Knowledge Base

Business credit cards offer a number of perks to business owners, regardless of the size of their operation. In addition to rewards and welcome bonuses, business credit cards also tend to have higher credit limits than personal ones. The obvious benefits lead many professionals to ask one simple question: should I get a business credit card? In this article, we will tell why it’s a good idea to apply for a business credit card and walk you through the eligibility requirements. You May Be Eligible and Not Know It You may have convinced yourself you can’t possibly obtain a business credit card because you don’t own a large company or even a small business in the traditional sense. But do you need a business to get a business credit card?  When you hear the term business owner, you probably think of someone running a company with a number of employees. However, you don’t need to be incorporated or have a formal business structure to qualify for a business credit card. You are eligible even if you are self-employed and working as a freelancer from home. That said, the options offered to a contingent worker, for example, are bound to be limited. As such, you need to do your homework on what cards are available to you. On the other hand, if you own a company and need a business credit card, you can explore the list of the top business credit cards on the market.  It Can Help You Boost Your Credit Score So why get a business credit card in the first place? Getting a business credit card is a great way to raise your personal credit score. A business credit card enables you to reduce spending on your personal one and use less of your available credit. This and covering any work-related expenses with a separate card will boost your credit score. However, keep in mind that when you apply for a business credit card, you may initially lose anywhere between two to five points on your credit score. That’s because financial institutions usually evaluate your creditworthiness by pulling your personal credit report when you’re applying for a card.  This is done to determine whether you’re eligible for a new credit card, and it’s the only part of the process that negatively affects your credit score. After the credit inquiry, your personal and business lines of credit are kept separate, and your score won’t be affected by your credit utilization ratio.  This doesn’t mean that you can afford to be irresponsible about your spending with your business credit card. If the card is tied to your Social Security number and your business defaults, you’ll still be held personally responsible for the money spent. It Allows You to Separate Your Business Expenses From Your Personal Ones Using a business credit card for personal purposes is usually considered bad practice. It can be quite a hassle when the time comes to file your taxes and sort through your credit card statements. Choosing a business credit card over a personal one for your business allows you to have a clear insight into your business expenditure. Furthermore, you will save on accounting expenses, as there will be less work for the accountant since they will have fewer expenses to go through.  That’s not all. Many business credit card issuers allow you to export your expenditure details to accounting software such as Quickbooks. This can exponentially speed up the accounting process. It Enables You to Improve Your Cash Flow One of the main reasons to have a credit card is to gain access to a line of credit. It’s also easier to qualify for than a bank loan. Since even a new business can get a business credit card, this is an ideal option for startups to secure the necessary cash flow to expand their operations. Having a business credit card enables you to pay your contractors and suppliers upfront while simplifying the transaction process. Some vendors offer discounts for those who have a good track record when it comes to making payments early or on time.   To avoid high-interest payments or other more extreme unpleasantries like having to file for bankruptcy, make sure to cover your entire balance on time.  It Offers Many Convenient Rewards Regardless of whether you get a business credit card or a personal credit card, you’ll likely be treated to a few generous rewards. There are typically three kinds of rewards: Miles Cashback Points  If you aren’t sure how to use business credit cards in order to make use of these rewards or you find the rewards programs too complicated, you’re not alone. A lot of cardholders don’t actually know how rewards on credit cards work. The important thing to remember here is that these programs reward you for the money spent through your line of credit.   Some business credit card issuers offer rewards in the form of discounts on everyday purchases, while others offer discounted flights, hotel stays, and gift cards. Therefore, if this is something you need for your business, such rewards can be very valuable. It Comes With More Generous Sign-Up Bonuses A major difference between a business credit card and a personal credit card is that the business ones usually offer bigger welcome bonuses. Given that you’re likely to spend more for business purposes than you would for your personal expenses, these bonuses can really come in handy. For example, with the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can earn a 100,000 bonus for spending $15,000 within the first three months. You can redeem the points by getting $1,000 cash back or spending $1,250 on travel expenses. To put things into perspective, a similar personal credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, gives you 80,000 bonus points as a welcome offer after spending $4,000 in the first three months. The maximum bonus value for the Ink Business Preferred card is 1,250, while for its personal counterpart, the maximum value is $750. Many business credit cards have 0% APR for a certain period of time, which can exceed 12 months in some cases. This can be very helpful for small startups, which often need to cover a range of investments on a limited budget. Not having to pay the interest rate for at least a year gives them time to get their business up and running. You Can Get Free Employee Cards Finally, many business card issuers offer free employee cards, which can significantly simplify making business-related purchases. For instance, employees can use the card for business trip expenses.  With employees having their own business cards, the business owner won’t have the extra task of repaying the employees, and the workers won’t have to use their personal cards. The employer can set the limit on these cards to prevent overspending. Final Comments As you can probably tell, business credit cards are a great asset to keep your business running smoothly. If you’re still wondering do I need a business credit card, remember that this is a great way to boost your personal credit score, separate your business expenses from your personal ones, and take advantage of some generous rewards and bonuses.

By Julija A.

Even though they aren’t easy to find, angels do exist and are definitely worth the quest. Keep in mind, though, that they dwell solely in the world of entrepreneurship. This article will provide some insightful tips and tricks on how to find angel investors so that you can start funding your startup and seeing your professional dreams come true. What Are Angel Investors, and What Do They Do? Angel investors are a special breed of investors. They are typically high-net-worth individuals who invest their own money in early-stage startups. Their motives stem from believing in the company and its team and wishing to see the startup succeed.  Unlike venture capital firms and venture capitalists, angel investors are not looking for a quick return on their investment. They are willing to wait longer to obtain profit and are often hands-on with the companies they invest in. Taking on more risk than traditional investors, angel investors typically require a higher rate of return on their funding. Consequently, they can earn a much higher payoff once the company has become successful. Due to the uncertainty involved in this type of financing, finding angel investors might be a bit tricky.  Angel investors are an essential source of funding for early-stage startups. They provide the capital indispensable for startups to get off the ground and grow. In addition to bringing capital, angel investors often serve as mentors and advisers, helping founders tackle the challenges of building a successful business. Without them, many promising companies would never have gotten started. How To Find Angel Investors for Your Startup Here are some tips and tricks that’ll help you navigate the sphere of entrepreneurship and inspire angel investors to bestow their benevolence upon your startup: 1. Do Your Research The first step in raising capital for your venture is conducting preliminary research. It’s a good idea to identify investors who are the best fit for your company based on their previous activities. There are a number of resources available online that can help you with this process. The Angel Investor Directory, for example, lists angel investors by state, mentioning what their preferred sectors are. You can also optimize your hunt for a perfect angel investor on websites such as AngelList, a popular platform that connects startups with potential backers. It has funded more than 12,000 startups and has $10 billion in assets supported.  In addition, you can create a profile with Gust, a global platform that provides angel groups with tools to facilitate quality investments, or Angel Investment Network, another great website that brings together businesses and investors.  Finally, we recommend you join the Angel Capital Association, the world's largest network of angel investors with a community of more than 13,000 accredited investors. 2. Contact Angel Investor Networks If you’d like to know how to find legitimate angel investors, the best advice is to network at all times. Start connecting with as many people in the startup community as possible. Attend startup events and meetups, getting to know the angels who are already investing in startups. These connections will give you a chance to encounter an aspiring angel investor who might be interested in your company.  Once you get to know the right people, they may be able to introduce you to future investors. Focus on business owners, as they will likely think about funding small businesses at one point in their entrepreneurial journey. If you’re wondering where to find angel investors, you should join business associations, civic and community organizations, and attend trade fairs and events. Mingling with like-minded individuals will help increase your chances of bumping into the right angel investor. 3. Use Social Media Social media is a convenient tool that can be used to connect with corporate investors. An excellent platform for connecting with business professionals, LinkedIn is a good way to find out about investment opportunities. Twitter is another useful platform that can help small business owners secure early-stage funding. You can promote your company on Twitter and reach out to future investors.  To find an angel investor that’s a right fit for your business, you can also use Facebook. By posting regularly, you can promote your company and connect with angel groups. Start by telling your story, then build an audience, and inspire some of them to reach out to you first. If not, don't be afraid to make the first step and get in touch with potential investors. 4. Give Presentations Presenting your business idea and strategy is another excellent way to connect with those who could provide the funding your startup needs. This is an opportunity to showcase your company in front of a group of people and get them excited about the work that your company is involved in. If you're planning on giving a presentation, make sure it's professional and engaging. You want to leave a lasting impression on possible investors, so make sure your presentation is polished and bulletproof. Your story is what will make you stand out from the hundreds of other startups pitching to investors. Tell a narrative that captures the attention of potential angel investors for startups and makes them eager to invest in your operations. Focus on why you're starting your business, which unmet need you’re addressing, and how you're going to make money. 5. Make an Impactful Pitch Deck Looking for an angel investor can be a daunting task. Once you've identified potential investors, the next step is to pitch your business ideas. Devising an effective pitch deck is a critical piece of the puzzle as it will be the first impression that investors have of your company. Make sure that your pitch deck is clear, concise, and persuasive. Investors should be able to understand your business model and see the potential for growth. It’s also advisable to indicate what’s in it for them if they decide to provide backing. Angel investing requires having a meticulous plan in place, so make sure to include key data points around projected revenues and market share to demonstrate the potential of your vision and business model. Here’s how to find angel investors for your idea and pitch your business at the same time: include a clear description of your accomplishments and team capabilities based on their track records, as well as details about your current stage of funding or development. Ultimately, the objective of your pitch deck should be to show that you have what it takes to bring your concept to fruition. 6. Try Online Crowdfunding Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money for your business, and it's also a chance to connect with potential angel investors. When you run a successful crowdfunding campaign, it shows potential investors that there is interest in your company. Attracting individuals who are willing to fund your business idea then becomes a piece of cake. There are a few crowdfunding platforms you can use while looking for angel investors, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe. Choose a platform that's right for your business and start promoting your campaign. Statistics show that successful crowdfunding campaigns raise an average of $33,430, so why not give it a try and see if you can spot some angels along the way. 7. Ask Family and Friends Seeking investment from those who are closest to you for the project you believe in can be a great idea. But before you start sending out feelers, it is important to understand that this comes with its own challenges. Knowing how to find angel investors among family and friends is a skill that can bring in substantial funding. When raising money from your loved ones, it’s essential to set expectations from the beginning and agree on certain boundaries. This means being clear about how much money you are looking to raise and what the terms of the investment will be.  Another thing to keep in mind is that, while your relatives might be personally invested in your venture and therefore quite forgiving, you still need to make sure that you are using their money wisely. It’s best to have a solid business plan and direct the funds solely toward growing your business. What To Look For in an Angel Investor? When learning how to find and convert angel investors, you should take certain factors into consideration. First and foremost, ensure that you’ve chosen someone whose previous performance has been exemplary. An accredited investor who has a history of successful investments will be much more likely to help your venture succeed as well. Additionally, it’s important to seek out an investor who shares your long-term vision and values. This will help you avoid any potential conflict down the road and ensure that your company is aligned with your investors’ interests.  It’s always prudent to seek out angels with deep pockets. Knowing who angel investors are and how to find them isn’t enough if they don’t have ample funds. Whether they have access to large amounts of capital or just a strong network of investors, having financial support from multiple sources can help keep your company on track during difficult times. When approaching individuals whose wealth can contribute to your business, don’t forget their mentorship ability. A capable angel investor should provide professional guidance alongside financing. As they have likely been through the startup process, they could offer advice on everything from developing a business plan to hiring employees. Having a seasoned mentor on your side can help you avoid common mistakes and make the most of your limited resources. Bottom Line Now that you know how to find real angel investors who possess the right combination of skill and resources, you can onboard someone to take your company to new heights! It’s good to have realistic expectations, though. Not every potential investor will be interested in your business, and you should not take it personally if they decline to invest.  Remember that even the most promising startup will likely face challenges and setbacks along the way. That’s why you should be prepared for bumps in the road and have a solid plan for how you will overcome them. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals and make your business thrive.

By Danica Djokic

Looking to borrow money or make an investment? Understanding APR and APY in banking will help you make the right decision for your personal or business finances. If you’ve ever invested or used credit products, you’ve considered the interest and therefore encountered the terms APR and APY at some stage. So, what difference does one letter make? Well, it marks the difference in how these financial items impact your finances. The APY vs. APR distinction delineates the most important types of accounts: Savings/investment accounts and lines of credit. Here’s everything you need to know. APR vs. APY: The Definitions As you know, both terms are acronyms. APR is an abbreviation for annual percentage rate, while APY stands for annual percentage yield. Both signify a type of interest, and understanding them requires understanding compound interest in general. Compound interest is “interest you earn on interest.” For example, standard interest is calculated as follows: Principal figure x Interest rate x Term of agreement (usually in months) On the other hand, with compounding interest, you will pay or earn interest on this interest. Without worrying too much about the complex formula, the key outcome is that interest grows with every payment cycle. What Is APR? APR in banking represents a percentage of a loan principal you’ll pay in interest for a year. In other words, APR is a borrowing term, not a savings term.  The APR figure is achieved by multiplying the interest rate by the number of payment periods in the year. As a formula, this is expressed as: APR = interest rate x number of annual payment cycles Most financial products use a month-based payment cycle model. In the US, lenders are obligated to inform clients of the APR on any credit agreement, as per the 1968 Truth of Lending Act. APR includes the total borrowing costs over a year, so it should be the biggest deciding factor when considering a loan. What Is APY? APY in banking can relate to both borrowing and savings. In lending, APY represents the percentage of your principal you’ll pay, but with the compound interest taken into account. Although not as commonly used on borrowing, APY can be deemed more accurate than APR as it takes the compounding interest into account. Still, APY is rarely used when describing loans, and is primarily a term encountered with savings accounts. As a formula, this is expressed as: APY = (1 + Periodic Rate) x Number of periods – 1 In other words, what APY is on a savings account, is essentially the total interest you’ll earn on a deposit account over one year, assuming that no deposits and withdrawals are made. APR vs. APY: The Differences Have you ever noticed that you’ve most commonly seen APY mentioned by investment companies and savings account summaries, while credit lenders tend to focus on APR? Once you see the two in practical examples, it becomes easy to see why. If you were to borrow $1,000 with an APR of 6%, you would essentially be paying 0.5% interest per month (6% divided by 12). Each month, the interest would be $5, making for an annual interest total of $60. Conversely, as per the APY definition in banking, the APY would mean you pay the same $5 in the first payment period. However, in the second month, you would pay 0.5% on the new balance of $1,005. And so on. Over the course of a year, it would mean paying 6.17% in interest. In this example, that’s only an extra $1.68. However, with bigger sums and a more realistic interest rate in mind, it’s easy to appreciate how it can impact every loan. Consumers looking at credit cards, loans, and other forms of lending often prefer APR as it delivers a clear bottom-line figure. This makes it very easy to compare financial products from different lenders, but it conceals the compound interest. When borrowing money, APY gives you a clearer understanding of what you’ll actually pay compared to the promoted APR. So, it may be the key to avoiding unexpected interest costs over the term of your agreement. If you are an investor or lender, though, APY is the only thing you should be concerned with, as you won’t be paying interest - just collecting it. APR vs. APY in Crypto In addition to traditional financial products, APR and APY are two tools that are now used by lenders and investors in the crypto arena. They work the same as they do in fiat finances: APR is the interest a trader will pay on a crypto loan over the course of a year, while APY is important for investors, as it represents the return they can expect annually. This is because it takes into account the fact that the initial investment is continually re-invested and gives you the compounding results. However, since crypto is extremely volatile, neither figure really tells borrowers or investors much about the future, as the same percentage could equate to wildly different figures in the span of just one year. The Final Word On APR vs. APY Both APR and APY are essential terms that relate to interest payments and may subsequently significantly influence your overall repayment obligations on borrowing accounts or the interest gained on investments and savings accounts.  With a deeper understanding of both terms, making a calculated decision regarding the best financial products for your situation should become a lot simpler - don’t shy away from using an APY calculator, either, as that will give you the most precise numbers you might fumble while doing maths by hand.

By Vladana Donevski

When you’re about to launch your company, choosing a name is at the top of the list of tasks. However, to be safe, first you need to check that it doesn’t violate any existing trademarks. If it does, you could face a lawsuit.  Furthermore, if there’s a name you love, it would be a good idea to avoid creating any marketing materials or building a website until you’ve run it through a business name checker. Otherwise, you may have to rework everything, losing money in the process.  In this post, we discuss how to check if a business name is taken. You’ll then learn how you can register your business name to protect it.  Ways To Find out if a Business Name Is Unavailable Here are some methods for ascertaining if a business name is taken. State Business Name Search  Each US state has an agency responsible for business filings that allows you to check if a business name is already in use. You either make a formal request using a form – the old-fashioned way – or you search its publicly available databases online. If you search online, it will take mere seconds to find out whether your company name is taken.  If you find a name that is similar to yours, but not the same, you’ll want to check your state’s rules for what is acceptable, and what is not. For instance, you may not be allowed to register the name MacDonald’s because it is too similar to McDonald’s. As each state has slightly different rules, if in doubt, contact an attorney. Trademark Business Name Check Whenever companies create a new trademark, they add it to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) register, which becomes searchable by anyone in the business community. A trademark business name check is a nationwide, federal-level check that allows you to see all of the current trademarks.  You’re most likely to run into trademark business name problems if: The company name is taken or similar to an existing company You operate in a similar industry to a company with a similar name to yours If you aren’t sure whether the name resembles an existing firm’s, then you will need to speak with a trademarking lawyer. They can provide you with further advice.  Check the “Doing Business As” (DBA) Register Some states require businesses to register under a fictitious name with either the county or the city. Companies don’t always use these names for customer-facing purposes, but they do for registration. As such, they often have common law rights to their fictitious names, so you will need to avoid using them.  You can look for DBA name availability by checking DBA registrations. There might be businesses operating in the local area with names similar to the one that you want, even if they do not use them for their brand.  Google Search While Google shouldn’t be your primary means of checking business name availability, it can be a helpful tool. State and national registers may contain errors or incorrect details for some trademarks in operation. Some firms might also be using trademarks that they never registered.  Besides, you may simply wish to check what Google results come up when you type in your company name ideas. You may find, for instance, that:  The search term is too competitive, and the name is close to a common keyword that prevents you from showing up on the first page A business with a similar name sells the same products and services as you There is a company in your local area using a business name that they have not trademarked You can also perform a Google Domain search to find available business names. This lets you see whether anyone else has registered the URL of your business name. For example, if you are a bookkeeper, you might want www.ABCBookkeeping.com as your URL, so it’s worth checking out if the domain is free. Sometimes you will discover that the company name is available on official registers but that the domain is already taken. This could be because the company went out of business but still owns the URLs, or it could mean that somebody took the name in the hope of selling it for a higher price later on. Either way, you may want to reconsider the name if the domain has been claimed or is behind a high paywall.   How To Register Your Business Name In the US, there are four ways to register a business name.  Entity Name Entity names protect the name of your business at the state level. However, whether you need to register legally depends on the state in question.  Business name registration allows the state to identify your business. Most states only permit you to take available business names, though there are exceptions.  Once you have a company name and register it with the relevant formation agency, you have the protection of that name. Your business will appear in the register whenever other entrepreneurs check company name availability.  Doing Business As (DBA) Names States, cities, and counties sometimes require business owners to register their DBA name with them, sometimes called a trade name, or fictitious name. DBA names don’t provide legal protection, but many jurisdictions require them for setting up a business.  Even if you don’t have to set up a DBA by law, it might still be a good idea. DBAs can shield your personal identity from your business name, making you less searchable online. Setting one up also entitles you to a federal tax ID number (EIN) which you can then use to open a business bank account.  States typically allow more leeway for DBAs than for entities. For instance, you can be broader in your descriptions of your business's function.  Domain Name Registering your domain name is essential for the online presence of your business. Ideally, you want a URL that reflects the branding, nature, and mission of your firm. Website names don’t need to be identical to your company name, and are acceptable as long as users can easily recognize that they are linked to your business. Domain names, like trademarks, can last as long as you own them. However, you will need to pay an annual fee to an online register to keep your site.  Businesses register domain names through registrar services, so you’ll need to pick a reliable registrar from an approved directory.  Trademark Lastly, trade name registration is also important. You can use it to protect the name of your business, goods, and services at the federal level.  For instance, Microsoft Corporation is the entity name, while Dynamics 365 is a trademarked service name. Nobody else in the computer software industry can use Dynamics 365 to name their products. If they do, they risk infringement lawsuits.  Trademarking is an effective way to prevent competitors from stealing your ideas. Once your names are in the USPTO’s official trademark database, you can launch lawsuits against any company that copies them. Summary of Business Registration Once you've selected a suitable business name, you must register it. Here’s a summary of what you need to do:  Protect your name at the state level with an entity name Protect your name at the federal level with a trademark name Register a DBA name if required by the state Register a domain name that is similar to your brand name and easily recognized by your customers You can choose the same name for each registration or opt for a different one for every task. Recommendations Once you know how to check if a business name is taken, you can proceed with launching your business operations. Make sure that you consult all the registers described here, both at the state and federal levels, before taking the plunge and opening up your business to the public. This kind of caution is indispensable for ensuring you’re not using a trademarked name, as you could face hefty damages if you are.

By Danica Jovic

Pop-up shops have emerged as an effective, innovative way to raise brand awareness and encourage customers to buy products and find out more about businesses. In recent years, stores have been popping up everywhere, and for many brands, they represent an increasingly important and valuable means of generating a buzz and connecting with customers.  If you’re keen to explore the possibility of launching a pop-up shop, or you run a business and you’re looking for new ways to drum up interest and boost sales, this guide is packed with great pop-up shop ideas.  What Exactly Is a Pop-Up Shop? A pop-up shop is a temporary store, mobile shop, stall, or display, which offers brands the opportunity to sell products, and customers the chance to see and buy items they may not have come across before. Pop-up shops can open in a variety of settings, including shopping malls, vacant retail units, and other premises, such as theaters, markets, cafés, and outdoor locations. Pop-up stores usually run for a set period. They can be beneficial for online businesses, as well as companies or brands that already operate brick-and-mortar stores or premises. Examples of pop-up shops range from jewelry and clothing stores to food stalls, mobile shops, and vending machines.  What Are the Benefits of a Pop-Up Shop for a Small Business? More and more businesses are using a retail pop-up to showcase their brand and attract customers. Here are some of the key benefits of a pop-up shop for a small business: Raise brand awareness A pop-up shop is a brilliant way to introduce customers to your brand and get people talking about your business and the products you sell. You can use a temporary store or mobile pop-up shop to entice prospective buyers and encourage them to find out more. If you sell online, for example, opening a pop-up shop booth or operating a mobile pop-up shop can help you to cast your net wider, attract different audiences, and show people what you sell in the flesh. You can expand your reach and use the opportunity to tell customers all about the business and your backstory while also letting them see and try the products. If customers like the brand and the concept, and want to buy your products, you can capitalize on the first interaction and encourage them to become loyal clients.  Go multi-channel One of the most important benefits of the pop-up shop concept is the ability to go multi-channel. If you usually sell products online, running a temporary store gives you the opportunity to diversify selling platforms, discover new markets, and offer customers more choice in terms of how they buy products from you. Many customers love the speed and convenience of online shopping, but some prefer to go to stores and see and feel products before buying. By offering customers both options, you can create and convert more leads and ensure that you cater to diverse consumer preferences.  Try new products and collect feedback A pop-up shop is a fantastic idea for businesses that are looking to expand their product range or try out new ideas. You can run a pop-up store alongside a physical or online business and use it to introduce new products or services and collect customer feedback. If the feedback is positive and your products fly off the shelves, for example, this is a sign that your new products will fare well once you add them to your website or a physical store. You have the freedom to experiment and conduct market research without the need to invest substantial sums of money. Brands can also demo products that will appeal to different audiences and test the waters before they decide whether to target new customers.  Provide an interactive experience Pop-up markets offer a different proposition for customers who are used to buying or seeing products online. With a pop-up shop, brands can offer an interactive experience where you can test products out or sample them before you buy. This gives a different dimension to online businesses or companies that depend heavily on sensory responses, for example, beauty brands that sell perfumes, gift companies that sell candles, and food manufacturers and retailers. A bakery pop-up shop is an excellent way to attract crowds looking to enjoy delicious new snacks and sweet treats.  Market your business cost-effectively Setting up a business can be costly. If you have physical premises and you want to expand, or you’re considering launching a business and renting a retail unit, for example, a pop-up shop represents a cost-effective way to market your business and carry out research. The cost of running a pop-up shop is likely to be much lower than renting space, and there is more flexibility in terms of contract length. There are also appealing deals on units and spaces that have been vacant for a long time. For owners, it’s better to have the space occupied for a short while than for the unit to be vacant for prolonged periods. This gives businesses leverage when negotiating rates for a pop-up venture.  Pop-Up Shop Ideas There are multiple benefits of pop-up shops for businesses across a range of sectors. If you are looking for pop-up sale ideas, here are some suggestions you may want to steal: 1. Seasonal pop-ups Seasonal pop-up shops are increasingly popular. If you’ve been shopping in the run-up to the holidays in recent years, you may have noticed a few extra stalls, collaborations, or stores. Seasonal stores are an excellent idea to push sales during peak periods and attract attention from customers who are actively looking to buy gifts, decorations, or festive food. Running a seasonal business requires careful money management. If you can host a pop-up store, you could earn a lot of money while spending relatively little on running costs. A pop-up shop is likely to be more cost-effective than renting retail space during the holiday season.  If you’re thinking of launching a holiday pop-up shop, it’s an excellent idea to research locations and choose the right timing. You want to maximize sales by reaching out to customers when they are most likely to make purchases. Most people start buying gifts and stocking their kitchen cupboards between the end of October and the middle of December.  2. Food pop-up shops Have you ever wandered around a market or a mall and been drawn to a store by the smell of freshly-baked bread or delicious chocolates and cakes? Food pop-up shops are popular and they can make an amazing difference to retailers, hospitality venues, and product creators. The great thing about food pop-ups, such as a bakery pop-up shop, is the ability to use products to attract attention and boost sales on the spot. Customers have the opportunity to actually taste the product and see the range of cakes, sandwiches, drinks, or snacks available and they can enjoy samples before they buy. Sampling tents, market stalls, carts, and food trucks can help businesses increase footfall for existing physical premises, including stores and cafés, and encourage buyers and passers-by to learn more by following the brand online.  One of the most effective ways to maximize sales with a food pop-up shop is to draw attention. If you have a line outside your store, people will want to find out what’s so special about it and get involved. Make sure the store looks good, use branding to set it apart, give out samples at the door and lure people in with aromas that make their mouth water.  3. Themed stores Pop-up shops tend to be smaller than traditional retail spaces. If you want to promote your brand, but you don’t have room to showcase the entire product range, consider boutique ideas that center around a theme. This could be linked to the location of the pop-up, the time of year, or special occasions and events. If you sell gifts or decorative items, for example, you could run a wedding-themed pop-up in spring/summer. If you sell confectionery, you could use your store to display festive food in the run-up to Christmas or frighteningly delicious themed treats just before Halloween.  4. Product demos Online shopping is fabulous, but the downside is the inability to see or try products before paying for them. One way to solve this problem and improve the user experience for your customers is to use a pop-up store or tent to provide product demos. From toys for children and cutting-edge gadgets to the latest must-have products for pets, you can use a pop-up to let people take a closer look at products they might have seen online and try them out. If you do plan to take this route, it’s essential to make sure that you check your products before you open and that your team knows how to work them and showcase them in all their glory. Be prepared to do demos, answer questions and provide more information about your brand and the items you’re selling.  5. Vending machines Although most of us usually conjure up images of retail units when we think about pop-up shops, the range of options is increasing and diversifying all the time. You don’t have to stick to popular pop-up shop examples or use classic vendor pop-up shop ideas. Think outside the box to find new ways to raise brand awareness and connect with customers! A vending machine is an ingenious idea for small products. Rather than renting a unit or setting up a stall, you can place vending machines filled with your products at locations that will attract passing trade. From mini beauty products and food to small toys and books, there’s scope to provide a fast, convenient, and fun way to buy products.  6. Outdoor pop-up shops It’s well worth exploring outdoor pop-up shop ideas if you’re selling products that are used outside or you’re looking to attract buyers who enjoy spending their time in the great outdoors. If you’re trying to upsell foods, such as ice cream or cold drinks, what could be better than offering samples outside on a sunny summer’s day? Choose your location carefully and think about the season and the target consumer. You want to select a spot that will enable you to reach buyers who will have a genuine interest in the product.  7. Meet and greet Many businesses and brands now use social media influencers and celebrities to promote, advertise, or endorse their products. If you’re working with influencers or celebrities, or you sell products that have a connection to famous faces, a meet and greet is a striking way to draw crowds. From book signings to makeup or beauty product demonstrations, you can encourage people to come and join you to meet the stars they admire.  8. Mobile pop-ups Mobile pop-up shops offer a raft of advantages. You can move from one location to the next, you can advertise on the go and save money on rental fees. There are many options to consider, including branded vans and vehicles, food trucks, clothing boutiques on wheels, trailers, and tents.  9. Exclusive pop-up shops Most pop-up shops sell items that are either available at other store locations or online. If you’re launching a new product, have you thought about making your pop-up shop exclusive? By selling just one product, you can create a buzz among your target customers and persuade them that they need to attend the pop-up to get their hands on a product that won’t be widely available. You can do this with a limited edition product or special versions of bestsellers, for example, celebrity collaborations. This is a marvelous idea for clothing brands, beauty businesses, and food retailers.  10. Supporting good causes More and more consumers strive to learn about brands and understand what they stand for and how they contribute to the community or broader society. A pop-up that supports good causes can help you enhance your brand image, attract customers, and distinguish your business from competitors. Consider ideas such as donating a portion of your profits to a charity that is close to your heart or offering to make a donation for every purchase of a specific product, for example. Studies show that over 70% of consumers prefer to shop with brands that align with their values.  If you support a charitable organization or contribute to initiatives, such as planting trees or wildlife conservation, make sure your message is clear. Provide customers with information about the causes, what they do, and how you are helping.  11. Clothing pop-up shops Fashion pop-up shops are among the most popular pop-up shop ideas. If you sell clothing online, or you have a store and want to drive traffic and increase sales, a temporary stall, shop or mobile pop-up can help you achieve your objectives. You can sell a selection of your products, curate a capsule collection for your pop-up, or set up a temporary store purely for a collaboration or a limited edition range of items.  12. Virtual pop-ups We usually think about physical spaces when considering the benefits of a pop-up shop, but not all pop-ups are located in malls or markets. Virtual pop-ups offer an alternative and they are great for brands that are launching new or limited edition products, as well as those that are joining forces with other businesses. If you have a beauty brand, you could host a virtual pop-up on a site that sells a wide range of brands to get customers interested in your products.  Tips To Succeed in the Small Business Pop-Up Market Retail, food, and candle pop-up shop ideas can send sales soaring and help businesses attract large numbers of new customers, but success is not always guaranteed. Here are some tips to help you succeed: Prioritize aesthetics Aesthetics are key when designing a pop-up. The pop-up shop decor should be relevant to the brand and the target customer, and it should lure people in, whetting their appetite for more. From the signage and the shop window to the rails and racks, it’s crucial to make an effort so that the store looks breathtaking. Showcase your products in the best possible light, make sure the space is clean, tidy, and inviting, take your customers on a journey through the shop and make your store or stall stand out.  Make the experience interactive One of the most attractive selling points of a pop-up shop is the opportunity to let customers see, touch, smell, and try your products. Make sure the experience is interactive by letting customers sample the products, providing demonstrations, and encouraging engagement.  Advertise your pop-up shop The aim of a pop-up shop is to get people through the door, show off your products, and tell them all about your brand. To do this, you need to make sure people know where to look for you. Advertise your pop-up shop on social media, print flyers, and use signs to direct customers to your store. Sidewalk signs are great for busy streets and city centers.  Underline the importance of timing Consumers tend to make decisions faster, and they are more likely to buy if they feel like there is a limited timeframe. If you are selling limited edition products, or only in town for a few days or weeks, underscore the importance of acting fast to secure these coveted products.  Choose the best location Location is one of the most important driving factors for pop-up shop success. As a business owner, you want to find a spot that will attract the right people and draw in customers. Try to research areas with high footfall and think about where your target customer hangs out and shops.  Go the extra mile to make the experience memorable A pop-up shop shouldn’t just provide visitors with the chance to buy a product. It should offer an experience for the customer. Simple touches like encouraging buyers to take selfies, adding feature walls and eye-catching decor, inviting special guests, providing snacks and drinks, and offering the chance to enter competitions can set your store apart and enhance your brand image.  Give out promotional merchandise Every shopper loves a freebie. You can drum up interest, attract larger crowds, and reap the rewards of free marketing by giving away branded merchandise, such as key rings, drink bottles, and eco-friendly tote bags. 

By Milja

Starting your own T-shirt business can be a fun and profitable way to take the first step toward entrepreneurship. Thanks to the boom of eCommerce, it has never been easier to reach your audience and sell your product. Starting your business can be done for next to nothing, and you get to learn a lot in the process.  Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know about starting a T-shirt business with no money. Regardless of whether you’ll be using a print-on-demand service that does printing and shipping for you and allows you to focus on design only, or plan to set up the whole production in your garage - we’ve got you covered.  Our guide will walk you through everything - from researching the industry to shipping orders and managing inventory. Whether you're just getting started or looking to expand your existing operation, read on for our step-by-step guide on creating a free T-shirt business. Research the Industry and Competition Conducting a thorough study of the T-shirt industry is essential. Before doing anything else, you’d want to know who your competitors are and what they do to engage their clientele. Research allows for a better perspective of the market you’re trying to break into and helps you come up with a business plan. At this stage, deciding on a niche is also a good time investment.  A niche market may represent a smaller market share, but it shouldn’t be disregarded. It’s far easier selling a product if it is something you believe in, know a lot about, and potentially have a community to share it with.  Let’s say you are interested in fishing and maybe even a member of a local fishing club. If you decide to produce T-shirts with largemouth bass printed on them, your fisherman group represents a niche market where this product is likely to sell well. You don’t have to be vegan to sell vegan cupcakes, but it definitely helps if your consumers feel like they can relate to you, your small business, and your mission. Starting a custom T-shirt business is similar to starting any other endeavor. Before making the first sale you’ll want to plan ahead and decide on designs, prices, and marketing strategies you want to implement. Following successful T-shirt businesses on social media can give you a lot of information on who your main competitors are and how they run their businesses.  Another good idea before getting started is to talk to people in the industry or ask successful entrepreneurs for advice. You can also order a T-shirt from a prominent business to get an idea of what they do and how good their quality, delivery, and client service are.  Create a Business Plan and Branding Strategy Once you’ve gained a basic understanding of the industry and competition, it's time to create a business plan for your T-shirt printing business startup. This document should outline your business goals, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. It should be clear, concise, and specific. When done right, a business plan helps you measure your progress over time. A well-thought-out plan will serve as a roadmap for you and your team when starting a T-shirt company. Meeting your goals on time can be critical for the success of your business. A solid business plan ensures that everyone is on the same page. This will help keep the operation on track.  A business plan needs to include a branding strategy, as this is how you will differentiate your business from other manufacturers on the market. Your branding strategy will normally include everything from your company name and logo to your T-shirt designs and marketing materials.  Creating a detailed strategy may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. If you're not sure where to start with a T-shirt business plan, you can search for resources available online. If writing is not your forte, don't feel like you have to do it all on your own; hiring a consultant or a freelance writer can be a worthwhile investment. Once you have your plan, it's time to move on to the next step. Source Materials and Suppliers When starting a new business from scratch, it’s best if you understand the ins and outs of the market, the business model you’d like to use, and how to implement a good marketing strategy. However, the product you’ll be selling is what will matter the most.  Regardless of your budget, quality should be paramount, especially when you’re just starting a T-shirt line. If you were to offer a subpar product, you would likely still manage to sell your T-shirts but would risk losing your customers in the long run. This may not seem like a big deal, but small businesses thrive on returning customers. Decide on the type of materials you’d like to use. Look for suppliers that offer good quality supplies and are reasonably priced. Most wholesale websites and regional shops will have the tools you need to start printing. This includes everything from T-shirt fabric and printing supplies to packaging materials and labels. Before you start your own T-shirt company, look for suppliers that are easy to work with and have a good reputation. You can always ask other businesses in the industry for recommendations or test a couple of wholesale websites to find the most reliable ones.  Perform several test orders, compare prices, and try to find the supplier that you won’t have to stress about a lot in the long run. Order T-shirt samples in different sizes before you make a final decision. This will help you take note of the delivery time, communication process, payments, and T-shirt quality.  Get familiar with different types of T-shirt materials, color schemes, and cuts. There is a variety of different fabrics that can be used to make a T-shirt. The most popular option is cotton, which is soft and comfortable to wear. Other popular choices include polyester and bamboo.  You'll also need some fabric printing supplies to start a T-shirt business. If you’re looking to minimize the work you have to do, you might opt for a print-on-demand service, but more on that later. Design Your T-shirts  Designing your T-shirts can be a fun part of starting a T-shirt business. You can bring your ideas to life by hand-drawing them or using illustration software and then transferring those designs onto T-shirts. If you’re not a designer, don't worry - there are plenty of ways to get great designs for your shirts, even if you are at the very start of your online T-shirt business. You can hire a freelance designer, use a design template website, or even find free designs online. Whichever route you go, make sure you do not copy someone without their permission or break any copyright laws. It is advisable to research the competition, as it is always easier to take some existing work as inspiration and slightly modify it, especially if it’s already performing well. However, improving on an existing design and copying it are two different things altogether. Once you come up with your first designs, today's offer of high-tech scanners makes it very simple to transfer them to a T-shirt. Produce Your T-shirts Starting a shirt printing business on your own means you’ll be handling every aspect of your small enterprise. Calculate for possibly significant investment upfront, as you’ll need to purchase stock and printing equipment. Still, by doing this, you’ll be able to control most of your business and improve as needed. You'll likely need access to some of the required tools: heat-press, printer, inks, dryers, and transfer paper. You can rent them or even purchase them if your budget allows it. Depending on the type of printing you choose to do, you might have to rely on different printing methods. This will determine which tools you’ll need.  Dig deep to find the right tools to create quality T-shirts you'd be comfortable selling. Higher quality products typically require better tools and equipment, which require an up-front investment. If you are looking to start a T-shirt business for free, you might find print-to-order solutions that don't require you to set up production at home. Your budget, desired quality, and the usability of gadgets can all help narrow the options down. The key is to strike a balance between the price and quality of the printing equipment, so do your research and make sure to make the best choice for yourself.  You can either screen-print the T-shirts or use a direct-to-garment printer. Whichever printing method you choose, make sure you test it out on a few shirts first to ensure the quality is good. If you can’t afford the machinery you’d like just yet, don’t lose sleep; you’re likely to change your T-shirt-making equipment down the road. As your business grows so will your operating budget. There’s a multitude of fabric printers and they are usually either inkjet or laser printers. Inkjet printers use liquid ink to create images, while laser printers use heat to fuse toner onto the fabric. Laser printers are typically more expensive and produce higher-quality prints.  Producing your merchandise brings you another step closer to starting a T-shirt business at home. Get Started Tomorrow for Free By Using Print-on-Demand Services Not everyone is interested in printing their own T-shirts. It could be the lack of time or resources,  but that doesn’t necessarily narrow down your T-shirt business opportunities. There are many print-on-demand options available today and they often manage much more than just the printing.  So how does the print-on-demand service work? These businesses collaborate with white-label product providers. By choosing a print-on-demand service you are essentially relying on a third party to produce and deliver T-shirts to your customers.  All you have to do is upload the design you’ve created and they will print it on a T-shirt, baseball cap, or other products and ship it directly to your customer. This is the best way to start a T-shirt business, as it means you won’t have to worry about inventory or fulfillment. A print-on-demand service allows you to fully focus on designing your product.  When choosing a service provider, place an order for a couple of options yourself. This allows you to mark the time it took the merchandise to arrive, the print quality, and the fabric quality of the T-shirt. Print-on-demand services vary in price and quality, so it's important to do your research before selecting one. You can choose your white-label provider or use the options offered by the printing service. You have to trust the white-label provider that the prints will always be top-notch, shipped on time, and that the quality will not deteriorate later on.  There is a lot of competition in the field so make sure you have a unique design and excellent quality to accompany it.  Fees To Include in Profit Calculations There are a few things to keep in mind when using a print-on-demand service. While often advertised as a free way to start a T-shirt business, these services do have several fees you should consider. Typically, these fees will be deducted from your profits, so keep that in mind when calculating your prices.  When starting an online T-shirt business, you can expect to pay $5-8 per white T-shirt and $3-4 for first-class shipping if you decide to go with USPS as your shipping provider. Since customers usually expect free shipping, consider taking on the shipping costs yourself. Your total cost will likely be around $11-12. To earn a profit, you should price your T-shirts anywhere above that. Keep in mind that you should leave enough profit to invest back into your business. Consider selling T-shirts for $25 each.  Market Your Business Once you’ve dealt with all the previous steps, now it’s time for the product to reach your customer base. This is where marketing steps in. You need to create a website for your T-shirt business startup and set up a marketing campaign.  Create a Website Creating a website for your product-based business is critical. A website provides a space for your potential customers to learn more about your products and decide whether or not they want to buy from you. Above all, your website should be easy to navigate with high-quality images of T-shirts, colors, and designs available. It should also include a clear sizing chart, descriptions of materials, and your contact information.  Building a website can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. If you're looking to create a website on your own, there are a few different options you can go for. Keep in mind that paying someone to build your website and the cost of a domain name should be calculated in the T-shirt printing business startup cost.  You can use website builders like Wix or Squarespace, which allow you to create a website without any coding experience. This route can have a steep learning curve, especially if you haven't done it before. You can also be quite limited when it comes to the design and functionality of your website. The upside is that it's a very cost-effective way to get started.  If you're looking for something more custom or want more control over your website, you'll either need to do it yourself or hire a software developer. Hiring someone is likely to be more expensive, so it’s not a common choice for those looking to start a T-shirt business on a budget. Going custom will allow you to create a truly memorable website that will perfectly fit your needs. Build Your Brand Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business and T-shirt printing is no different. You'll want to create a logo and a slogan representing your business. The logo should be simple and easy to remember as you’ll use it on your website, packaging, and marketing materials.  You'll also want to develop a color scheme and font style that you can use on all of your T-shirts. This will help create a cohesive look for your T-shirt business startup. Another important aspect of branding is making your business recognizable. Participating in local events or sponsoring a cause you believe in can help you reach more potential customers. People tend to buy more from businesses they trust, so don't be shy and get your brand out in the open. Of course, if you’re setting up an online shop and would like to reach a different sort of market and not the local one, ensure that you're marketing your T-shirt business to the right audience. You'll want to make sure that you're focusing on people who are likely to be interested in your T-shirts and fit the profile of your target customer. This leads us to the next step: marketing your T-shirt through the proper channels. Start a Marketing Campaign on the Right Channels Social media channels are a great way to connect with potential customers and share more about your business. You’ll likely get closer to your consumers by sharing information about your products and presenting special offers and discounts. Here are some quick tips for marketing your T-shirt business or startup on social media: Use great visuals. Ensure your photos and videos are high quality and showcase your shirts in the best light possible. Natural lighting is always recommended. Use hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to reach new people and get your T-shirts in front of potential customers. Use relevant hashtags that describe your brand and product, and also pay attention to current viral trends. Engage with your followers. Take the time to like and comment on other people's posts and respond to comments on your own posts. This shows that you're active and engaged with your followers, which makes them more likely to engage with you. Run giveaways and contests. Everyone loves a good giveaway. Hosting a contest is a great way to build excitement around starting a T-shirt line and get people talking about your products. When it comes to marketing your product-based business, there are endless possibilities - so feel free to get creative!  Manage Inventory and Shipping Depending on whether you’re using a print-on-demand service or doing it all on your own, things run a bit different.  The final step in starting your T-shirt business is to manage inventory and shipping. This includes keeping track of your list and packaging and shipping orders. You will need to decide how you want to store your inventory. When selling online or through a service, you won’t have to worry about this part. However, when dealing with physical stock, you'll need to find a place to keep your products safe from environmental factors. Packaging and Shipping The last step when starting a T-shirt business is packaging and shipping. You’ll need to purchase packaging materials, such as boxes, poly mailers, and shipping labels. You should also get a shipping scale to accurately calculate shipping costs. Once you have all the materials you need, it's time to pack and ship your T-shirts. Start by packing them securely in the packaging you’ve chosen. Then, print and attach the labels and take them to the post office or shipping company of your choice.  Get Registered  You’ll need to register your business so you can get paid. The registration process when opening a T-shirt business may vary state-to-state, but it should be a straightforward process nonetheless. To register, you’ll need to choose a unique name for your startup and file for a business license. Not all states ask for a business license for an online shop, so make sure you understand the requirements prior to selling. Registration can usually be done through your state's Secretary of State website or the Small Business Administration. Get Paid No business is viable unless it makes money and no money can be made if you’re not getting paid. You will need to set up a payment processing system for your T-shirt business to start making money. There are a few different options available, such as PayPal or Stripe. All payment systems take some kind of commission for their services, so you might want to calculate these into the price you are charging for T-shirts. Once you have registered and set up a payment processing system, you're ready to start a T-shirt business! Conclusion  That's it! You're now ready to start your very own T-shirt business. Starting any company for free is never easy and it takes time and dedication. You'll learn how to do things that you could have easily outsourced if you had the budget. Nevertheless, you'd still come out of it with an excellent skill set. If you are looking to start a business for free, be prepared to learn a great deal upfront, get organized, and be creative with your marketing. But if you're willing to put in the work, you can definitely start a T-shirt business with no money and make it profitable.

By Vladana Donevski

Assets are valuable resources owned by an individual, a company, or a government. They allow businesses to make money, increase value, and help the organization run. In modern business, assets can refer to any item or value, from physical property and equipment to financial resources and intellectual property. In this article, we'll explore the concept of assets and define this important term. What Are Business Assets? Assets’ business definition says that a business asset is a valuable resource a company owns and further uses to generate revenue.  Businesses invest in various assets depending on their specific needs and goals, such as real estate for retail stores or proprietary technology for product development. Companies typically use their assets in some way to make revenue. Some common business assets examples are:  Physical property: Any real estate owned by the company and any equipment or machinery used in business operations. Intellectual property: Any creative or innovative products of the mind, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Human capital: The skills and knowledge of the company's employees, which are used to achieve earnings and the company’s goals.  How Do Business Assets Work?  To further define assets in business, it's important to understand the difference between assets and liabilities. Assets can be anything a company owns, while liabilities are owed. For example, a company's inventory would be considered an asset, as it can be sold to make a profit. A company's loan payments, on the other hand, would be viewed as a liability.  A balance sheet is a statement of financial position. It lists all of the company's assets and liabilities and other corporate financial data. The order in which financial assets are listed on the balance sheet is telling - the most liquid assets are listed at the top, and items at the bottom of the company asset list are considered the least liquid. Asset liquidity depends on how easily the items in question can be converted to cash.  When liquidating your assets, you should be aware of asset depreciation and market value. The value of an asset changes over time, affecting how much of its worth you can write off. If you decide to sell your business’s assets for a profit, you may end up paying capital gains tax. Types of Financial Assets There are many different types of business assets. Some of the most common include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, investments, property, vehicles, and office furniture. Here's what you need to know about different ways of classifying them:  Tangible and Intangible Assets Tangible assets are physical in nature, and intangible assets are nonphysical. Both types are vital to businesses. A tangible asset is all physical and can be used to generate revenue through the company's operations. Some tangible business assets examples include real estate, inventory, and vehicles.  On the other hand, intangible assets are nonphysical and include intellectual property, patents, or goodwill. Intangible assets do not need to be manufactured or physically built, but they can still be sold or licensed. A company can also earn intangible assets over time through unique activities or circumstances that set a business apart from its competition. Current Assets and Noncurrent Assets Current assets are fairly liquid and can be easily converted. They include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory. Current assets are used in operations or are expected to be turned into cash within a year. Noncurrent assets, also known as fixed assets or long-term assets, are things such as property and equipment that can’t easily convert to cash.  Nonoperating and Operating Assets The other way of categorizing different types of assets is by operating and nonoperating assets. Operating assets are used in the day-to-day operations of a business and include cash, inventory, and equipment. Nonoperating assets are not used in daily operations but may still be valuable to the company. They involve investments in other companies or property. Assets in business can also be classified by their usage, convertibility, and physical existence. Can the Value of Business Assets Change Over Time? The value of business assets can change over time for several reasons. For example, an increase in demand for certain products may reduce inventory levels and lead to higher values for fixed assets like machinery and equipment. Changes in technology or consumer preferences can also impact the value of both tangible and intangible business assets. As businesses evolve, it’s essential to keep track of the value of assets in business. A clear and accurate balance sheet can help make strategic decisions about how best to use and maintain resources. Ultimately, a company's success will depend on managing business assets effectively and maximizing their potential value over time. How To Determine the Value of an Asset The value of an asset is the amount for which it can be sold or exchanged. It can be determined by several methods, including the cost and market methods.  The cost method is one of the simplest ways to determine the value of company assets. It only considers what it costs to purchase or produce the asset and not any other factors such as depreciation. The market method considers factors such as supply and demand when setting the value of an asset. This method is more complex than the cost method but more accurately represents an asset's worth.

By Danica Jovic

Gender equality in the workplace has improved in recent years, but women are still far less likely than men to own a business. According to most estimates, women own around 30% of businesses in the US, which is far from ideal, but a big improvement from 1972, when that figure was just 4.6%. So, if you’re asking “how do I register as a woman-owned small business?”, you’re not alone. There has arguably never been a better time for women-owned SMEs to thrive, not least because the post-pandemic era has opened new doors for small businesses. This guide will teach you about WOSB certification and how to complete your application in style. An Introduction to Woman-Owned Small Businesses The concept of a woman-owned small business isn’t difficult to understand; any SME with a female owner can be described as one. However, anyone who wants to know how to register as a woman-owned small business must consider what it means as far as the SBA is concerned. Experts at LawInsider.com define a woman-owned small business as “a business concern which is at least 51% owned by one or more women, or, in the case of a corporation, at least 51% of the stock in which is owned by one or more women.” Women-owned businesses can fall into two main categories: WOSB (Women-Owned Small Businesses) and EDWOSB (Economically Disadvantaged WOSB) ventures. Any female entrepreneur(s) wanting to gain this status must apply for it, showing that they meet woman-owned business requirements. The process of gaining SBA certification for women changed in 2020 in line with the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). To become a WOSB, companies must meet the following criteria: Meet the SBA standards to be considered a small business. Have at least 51% of the company’s voting stocks held by one or more women. Have one or more women involved in managing the daily operations. Meanwhile, an EDWOSB will meet all of the above criteria while additionally: Being controlled by a woman or women with personal net worth of less than $750,000. Having no owner with personal assets amounting to $6 million or more. Having owners with no more than $350,000 in adjusted gross income averaged over the past three years. Why Apply for Woman-Owned Business Certification? Appreciating the existence of WOSB companies is one thing. However, running a company is hard work as it is, so knowing the benefits of gaining woman-owned business certification should be high on your agenda. Of course, taking part in a movement working towards female empowerment is reward enough for many entrepreneurs. But the incentives don’t end there. The federal government has set aside funds for at least 5% of all contracts to be awarded to registered WOSB companies. This is managed according to the monetary value of contracts, which means that some contracts are limited to bids exclusively from participants of the WOSB Federal Contracting program.  Moreover, a percentage of contacts is further limited to members of the EDWOSB program. The government is a huge potential client with massive budgets. As such, winning these contracts could transform the future of your business. As well as the visibility to win contracts that large organizations would have previously won, members gain access to Mentor-Protégé Program and further networking and education opportunities provided by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council. Of course, this can bring leads from other clients while also generally encouraging you to change your approach to business for the better. How to Register as a Woman-Owned Business When working out how to register as a woman-owned small business, you need to answer several questions: When can I apply for WOSB certification? Do I have all the papers needed for woman-owned business applications? How much does WOSB certification cost? Do I have to do anything to keep my WOSB status? Female business owners can apply for certification so that they can gain government contracts for woman-owned business operations at any time of the year. Likewise, you can make your application as soon as you register the business and begin trading. You can gain your certification through a designated third party or through the SBA directly. While they both deliver the same outcome, the self-certification process is free. As such, many business owners prefer this route. Before applying, you should confirm that you meet the legal requirements for women-owned businesses. As well as the aforementioned features, the owners must not have been debarred or suspended from any federal entity. On top of this, the company must primarily do business in the US.  Assuming those criteria are met, the next step is to prepare all the papers needed for woman-owned business applications. You should have the items on the following checklist:  The birth certificates, valid passports, or naturalization papers of the female business owner or owners. Documentation confirming the incorporation of the business, partnership, or venture agreement. Stock certificates or a stock ledger and assumed/fictitious name certificate. Personal tax returns for each woman business owner for three years. For EDWOSBs, tax returns from the owner’s spouse must be included too. Each woman business owner’s IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Tax Transcript. Again, owners of EDWOSBs must include their spouse’s relevant information.  Once you’ve gathered the necessary documentation, you can submit it to the relevant organization. As well as the SBA’s direct free online certification portal, you can use the NWBOC (National Women Business Owners Corporation), the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council), or the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (for South-West Texan businesses). Furthermore, there’s MWBE (Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprises), which has offered certification since 1998 and has a 99.9% success rate for applicants. This is open to minority business owners, women business owners, and minority women business owners.  While underrepresented for many years, minority female business owners are now the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, and opportunities are afforded to verified businesses through the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, NASE (National Association for the Self-Employed) grants, The Amber Grant Foundation, and the FFF (Female Founders Fund), among others. As for maintaining WOSB status, it’s necessary to complete an annual attestation that confirms your company still meets the regulations of 13 CFR Part 127. You also need to complete an assessment once every three years - this can be conducted by the SBA or a permitted third-party organization as detailed during the application process.  Extending your status in this way must be done within 30 days of expiration. Businesses can continue to apply for the appropriate contracts in their field as a result of this status for the duration of their membership. How to Champion Women-Owned Small Business Operations Whether you’ve gained women-owned business status or you’re in the process of completing your WBE certification application, you can play a big role in the community by supporting other WOSBs.  While there is still some work to go in the bid for an equal playing field, research shows that there are now nine female entrepreneurs for every 10 male ones. There are many ways you can support them: Celebrate other woman-owned businesses by leaving positive reviews, referring them to friends, and mentioning them on social media. Invest in other WOSBs and mentor up-and-coming female entrepreneurs. Join and create networking opportunities while also introducing female entrepreneurs to one another. Share your knowledge of SBA women-owned business certification to other female entrepreneurs beginning the process. Actively ask them how you can support their ventures. By playing an active role in the movement, you will continue to create new opportunities for future female entrepreneurs. Better still, the contacts you make will look to actively support your brand too. The Final Thought on Woman-Owned Business Certification At the start of this guide, you wondered “how do I register as a woman-owned small business?” By now, we hope you have the answers you were looking for. Furthermore, you should now know the legal requirements for women-owned businesses and how to prepare the appropriate documents. Of course, you’ll still need to think about administrative issues like finding the best small business bank accounts. But those are all relatively minor details. Embarking on this process means joining an amazing community of supportive female business owners while simultaneously increasing your hopes of securing lucrative contracts from the federal government’s designated WOSB-only contracts.

By Danica Djokic

Introduction Setting up a new venture always requires a certain amount of investment. But it doesn’t have to be exorbitant, as there are many ways to make money through good business ideas with low startup costs. If you’re ready to become your own boss or considering a change of career, and you’re exploring easy businesses to start as a side hustle, you’ve come to the right place. In this informative guide, we’ll outline the best businesses to start with little money and share tips and tricks on how to set up this kind of venture.  Businesses With Low Startup Costs: 15 Ideas To Inspire You If you’ve ever watched Hollywood blockbusters or read articles written by business moguls who have built empires from scratch, you’ll know that it’s possible to turn low-cost business ideas into multinational corporations that generate millions of dollars in profits. Even though not every story is a success, it’s important to understand that you don’t need substantial capital to strike it rich as an entrepreneur.  If you want to be your own boss but you’re on a shoestring budget, it’s wise to consider home business ideas and focus on the cheapest businesses to start. We’ve put together a list of easy businesses to start to inspire you and get you thinking about your next professional move.  1. Blogging Do you love to write, share opinions or engage with people online? Do you have passions or hobbies that you’re keen to talk about, or do you have experience or skills that could benefit others and help you connect with like-minded souls? Blogging is one of the most popular ways to boost your income if you’re thinking about starting a business with no money. You don’t need employees, and you can work from home or on the go. Best of all, you can scale the venture as your following grows.  Studies suggest that there are currently over 600 million blogs in the world. Despite the marketplace already being saturated, blogging can still prove lucrative in 2022. To maximize your chances of making profits and attracting attention, you should focus on a niche and cover subjects that interest you. Think about your target audience, create fresh, interesting, original content, and encourage people to check out your articles and interact with you and other readers. Setting up a blog as a low-investment business rather than a hobby requires you to think about how to monetize the site. Various options to explore include affiliate marketing, paid reviews, membership schemes, and exclusive content and advertising. Browse high-profile, popular blogs, see how bloggers make their money, and use social media to build a following, drive traffic, and get people talking about your content.  2. Social media consulting If you’re a whizz when it comes to social media, you could leverage your skills to set up a new business providing services for companies or entrepreneurs whose objective is to boost sales or put their brand on the map. If you understand how social platforms work, you enjoy posting and sharing content and engaging with followers, this could be the perfect option for you. It’s one of the easiest businesses to start if you know your way around Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and you have a good grasp of the basics of social media marketing. Most big companies have dedicated teams for social media management and marketing, but small businesses don’t have the budget for such a luxury. This is where your skills could come in handy. Since it’s a cheap business to start, it could give you extra income and the opportunity to grow and expand your client base quickly.  3. Teaching and tutoring Teaching and tutoring are excellent home business ideas with low startup costs. Not only does teaching give you the opportunity to use your skills, knowledge, and experience to benefit others, but you can increase your earnings in the process. If you have qualifications in accounting, graphic design or website development, you are fluent in foreign languages, have expertise in subjects such as geography or English, or play a musical instrument, for example, you can offer your services to teach others from the comfort of your home. As far as low startup cost businesses go, this is one of the best options for those looking for a flexible venture that offers the opportunity to expand your network. If you decide that you want to teach or offer private tutoring services, advertise your business online using local SEO and post flyers in your area. Tell people about your business in local and community social media groups and spread the word via colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family members. Ask your clients to leave reviews and recommend you to others so that you can grow your business.  4. Handyman/ odd jobs Most homeowners could rattle off a list of jobs they need done around the house. They represent an excellent client base that a handyman/ odd-job service provider could cater to. It’s one of the best businesses to start with little money because you don’t need a lot of capital; you can build a client list through word of mouth and cheap marketing methods. Even though you don’t need formal qualifications to be a handyman or handywoman, it’s important that you have the necessary skills to tackle the tasks you take on and meet customer expectations.  Setting up a handyman and odd-job service is one of the cheapest businesses to start from home, but you may need to spend some money at the outset on tools, equipment, and marketing. Look for deals, compare prices, and ask to borrow more expensive items from people you know until your business grows. Rent the machines that you’ll be using occasionally instead of buying them at the outset and use cost-effective marketing techniques, such as flyers, social media, and local SEO. Of course, safety first: Don’t forget to purchase the protective gear required for the tasks you’ll be performing. 5. Creating your online store Online stores are among the most profitable small businesses. As online shopping becomes more popular and screen time increases, more and more consumers opt to buy from websites and apps rather than going to the mall. Creating your online store may not be the cheapest business to start, but it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you have relatively low product development costs. Before you start selling, compare platforms and marketplaces, take a look at existing stores and gather ideas, research impactful design and marketing strategies, and define your target group.  If you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profit, think carefully about what you’re going to sell and how much you’re going to buy and sell for. You could sell products you make on platforms like Etsy, for example: clothing, accessories, jewelry, furniture or pieces of art, or you could look into buying and selling through sites like eBay. It’s worth spending time on research to make sure that there is a demand for your products. Moreover, you should calculate costs and establish suitable price points based on the target customer and competitor pricing strategies to define the most profitable route to take. 6. Online courses and tuition Online education is booming. More people are learning online than ever before, and this is a trend that is set to gather pace in the months and years to come. If you’re exploring ideas for profitable businesses with low startup costs, and you have knowledge, skills, and expertise in specific areas or subjects, you could create online courses or offer tuition via video platforms and social apps. From yoga and personal training to language classes and online courses about software development, accounting, or web design, there’s scope to use your professional experience, hobbies, and interests to add to your income. This is one of the cheapest businesses to start from home, and it offers considerable flexibility, as you can schedule classes for times that suit you. What’s more, you could provide courses that people can access remotely or download. 7. Resume writer Businesses with low overheads are ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start making money without worrying about expenses. Being a resume writer is one of the most inexpensive businesses to start. Whether you decide to set up a side hustle for extra income or have grand plans to turn a solo venture into a big business in the future, you can get started straight away with minimal investment. To offer this service, you should have a firm grasp of the labor market and what makes an effective resume. In turn, this will enable you to provide a tailored service for your customers, which will help them secure roles that match their skills and level of experience. Resumes may all look similar, but they should be adjusted to ensure that the content is engaging and relevant to the role in question.  8. Social media influencing Most of us are familiar with influencers and social media users who have built up enormous followings and whose profiles and accounts rake in substantial profits. It’s not easy to create content that will earn thousands of dollars per post, and it may take time to build a following, but it’s possible to turn a low-cost business opportunity into a profitable venture.  If you like the idea of becoming an influencer, find a niche and start contacting brands so that you can post content that will resonate with your followers and become commercially viable in the process. Inspire existing followers to share your posts, and consider running giveaways to get people to follow you and take an interest. Promote products that are relevant to your personal brand, your passions, and your target customer. Interact with your followers, get to know brands, and build relationships with them, seizing all opportunities to network.  9. Freelance writing Freelancing has become increasingly popular as people seek alternatives to a traditional 9-5 job. Freelance writing is a low-budget business idea which can help you boost your earnings and establish a reputation within the industry. There are multiple paths to explore if you’re looking for low startup cost business ideas, including writing for blogs, using websites and portals to find jobs that involve writing, signing up with agencies, and writing for companies on a freelance basis.  Freelancing is not as stable and secure as conventional employment when it comes to payment and income, so it’s crucial to establish a client base and manage your money prudently. Think about how you’re going to attract clients and find work, research rates, and market your services via social media. Design a website to describe the services you offer and provide information about your qualifications and experience, sharing some pieces and showcasing your writing style.  10. Personal training Are you passionate about health and fitness? Do you want to help others reap the rewards of regular exercise or a new, targeted training regime? If so, personal training services could be a new business idea worth exploring. Being a personal trainer is rewarding and can also be quite lucrative. If you love to work out, you can use your passion for this lifestyle to motivate and guide others. It’s worth noting that you’ll need certificates and proper training to start offering services, but once you have the recommended qualifications, you can earn a lot of money in a short time.  Setting up at home is a great idea if you’re looking for the best business to start with little money, as your overheads will be low. This will help you generate profits faster. You could also run online classes and sessions or create an app or a website with a members’ community. Another option if you don’t want to rent premises or pay to use a gym is to visit clients and make use of their homes as training spaces.  11. Dog walking and sitting Did you know that there are over 76 million pet dogs in the US alone? Dogs are wonderful companions, but they need a lot of care and attention. For many families, owning a dog can be difficult due to work commitments and the desire to travel or take vacations. This is where dog walkers and house sitters come in handy. A cheap business to start, dog walking meets a market need by providing services for people who have pets but find it inconvenient to walk them during the day. By using a dog walking service, people can add a furry friend to the family without worrying if they’ll get enough exercise or become lonely while the owners are at work.  The advantage of a low capital business is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money at the outset. You can advertise via local magazines and newspapers, flyers, and social media, encourage customers to spread the word and scale your business as the demand grows. You’ll need a vehicle if you plan to travel outside of your local area. If your business becomes a success, you could consider expanding by hiring more dog walkers or adding services, such as house sitting or doggy daycare.  12. Virtual assistant As our lifestyles are becoming increasingly rushed, many people have hectic schedules and are struggling to manage their diaries. If you have strong organizational and time management skills, you can use your expertise to offer this service to those who are daunted by their to-do lists. If you’re interested in profitable businesses with low startup costs, being a virtual assistant is a marvellous idea. You can work from home, which means low overheads, and you can add clients as you go along once you start receiving more inquiries.  It’s a good idea to target people who have busy schedules, such as business owners, professionals, and working parents. You can advertise your services through social media, a website, and local press. Research the market to learn more about your target audience, establish a pricing strategy, and get to know more about how being a virtual PA works.  13. Gift ideas Do people always compliment you on the gifts you buy or come to you for advice when they need a bolt of inspiration for a birthday or wedding present? If so, have you thought about turning your talent into a business? Many people don’t have time to trawl websites or stores looking for gifts, or they just can’t come up with original, imaginative ideas. If you have a reputation for choosing fantastic presents or conjuring up inventive ideas, this is an easy business to start from scratch. You can offer customers a bespoke service to help them take the stress out of sourcing and buying gifts or organizing experiences. By hiring your business, customers can save time and effort while ensuring that the people they love will adore their gifts.  14. Proofreading Are you meticulous when it comes to grammar? Do you have an eye for detail? Do you enjoy reading and writing? If so, why not set up a proofreading business? If you have an outstanding grasp of grammar and punctuation, this is a great home business idea with low startup costs. All you need to get started is a computer. You can work at home or remotely, with compete control over your schedule and pricing strategy, choosing which jobs to take on or turn down, all while your running costs are kept at a minimum. It is critical to ensure that you have the relevant skills and knowledge to offer this service to paying clients. If you make mistakes or fail to notice and correct errors, customers may ask for refunds and may leave negative feedback. 15. Event planning Are you the go-to party planner in your circle of friends, or do your family members rely on you to manage their social schedule and organize gatherings for special occasions? Event planning is a skill in high demand. From parties, weddings, and garden gatherings to corporate events, competitions, and charity functions, there is room in the market for a wide range of services to cater to diverse clients.  To excel in this role, you need to have superb communication, organization, and time management skills. Even though it’s not one of the easiest businesses to start, it can be profitable, as clients strive to make an impact with their event and will invest substantial sums to impress their guests. Start small and build a network of contacts. As you gain more experience, you should find it easier to plan events, which will enable you to take on bigger, more valuable contracts and expand your customer base.  How To Start a Business With No Money - Top Tips Starting a business with no money is no mean feat, but it’s possible to turn a small startup into a profitable venture. If you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profits, here are some tips to help you maximize your chances of success: Devise solutions for common problems: One of the best ways to make money through new business ideas is to identify some common issues and find solutions to address them. Think about the problems you want to solve in your life or the issues you hear friends, family members or colleagues talking about.  Play to your strengths: Think about your skills, qualifications, and experience when considering startup ideas. From language skills, cooking, playing musical instruments or singing, designing websites, bookkeeping or managing your diary to playing sports, training, marketing and building apps, there are all kinds of opportunities to make money based on your existing skillset.  Conduct research: Research is essential for any aspiring entrepreneur. Use market research methods to gauge the level of demand for the products or services you’re offering, identify competitors, define ideal buyers, and set price points.  Manage your finances: Managing your finances from the outset is vital if you’re looking for low-cost business ideas with high profit margins. Try to keep initial expenses and overheads low while building a client base and bringing sales in.  Spread the word: Running a profitable venture takes more than an ingenious low budget business idea. To make your new business work, you have to attract customers and encourage prospective clients to take the next step and actually spend money. Think of all the ways to spread the word and calculate marketing costs accordingly. Popular marketing techniques for businesses with low overheads include local SEO, social media marketing, and flyers.  Take inspiration from your passions: Your passions and interests can help you identify possible business ideas and narrow down your options. It’s possible to monetize hobbies, for example, baking, fitness, playing music, writing, and spending time on social media. If you run a business that allows you to do the things you love and help others do the same, this will not only boost your bank balance, but it should also give you a sense of satisfaction.  Summary More and more people are pursuing the dream of becoming their own boss. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t have to spend a fortune getting your new venture off the ground. These low-cost business ideas can help you build a profitable business without worrying about investment sources or bills while you’re still trying to find customers. If you’re on a tight budget but still intend to set up your small business, take inspiration from this guide and explore business ideas with low startup costs!

By Danica Jovic

Charitable organizations support and fund causes and initiatives across the world. In this guide, we’ll explore two types of charitable organizations: private foundations and public charities. Although there are similarities, there are important differences in the ways foundations and charities are set up and how funds are collected. In this guide, we’ll delve deeper into the question of private foundation vs public charity, discussing charity and foundation differences and providing a private-public foundation comparison.  What Is a Private Foundation? A private foundation, which may also be known as a private nonprofit, is an independent charitable organization. In most cases, private foundations are established by wealthy individuals, families, or businesses. Unlike public charities, which participate in fundraising activities, private foundations usually generate funds via investment from groups, families, or philanthropists. It’s common for foundations to bear the name of their founding members as part of the organization’s moniker; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a well-known example of this. Private foundations are eligible for tax-exempt status in the US provided that they operate within IRS guidelines. To qualify as a 501(c)(3) private foundation, the organization must exist to support one of the causes mentioned in the following IRS guidance: “charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.” The most important foundation and 501(c)(3) comparison is tax-deductible status. Donations to all charities, including private and public foundations that qualify as 501(c)(3) entities are tax-deductible to donors.  How Do Private Foundations Work? Typically, private nonprofit organizations are set up by sole benefactors, families, or companies. In most cases, the foundation uses an endowment (an initial investment) to generate funds, which are then distributed to causes, initiatives, programs, or schemes run by other individuals or charities. The structure of a private foundation contributes to stability and consistency, as the investment products usually generate a steady, reliable income. This makes budgeting simpler and enables boards, panels or individuals to decide where to spend money and how to make funding choices.  As private foundations are run by donors, they maintain control of: The foundation’s purpose and funding goals and objectives The makeup of the board Funding decisions and the disbursement of funds Which causes to support What Are Public Charities? Public charities are charitable organizations that rely on donations from the general public to support good causes and initiatives. IRS public charities are required to generate at least 33.3% of their income from contributions from the public or meet the criteria set out in the 10% facts and circumstances test. If you operate a public charity, the funds you collect from members of the public are used directly to support your endeavors, for example, giving shelter and meals to homeless people or providing healthcare.  It is critical for boards that run public charities to demonstrate that the acquisition of funds is not carried out to serve the interests of board members or donors. The sole aim must be to support charitable causes through grants and fundraising.  As public charities depend on donations from the general public, they must form a panel of independent members. The board should meet regularly and take responsibility for decision-making. The board should be diverse and it should represent the purpose the organization serves. A public charity board should not include several members of the same family.  Private Foundation vs Public Charity: The Key Differences The most significant difference between a public charity and a private foundation is the way in which funds are acquired. However, there are several important differences to be aware of. These include: Funding Funding is the most significant point to address when discussing charity and foundation differences. Private foundations are usually funded by a charity endowment, an investment made by the benefactor or corporation. The funds generated by the endowment are distributed in line with the foundation’s purpose and funding objectives. Public charities are supported by donations from members of the public, which are usually collected through grants, fundraising campaigns, one-off donations, or regular contributions.   Grant-making Private foundations often make grants, which are distributed to charities or other organizations. Public charities usually rely on donations from members of the public. It is possible for public charitable organizations to make grants, but this is much less common than for private foundations. Private foundations donate money to public charities or causes, while public charities use funds directly to benefit those in need.  Public Support Public charities must demonstrate that they receive a level of support from the general public to meet IRS criteria. Private foundations are not prohibited from fundraising and they can accept public donations, but most are entirely self-funded.  Board A private foundation is typically run by an individual or a board comprising family members or executives from the same corporation. Public charities must have a diverse board that reflects the charity’s mission; they should not have boards made up of family members or multiple individuals from the same businesses or organizations.  Setup A private foundation requires investment and is usually more expensive to establish. All charitable organizations start life as private foundations. Public charities must prove that they generate at least a third of their income from public donations to qualify for IRS exemption.  Control Running a private foundation is very different from being a board member of a public charity when it comes to control. Individuals and families that operate according to private foundation rules have much greater control than public charity board members. They decide where the money goes and how and when it is spent. Public charities should have a diverse panel of board members and are required to form a quorum to carry out official business.  Public Foundation vs Private Foundation: What Is the Difference? It’s common to come across the terms public foundation and private foundation when researching or reading about charitable organizations. A private foundation is not the same as a public foundation; the latter is another name for a public charity. Many charities have ‘foundation’ in their name, for example, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Public foundations are funded by donations from members of the public, businesses, private foundations, and the government. Private foundations are funded by individuals, corporations, or families. They are not reliant on public support and maintain control of all funding decisions.  Types of Private Foundation There are two types of private foundations: operating and non-operating foundations. Non-operating foundations: Non-operating foundations are the most common type of private foundation. These organizations provide grants for public charities. Private foundations can generate funds through fundraising activities, but non-operating foundations are not typically involved in running programs. Non-operating private foundations are required to distribute a minimum of 5% of their net investment annually. Operating foundations: Operating foundations are actually involved and engaged in running charitable programs on a continual basis. To ensure that foundations continue to support initiatives in a sustainable manner, they must contribute a sizable portion - around 85% - of net investment assets per year. Operating foundations undertake charitable activities rather than providing grants for public charities. Examples include setting up and running an animal shelter or buying and delivering food supplies, rather than donating to a food bank.  Private Foundation Rules To operate a private foundation, individuals, groups, and corporations must be aware of private foundation rules and submit the required legal papers for foundations and charities. The rules relate primarily to taxation and include the following: Private foundations must distribute around 5% of the previous year’s net investment assets per year. They must provide grants to other charitable organizations rather than individuals (although this may be permitted in certain circumstances, for example, supporting an individual through education). They have to pay 1-2% excise tax on net investment income. Public Charity and Nonprofit Comparison When reading about charitable organizations, it’s understandable to have questions about nonprofit and foundation differences and make public charity and nonprofit comparisons. Nonprofit is an umbrella term that covers a broad spectrum of organizations. Public charities and private foundations are nonprofits, which means that they are run for the benefit of communities or public or social initiatives. Nonprofits are not run to generate profits for donors, owners, or supporters.  What Are the Pros and Cons of Private Foundations? If you want to support good causes, you may be thinking about setting up a private foundation. Here are some pros and cons to consider: Pros Permanence: Private foundations can operate for many years, providing support to recipients on a consistent basis.  Control: Private foundations enjoy a much greater level of control than public charities. Individuals and families have the ability to decide how to spend their money, when to donate to causes, and how much to distribute in grants. Legacy: Many individuals and families decide to establish a private foundation to form a legacy, which can strengthen ties for the future or commemorate those who have passed.  Tax benefits: Private foundations that meet 501(c)(3) criteria are tax-exempt. Contributors can usually claim donations as deductibles and benefactors can collect donations without paying tax on them.  Opportunities: As the rules are more lenient for private foundations than public charities, foundations can take advantage of a wider range of opportunities, including donating to individuals, making international grants, offering scholarships, or setting up and running their own charitable schemes.  Cons Significant setup funds: To establish a private foundation, you need to have a substantial endowment to invest.  Time commitments: Running a private foundation isn’t for the faint-hearted; it takes up a lot of your time.  Record keeping and administration requirements: The paperwork demands of establishing and managing a private foundation can be overwhelming. Summary Private foundations and public charities are both forms of charitable organizations. Private foundations are usually established by individuals, families, or companies, and they make grants and distribute funds through their own investment assets and funds. Public charities rely on donations from the public and they support good causes, communities, and individuals directly.  It’s important to understand the differences between private foundations and public charities if you want to support projects or programs, or if you’re thinking about setting up a foundation. Private foundations retain control of funding decisions, but they’re expensive to set up and they often require a lot of time and effort, particularly during the early stages. Public charities have diverse boards, which are responsible for making decisions, but they are governed by rules that dictate how money is collected and spent.

By Danica Jovic

Patents are crucial for protecting intellectual property, particularly if you run a small startup. The last thing you want is to invest all your time, energy, and money into a project, only for an unscrupulous rival to snatch your ideas.  The patenting procedure isn’t free, though. In this post, we’ll take a look at how much a patent actually costs. Then, we’ll analyze some patent cost examples before exploring the difference between trademark and patent costs.  Cost of a Patent You can break down the cost of obtaining a patent into three categories:  Government filing fees Attorney fees Drawing fees Patent applications can range from $400+ if you decide to go down the do-it-yourself route to $10,000+ if you use a lawyer. The actual amount you’ll pay depends on your status. Government filing fees for micro-businesses are $400, while those for small entities are $730 or more. If you also require professional drawings to describe your inventions, they will set you back a further $300 to $500, depending on the complexity.  Obtaining a patent isn’t a straightforward procedure. While the application process is affordable for the majority of businesses, the official requirements can be high. The law is becoming more stringent, and government agencies, such as the United States Supreme Court, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, are constantly adding more regulations. To secure a patent, you must demonstrate in writing that your invention is unique and be able to prove this to the USPTO. You need to show that you’ve developed something original that other market participants are not yet using. And you must describe it in such a way that meets the various legal requirements of government agencies. Therefore, while the price of a patent application might seem relatively manageable, the likelihood of success depends entirely on the quality of the communication.  Certain types of patents may be more complicated than others. If you’ve hired a lawyer to draft your application for you, it may take them time to get up to speed with the technical aspects of your invention. Your patent could seem simple to you, but it might be complicated for a lawyer to grasp if it’s technically intricate. This may then drive up your costs, since you’ll require lengthier consultations with your lawyer.  Software patenting costs tend to be higher because of the difficulty in understanding the innovation. It may also be hard for the patent office to determine the way in which the invention is unique or original, increasing patenting fees and surcharges further.  Types of Patents and Their Costs Because of the varying complexity of patents, they have different costs. However, there are diverse types of patents that you can apply for.  Non-Provisional Patent Application Non-provisional patent applications protect your invention for as long as it remains in effect. Prices start from around $400 and include search, review, and examination fees. At the higher end of the price spectrum, a non-provisional application may cost over $15,000 if most tasks are handled by a lawyer. However, you should keep in mind that how much you pay depends primarily on the complexity of the invention. Attorney patent prices are significantly lower for simple inventions compared to complicated or software-based ones. Provisional Patent Application Provisional patent applications are popular among organizations that want to begin protecting their intellectual property immediately but don’t have time to file a non-provisional patent application. Allowing time for the non-provisional patent application to go through, provisional patents protect firms for 12 months against IP theft.  As you might expect, filing for a provisional patent can be significantly cheaper than a non-provisional patent since it is temporary. You can pay as little as $65 in filing fees if you do it yourself, but more realistically, $5,000-$10,000 with the help of a lawyer.  Design Patent Design patents protect your product’s unique appearance, for instance, the particular shape of a plastic bottle, earplug, or medical product. And because they only involve the evaluation of shape, prices tend to be much lower. Therefore, you can expect to pay $2,500-$3,000, including a $140 examination fee.  Design patents are essential in the fashion industry. A designer bag might not represent anything new in the technical sense, but the new design could be critical for the fashion house’s competitive advantage. Most importantly, a design patent can prevent rivals from creating copycat products.  Plant Patent Lastly, plant patents prevent anyone else from utilizing a particular plant for commercial gain. These patents mainly affect plant hybridization and genetic modifications, as plants found in their natural state cannot be patented.  Application costs for plant patents range from $360 to $720, whereas $170 of this cost covers examination fees. Total costs, including legal fees, are $4,600-$7,600.  What Factors Affect the Cost of Filing a Patent? So far, we’ve discussed patent costs in terms of averages. However, the amount that you actually pay will be calculated on the basis of various factors to do with the patent itself. Your product is similar to others. If your product is completely original and new, it is usually quite straightforward to determine its patentability. However, if you are adding a product to a saturated market, the patenting price rises. It is more difficult to demonstrate that the invention is unique and, therefore, requires more labor.  You want to protect your product in several countries. Protecting your intellectual property in the US is relatively clear-cut. However, you will need to pay additional fees to patent examiners in other countries if you want to protect it internationally.  You see a big market opportunity. In many cases, the greater the profits that an invention will bring, the more money it’s worth spending patenting an invention.  Your invention involves technology. As you might expect, a complex mechanical patent costs significantly more than a simple one. It takes time for examiners and lawyers to understand how it works and assess it accordingly. You operate a large business. Lastly, the price of a patent will go up if you run a large business. Individuals, micro-entities, and small businesses pay the least.  Patent Cost Examples Let’s take a look at some examples of how much you are likely to pay for a patent, from the simplest to the most complex:  Licensing a patent cost Invention Type Example Patent Attorney Cost Search Costs Very Simple Paper clip, bowl, wallet, packaging, tea cozy $5,000-$7,000 $1,000-$1,250 Simple Fanny pack, children’s toy, drinks flask, dog harness $7,000-$8,500 $1,000-$1,250 Low Complexity Handheld tools, MP3 player, disposable camera $8,500-$10,000 $1,250-$1,500 Medium Complexity Solar panel pack, pop-up tent $10,000-$12,000 $1,500-$1,750 High Complexity Prosthetic limbs, telecommunications equipment, medical scanners $14,000-$16,000 $2,000-$2,500 Software Machine learning systems, automated control systems, networking software More than $16,000 $2,500-$3,000   These figures are just an estimate and should be adjusted for each case. However, as you can see, the main cost is definitely legal fees. Other costs only make up around 20%-30% of the total price.  Here is an example of how your costs might break down for a consumer electronics product, such as a bicycle GPS or Bluetooth headset:  Patenting a consumer electronics product – example Service Price  Patent search with attorney opinion $1,750 Provisional patent preparation and filing $2,500 USPTO provisional filing fee $130 Non-provisional patent filing $6,000 USPTO non-provisional filing fee $800 Professional illustrations $500 Total $11,680   As you can see, the costs can add up quickly. Even a relatively simple invention patent can reach five figures or more. However, the cost of a patent is considerably lower than the costs that might ensue in case of not filing.  How Much Does It Cost To Appeal a Rejected Patent Application? The USPTO won’t always accept your patent, even with the help of lawyers. However, if they reject it, you can still appeal.  Filing a written response costs $2,000-$5,000, and if you want to speak to a USPTO representative face to face, you may have to spend thousands more dollars. There is no guarantee that your appeal will be successful, either, so it’s advisable to speak to an attorney before you proceed.  Patent Maintenance Fees Non-provisional patents are for life, and you don’t need to pay recurring fees to keep them active. However, the USPTO requires inventors to pay periodic maintenance fees for provisional patents.  This breaks down as $980 after three and a half years, $2,480 after seven and a half years, and $4,110 after 11 years. Using this method, some inventors may be able to protect their intellectual property for the product’s entire life if obtaining a full non-provisional patent is not possible.  During this time, you can also make amendments to your invention. These cost $2,200-$3,500 and may help advance your non-provisional application in the sense that the alterations might be sufficient to convince the USPTO that your patent is one of a kind. Furthermore, inventors of any type of patent (including non-provisional) may also be subject to ongoing costs. These include financial services administration fees, post-issuance fees, and extension-of-time fees, which let patents run for longer.  Trademark vs. Patent Cost While trademark filing fees are roughly the same as patent fees – between $225 and $600 – legal costs vary significantly. In general, legal fees will be substantially lower (and sometimes non-existent) when filing for a trademark. It is solely in cases when applicants are challenging the trademark of another brand that they may incur considerable legal fees. Asking the question “how much does it cost to patent a name?” doesn’t make a lot of sense, as trademarks, which are not inventions, cannot become patents. Should You Use a Patent Cost Calculator?  It’s not always clear what the ultimate cost of a patent will be. However, you might be able to get an estimate using a patent cost calculator. It will help evaluate the complexity of the patent and then give you a ballpark figure based on current fees and cost estimates.  Calculators, though, are not a substitute for a professional opinion. Experienced attorneys should be able to tell you both the likely legal and total cost of an invention after reviewing your ideas.  Conclusion So, how much does a patent cost? The price you pay for a patent depends heavily on the type of invention you want to launch on the market and the type of patent you obtain. Other factors that can lead to higher costs include things like the number of similar patents already registered and the size of your business. As a general rule, you should expect to pay a minimum of $5,000 with legal assistance.

By Danica Djokic

Do you have a great business idea but don't have the money to get it off the ground? If so, you should look for an angel investor. So what are angel investors? How does angel investing work, and what are the advantages and potential pitfalls to look out for? We’ll answer all of these questions in the following blog post. We'll even take the time to compare angel investors to venture capitalists to help you make the best decision for your business.  Angel Investor Definition An angel investor is someone who funds a startup company, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. Some team up with other investors to form small angel investor groups operating under the umbrella of the Angel Capital Association or ACA. Those who prefer to avoid the commitment of traditional investor groups can join online syndicates instead. Who Can Be an Angel Investor? While anyone who has the money to back a business can be an angel investor, most angels are either accredited investors or sophisticated investors. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC, an accredited investor is an individual with a net worth of over $1 million in assets, excluding any residences. The other metric used to discern accredited angel investors is that they have to have an annual income of over $200,000 (or $300,000 for couples) for the previous two years. Angel investors do not necessarily come from a financing or business background. They can be lawyers, doctors, accountants, c-level executives, or small business owners who have successfully helped kickstart other companies. How Does Angel Investing Work? When it comes to angel investments, there are a few different ways for the investment process to play out. One of the most common methods is for the angel investor to provide seed money to a business that needs help in the early stages in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. In short, angel investors expect sizable returns in the long run. Another angel investing method involves the purchase of equity-backed securities. Investors provide capital to a business in exchange for stock ownership. This type of angel funding is more common with larger businesses that are looking for a more hands-off approach from their investors. Once the angel investor provides the capital, they typically take a back seat in terms of day-to-day operations. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, and some angel investors do take an active role in the businesses they invest in. However, most angel investors simply provide the initial funding and let the business owner(s) take it from there. The Pros and Cons of Angel Investors Just like any other type of investment, you need to weigh the pros and cons of angel investments. Let's start with the pros: One of the biggest advantages of working with an angel investor is that they can provide the capital you need to get your business off the ground. This is especially helpful if you don't have sufficient personal funds or you don't qualify for a traditional bank loan. Another advantage is that angel investors are typically more flexible than other types of investors, such as venture capitalists. Some angel investors raise the money through their syndicates or crowdfunding sites. Furthermore, angel investors for startups understand that these are risky investments and often have a long-term approach. Lastly, if you manage to land an angel investor who is an accomplished entrepreneur and willing to actively participate in the growth of your business, you can make use of their network and expertise. Now, let's take a look at some of the cons: The biggest downside to working with an angel investor is that it may require you to surrender a larger portion of your company than you would if you went with another type of investor. This is because angel investing is risky, and the funds are typically provided early on. The return on investment for angels depends on the investment opportunity, but it’s not unusual to see some angel investors expect a 30% ROI. Another downside to working with angel investors is the fact that you’re losing your decision-making powers. This is because some angels will want a seat on the board, or they may want to be involved in major decisions. That’s why an angel investment from someone with expertise in your field is an ideal option. It is not uncommon for angel investors to try to implement unrealistic business decisions, creating a struggle within the company. Where to Find an Angel Investor? There are a few different ways for business startups to find angel investors. One way is to search online directories, such as the Angel Investment Network or Gust. Another way is to attend startup events or pitch your business ideas at the appropriate forums, which can be a great way to meet potential investors. Lastly, you can try going through a business accelerator program, as they typically have a network of angel investors that they work with. All in All There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to angel investments. While they are a great option for startups and small businesses that are struggling with financing, giving up a part of your business in exchange for the funds is not necessarily the wisest decision. Do your research and take your time to find an investor who is a good fit for your company and your business goals. And remember, the most important thing is to have a clear understanding of the terms of the agreement before you accept any funding.

By Vladana Donevski