HOW TO REORGANIZE YOUR TIME TO
ACCOMMODATE A HOME-BASED BUSINESS
Almost everyone needs or wants more money coming in, and with this desire most would like to start some sort of extra income producing project. The trouble is, not many of these people seem able to fit "a second job" into their time schedules.
It's true that most people are busy, but extra time for some sort of home-based extra income producing project can almost always be found. It may mean giving up or changing a few of your favorite pastimes--such as having a couple of beers with the guys or watching TV--but if you score big with your extra income project, you will have all the time you want for doing whatever you what to do.
Efficient time management boils down to planning what you're going to do, and then doing it without backtracking. Start by making a list of the things you want to do tomorrow, each evening before you go to bed. Schedule your trips to the store or wherever to coincide with the other things you have to do, and with your trips to or from work. Organize your trips to take care of as many things as possible while you're out of the house. take stock of the time you spend on the telephone---and eliminate all that isn't necessary.
Whatever chores you have to do at home, set aside a specific time to do them, and a specific amount of time to devote to them. For instances, just one hour a day devoted to yard work would probably make your property the envy of all your neighbors. Don't try to do a week's work in one big flurry. Whether it's painting your house, fixing leaky faucets, or mowing your lawn and trimming your shrubs, do a part of it, or one particular job each day, and you'll be amazed at your progress.
Take care of all your mail the day, you receive it. Don't let those bills and letters pile up on you. If you're unable to pay a bill immediately, file it in a special place that's visible, and note on the envelope the date you intend to pay it. Answer your letters the same day you get them.
Once you start listing and planning what to do, and then carry
out your plans, you'll find plenty of "extra time" for handling
virtually any kind of home-based income producing project. People
in general may not like routines or schedules, but without some
sort of plan as to what is supposed to be done, the world would
be mired in mass confusion. Laws, ordinances and regulations are
for the purpose of guiding people. We live according to an
accepted plan or way of life, and the better we can organize
ourselves, the more productive and happy we become.
The secret of all financially successful people is simply that they are organized and do not waste time. Think about it. Review your own activities, and then see if you can't find a couple of extra hours in each day for more constructive accomplishments.
When you begin planning, and then when you really become involved in an extra income producing endeavor, you should work it exactly as you have organized your regular day-to-day activities---on a time basis. Do what has to be done immediately. Don't try to get done in a hour something that's realistically going to take a week. Plan out on paper what you have to do--what you want to do--and when you are going to do it. Then get right on each project without procrastination.
Finally, and above all else, when you're organizing your time and your business, be sure to set aside some time for relaxation. Be sure to schedule time when you and your spouse can be together. You must not involve yourself to an extent that you exclude other people--particularly your loved ones--from your life.
Taking stock of the time you waste each day, and from there, reorganizing your activities is what it's all about. It's a matter of becoming more efficient in the use of your time. It's really easy to do, and you will not only accomplish a lot more, you will also find greater fulfillment in your life.
HOW TO RAISE MONEY FOR STARTING A BUSINESS
The task of raising money for a business is not as difficult as most people seem to think. This is especially true when you have an idea that can make you and your backers rich. Actually, there's more money available for new business ventures than there are good business ideas.
A very important rule of the game to learn: Any time you want to raise money, your first move should be to put together a proper prospectus.
This prospectus should include a resume of your background, your education, training, experience and any other personal qualities that might be counted as an asset to your potential success. It's also a good idea to list the various loans you've had in the past, what they were for, and your history in paying them off.
You'll have to explain in detail how the money you want is going to be used. If it's for an existing business, you'll need a profit and loss record for at least the preceding six months, and a plan showing how this additional money will produce greater profits. If it's a new business, you'll have to show your proposed business plan, your marketing research and projected costs, as well as anticipated income figures, with a summary for each year, over at least a three year period.
It'll be advantageous to you to base your cost estimates high, and your income projections on minimal returns. This will enable you to "ride through" those extreme "ups and downs" inherent in any beginning business. You should also describe what makes your business unique---how it differs form your competition and the opportunities for expansion or secondary products.
This prospectus will have to state precisely what you're offering the investor in return for the use of his money. He'll want to know the percentage of interest you're willing to pay, and whether monthly, quarterly or on an annual basis. Are you offering a certain percentage of the profits? A percentage of the business? A seat on your board of directories?
An investor uses his money to make more money. He wants to make as much as he can, regardless whether it's short term or long term deal. In order to attract him, interest him, and persuade him to "put up" the money you need, you'll not only have to offer him an opportunity for big profits, but you'll have to spell it out in detail, and further, back up your claims with proof from your marketing research.
Venture investors are usually quite familiar with "high risk" proposals, yet they all want to minimize that risk as much as possible. Therefore, your prospectus should include a listing of your business and personal assets with documentation---usually copies of your tax returns for the past three years or more. Your prospective investor may not know anything about you or your business, but if he wants to know, he can pick up his telephone and know everything there is to know within 24 hours. The point here is, don't ever try to "con" a potential investor. Be honest with him. Lay all the facts on the table for him. In most cases, if you've got a good idea and you've done your homework properly, and "interested investor" will understand your position and offer more help than you dared to ask.
When you have your prospectus prepared, know how much money you want, exactly how it will be used, and how you intend to repay it, you're ready to start looking for investors.
As simple as it seems, one of the easiest ways of raising money is by advertising in a newspaper or a national publication featuring such ads. Your ad should state the amount of money you want--always ask for more money than you have room for negotiating. Your ad should also state the type of business involved ( to separate the curious from the truly interested), and the kind of return you're promising on the investment.
Take a page from the party plan merchandisers. Set up a party and
invite your friends over. Explain your business plan, the profit
potential, and how much you need. Give them each a copy of your
prospectus and ask that they pledge a thousand dollars as a
non-participating partner in your business. Check with the
current tax regulations. You may be allowed up to 25 partners in Sub Chapter S enterprises, opening the door for anyone to gather a group of friends around himself with something to offer them in return for their assistance in capitalizing his business.
You can also issue and sell up to $300,000 worth of stock in your company without going through the Federal Trade Commission. You'll need the help of an attorney to do this, however, and of course a good tax accountant as well wouldn't hurt.
It's always a good idea to have an attorney and an accountant help you make up your business prospectus. As you explain your plan to them, and ask for their advice, casually ask them if they'd mind letting you know of, or steer your way any potential investors they might happen to meet. Do the same with your banker. Give him a copy of your prospectus and ask him if he'd look it over and offer any suggestions for improving it, and of course, let you know of any potential investors. In either case, it's always a good idea to let them know you're willing to pay a "finder's fee" if you can be directed to the right investor.
Professional people such as doctors and dentists are known to
have a tendency to join occupational investment groups. The next
time you talk with your doctor or dentist, give him a prospectus
and explain your plan. He may want to invest on his own or
perhaps set up an appointment for you to talk with the manager of
his investment group. Either way, you win because when you're looking for money, it's essential that you get the word out as many potential investors as possible.
Don't overlook the possibilities of the Small Business Investment Companies in your area. Look them up in your telephone book under "Investment Services." These companies exist for the sole purpose of lending money to businesses which they feel have a good chance of making money. In many instances, they trade their help for a small interest in your company.
Many states have Business Development Commissions whose goal is to assist in the establishment and growth of new businesses. Not only do they offer favorable taxes and business expertise, most also offer money or facilities to help a new business get started. Your Chamber of Commerce is the place to check for further information of this idea.
Industrial banks are usually much more amenable to making business loans than regular banks, so be sure to check out these institutions in your area. insurance companies are prime sources of long term business capital, but each company varies its policies regarding the type of business it will consider. Check your local agent for the name and address of the person to contact. It's also quite possible to get the directories of another company to invest in your business. Look for a company that can benefit from your product or service. Also, be sure to check at your public library for available foundation grants. These can be the final answer to all your money needs if your business is perceived to be related to the objectives and activities of the foundation.
Finally, there's the Money broker or Finder. These are the people who take your prospectus and circulate it with various known lenders or investors. They always require an up-front or retainer fee, and there's no way they can guarantee to get you the loan or the money you want.
There are many very good money brokers, and there are some that are not so good. They all take a percentage of the gross amount that's finally procured for your needs. The important thing is to check them out fully; find out about the successful loans or investment plans they're arranged, and what kind of investor contacts they have---all of this before you put up any front money or pay any retainer fees.
There are many ways to raise money---from staging garage sales to selling stocks. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the only place you can find the money you need is through the bank or finance company.
Start thinking about the idea of inviting investors to share in your business as silent partners. Think about the idea of obtaining financing for a primary business by arranging financing for another business that will support the start-up, establishment and developing of the primary business. Consider the feasibility of merging with a company that's already organized, and with facilities that are compatible or related to your needs. Give some thought to the possibilities of getting the people supplying your production equipment to co-sign the loan you need for start-up capital.
Remember, there are thousands upon thousands of ways to obtain business start-up capital. This is truly the age of creative financing.
Disregard the stories you hear of "tight money," and start making phone calls, talking to people, and making appointments to discuss your plans with the people who have money invest. There's more money now than there's ever been for a new business investment. The problem is that most beginning "business builders" don't know what to believe or which way to turn for help. They tend to believe the stories of "tight money," and they set aside their plans for a business of their own until a time when start-up money might be easier to find.
The truth is this: Now is the time to make your move. Now is the
time to act. the person with a truly viable business plan, and
determination to succeed, will make use of every possible idea
that can be imagined. And the ideas I've suggested here should
serve as just a few of the unlimited sources of monetary help
available and waiting for you!
LEGALITIES & TAX ADVANTAGES
IN A HOME BUSINESS
Every year, several thousand people develop an interest in "going into business." Many of these people have an idea, a product or a service they hope to promote into an income producing business which they can operate from their homes.
If you are one of these people, here are some practical thoughts to consider before hanging out the "Open for Business" sign.
In areas zoned "Residential Only," your proposed business could be illegal. In many areas, zoning restrictions rule out home businesses involving the coming and going of many customers, clients or employees. Many businesses that sell or even store anything for sale on the premises also fall into this category.
Be sure to check with your local zoning office to see how the ordinances in your particular area may affect your business plans. You may need a special permit to operate your business from your home; and you may find that making small changes in your plan will put you into the position of meeting zoning standards.
Many communities grant home occupation permits for businesses
involve typing, sewing, and teaching, but turn thumbs down on
requests from photographers, interior decorators and home
improvement businesses to be run from the home. And often, even
if you are permitted to use your home for a given business, there
will be restrictions that you may need to take into consideration. By all means, work with your zoning people, and save yourself time, trouble and dollars.
One of the requirements imposed might be off street parking for your customers or patrons. And, signs are generally forbidden in residential ditricts. If you teach, there is almost always a limit on the number of students you may have at any one time.
Obtaining zoning approval for your business, then, could be as simple as filling out an application, or it could involve a public hearing. The important points the zoning officials will consider will center around how your business will affect the neighborhood. Will it increase the traffic noticeably on your street? Will there be a substantial increase in noise? And how will your neighbors feel about this business alongside their homes?
To repeat, check into the zoning restrictions, and then check again to determine if you will need a city license. If you're selling something, you may need a vendor's license, and be required to collect sales taxes on your transactions. The sale tax requirement would result in the need for careful record keeping.
Licensing can be an involved process, and depending upon the type of business, it could even involve the inspection of your home to determine if it meets with local health and building and fire codes. Should this be the case, you will need to bring your facilities up to the local standards. Usually this will involve some simple repairs or adjustments that you can either do personally, or hire out to a handyman at a nominal cost.
Still more items to consider: Will your homeowner's insurance cover the property and liability in your new business? This must definitely be resolved, so be sure to talk it over with your insurance agent.
Tax deductions, which were once one of the beauties of engaging in a home business, are not what they once were. To be eligible for business related deductions today, you must use that part of your home claimed EXCLUSIVELY AND REGULARLY as either the principal location of your business, or place reserved to meet patients, clients or customers.
An interesting case in point: if you use your den or a spare bedroom as the principal place of business, working there from 8:00 to 5:00 every day, but permit your children to watch TV in that room during evening hours, the IRS dictates that you cannot claim a deduction for that room as your office or place of business.
There are, however, a couple of exceptions to the "exclusive use" rule. One is the storage on inventory in your home, where your home is the location of your trade or business, and your trade or business is the selling of products at retail or wholesale. According to the IRS, such storage space must be used on a REGULAR Basis, and be separately identifiable space.
Another exception applies to daycare services that are provided for children, the elderly, or physically or mentally handicapped. This exception applies only if the owner of the facility complies with the state laws for licensing.
To be eligible for business deductions, your business must be an activity undertaken with the intent of making profit. It's presumed you meet this requirement if your business makes a profit in any two years of a five-year period.
Once you are this far along, you can deduct business expenses
such as supplies, subscriptions to professional journals, and an
allowance for the business use of your car or truck. You can also
claim deductions for home related business expenses such as
utilities, and in some cases, even a new paint job for your home.
The IRS is going to treat the part of your home you use for
business as though it were a separate piece of property. This
means that you'll have to keep good records and take care not to
mix business and personal matters. No specific method of record
keeping is required, but your records must clearly justify and
deductions you claim.
You can begin by calculating what percentage of the house is used for business, Either by number of rooms or by area in square footage. Thus, if you use one of the five rooms for your business, the business portion is 20 percent. If you run your business out of a room that's 10 by 12 feet, and the total area of your home is 1,200 square feet, the business space factor is 10 percent.
An extra computation is required if your business is a home day care center. This is one of the exempted activities in which the exclusive use rule doesn't apply. Check with your tax preparer and the IRS for an exact determination.
If you're a renter, you can deduct the part of your rent which is attributable to the business share of your house or apartment. Homeowners can take a deduction based on the depreciation of the business portion of their house.
There is a limit to the amount you can deduct. This is the amount
equal to the gross income generated by the business, minus those
home expenses you could deduct even if you weren't operating a
business from your home. As an example, real estate taxes and
mortgage interest are deductible regardless of any business
activity in your home, so you must subtract from your business gross income the percentage that's allocable to the business portion of your home. You thus arrive at the maximum amount for home-related business deductions.
If you are self-employed, you claim your business deductions on SCHEDULE C, PROFIT(or LOSS) for BUSINESS OR PROFESSION. The IRS emphasizes that claiming business-at-home deductions does not automatically trigger an audit on your tax return. Even so, it is always wise to keep meticulously within the proper guidelines, and of course keep detailed records if you claim business related expenses when you are working out of your home. You should discuss this aspect of your operation with your tax preparer or a person qualified in the field of small business tax requirements.
If your business earnings aren't subject to withholding tax, and your estimated federal taxes are $100 or more, you'll probably be filing a Declaration of Estimated Tax, Form 1040 ES. To complete this form, you will have to estimate your income for the coming year and also make a computation of the income tax and self-employed tax you will owe.
The self-employment taxes pay for Social Security coverage. If you have a salaried job covered by Social Security, the self-employment tax applies only to that amount of your home business income that, when added to your salary, reaches the current ceiling. When you file your Form 1040-ES, which is due April 15, you must make the first of four equal installment payments on your estimated tax bill.
Another good way to trim taxes is by setting up a Keogh plan or
an Individual Retirement Account. With either of these, you can
shelter some of your home business income from taxes by investing
it for your retirement.
HOW TO START A PROFITABLE HOME-BASED BUSINESS
In these days, it's becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet with just one source of income. Thus, more and more people are investigating the possibilities of starting their own extra-income business. Most of these part-time endeavors are started and operated from the comfort and privacy of the home.
Most of these people are making the extra money they need. Some have wisely and carefully built these extra income efforts into full-time, very profitable businesses. Others are just keeping busy, having fun, and enjoying life as never before. The important thing is that they are doing something other than waiting for the government to give them a handout; they are improving their lot in life, and you can do it, too!
The fields of mail order selling, multi-level marketing, and in-home party sales have never been more popular. If any of these kinds of extra income producing ideas appeal to you, then you owe it to yourself to check them out. But these aren't the only fields of endeavor you can start and operate from home, with little or no investment, and learn as you go.
If you type, you can start a home-based typing service; if you have a truck or have access to a trailer, you can start a clean-up/hauling service. Simply collecting old newspapers from your neighbors can get you started in the paper recycling business. More than a few enterprising housewifes have found success and fortune by starting home and/or apartment cleaning services. If you have a yard full of flowers, you can make good extra money by supplying fresh cut flowers to restaurants and offices in your area on a regular basis. You might turn a ceramics hobby into a lucrative personalized coffee mug business. What I'm saying is that in reality, there's literally no end to the ways you can start and operate a profitable extra income business from your home.
The first thing you must do, however, is some basic market research. Find out for yourself, first-hand, just how many people there are in your area who are interested in your proposed product or service, and would be "willing to stand in line and pay money for it". This is known as defining your market and pinpointing your customers. If after checking around, talking about your idea with a whole lot of people over a period of one to three months, you get the idea that these people would be paying customers, your next effort should be directed toward the "detailing" of your business plan. The more precise and detailed your plan - covering all the bases relating to how you'll do everything that needs to be done - the easier it's going to be for you to attain success. Such a plan should show you start-up investment needs, your advertising plan, your production costs and procedure, your sales program, and how your time will be allocated. Too often, enthusiastic and ambitious entrepreneur jump in on an extra income project and suddenly find that the costs are beyond their abilities, and the time requirements more than they can meet. It pays to lay it all out on paper before you get involved, and the clearer you can "see" everything before you start, the better your chances for success.
Now, assuming you've got your market targeted, you know who your customers are going to be and how you're going to reach them with your product or service. And you have all your costs as well as time requirements itemized. The next step is to set your plan in motion and start making money.
Here is the most important "secret" of all, relating to starting
and building a profitable home-based business, so read very
carefully. Regardless of what kind of business you start, you
must have the capital and the available time to sustain your
business through the first six months of operation.
Specifically, you must not count on receiving or spending any
money coming in from your business on yourself or for your bills
during those first six months. All the income from your
business during those first six months should be reinvested in your business in order for it to grow and reach your planned first year potential.
Once you've passed that first six months milestone, you can set up a small monthly salary for yourself, and begin enjoying the fruits of your labor. But the first six months of operation for any business are critical, so do not plan to use any of the money you business generates for yourself during that period.
If you've got your business plan properly organized, and have implemented the plan, you should at the end of your first year be able to begin thinking about hiring other people to alleviate some of your workload. Remember this: Starting a successful business is not a means towards either a job for yourself or a way to keep busy. It should be regarded as the beginning of an enterprise that will grow and prosper, with you as the top dog. Eventually, you'll have other people doing all the work for you, even running the entire operation, while you vacation in the Bahamas or Hawaii and collect or receive regular income from your initial efforts.
For more details on market research, business planning, advertising, selling, order fulfillment, and other aspects of home-based businesses, check with the distributor from whom you received this report.
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
You may be in Mail Order, Direct Mail, or you may be a local merchant with 150 employees; whichever, however or whatever---you've got to know how to keep your business alive during economic recessions. Anytime the cash flow in a business, large or small, starts to tighten up, the money management of that business has to be run as a "tight ship."
Some of the things you can and should do include protecting yourself from expenditures made on sudden impulse. We've all bought merchandise or services we really didn't need simply because we were in the mood, or perhaps in response to the flamboyancy of the advertising or the persuasiveness of the salesperson. Then we sort of "wake up" a couple of days later and find that we've committed hundreds of dollars of business funds for an item or service that's not essential to the success of our own business, when really pressing items had been waiting for those dollars.
If you are incorporated, you can eliminate these "impulse purchases" by including in your by-laws a clause that states: "All purchasing decisions over (a certain amount) are contingent upon approval by the board of directors." This will force you to consider any "impulse purchases" of considerable cost, and may even be a reminder in the case of smaller purchases.
If your business is a partnership, you can state, when faced with a buying decision, that all purchases are contingent upon the approval of a third party. In reality, the third party can be your partner, one of your department heads, or even one of your suppliers.
If your business is a sole proprietorship, you don't have much to worry about really, because as an individual you have three days to think about your purchase, and then to nullify that purchase if you think you don't really need it or can't afford it.
While you may think you cannot afford it, be sure that you don't "short-change" yourself on professional services. This would apply especially during a time of emergency. Anytime you commit yourself and move ahead without completely investigating all the angles, and preparing yourself for all the contingencies that may arise, you're skating on thin ice. Regardless of the costs involved, it always pays off in the long run to seek out the advice of experienced professionals before embarking on a plan that could ruin you.
As an example, an experienced business consultant can fill you in on the 1244 stock advantages. Getting eligibility for the 1244 stock category is a very simple process, but one with tremendous benefits to your business.
The 1244 stock encourages investors to put equity capital into your business because in the event of a loss, amounts up to the entire sum of the investment can be written off in the current year. Without the "1244" classification, any losses would have to be spread over several years, and this, of course, would greatly lessen the attractiveness of your company's stock. Any business owner who has not filed the 1244 corporation has in effect cut himself off from 90 percent of his prospective investors.
Particularly when sales are down, you must be "hard-nosed" with people trying to sell you luxuries for your business. When business is booming, you undoubtedly will allow sales people to show you new models of equipment or a new line of supplies; but when your business is down, skip the entertaining frills and concentrate on the basics. Great care must be taken however, to maintain courtesy and allow these sellers to consider you a friend and call back at another time.
Your company's books should reflect your way of thinking, and whoever maintains them should generate information according to your policies. Thus, you should hire an outside accountant or accounting firm to figure your return on your investment, as well as the turnover on your accounts receivable and inventory. Such an audit or survey should focus in depth on any or every item within the financial statement that merits special attention. in this way, you'll probably uncover any potential financial problems before they become readily apparent, and certainly before they could get out of hand.
Many small companies set up advisory boards of outside professional people. These are sometimes known as power Circles, and once in place, the business always benefits, especially in times of short operating capital. Such an advisory board or power circle should include an attorney, a certified public accountant, civic club leaders, owners or managers of businesses similar to yours, and retired executives. Setting up such an advisory board of directors is really quite easy, because most people you ask will be honored to serve.
Once your board is set up, you should meet once a month and present material for review. Each meeting should be a discussion of your business problems and an input from your advisors relative to possible solutions. These members of your board od advisors should offer you advice as well as alternatives, and provide you with objectivity. No formal decisions need to be made either at your board meeting, or as a result of them, but you should be able to gain a great deal from the suggestions you hear.
You will find that most of your customers have the money to pay at least some of what they owe you immediately. To keep them current, and the number of accounts receivable in your files to a minimum, you should call them on the phone and ask for some kind of explanation why they're falling behind. if you develop such a habit as part of your operating procedure, you'll find your invoices will magically be drawn to the front of their piles of bills to pay. While maintaining a courteous attitude, don't hesitant, or too much of a "nice guy" when it comes to collecting money.
Something else that's a very good business practice, but which few business owners do is to methodically build a credit rating with their local banks. Particularly when you have a good cash flow, you should borrow $100 to $1,000 from your banks every 90 days or so. Simply borrow the money, and place it in an interest bearing account, and then pay it all back at least a month or so before it's due. By doing this, you will increase the borrowing power of your signature, and strengthen your ability to obtain needed financing on short notice. This is a kind of business leverage that will be of great value to you if or whenever your cash position becomes less favorable.
By all means, join your industry's local and national trade associations. Most of these organizations have a wealth of information available on everything from details on your competitors to average industry sales figures, new products, services, and trends.
If you are given a membership certificate or wall plaque, you should display these conspicuously on your office wall. Customers like to see such "seals of approval" and feel additional confidence in your business when they see them.
Still another thing often overlooked: If at all possible, you should have your spouse work in the business with you for at least three or four weeks per year. The important thing is that if for any reason you are not available to run the business, your spouse will be familiar with certain people and situations about your business. These people should include your attorney, accountant, any consultants or advisors, creditors and your major suppliers. The long-term advantages of having your spouse work four weeks per year in your business with you will greatly outweigh the short-term inconvenience. Many couples share responsibility and time entirely, which is in most cases even more desirable.
Whenever you can, and as often as you need it, take advantage of whatever free business counseling is available. The Small Business Administration published many excellent booklets, checklist and brochures on quite a large variety of businesses. these publications are available through the U.S.Government printing office. Most local universities, and many private organizations hold seminars at minimal cost, and often without charge. You should also take advantage of the services offered by your bank and local library.
The important thing about running a small business is to know the direction in which you're heading; to know on a day-to-day basis your progress in that very direction; to be aware of what your competitors are doing and to practice good money management at all times. All this will prepare you to recognize potential problems before they arise.
In order to survive with a small business, regardless of the economic climate, it is essential to surround yourself with smart people, and practice sound business management at all times.