result, determining the ideal audience for your business will support your overall digital brand building strategies. It’s definitely an important first step!

2. Establish a brand mission statement.
Have you thought about your brand mission? In essence, you’ll have to craft a clear expression of what your company is most passionate about.

This is your why; the reason you get up every day.

Before you can build a brand that your target audience trusts, you need to know what value your business provides.

The mission statement basically defines a purpose for existing. It will inform every other aspect of your brand building strategies.

Everything from your logo to your tagline, voice, message, and personality should reflect that mission.

When people ask you what you do: answer them with your brand mission statement.

3. Research brands within your industry niche.
You should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry.

But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail).

The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!

We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out. Don’t skip this step in the brand building process.

Research your main competitors or benchmark brands. For instance, study how well they have gone about building a brand name.

4. Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers.
There will always be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry.

Your products, services, and benefits belong solely to you.

Starting a brand that is memorable means you dig deep to figure out what you offer, and no one else is offering.

Focus on the qualities and benefits that make your company branding unique.

Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is (see Step 1), give them a reason to choose your brand over another.

It’s important to note that this is not just a laundry list of the features your product or services offer to the customer or client. Think about how you provide value that improves consumers’ lives (outcomes or results that are experienced).

Here are a few examples:

More authentic and transparent customer service
A better way to support productivity
Reducing costs with a more affordable option
Saving time on daily tasks

5. Create a brand logo & tagline.
When you think about how to build a brand, visuals probably come to mind first. This step may be the one where you need help with execution.

The most exciting (and arguably the most important piece) of the brand building process, is to create a brand logo and tagline for your company.

This logo will appear on everything that relates to your business. It will become your identity, calling card, and the visual recognition of your promise.

So be willing to invest the time and money by creating something exceptional to reinforce the visual identity for your business.

Need help branding your business? Hire a professional designer or brand agency with logo and identity design experience, to help make your brand stand out. Their expertise will ensure that you get a unique and timeless mark for your business.

Their expertise will ensure that you get a unique and timeless mark for your business.

A designer can also develop brand guidelines, to ensure consistency for any future application of the logo and associated brand color palette or fonts.

A strong brand style guide will include the following things:

Logo size and placement
Color palette
Typography and fonts
Photography/image style
Web elements

6. Form your brand voice.
Your voice is dependent on your company mission, audience, and industry.

It’s how you communicate with your customers, and how they respond to you.

A brand voice could be:

There are endless adjectives and possibilities that can build a brand voice behind your messaging.

Ultimately, you want to choose a brand voice that makes sense and resonates with your target customers. (Again, going back to Step 1!)

You’ll see that if you find and use the correct brand voice, you have the strongest chance of connecting with consumers.

8. Let your brand personality shine.
Customers aren’t looking for another cookie-cutter company who offers the same thing as everyone else.

They are looking for an experience tailored to their needs, backed by genuine personal interaction.

Let your brand personality shine | 11 Simple Steps for a Successful Brand Building Process
Source: Straight Marketing

Wondering how to brand your business in a unique way? Make your personality stand out in every aspect of your brand building process.

9. Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
The brand building process never stops.

Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear.

Let me explain.

If a client walks into your office, or a customer walks into your store—your brand image should be on display both in the environment and with personal interactions.

Anything tangible–from business cards to advertisements, to packaging and product–needs the stamp of your logo.

On any digital platform, ensure that your brand looks the same everywhere. Use your brand style guide to create consistency with visuals such as color and logo use, fonts, photography, etc.

Your website is the most important tool for marketing your brand. When you design your website: incorporate your voice, message, and personality into the content.

Profile pages for social media networks should be branded visually, and with your chosen voice for engagement.

Be consistent with this brand personality across all points of contact.

It can be as simple as:

A conversational voice in communication (using “I”, and “you”)
Sharing behind-the-scenes content
Telling stories about real experiences
Describing your products/services in a quirky manner

10. Stay true to your brand building.
Unless you decide to change your brand into something that is more effective based on measured consumer response, consistency is key.

Once you’ve chosen a brand voice, use it for every piece of content you create. (See above, Step 6 in the brand building process.)

Document all the brand guidelines you create and distribute internally for reference.

What is brand building worth, if it is not consistent? Don’t constantly change your branding. The inconsistency will confuse your customers, and make long-term brand building more difficult.

11. Be your brand’s biggest advocate.
Once you build a brand that works for your small business, you (and your employees) are the best advocates to market your brand.

No one knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word.

When hiring employees, ensure that they are a culture fit–aligning with the mission, vision, and values of your brand.

Encourage employees to establish a personal brand that aligns with your company branding process, further strengthening reach.

Human Resource / 5 major function of human resources
« on: June 19, 2019, 11:20:03 AM »
Since every organization is made of people, HRM is all about acquiring services of people, developing their skills, motivating them to the foremost level and making sure that they continue to maintain their commitment towards the organization.

In short, HRM is concerned with the management of employees from recruitment to retirement.  Although there are many functions of human resource management, here is a list of its five major functions:

Recruitment And Selection
Recruitment is the process of captivating, screening, and selecting potential and qualified candidates based on objective criteria for a particular job. The goal of this process is to attract the qualified applicants and to encourage the unqualified applicants to opt themselves out.

Before starting the process of recruitment, the companies must execute proper staffing plans and should grade the number of employees they are going to need. Forecasting of the employees should depend upon the annual budget of the organization and short-term and long-term goals of the organization.

Recruitment and selection process is very important to every organization because it reduces the costs of mistakes such as engaging incompetent, unmotivated, and underqualified employees. Firing the unqualified candidate and hiring the new employee is again an expensive process.

Many organizations do not provide a thorough orientation to the new employees. This is the fundamental step to help a new employee to adjust himself with the employer and with his new job. Employee orientation program should include the objectives and goals of the organization and how the employee can help to achieve the long-term and short-term goals of the organization.

Giving intensive orientation to the employee is one of the major functions of human resource management. The program should help the employee to know his assigned duties and his exact job description, job role, and the relationship of position to other positions in the organization. It gives clarification to the employee to take an active role in the organization.

Maintaining Good Working Conditions
It is the responsibility of the human resource management to provide good working conditions to the employee so that they may like the workplace and the work environment. It is the fundamental duty of the HR department to motivate the employees. The study has been found that employees don’t contribute to the goals of the organization as much as they can. This is because of the lack of motivation.

Human resource management should come up with a system to provide financial and non-financial benefits to the employee from the various departments. Employee welfare is another concept which should be managed by HR team. Employee welfare promotes job satisfaction.

Managing Employee Relations
Employees are the pillars of any organization. Employee relationship is a very broad concept and it is one of the crucial functions of human resource management. It also helps to foster good employee relations. They have the ability to influence behaviors and work outputs.

Management should Organize activities which will help to know an employee at the personal and professional level. Well-planned employee relations will promote a healthy and balanced relation between the employee and the employer. It is the key for the organization to be successful.

human resource management

Training And Development
Training and development are the indispensable functions of human resource management. It is the attempt to improve the current or future performance of an employee by increasing the ability of an employee through educating and increasing one’s skills or knowledge in the particular subject.


Corporations / What is a Corporation?
« on: June 19, 2019, 10:57:21 AM »
A corporation is a business entity that is owned by its shareholder(s), who elect a board of directors to oversee the organization’s activities. The corporation is liable for the actions and finances of the business – the shareholders are not. Corporations can be for-profit, as businesses are, or not-for-profit, as charitable organizations typically are.

Types of Corporations
There are two major types of corporations as well: Subchapter C corporations, which are larger organizations owned by multiple shareholders, which can also be other businesses, and Subchapter S corporations, which are often (but not always) smaller businesses owned by an individual shareholder.

Before creating a corporation, consider what you hope to gain from establishing this separate entity. The biggest advantages of having a corporation are:

As with some other types of businesses, corporations provide liability protection for its owners, who are called shareholders.
Companies hoping to raise money from investors will have an easier time as a corporation, which can sell ownership shares.
Corporate profits are taxed, but at a lower rate than the personal income tax rate individuals pay.
Potential employees may find working for a corporation, with the prospect of ownership benefits, to be more appealing than working for a privately-held company.
The corporation can offer a medical reimbursement plan, deducting the cost of providing insurance to employees while allowing employees to use the benefit tax-free.

While corporations can certainly shield owners from liability, the downsides are sizeable and very costly:

C Corporations are complex and expensive to set up.
Once established, corporations spend significant sums of money to stay on top of changing business regulations and timely filing of paperwork. They are best for large organizations with many employees.
Corporations pay federal, state, and sometimes local taxes on profits, unlike LLCs.
The corporation pays taxes on dividends paid to shareholders, who then pay taxes on that income themselves.

Forming a Corporation
Corporations are often formed in the state in which the business operates, but it doesn’t have to be. Some corporations are formed in states thought to be pro-business, such as Delaware or Nevada, although that creates extra paperwork. You then need to register the corporation as a foreign entity in the state in which you are doing business, and pay taxes to that state.

The next step is creating Articles of Incorporation, which are filed with the state in which you have registered the corporation. These include:

The name and physical address of the business.
A description of the business and its goods and services.
The name and address of the registered agent, or the person authorized to receive official notices.
A count of the number of shares issued and to whom.
And then create by-laws, which are the rules of the corporation. They include, at a minimum:

How often the board of directors meets, and when.
Whether the business operates on a calendar or fiscal year.
How long board members can serve.
Rules for changing by-laws.
By-laws can be amended as needed once the corporation is formed.

If you expect at some point in the near future to take your company public through an initial public offering (IPO), a C corporation may make a lot of sense.


Smart Agriculture & Life Science / What is Smart Farming?
« on: June 19, 2019, 10:43:52 AM »
Smart Farming represents the application of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into  agriculture, leading to what can be called a Third Green Revolution.

Following the plant breeding and genetics revolutions, this Third Green Revolution is taking over the agricultural world based upon the combined application of ICT solutions such as precision equipment, the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and actuators, geo-positioning systems, Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones), robotics, etc.

Smart Farming has a real potential to deliver a more productive and sustainable agricultural production, based on a more precise and resource-efficient approach. However, while in the USA possibly up to 80% of farmers use some kind of SFT, in Europe it is no more than 24%.

From the farmer’s point of view, Smart Farming should provide the farmer with added value in the form of better decision making or more efficient exploitation operations and management. In this sense, smart farming is strongly related, to three interconnected technology fields addressed by Smart AKIS Network:

Management Information Systems: Planned systems for collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating data in the form needed to carry out a farm’s operations and functions.

Precision Agriculture: Management of spatial and temporal variability to improve economic returns following the use of inputs and reduce environmental impact. It includes Decision Support Systems (DSS) for whole farm management with the goal of optimizing returns on inputs while preserving resources, enabled by the widespread use of GPS, GNSS, aerial images by drones and the latest generation of hyper spectral images provided by Sentinel satellites, allowing the creation of maps of the spatial variability of as many variables as can be measured (e.g. crop yield, terrain features/topography, organic matter content, moisture levels, nitrogen levels, etc).

Agricultural automation and robotics: The process of applying robotics, automatic control and artificial intelligence techniques at all levels of agricultural production, including farmbots and farmdrones.

Smart Farming applications do not target only large, conventional farming exploitations, but could also be new levers to boost other common or growing trends in agricultural exploitations, such as family farming (small or complex spaces, specific cultures and/or cattle, preservation of high quality or particular varieties,…), organic farming, and enhance a very respected and transparent farming according to European consumer, society and market consciousness. Smart Farming can also provide great benefits in terms of environmental issues, for example, through more efficient use of water, or optimization of treatments and inputs.


Trade License / How to obtain trade license in Bangladesh
« on: June 19, 2019, 10:26:20 AM »
Trade License
Trade License is mandatory for every form of business entity in Bangladesh. It is issued by the local government of the respective areas. Every business entity must obtain Trade License from each local government where it operates. If a business entity has more than one place of business, it must obtain Trade License from each local government.  It is issued for one year and have to be renewed annually. Trade License attracts some government fees, which usually depends on the types of business.

Below, we have described the process of obtaining Trade License for businesses that operate within Dhaka City Corporation area. Other local government have similar rules. You are advised to contact the respective local government for more information.


Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) has two forms for a trade license depending on the type of business. A commercial firm must use the “K” Form. Even though the ten zonal offices use the same K Form, a business must buy the form from its respective zonal office. A seal and the initials of the officer selling the form is what distinguishes it from that of other zones. The form costs Tk. 10.

After the form is completed it has to be submitted to the local ward commissioner for validation.

For the K Form, a rent receipt for the premises where the business is operating from or, if owned, the municipal tax payment receipt has to be provided. Supporting documents include:

3 copies of PP size photo of owner
Rent receipt or premises ownership proof

Step 4: Await enquiry by the Licensing Supervisor (LS).
Upon submission of the form, the LS usually goes to the business entity for a visit to verify the information provided.

After inspection by the LS is concluded, the business is asked to go to the DCC office to pay the predetermined fee and collect their trade license. The fee schedule depends on the business category under which the application was filed.

When collecting the trade license, a signboard fee has to be paid as well. For all types of business the signboard fees will payable 30% of the License fee.


The “I” Form will have to be purchased for Tk. 10 from the DCC zonal office where the manufacturing firm has to submit its application.

The completed form has to be validated by the local ward commissioner.

Supporting documents include:

3 copies of PP size photo of owner
Rent receipt or premises ownership proof
No objection certificate from the neighborhood
A written undertaking on a Tk 150 non-judicial stamped paper
Fire License from the local fire department Environmental Certificate from DOE

Upon submission of the form, the LS usually goes to the business entity for a visit to verify the information provided.

After inspection by the LS is concluded, the business is asked to go to the DCC office to pay the predetermined fee and collect their trade license. The fee schedule depends on the business category under which the application was filed.

When collecting the trade license, a signboard fee has to be paid as well. For all types of business the signboard fees will payable 30% of the License fee.

The renewal process is comparatively routine and no inspection is required. When the trade license comes up for renewal the business has to go the LS.

Upon checking the expiring trade license, the LS fills in the particulars in a demand bill and gives the booklet to the business. The demand bill is a four page booklet similar to a bank deposit slip. The same information is filled into all the pages: one page is for the bank and one is for the business.

Deposit designated bank through demand bill and it will automatically renew the license.


Partnership / Partnership business structure
« on: June 18, 2019, 11:22:31 AM »
A partnership is when 2 or more people operate a business as co-owners and share income. All co-owners (i.e. partners) act on behalf of each other in the business. Like the sole trader structure, a partnership entity is not separate from its operators.

Advantages of partnerships
Partnerships are easier and less expensive than companies to set up.
Partners may carry on business under a trading (business) name.
Partnerships combine the resources and expertise of a number of people.
Partnerships are simple to administer. Profits and losses are shared between partners according to his/her share (as specified in the 'partnership agreement').
Unlike companies, partnerships do not have to disclose their profits to the public (i.e. greater privacy).
Changing the legal structure is relatively simple (i.e. changing from a partnership into a company at a later stage).

Disadvantages of partnerships
All partners together are personally responsible for business debts. Each partner is individually liable for debts incurred by the other partners. This is known as being 'jointly and severally' liable (i.e. unlimited liability).
All partners have a right to participate in the management of the partnership (unless otherwise agreed).
Tax is charged at the personal tax rate. As business earnings increase, so does the tax rate.
Partners cannot transfer their ownership to someone outside the partnership unless the other partner(s) agree.
Personal differences may interfere with business.

Limited partnership formation
To form and register a limited liability partnership or an incorporated limited partnership (ILP), visit the Queensland Government limited partnership forms and fees page. Applications costs will vary and it may take up to 1 week to process your application. A limited partnership formation is only required if you have a silent partner.

Other business structures
Sole trader

Company business structure
By law, a company is a distinct legal entity separate from its shareholders or officers. In Australia, the most common types of company are:

'proprietary limited' companies (cannot raise money from the general public through share issues)
'public' companies (usually formed to raise or borrow public money by listing the company's shares for trading on a stock exchange).
In setting up new ventures to commercialise an idea, one, two or more people can set up a Pty Ltd company. They buy a share or shares. In many cases, the initial shareholders are a husband and wife, or two close friends. They may each own half the shares in the company, often through an initial share offering of $1 each.

The vast majority of incorporated organisations in Australia are such private companies. These companies have shareholders, company directors and managers who are typically the same two or three people.

All companies are governed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which administers the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth) and other legislation. Public companies must also comply with the rules of the Australian Stock Exchange.

Advantages of companies
Generally, shareholders can only lose the value of their shares and are not liable for the company's debts (i.e. limited liability).
Legal arrangements are in the company's name, not in the name of its directors and managers.
The business structure ensures continuity of management and ownership in the event of the death or disability of key people (because company shares may be transferred).
The tax rate for companies is less than the highest rate for individuals.

Disadvantages of companies
Companies are more regulated than other business structures.
The rules for establishing and running a company are more complex and costly than other business structures.
Lessors, suppliers and lenders are reluctant to lend money or enter into contracts or leases with proprietary limited companies unless directors or shareholders provide personal guarantees.
If directors fail to meet their legal obligations, they may be held personally liable for the company's debts.
Profits distributed by companies to shareholders are taxable.

Trust business structure
A trust is a relationship where a trustee (an individual or a company) carries on business for the benefit of other people (the beneficiaries). For instance, a trustee may carry on a business for the benefit of a particular family and distribute the yearly profit to them.

A trust is not a separate legal entity. A trust may be discretionary (i.e. the trustee decides how profit will be distributed among beneficiaries) or have fixed interests (i.e. it will benefit certain people in predetermined proportions). Commonly, the trustee is a company (a corporate trustee); often this business structure is more tax effective.

Advantages of a trust
A trust provides asset protection and limits liability in relation to the business.
Trusts separate the control of an asset from the owner of the asset and so may be useful for protecting the income or assets of a young person or a family unit.
Trusts are very flexible for tax purposes. A discretionary trust provides flexibility in the distribution of income and capital gains among beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries of a trust are generally not liable for the trust debts, unlike sole traders or partnerships.
Beneficiaries of a trust pay tax on income they receive from a trust at their own marginal rates.

Disadvantages of a trust
Establishing a trust costs significantly more than establishing sole traders and partnerships.
A trust is a complex legal structure, which must be set up by a solicitor or accountant.
The trustee has a strict obligation to hold and manage the property for the exclusive benefit of the beneficiaries.
Operation of the business is limited to the conditions outlined in the trust deed.
As with companies, there are extensive regulations that trusts must comply with.
Losses derived in a trust are not distributable and cannot be offset by beneficiaries against other income they may have.
Unlike a company, a trust cannot retain profits for expansion without being subject to penalty rates of tax.

Partnership / Types of Partnerships
« on: June 18, 2019, 10:26:52 AM »
A partnership arises whenever two or more people co-own a business and share in the profits and losses of the business. Other business legal structures include sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and nonprofit corporations.

In a partnership, each person contributes something to the business -- such as ideas, money, property, or some combination of these. Management rights, profit share, and personal liability will vary depending on which of the three modern partnership forms the business takes: general partnership, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership (LLP). Below are basic summaries of the main types of business partnerships.

General Partnerships

A general partnership involves two or more owners carrying out a business purpose. General partners share equal rights and responsibilities in connection with management of the business, and any individual partner can bind the entire group to a legal obligation. Each individual partner assumes full responsibility for all of the business's debts and obligations. Although such personal liability is daunting, it comes with a tax advantage: partnership profits are not taxed to the business, but pass through to the partners, who include the gains on their individual tax returns at a lower rate.

Limited Partnerships

A limited partnership allows each partner to restrict his or her personal liability to the amount of his or her business investment. Not every partner can benefit from this limitation -- at least one participant must accept general partnership status, exposing himself or herself to full personal liability for the business's debts and obligations. The general partner retains the right to control the business, while the limited partner(s) do(es) not participate in management decisions. Both general and limited partners benefit from business profits.

Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)

Limited liability partnerships (LLP) retain the tax advantages of the general partnership form, but offer some personal liability protection to the participants. Individual partners in a limited liability partnership are not personally responsible for the wrongful acts of other partners, or for the debts or obligations of the business. Because the LLP form changes some of the fundamental aspects of the traditional partnership, some state tax authorities may subject a limited liability partnership to non-partnership tax rules. The Internal Revenue Service views these businesses as partnerships, however, and allows partners to use the pass through technique.

Existing partnerships that wish to take advantage of LLP status do not need to modify their existing partnership agreement, though they may choose to do so. In order to change status, a partnership simply files an application for registration as a limited liability partnership with the appropriate state agency. All states require disclosure of the partnership's name and principle place of business. Some states also require, among other things, identification of the number of partners, a brief description of the business, a statement that the partnership will maintain insurance, and written acknowledgment that the limited liability status may expire.

Get Legal Help Before Setting Up Your Partnership

Simple mistakes can prove quite costly, which is not helpful to any new business. If you're interested in learning more about the different types of partnerships and how to avoid any mistakes while setting them up, you may benefit from the expertise of a skilled business attorney near you.


Angel Investment / What Is an Angel Investor?
« on: June 18, 2019, 10:04:51 AM »
An angel investor is a person who invests in a new or small business venture, providing capital for start-up or expansion. Angel investors are typically individuals who have spare cash available and are looking for a higher rate of return than would be given by more traditional investments. An angel investor typically looks for a return of 25 percent or more.

An angel investment is a form of equity financing–the investor supplies funding in exchange for taking an equity position in the company. Equity financing is normally used by non-established businesses that do not have sufficient cash flow or collateral with which to secure business loans from financial institutions.

Angel investors fill in the gap between the small-scale financing provided by family and friends and venture capitalists. Attracting Angel Investors is not always easy, but there are things you can do. First, consider whether angel investing is truly for you and your business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Angel Investors for Business Owners

The big advantage is that financing from angel investments is much less risky than debt financing. Unlike a loan, invested capital does not have to be paid back in the event of business failure. And, most angel investors understand business and take a long-term view. Also, an angel investor is often looking for a personal opportunity as well as an investment.

The primary disadvantage of using angel investors is the loss of complete control as a part owner. Your angel investor will have a say in how the business is run and will also receive a portion of the profits when the business is sold. With debt financing, the lending institution has no control over the operations of your company and takes no share of the profits.

Typical Sources of Angel Investors
Angle investors is a somewhat general term, and you can actually find these types of investors in a few different forms. Angel investments normally come from:

Family and friends:
 This is by far the most common source of funding for business startups that are interested in finding business start up money and is the only option for many. Given the high rate of failure with new businesses, it is also risky in terms of the possible impact on family/friend relationships if the business is not successful. It is important to be upfront about the risk of failure.
Wealthy individuals:
 Another good source is successful business people, doctors, lawyers, and others that have a high net worth and are willing to invest up to (typically) $500,000 in return for equity. Often this is done by word of mouth through business associates or associations such as the local Chamber of Commerce.
Angels are increasingly operating as part of an angel syndicate (a group of angel investors), which raises their potential investment level accordingly. Investors contribute funds to the syndicate and a professional syndicate management team chooses the investments.
A form of an online investing group, crowdfunding involves raising funding by having large groups of individuals invest amounts as small as $1,000.
Communicate Before Deciding
It's important for any business person thinking about accepting an angel investment to be very clear about what the investor is bringing to the deal besides money, such as expertise in business operations or access to good suppliers, for example. You would also want to develop an understanding of what the angel investor would be like to work with since this person could have their own conflicting ideas for how your business should be operated.

It's also important to have a comprehensive business plan in place. As a small business, you'll need it in order to secure financing from lenders or investors.

Finance & Accounts / 5 Ways To Make Your Investments Work Harder
« on: June 17, 2019, 04:44:59 PM »
Sometimes investing isn’t as straightforward as some make it out to be, and knowing the tricks behind stronger investment strategies can go a long way. This week Finance Monthly benefits from expert advice from Hannah Goldsmith DipPFS, Founder of Goldsmiths Financial Solutions and author of ‘Retire Faster’.

If you’d like your money to work harder, perhaps with a view to retiring sooner, here are five rules you need to follow. And they are probably not what you’re thinking:

Trust the markets
The global market is an effective information processing machine. Millions of participants worldwide buy and sell securities in the world markets every day. The real time information they bring to the market helps set the market price. With more than 98 million trades a day, the probability is miniscule that a committee, sitting in a board room and discussing where to invest your money, will spot a favourable discrepancy in a stock price. It is possible, but it is also highly improbable.

Instead, of buying retail funds selected by a fund manager, buy a diversified basket of global index tracker funds and let the markets work for you. A wide basket of stocks from around the world linked directly to market returns can reduce the risk of trying to outguess the markets or worse, paying somebody else to outguess the markets.

Diversification is key
Investment returns are random; they cannot be predicted with any certainty. Therefore, don’t limit your investments to a handful of stocks or one stock market. This is a concentrated strategy with high risk implications.

You cannot be certain which parts of the world will outperform others, if bonds will outperform equities, or if large stocks will outperform small stocks. So, don’t let your financial adviser visit you each year moving and changing your funds to justify their existence and their fees. They are wasting your money.

Instead, buy the global market using a diversified basket of index tracker funds and leave the speculation to the gamblers.

The Financial Services Industry does not have your best interest at heart
Conventional wealth management institutions are far happier when the status quo prevails; it’s more profitable for them and their shareholders. Why would they provide you with an opportunity to move your money to a competitor at their expense, even if it was in your best financial interest? These corporate are in business to maximize shareholder value – not your investment returns.

It is therefore essential to take back control of your money and ensure that the ‘hidden’ ongoing portfolio costs are kept to the bare minimum. Aim to keep the costs of managing your portfolio at under 1%. The industry average is in the region of 2.3%, so if you save yourself even 1% a year you will have made a substantial amount of money using compounding interest over the life of your portfolio.

Think long term, not just about today
When there is a long slow decline in markets, investors want to jump ship and wait for the markets to recover before jumping back in. However, market timing cannot be predicted. Taking your money out in falling markets means you lose real money – thanks to fear. Most people don’t reinvest until they get their optimism back, which is often too late; by then the stocks have risen, you’ve missed out on the gains, and you still have your losses to make up.

Manage your emotions by investing in a risk portfolio that is correlated to your capacity for loss. Not one that is based purely on your search for the highest returns. Remember, investing is for the longer term. History shows that you will be rewarded for your bravery – and your patience.

Don’t lose money with the banks
Although the banks’ advertising agencies tell us how wonderful these institutions, I am still reminded of the chaos and misery they caused when they needed bailing out by the tax payer. This was due to what was described by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, as a ‘systematic breakdown in accountability and ethics’.

Your capital deposited in a Bank is being eaten by inflation at 2-3% every year. Over the last 10 years, whilst the stock markets have gone up, the buying power of your bank deposited savings has decreased dramatically and will continue to do so for the immediate future.

My advice is to look at investing, rather than ‘saving’ with a bank; diversify your portfolio; let the markets work for you; and ensure you keep your management fees to around 1%. By following these rules you’ll increase your fund faster and the day you can retire (or splash the money on your dream) will arrive much sooner.

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Mortgages are one of the most common forms of debt in the UK. In fact, only credit cards rank above mortgages when it comes to the proportion of the national population with each type of debt – 35% and 24% respectively.
t’s a huge market, and for most people a mortgage will be the largest single debt they take on in their life. It is vital, therefore, that consumers are thorough and diligent in both finding the right mortgage product and making mortgage repayments.

Navigating the mortgage market
Returning to the aforementioned research by, not only did the survey uncover the types of debt people have, but it also offered insight into the ways Britons are managing their finances. And there were some concerning findings.

Most notably, two thirds (67%) of those in debt have no savings stored away to enable them to pay off debt if required, with men (73%) more likely than women (62%) to lack a financial safety net. Furthermore, nearly three in ten (29%) said they do not feel in control of their debt and have no plans of how they will pay it off.

In light of these figures, it is perhaps less surprising to note that 24% of people in debt said they lose sleep because of it.

When it comes to mortgages, planning and preparation are key. Indeed, with so many mortgages available – 4,214 new products were introduced into the residential mortgage market between 2016 and 2018 alone – choosing the most appropriate option can be challenging.

Importantly, this challenge starts with an individual understanding his or her personal finances.

Debt-to-income ratios
Essential within this planning phase is to know one’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. In short, this offers an indication of how much debt a person has in relation to their earnings – it is calculated by dividing total recurring monthly debt by gross monthly income.

But many people are in the dark about DTI ratios; 44% of UK adults do not know what their debt-to-income ratio is, with 39% admitting to not understanding the term.

This needs to be addressed. Without understanding exactly how much debt one can responsibly handle, securing the right mortgage is extremely difficult.

Of course, a mortgage provider will undertake its own due diligence in ensuring a borrower’s income is sufficient for the terms of a particular mortgage. However, in truth, the lender will never be able to match the borrower’s granular insight into their finances.

Avoiding bad debt
Ultimately, despite the negative connotations that still surround the word, debt is an extremely valuable financial instrument. It enables people to pursue life goals otherwise out-of-reach. But we must recognise there are good debts and bad debts.

Good debts are both manageable and will provide value to the individual – mortgages are a prime example of this, assuming the amount borrowed can be repaid. Bad debts are those that cannot realistically be repaid or provide no value – taking on debt to pay-off other debt is a common example of this.

Mortgages, by and large, are good debts, but only when the monthly repayments can be made without being overly restrictive to a person’s financial situation. The first step is for consumers to ensure they know what their DTI ratio is – a task that takes just a few moments thanks to online DTI calculators.

Failure to do so could cause problems down the line. Illustrating this point, it is estimated around 88,000 mortgages in the UK are in arrears of 2.5% or more, while there are 52 mortgage possession claims made every day.

To avoid falling into this situation, borrowers must be sure they only take on good debt. Moreover, whenever possible they should set aside savings to help make repayments in case of cash flow issues or interest rate changes in the future.

Thorough preparation and careful management are at the heart of any successful financial strategy, and when it comes to mortgages these are essential in ensuring people navigate the market safely and only accrue debts in a safe, responsible manner.

Mobile Apps / 3 Ways Mobile Banking Has Transformed Spending Habits
« on: June 17, 2019, 11:47:49 AM »
Most people always carry their phones with them — very few leave the house without their device. And so, it’s natural that mobile banking appeals to a large percentage of the population.
Industry experts CACI forecast that 2019 could very well see mobiles usurp PCs as the main appliance for internet banking. It’s even predicted that by 2023, 72% of Brits will use apps as their main financial management source.

But mobile banking has already transformed how we spend money. Let’s explore how.

Average Spending
Thanks to banking apps, it’s easier than ever to access money. Access to phone signal granted, you can transfer money, anywhere, at any time. However, with this comes the risk of overspending.

And many people can’t resist the temptation to buy more than they need. In fact, a recent report by Bain & Co. revealed that on average, mobile payment users spend twice as much as those who don’t.

Therefore, what we’re spending money on – as well as how we’re spending it – has already been hugely affected by mobile banking.

Budgeting Apps
Very often, with the risk of overspending comes an increased demand for easy money-saving tactics. Unsurprisingly, banks have been quick to jump on this need by bringing out budgeting apps.

Although increased spending remains common among mobile bankers, these apps could help to provide a remedy. Because managing finances is a priority for most people, they have been quick to take off.

So, mobile banking hasn’t just influenced how we spend — it’s changing how we save, too.

All-Inclusive Banking
Banking apps make it more straightforward to exchange money and make purchases, therefore they are particularly valuable for people who struggle with traditional methods of money management.

For wheelchair users, visiting a local bank or an ATM can often be inconvenient. But thanks to these apps, financial affairs can be managed from home. The need to venture into town to take out cash or pay for goods is now a thing of the past — and this is transforming lives.

Likewise, this has revolutionised how people with specific learning differences monitor their money. Features like colour-coding are ideal for users with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD, for example.

For people who live far from the town or city, driving to an area with a hole in the wall or bank is no longer necessary as banking can be done from home. Using this kind of app could even reduce your carbon emissions.

Mobile banking isn’t just benefitting its users — it’s helping the environment.

How we spend, save and manage our money has been completely transformed by mobile banking. No wonder its set to rise in popularity over the next four years. This is an exciting time for the financial world. How will it affect your finances?


Starting a small business is the ultimate working dream for many. When you take the plunge to finally make it happen you’ll have lots to think about. One of the major considerations will be securing funds. If you’re starting off a new business you may need a hand to get your vision off the ground.
Starting a small business is the ultimate working dream for many. When you take the plunge to finally make it happen you’ll have lots to think about. One of the major considerations will be securing funds.

If you’re starting off a new business you may need a hand to get your vision off the ground. An organisation like SCORE could provide the support you need; it’s a Small Business Administration that has helped thousands of small businesses launch and grow.

Bear the following tips in mind as you start the process of securing investment for your small business:

1. Start early
If you have savings that you can put towards launching your business or expanding it, make it one of the first things you do. If you’re looking to secure investment and raise funds for your business, you’ll be impressing potential investors by showing them that you’re committed to your idea and backing it with your own money.

2. Have a plan
If you want to be taken seriously by investors, you need to make sure you have a growth plan in place so that you’re able to demonstrate a realistic outlook for further expansion.
This will give investors the confidence that you are serious about your plans. Investors will expect a long-term plan for development, with detail and forecast revenue; a good idea in isolation isn’t enough.

3. Recruit well
If your start-up is larger than a one-person operation it’s essential you have a solid team of people behind you. An experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable team around you provides potential investors with confidence. Choose wisely!

4. Approach experienced investors
Background research will prove whether or not a potential investor has experience when it comes to companies similar to you. You should ideally approach those who have a good track record when it comes to helping businesses comparable to you. They may offer more than just money – their knowledge and previous experience could be extremely valuable for you.

5. Point of Sale System
A Point of Sale System is where your customers make payments for items that they buy from your company. Such a system allows you to have much better control over your business operations as you know exactly what’s been sold on a daily or monthly basis, how many products you have in the warehouse and how much money you’ve made. You can keep track of your inventory through analyzing sales processes, sales reports and other data.

6. Be patient
Raising funds is never going to be straightforward and it most certainly won’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience so stick with it and don’t give up – honestly, it will be worth it in the end.

7. Be flexible
Investors want to see a return after offering you funding, so make sure that you’re flexible with the level of control that you are giving them when it comes to the decision making process. If they’re able to see that you can easily be a success without too much legislation and paperwork, they might be likely to invest.

8. Showcase your best pitching skills
If you’re looking to gain investment, you really need to possess strong pitching skills. Investors need to see a clear and concise plan of the future direction of your business, exactly how their money is going to help, and when they might see a return on their investment. Practice makes perfect so make sure that you don’t neglect the preparation stage.

Securing investments can be a daunting process, but it can be done. Prepare thoroughly, do your homework, be confident, explain your vision clearly, and you’ll have a great chance of succeeding.

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