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How to Manage the Start-up Cost of a Business

How to Manage the Start-up Cost of a Business

Starting a business is never easy. Regardless of size, industry, and the nature of what you are intending to sell, establishing an organization for the sake of generating profit will require a lot of sacrifice. As well as physical resources, time, energy, relationships, and peace of mind are just some of the things that aspiring entrepreneurs must be prepared to exhaust the moment they decide to follow through with their start-up.

It doesn’t matter if you have the most innovative business idea of all or if you are the foremost expert in the field you’re about to enter; without proper knowledge of how to generate and handle finances properly, your business will fail. Of course, coming up with a business plan is the first step. After establishing the creative aspect of your business model, you need to determine your objectives, needs, and expected sales forecast based on the initial scale you have in mind. Once you have all of these set in place, you can start your pursuit for capital.

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Producing and managing assets are two very different things. While the first one will challenge mostly your creativity and resourcefulness, the latter requires more focus and organization. Here are some practical tips that can help you in both areas:

1. Ask Uncle Sam.

Believe it or not, the federal government is one of the best sources of funds for entrepreneurs managing the start-up cost of a business, even during times of financial crisis. One bureau to approach is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a branch of the government that offers grants to co-fund “high-risk, high-payoff” projects with the hope of providing Americans a higher standard of living. However, keep in mind that government agencies get tens of thousands of requests for grants each year and are therefore are very selective.

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2. Look around you.

One of the biggest mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make is being too focused on finding money outside their homes and not looking at existing resources that they can convert to cash. Do you have any clothes that you can sell at the local surplus shop? What about kitchen utensils you aren’t using or toys that you’ve outgrown? Be creative. There are many places you can go to raise some extra cash. Why not check out some freelance jobs on the Internet for some extra income?

3. Get a loan.

As an entrepreneur managing the start-up cost of your business, you should be aware that—unless you’ve got a lot of extra cash stored in your basement—you will likely need to apply for a loan. The trick here is to find the institution that will offer you the best terms. Don’t be afraid to ask around and try to get a loan that will be enough to cover all of your initial expenses and sustain your operation for 6 to 12 months. In that same vein, make sure that you do some credit monitoring as well. Checking your credit score at freecreditscore.com can help you narrow down your choices by giving you an idea as to which types of loans and interest amounts you qualify for.

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4. Acquire a credit card.

You may be thinking, “Isn’t getting a loan enough?” but chances are that it isn’t. Any business is at risk of failing due to a multitude of unforeseen circumstances, such as an increase in the price of raw materials, the sudden appearance of a formidable competitor, or even something as sudden as a tornado. It’s always better to have places where you can pull up extra funds in case of an unexpected incident. Again, checking your credit score prior to applying for a card is important because having lenders deny your application due to a low score can lower your score even further.

5. Practice good management.

So you’ve already acquired the funds you need for your business. What do you do now? Keep in mind that running a business entails a lot of strategizing and math. As an entrepreneur managing the startup cost of your business, you must be prepared to do a lot of management. Make sure every single thing you purchase is documented and properly categorized as either an asset or an expense. Keep your record books clean and your files organized and be sure to always maximize any resources you have at hand. These are the makings of a good businessperson.

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6. Don’t forget about credit monitoring.

Part of managing your business is making sure that all your payables (business and personal) are paid on time. Remember that you and your business’ credit score are now connected to each other, so be sure to always keep on top of anything that needs settling. The importance of doing this cannot be overemphasized. If you’re thinking of sticking with your business for the long haul, then keep in mind that regularly checking your credit score can help you get better business opportunities in the future.

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Joy Mali

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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