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Business Loan Strategies to Buy a Business Opportunity

When buying a business opportunity that does not include commercial property, borrowers should realize that business loan options will be significantly different when compared to a business purchase that can be acquired with a commercial property loan. This problematic situation occurs because of the normal absence of commercial real estate as collateral for the business financing when buying a business opportunity. In terms of arranging the business loan, efforts to buy a business opportunity are almost always described by commercial borrowers as excessively confusing and difficult.

The comments and suggestions in this report reflect business financing conditions that are frequently offered by substantial lenders willing to provide a business loan to buy a business opportunity throughout most of the United States. There are likely to be circumstances in which a seller will privately fund the acquisition of a business opportunity, and it is not our intent to address those business loan possibilities in this report.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY BUSINESS LOAN STRATEGIES:

Buying a Business Opportunity – Length of Business Financing to Anticipate

Business financing conditions to buy a business opportunity will frequently involve a reduced amortization period compared to commercial mortgage financing. A maximum term of ten years is typical, and the business loan is likely to require a commercial lease equal to the length of the loan.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY BUSINESS LOAN STRATEGIES:

Expected Interest Rate Costs for Buying a Business Opportunity

The likely range to buy a business opportunity is 11 to 12 percent in the present commercial loan interest rate circumstances. This is a reasonable level for business opportunity borrowing since it is not unusual for a commercial real estate loan to be in the 10-11 percent area. Because of the lack of commercial property for lender collateral in a small business opportunity transaction, the cost of a business loan to acquire a business is routinely higher than the cost of a commercial property loan.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY BUSINESS LOAN STRATEGIES:

Down Payment Expectations to Buy a Business Opportunity

A typical down payment for business financing to buy a business opportunity is 20 to 25 percent depending on the type of business and other relevant issues. Some financing from the seller will be viewed as helpful by a commercial lender, and seller financing might also decrease the business opportunity down payment requirement.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY BUSINESS LOAN STRATEGIES:

Refinancing Alternatives After Buying a Business Opportunity

A critical commercial loan term to expect when acquiring a business opportunity is that refinancing business opportunity financing will routinely be more problematic than the acquisition business loan. There are presently a few business financing programs being developed that are likely to improve future business refinancing alternatives. It is of critical importance to arrange the best terms when buying the business and not rely upon business opportunity refinancing possibilities until these new commercial financing options are finalized.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY BUSINESS LOAN STRATEGIES:

Buying a Business Opportunity – Lenders to Avoid

The selection of a commercial lender might be the most important phase of the business financing process for buying a business. An equally important task is avoiding lenders that are unable to finalize a commercial loan for buying a business.

By eliminating such problem lenders, business borrowers will also be in a better position to avoid many other business loan problems typically experienced when buying a business. The proactive approach to avoid problem lenders can have dual benefits because it will contribute to both the long-term financial condition of the business being acquired and the ultimate success of the commercial loan process.

Copyright 2005-2007 AEX Commercial Financing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Home-Based Business Ideas – Think Big, Act and Grow Rich with Unique Business Ideas

We have all seen the inviting headlines: “Home-based Business Ideas That Can Make You Millions”; “The Hottest Home-Based Business Ideas to Use Now!”; “Launch a Successful Home-Based Business with These 10 Can’t-Miss Business Ideas.” The list of such headlines is endless, followed by articles that galvanize the reader’s interest in starting his/her own enterprise with visions of “happily ever after” outcomes.

But the first idea that I must present is that envisioning and dreaming about a home-based business is only a prerequisite towards successful entrepreneurship. Constructive action must follow any home-based business idea!

There exist so many entrepreneurial wannabees who remain in a constant state of immobilization. Such individuals often possess intelligence and creativity, even thinking outside of the box, but remain entrapped in the idea that they cannot pursue a home-based venture due to time or financial constraints. Others feel powerless to take action because they don’t know where to start. Indeed, they are uncertain as to what steps to take, going from inspiration and cognition to actual business production. Still, other aspiring entrepreneurs must confront self-imposed limitations, believing that they are incapable, incompetent souls who are not deserving of acquiring good fortune. Fear often predominates their collective mindset as there is much trepidation that the outcome of any home-based business idea will be an unfavorable one.

Regardless of the reason, refuse to remain in a state of immobilization. If you have an idea for a home-based business, go forward with it! Of course, any idea for a business venture must be thoroughly researched and evaluated. One needs to consider the competition, costs, labor and time involved, the methods and procedures of the given business, potential return on investment and a host of other issues. The importance of business preparation cannot be underestimated. However, if you determine that the idea is viable and has merit after engaging in exhaustive research (even calling upon experts for advice), you owe it to yourself to implement it.

But many people who want to quit their jobs and discover their ideal home-based business may not have a concrete idea as to the type of enterprise to launch. Others may possess a few simmering thoughts as to which direction to go but the primary idea that resides in the cyberspace of their minds is that they are just desperate to work at home!

In order for a particular home-based business idea to germinate, perhaps one must first explore one’s own interests. Is it possible for an avocation to become a vocation? If you are passionate about creating jewelry, for example, that may be the underpinning of a home-based startup jewelry business. If you are a photography aficionado, photography may be the means to gain self-employment.

Successful Internet marketers always trumpet the importance of finding a niche. Your interest may uncover a niche that proves profitable. If you can tailor your hobby and interest to meet the needs and demands of a particular market, you can quickly prosper.

Local markets can even be tapped to develop a money-making enterprise. Consider a home-based entrepreneur who creates a free community newsletter, receiving advertising dollars. Another may find it more creative and profitable to sell a map of the local establishments, designed on a placemat presented by a given restaurant. The businesses listed on the map pay to be highlighted. Think about those who have created local surveys and reviews (comparing restaurants, hotels, etc.) and selling the resource at bookstores. The jeweler and photography, in our example above, may create work that reflects local influences, and thereby, gains local popularity. For example, I have a friend who resides in Alaska who is a sculptor and photographer. He has an inherent love of nature and outdoors, and captures the Alaskan wilderness and myriad forms of wildlife in his work. His creations subsequently capture the attention and dollars of his fellow Alaskan residents.

Obviously, an interest or passion in a particular field should be accompanied by a certain amount of competence or skill. It is difficult, for instance, to become a successful artist if one does not know how to draw. Proficiency need not be inherent; it can be developed. But one should have a firm grasp of one’s abilities, talents and, don’t minimize it – potential. As Carol Brady, celebrated TV mother of the Brady Bunch series once wisely declared, “Find out what you do best and do your best with it.”

(When developing an entrepreneurial mindset — when you are trying to create and define your home-based business ideas — be open to all resources, including popular cultural influences such as television programs and movies. Indeed, as actress Melanie Griffith said in her role as Tess McGill in the movie, “Working Girl”: “You never know where the big ideas will come from.”)

While exploring your interests and aptitudes, as you are open to a plethora of possibilities and opportunities, think about the prevailing winds of societal needs that change from time to time. Are there any national or local trends that you observe? Are there any growing markets? What are some fundamental needs that can be satisfied on a local and/or national level.

Unfortunately, for example, consumer debt continues to skyrocket in the United States. Millions of Americans owe more money than they make. So many people merely pay the interest portion, not the principal, of their credit card bills and find it increasingly difficult to pay crucial bills, such as a home mortgage. Any real estate agent can attest to the steady and scary upward climb in the rates of foreclosures. Opportunistic companies are responding to this alarming trend. Home-based businesses relating to the burgeoning consumer debt are proportionately increasing, specializing in credit counseling, debt consolidation and even collection.

Consider another trend: While we continue to become more health and fitness-conscious, the rate of obesity remains on an upswing. Certain home-based businesses cater to each demographic and some to both. A self-employed fitness trainer primarily taps into our collective interest to get into better shape. A purveyor of weight loss products gains from our national obsession to lose weight. Those who are designing programs that incorporate an exercise regime with a recommended protocol of dietary modifications may prove to be doubly fortunate.

So keep your finger on the pulse of “hot markets” and you may warm up to a very profitable undertaking. But don’t be afraid that your home-based business idea is too common, especially if it relates to tried and true home-based businesses. You may have an idea to add a twist to any business and deliver your own brand of special service.

Among the most frequently touted best home-based businesses include computer repair, childcare, coaching (life coach or Internet business coach) and tutoring, distributing and selling tangible goods or information-related services, interior decorating, photography, transcription services, dealing antiques and collectibles, handicrafts, baking, sewing and gardening and farming. The list is not exhaustive but presents fields that have proven profitable for the home-based business owner.

Many home-based business entrepreneurs decide not to walk or run on the conventional path. Their home-based business ideas are unique. Look at this creative entrepreneurial venture: Providing surf reports to those who want to “hang 10.” The owners of this business are hanging a lot more zeros when it comes to their bottom line. Another company profits from the absent-minded by offering a “reminder service,” reminding clients about special dates or occasions several days in advance. Many home-based business owners make a living by providing specialized instruction: Stop smoking groups, public speaking courses, women’s empowerment seminars are all variations on the theme of providing direct instruction. Maybe I should start a tutorial center on viable home-based business opportunities … but then again, this field is already saturated.

Even absurd home-based business ideas can take off, leading to early retirement for the home-based business owner. The Pet Rock, Designer Dirt, deeds to land that once belonged to famous people (e.g, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley) have all contributed nicely to the financial coffers of their creators. Certain television programs love to highlight the offbeat, out-of the-box home-based business owner who has a unique idea. Think of something unusual and you will get massive publicity, especially if it involves a celebrity. I’m sure there are entrepreneurs right now, for example, who are getting a fat wallet on the coattails of Paris Hilton with their “Free Paris” t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and posters. They can even cater to the “Anti-Paris” community with their “Don’t Free Paris” paraphernalia.

In conclusion, it is crucial to act on the idea of pursuing a home-based business venture. Do the required research and preparation and consider your talents, abilities and potential. Think about any trends in business or growing markets that you can use to your advantage. Learn about businesses that have proven to be profitable for other home-based business owners. And do not, under any circumstances, be afraid or hesitant to think outside the box. In our culture, a crazy idea can very well lead to crazy money.

These home-based business ideas may transform your aspirations into action. You deserve to be your own boss – the captain of your own ship. Let your ship come into port!

All Grown Up – Why Your Small Business Needs A Web Solution, Not A Website

Raise your hand if you have a website for your small business. Now keep it raised if it is generating a significant volume of prospects or sales. Not holding your hand up anymore? You are not alone.

Just a few years ago, small companies flocked to the web in droves, rushing to post their first website, anxious at the prospect of low-cost instant exposure. The web was going to be the great equalizer, putting small business on par with the big brand names, dangling the promise of visitors flocking to a company’s site to purchase its wares or partake in its services. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, for most small businesses and organizations, the promise fell short and company sales did not skyrocket from an unending march of site visitors.

So, what happened? For one, the web quickly became ultra competitive. Millions of sites sprang up in every business category making it virtually impossible to be found in the search engines. What little bit of traffic the businesses may have enjoyed when the site was first launched began to dry up. Also, as the web evolved to become a more interactive user experience, it became more technologically complex and many small business websites did not keep up. The other part of the problem was in the approach; not understanding that just putting together a website, even a pretty one, and finding some faceless company offering cheap web hosting services is not likely to make you the next great success story. A large hurdle that many small business owners and managers face is the tendency to compartmentalize the web into a few oversimplified tasks: grab a cheap domain name, find a budget small business website design and development person, look for some impossibly low-priced website hosting, and then expect their website to magically appear on page one of Google. Unfortunately, this ends up being a waste of time and money.

A Solutions-Based Approach with Professional Guidance

To create an effective web presence requires a solutions-based approach with clear ideas about what you want to accomplish and who the audience is you are targeting. The right elements have to be present; a well orchestrated website design with cohesive branding, solid technical acumen, clearly defined objectives for the organization, reliable small business web hosting services and some method of marketing your site and tracking the results. The web is constantly evolving and search engine competition is fierce. Being successful on the web requires consistently evaluating the site’s effectiveness based on your objectives, understanding the latest technologies and trends, having a dynamic website marketing plan and constantly fine tuning.

While you don’t have to spend a fortune to create real value on the web, you should also be realistic. Understand that being successful will require an investment that you should plan for and a clear vision of how your website fits into the goals and objectives of the organization. If you don’t have the experience and technical resources in-house, working with a professional web solutions provider, preferably one specializing in small business web design and development can provide great benefits. A good starting point in the process is to have an understanding of the core elements that are part of a successful website strategy and how they fit together.

The Elements of a Web Solution

1) Domain names – Choosing the right domain name is an important branding decision which impacts how your organization is perceived and also how it is found in the search engines. Purchasing from a cheap bulk registrar or choosing can spell trouble.

2) Website Design & Development Services – Find a provider that specializes in small business web design and development. An organization that offers a solutions-based approach can assist your company in doing thorough needs analysis and in designing all of the elements to work well together. First impressions count!

3) E-mail Management – E-mail is a key communication tool for your business. The right system will help you maximize communications within the company, on the road and with your customers.

4) Social Media – Social media such as blogging, Podcasting and other web 2.0 tools can greatly enhance customer communications. Your web services company should be able to help you evaluate how social media tools can best benefit your web presence and business objects.

5) Small Business Website Hosting Services – All web hosting is NOT created equal. There are many nuances and technical consideration involved with hosting solutions. It is best to stay away from budget hosting companies. Look for a managed hosting provider who can help you select the right plan for your web solution goals, get your website up and running and support you as it grows and evolves.

6) Website Maintenance – How will your site be maintained and updated? Having both small business web development and managed web site hosting as a package is immensely helpful for maximizing web server resources, identifying problems and keeping the site maintained and updated.

7) E-Commerce – Will you be actually selling on your site or using it for lead generation or information dissemination? If you are selling products, who will create and maintain your product database. How will transactions be handled? What about web server requirements? Working with a professional can help ensure you make the right choices for your e-commerce site.

8) Business Process Interaction (database development, customer relationship management, integration with your business management systems) – A website needs to be more than just an ad on the Internet to be effective as a business tool. There are many ways the web can be used to improve your business processes and integrate with your existing systems such as accounting or contact management.

9) Website Marketing – How will people find you on the web? Will you optimize your site for organic search or employ paid marketing techniques or a combination? What directories should you list your site in? Search engine marketing has evolved to be a complex specialty. It’s critical that you understand the tools available for driving traffic to your site and if needed, know how to evaluate and engage a web marketing specialist.

10) Website Analytics and Conversion – Having a great site isn’t enough if your visitors aren’t doing what you intended; buying something, contacting your company or using your site for an information source. Does your site have usability issues? What kind of reporting will you use to track site visitors? What do you need to know and do to convert your visitors into action-takers?

It’s a Process and a Work in Progress

While there is certainly a lot to think about, creating the best possible website solution for your business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Your website can and should be a work in progress, evolving as your business grows. Because most small businesses do not have an internal IT staff to handle the technical elements of web development and planning, working with a web solutions provider that specializes in small business website hosting services and small business web design and development is a good start. Such an organization can help you identify your goals, manage the technical aspects of your site and guide you in your marketing efforts. They can also help you work within your budget to develop a plan that combines all the elements into a cohesive whole for creating and maintaining a successful web presence.

Conclusion

The web has grown up to be a terrific marketing medium for small businesses and organizations. Done right, it can be the most cost effective and powerful marketing and communication tool in your arsenal. The promise is still there. However, to truly leverage the power of the web, it is important to take a good, hard look at the website you currently have or the one you are thinking about creating. The elements of a successful web presence: small business web hosting, website design and development and web marketing are only the framework for a well thought-out web solution designed to reach your customers and truly benefit your business.