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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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