How to Get Your Small Business Up and Running

Summary: If you want to be a small business owner but are feeling a little lost, continue reading for some tips on what to consider before you get started.

 

If you have ever considered turning that passion of yours into a small business there are many things you would need to do before taking the leap. Continue reading for some tips on how to get the business ready for launch.

 

Research the Market

 

Before investing in a business operation it may be wise to first research the market to get a better understanding of the existing business landscape. Learn about the different businesses and potentially do SWOT analyses to determine what they have in common, what makes some of them unique, and which market segments have room for potential growth and profits. Once you have figured out what kind of business you want to run, the next step is to figure out what steps you will need to provide the product or service, and ultimately open up a merchant processing account for transactions.

 

It is worth keeping in mind that you should be careful about how much time you spend in the preparation and planning phase. It is true that it is important to research a little and start with some loose plan, but once you start the business plans can easily change. You must be flexible and open-minded to adapt as new challenges arise, because you can run into trouble if you try to stick to your original plan too closely. There is value in trying different things and learning from your setbacks.

 

Lay Out Business Operations

 

Once you have gotten a better grasp of what kind of business you would like to run, you will next need to figure out where you should run your operations. Will you want to have a physical store, an online shop, or both? Services like Charge.com can help you handle both in-person and online card transactions. It would make sense for a spa to have a physical location, but if you are only selling spa products, then you may not need one. Consider what kind of layout would make the most sense for your business.

Invest in Hire Car Services When Visiting Jordan

Summary: Driving in a different country, like Jordan, can be daunting if you don’t know the laws or conditions of the roads. Consider car hire services if you are weary of driving yourself while on vacation.

If you are thinking about visiting Jordan and wanting to rent a car to get around, there are a few laws and common dangers you should know about before you get there. Make sure you are well aware of all driving laws and road conditions before you decide to drive in a new place, and remember that there are always alternatives.

Laws For Tourist Drivers

Any tourists who plan to drive while in Jordan must have a valid foreign license and an International Driving Permit. You should get this before you arrive. Visitors may only use their valid foreign licenses to rent cars with green license plates, to make them easier to differentiate.

Note that car seats for children are not required by law, so be careful if you bring your children along for the ride.

Accidents Can Be Costly

Certain tourist destinations in Amman get heavy traffic and have narrow roads. Drivers also need to be careful not to hit any livestock, whether in the urban or rural areas, as collisions between vehicles and livestock are common.

Driving accidents are frequent in Jordan and are the leading cause of injury and death.

Avoid Financial Liability

Thankfully, no one has to drive when they visit Jordan if they do not want to. Though public transportation is not recommended, taxis and other private car hire services are widely available all around. Make sure to arrange pick ups with your hotel and ask the driver not to take any more passengers on the route. If you are not comfortable driving in a new area, these are good alternatives.

Blog submitted by Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC: If you’re looking for services from a car hire in the Amman airport, visit Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC and they will get you to your destination!

Understanding What a “High-Risk” Merchant Means to a Processor

Summary: A high-risk client means taking on an assortment of different penalties and fees when applying for a new account. Here are some factors you should look at if you’re within this category.

If you’re labeled as a high-risk client for credit card processing, it might sound like it’s the end of the world, but for many cases, it isn’t. Rather, the situation is quite complex and in some cases, the cost of being a high-risk merchant might come a variety of pros and cons.

First off, in order to accept any payment made via credit card, a business must obtain a merchant account with a specified bank. Now, the cost of this service varies drastically and is dependent on a variety of factors – most notably the type of business.

Normally, high-risk candidates face higher fees and a specialized payment processor will likely be required. Processors like to look over these merchants because of perceived risks that could end up costing them money.

Chargebacks and the Effects

One of the various factors that make high-risk merchants a threat in the eyes of a processor is the increased possibility of chargebacks. Now, there are various elements like the type of service of product sold, the average amount of money made for monthly sales, and the countries the merchant sells to which can essentially increase the risk of chargebacks, leaving processors in the heat of millions of potential losses.

Processors work on the fact that high-risk clients will produce more chargebacks, so they create charges right from the get-go. High-risk merchants are liable to an increased initial setup and higher monthly fees – and even double the normal processing fees. For the merchant, this could mean a significant financial hill he or she must face when utilizing this service.

High-risk processors tend to force their clients to have a reserve, which is essentially a non-interest savings account that is utilized by the bank as a sort of insurance. For instance, if a chargeback is filed against the business and the merchant is not able to reimburse the bank from the merchant’s account, the reserve will be utilized to cover the financial loss. This gives the processor more room to work with when dealing with these types of clients.

Now, these reserves will typically hold anywhere from 5 to 10% of their monthly sales for half a year. The money in the reserve account will still belong to the merchant but it cannot be accessed until 180 days have passed – or other circumstances are address. This restricted access obviously poses a threat to the merchant and has the potential to cause massive cash flow issues for the merchant.

Blog submitted by Charge.com: For high risk credit card processing and other credit card services, visit the pros at Charge.com for all your merchant account needs. Give them a call today for more information.

Business Turnaround Services Can Help Your Project and Lower Costs

Summary: When you are struggling to avoid high expenses and make a profit with your business it may be wise to consider looking into a business turnaround service to help get your business back on track.

A good deal of work goes into operating a business. Rough economic times may make it difficult to operate profitably. Companies may have periods that are more profitable than others, but there are other signs that hint  that it is time for the business to undergo a turnaround. Looking at such factors as cash flow, business growth, the state of the industry in which your business operates, and employee turnover rates can provide you with a good understanding of how healthy your business is.

A Clear Roadmap

A business turnaround service is a formal and professional process that can provide some clarity on how to improve the state of your business. Rather than trying to diagnose the problems yourself, it can be beneficial to reach out for the input of an external party. A business turnaround consultant could help outline how to improve operations in three simple steps:

  1. Stabilize the company’s cash flow to help calm the situation down.
  2. Go through a series of inspections and tests to determine the roots of the problems. Next steps will be tailored to fit the specific underlying issues. This typically includes laying out a financial forecast and a roadmap on how to improve the business.
  3. Help the company actually implement the steps they must take to turn the business around.

Experts Know What’s Best

A benefit to using a business turnaround service is that the consultants who will assist you in handling your company’s issues have experience with investigating businesses and diagnosing their problems, accordingly. No two businesses are run the exact same way, but a specialist may be able to use their knowledge on what has worked for other companies, either in the same or a different industry, to make yours profitable again.

Blog submitted by Lyle Charles: Lyle Charles is a construction industry expert that provides construction & turnaround services. Visit him online for more information.

Why More Merchants are Offering Split Payments

Customers who shop online will expect to pay with almost any tender they choose, and that includes split payments. Split payments allow customers to pay from more than one source, such as a digital wallet and credit card. With split payments, you allow customers to pay how they want.

Speed

In order to make split payments as fast and efficient as possible, it may be helpful to let customers save their payment information to your website via an account. This way, at the checkout, customers will be able to select which credit cards and digital wallets they want to use to pay their bill and complete the transaction.

If their account is secured by a password, and you follow proper security protocols, you can substantially reduce the risks that come with hacking.

More Business

Customers might be really motivated to buy something, but their credit card or bank account limit might be standing in their way. Allowing split payments is an alternative to get past this problem. Customers can apply tender using cash they do have on hand. Using more than one card also allows someone to help pay for something they plan to give to someone else (such as parents buying an expensive toy for a child).

Saving Cash

Depending on the payment processor you work with, you’ll end up saving money over time allowing for split payments. This is all thanks to variable rates, which allow for some cards to cost less to process than others. Accepting digital wallets is another method to reduce fees you pay to send and receive money online.

Submitted by Charge.com. Charge.com offers a low cost guarantee and no contract to help businesses acquire payment processing online and in store.

Real Estate: An Opportunity to Profit or Fail?

Summary: Taking real estate property and flipping it into a gain can be a significantly difficult task. Fortunately, there are ways that you can do this without immediately going into bankruptcy.

The real estate market is a fantastic opportunity to bring in significant wealth. While it isn’t easy, due to a fair amount of competition, it can be worth it in the long run. Here are some tips that will guide you on the right track to successfully managing and investing in real estate.

Your Credit Report Plays a Major Role

You’re more than likely going to have to borrow a significant amount of money to purchase real estate. So, be sure to check your credit report before you begin investing in real estate. If you have problems on your report that are mistakes, get those resolved as quickly as you can. Any marks on your report are looked at by the lender and it may affect your chances of obtaining the loan. If you have problems that are legitimate, you may want to ease off on the investment for now and work on building your credit back up.

Simply put, banks aren’t going to lend you money for a property that isn’t your primary residence as easily as they will for your own home. This is why having a glimmering credit score is an important factor that’s often overlooked.

Implement the One Percent Rule

If you’re planning on buying property that will be for one or more tenants use the 1% rule which will decide whether or not the property is worth the asking price. Simply stated, the rule is that an income producing property must produce 1% of the price you pay for it every month. If you’re looking to buy a property for $300,000, then your monthly rental income should be the $300,000 multiplied by 1% which equals $3,000. This is a good rule of thumb for starters and it also assists in profit margins.


Bio: Omar Amanat is an American entrepreneur and a shareholder of the popular Twilight Saga.

A brief look at billionaire Len Blavatnik businesses

Written by Access Industries

Len Blavatnik is one of the richest people on earth, with a net worth of $16.7 Billion to his name. Blavatnik who is known as a self-made billionaire has investments in chemicals, real estate, and entertainment.

Blavatnik started his journey in Moscow and attended the University of Railway Engineering until his family immigrated to the US in 1978. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in Computer Science from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Here is a brief look at the billionaire’s businesses.

Access Industries – Founded in 1986, this privately owned company is involved in Russian investments, natural resources, chemicals and recently moved into Blavatnik media, telecommunications, technology, e-commerce, and real estate.

Tory Burch – Blavatnik’s company branched out into fashion by investing in the upscale fashion accessory brand: Tory Burch.

Warner Music – The billionaire worked his way into Hollywood by purchasing Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion. He also acquired Atlantic, Warner Bros. Records, Rhino, and Warner Music Nashville.

Access Entertainment – Blavatnik recently teamed with Hollywood talent manager Sarah Stennett to create a company that focuses on talent, brand development, representation of recording artists and songwriters.

Although Blavatnik is a billionaire, he is also known as a global philanthropist. The Blavatnik Family Foundation supports the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Royal Academy of Arts, and Colel Chabad. Apart from these charities, Blavatnik family foundation is also known for the Blavanik awards that help key graduates in science and technology.

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Len Blavatnik needs no introduction. The Balavatnik billionaire is the man at the top of Access Industries and is a world-renowned philanthropist.

 

Moving Past Struggles: Investment Motivation from Great Names

investment-motivationInvesting, starting a business and growing that foundation is never easy, but the challenge is part of what motivates us. Occasionally, the world can seem like it’s falling apart all around us. For those moments, we invite you to share in this important wisdom about dealing with the struggles life throws our way.

“You have to welcome an investor into your story and make them believe.”

-Wes Selke

Before you can begin your journey, you need solid financial footing. That’s your first challenge, and rejection is common in those early days. Don’t take it to heart; instead focus on what you’re not showing to investors. What roadblocks are standing in the way of telling the complete story of your business? Figure out how to refine your elevator pitch with the intention to create an emotional connection.

“I Have Found 10,000 Ways Something Won’t Work. I Am Not Discouraged…”

-Thomas Edison

There’s a million ways to say it, but Edison’s is particularly eloquent. Failure is simply a part of success. This viewpoint helps you understand that failure is its own success, in a way. You’ve managed to definitively discover what does not work. Now the onus is on you to figure out what will.

“All You Can Do is Drill, and Promote the Story, Drill and Promote the Story”

-Dev Randhawa

In the energy market, events outside your control often affect the global supply or demand. The same is true for many industries, and you’re left with the work you do and the drive to do it. This advice from Dev Randhawa is to make sure you not only perform your due diligence, but you trust your findings. Honing a critical eye for market forces, learning what is and is not outside your control, will help steady your resolve and keep you focused.

Len Blavatnik the philanthropist

accessindustries1Written by Access Industries

Len Blavatnik is known for many things. The first and most recent is that he was named the 42nd richest man in the world by Business Insider magazine. His rise to fame and fortune started when he formed Access Industries back in 1986. He is also known for his turnaround of Lyondell Basell that made him billions. He then became a force in Hollywood with his 2011 purchase of Warner Music. Blavatnik U.S. Citizen was initially born in the Ukraine and went to University in Russia. What sets him apart of other billionaires are charitable deeds and contributions to science education.

Tel Aviv University
The Blavatnik Family Foundation has contributed 20 million dollars to the Blavatnik initiative of the university of Tel Aviv. This is a multi-year program focused on interdisciplinary scientific research student film production and faculty recruitment.

Harvard University
His foundation contributed 50 million dollars to Harvard University for early stage medical research. This will also provide support to graduate business students to pursue entrepreneurial projects related to the life sciences.

New York Academy of Sciences
Over the next ten years, the New York Academy of Sciences will get 30 million dollars for the establishment of the Blavatnik awards for young scientists. Scientists who are under the age of 42 will be eligible to win the 250,000 dollar prize.

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These are just a few of many contributions that the Blavatnik billionaire‘s Access Industries and Blavatnik  Foundation has made to the world.

Financial Alternatives to Keeping Your Home Upon Retirement

Holding on to a home because of emotional ties may not be the right decision for you.

retired-couple-beachHomeowners need to invest a significant amount of time and money to ensure that a home is kept in god condition. Now, this is vital for a variety of reasons – the most important being to retain or perhaps increase the value. As your home begins to age, it is likely that it will require more maintenance, which includes everything from roof fixtures, to pipe replacements. These costs could make owning and holding on to a property worth a second thought.

Downsize To a Condominium

One option that many homeowners go with is to downsize to a smaller house. This means that there will be less maintenance due to the smaller size. A condominium can essentially be an attractive option when you want to remain a homeowner, while at the same time limiting your maintenance responsibilities.

So, you can take care of your unit, but the condo association will be taking care of the rest of the repairs. This means that you’ll be paying less out of your pocket when it’s all said and done. It’s a cost effective and low risk investment that could suit your financial and personal needs better.

Renting

You can also go with renting a property as well. While many people may still have varying opinions on renting, because of the fact that it seems like you are throwing away your money rather than putting it back into the house, it also makes sense financially. However, one thing that you should keep in mind is that rent costs can typically go up, which is something that you have to deal with when living on someone else’s property.


Kuba Jewgieniew is the CEO of Realty ONE Group, a real estate brokerage firm with offices in three states and over 5,000 associates.