Thinking of starting a business at home? You'll find out fast that making money is your second-biggest challenge. The first is learning how to run a professional operation that customers and clients respect.
I learned the hard way. I
I would like to work out of my home, but all the offers that I've looked into are scams. How can I get in touch with legitimate employers?
While many companies allow employees to telecommute for all or part of their workweek, it will
Starting a business with only a few thousand dollars may not appeal to the faint-hearted, but energetic entrepreneurs can often make up in ingenuity and "sweat equity" what they lack in capital. Even seasoned owners like Lisa Wong, who
Angel investors pick up some of the slack left by venture capital firms. Usually, a company requires equity financing every time it doubles in size or, on average, every four years. About 100,000 companies need equity capital every year. An
Currently, the average amount venture capitalists invest in companies is a hefty $5.4 million. But whether you're seeking a mere hundred thousand for some market research or double-digit millions, you must still convince backers you can
If you're just starting and could use help with a variety of issues from management and industry networking to tech support, a business incubator may be the way to go. Typically, incubator groups provide startup assistance, including cheap
Because I had trouble getting a loan, I decided to start my business by charging everything on my credit card. It seems like a lot of women have gone this route. Any tips?
Decades ago, women couldn't even get credit cards, and now we're
I am a 22-year-old college student. After giving the idea careful consideration, I have decided to leave school and start my own graphic design business. I only need around $2,200 to get started, but I don't know many people in a position
I have an idea for a product that mothers with young children could use. What steps should I take to make my idea into a business?
You've taken the most important step: identifying your product and customers.
Next you should check out
I am interested in starting a holistic healing and help center with massage, water therapy, yoga and tai chi. I have done some Internet research on grants and loans available to women, but I keep finding sites that charge for this
I am an American living in China. I would like to start a business selling hand-knit sweaters made here, and my main market will be the U.S. (I'll sell online). My question is, do I need to have a quota to open my business?
Yes, you do
I have invented a new mobile device. I've documented my invention on paper, dated it, put it in a sealed envelope and sent it by certified mail to myself. What's the next step to take to protect my invention and then begin to market
I want to start a Web-based consulting company with a partner. I've heard many conflicting things about corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships. I don't know whether I should incorporate or not. What are the advantages
Unfortunately, there are many chances to get involved in a legal dispute while running a small business. Every interaction with an employee, vendor, customer or another business creates the possibility of a future legal conflict. You need
Even though you or your business may have been "wronged" in some fashion, it does not always mean you should file a lawsuit and sue to protect your rights. Deciding whether to sue is a decision that should be made only after careful,
For one reason or another, you find you need a lawyer. Perhaps the business is new and you're wondering if you should formalize an agreement with your partner. Or maybe you've outgrown your home office and want to lease or buy commercial
Purchasing a franchise can be a good entry strategy for entrepreneurs. It eliminates many of the headaches associated with starting a new venture from scratch. It is also an opportunity for you to benefit from the experience, knowledge,
Getting a small business up and running can be complicated, but it is only the beginning. Once the business is operational, there are many steps you need to take to ensure it runs smoothly.
Every business needs
Small businesses are the most rapidly changing sector of business, and the proliferation of electronic commerce is evidence of entrepreneurs' rush to meet growing market demands. Small businesses are tapping into the Internet to conduct
If you own an interest in a business, whether it's a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, you need an estate plan. You've probably put a lot of time, energy and sweat equity into your business, and you probably did it without
Many issues arise when you create an advertising program for your small business. When preparing an advertising program, it is essential for you to be certain you do not violate the rights of other businesses or individuals; there are
Every business that provides goods or services to the public is considered a public accommodation and must comply with accessibility and nondiscrimination requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition to preventing
Over time laws have developed to protect consumers who receive faulty products. There are several different methods of protection, including:
consumer protection laws, and
product liability lawsuits.
There are several ways to deal with collection problems, ranging from preventive action to initiating a lawsuit. If, as a business owner, you are fortunate enough to deal with people who always pay their bills on time, the remaining portion
Business insurance protects the contents of your business against fire, theft and other losses. All businesses need to purchase a number of basic types of insurance--some insurance is required by law; others simply make good business sense.
Some entrepreneurs start charitable nonprofit organizations, designated as 501(c)(3), that qualify for exemption from federal income tax. With a nonprofit organization, the entrepreneur identifies a need in the community that is currently
A limited liability company (LLC) is a business form that combines the limited liability features of a corporation with the tax advantages available to the sole proprietor or partnerships. An entrepreneur conducting business through an LLC
A corporation is a legal entity that has been created to do business. It can be taxed and held legally liable for its actions. The corporation is a separate entity from those who founded it.
For tax purposes, there are two basic types of
You may choose to join forces with one or more other people to own and operate your business, as a "partnership," in legal terms.
There are two types of partnerships:
General partnership, in which each of the partners has personal
You may choose to own and operate your business individually, as a "sole proprietorship," in legal terms. Essentially, a sole proprietorship is a business that is owned by one person. This is the easiest type of business to start, and the
Sole proprietorships and partnerships have advantageous tax consequences, but they can expose the sole proprietor and general partners to liability. Corporations, on the other hand, shield the shareholders and managers from liability, but
The old American dream of owning and managing one's own business is alive and well--stronger now than ever before. Latest statistics show that one out of every three Americans is involved in a new or small business. Many of these businesses
Every business needs money to survive, and every business must pay taxes on its earnings. Managing your finances and taxes can be very complicated.
Of course you need money to start your business, but raising
One of the first steps in any business is financial planning. If you know where your financing is coming from, you need a plan to manage it. If you need to raise money, financial plans will help you determine how much money you need and the
Because you are a business owner, you have a dual role when it comes to taxes. On the one hand, you serve as a tax collector, taking payroll deductions for federal income tax, Social Security and other taxes from your employees, taking
Even if you hated math in high school, keeping a good financial record of every one of your business transactions--whether it's checks received or cash receipts for highway tolls paid while traveling on business--is a basic necessity. After
Finding capital is a standard problem for most entrepreneurs. Raising money is an art. Fortunately, it is one you can learn. It is critical to gain knowledge of the money market, the people in it and how to interact with them. Your ability
The entrepreneurial trend is here to stay and expanding worldwide. However, a new model of entrepreneurship is emerging--the buyout entrepreneur. This individual buys a business instead of starting one from scratch. Many entrepreneurs are
When you consider all the areas in which you must make decisions, nothing can be as time-consuming or as important as determining your service providers. If your phone system does not work correctly or your office equipment does not perform
Before you can start a business, you need to decide where to locate that business. This decision will depend on many factors, including what type of business you are starting, what type of customers or clients you are expecting and what you
The name of your business should give people an idea of the type of business you are in, and be distinctive enough that people will remember it. If that isn't difficult enough, in addition to thinking up the perfect name, you must also take
Generally, contracting opportunities with the federal government are available to any business, but there are special programs to encourage participation by small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses and women-owned businesses. Often
An abundance of venture opportunities exists in various industries with growing markets such as computer technology, the Internet, children's products, ethnic products, specialty boutiques and pet pampering. Just a few of today's hot
I want to start a mail-order based business, so, I ordered a kit that offers advice on what items would be lucrative to sell on the Internet. The company offers a money-back guarantee if purchases are not satisfied. Does this sound like a
I am in the process of purchasing two rest homes, and I need a bridge loan until I can get HUD financing in place. I need to borrow $100,000 for approximately 60 days, which will be returned at the closing with interest. I was recently
When creating my business plan, how should I present and lay out the competitor-analysis section? And for my customer and market analyses, I need statistics on the estimated number of people studying in MBA programs in the U.S.
International business is hot these days -- but it's very hard to break into, because most companies want you to pay your dues stateside before sending you abroad. Job descriptions are actually hard to come by in written form, because the
I want a promotion, but my boss won't make a decision about who should become office manager when the current person retires at the end of the year. Should I be aggressive in my approach, or do you recommend I wait and see?
A friend of
How can I find a career coach in the offline world? In what way can a coach be helpful?
The new breed of coaches are more like business consultants. They focus on working with managers to set goals and maximize performance - on the job
I am three months pregnant (not showing) and out of a job. Is telling a prospective employer I'm pregnant a guarantee I won't get a job? Is not telling deceitful?
First of all, congratulations. But you're stuck between a rock and a hard
My boss keeps trying to schedule a meeting to discuss my long-term career goals. Frankly, my goals have nothing to do with him, his company or anything else I'm doing right now. I think he sees a future for me here, but I definitely do not.
I've been offered a good management assignment overseas. What would accepting the position do for my career? Is leaving headquarters a good or bad career move?
I'm looking in my crystal ball -- and I'm seeing good things. Though the
I am 40 years old and have just begun my second semester back at college pursuing a degree in teaching special education. I took time off from working to raise my children. Many people say I'm wasting my time because I'll be nearly 45 years
My last employer is out of business, and I can't use my present employer for references because I don't want them to know I'm leaving. My previous job referrals are more than 10 years old. Should I ask present co-workers? I'm afraid that
I am up for a six-month evaluation soon and I think I deserve a raise. Is it crazy to ask for a raise after only six months?
It's never crazy to ask for a raise if you've got a good argument as to why you deserve it - and if your
How long should I wait before calling or emailing a potential employer a second time? Are there any guidelines for phone inquiries and messages? Thanks so much.
This is always a tough one. It's a bit like walking a tightrope. You don't
Job interviewers always ask how much money I am earning. Do I have to tell the truth?
Let's get one thing straight: Salary negotiations are a game and the stakes are high.
So, how do you win this game? Tell the truth. But remember
I'm starting a small business on a limited budget and trying to make every dollar count. Is it absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer and an accountant?
Like preventive medical care vs. critical emergency care, it's preferable to get
My husband and I have an incorporated business. We are considering developing a division that would sell items online for a mail-order service. What are the laws, standards and/or guidelines for creating a division of your
How does one go about setting up a non-profit organization? Is there an online source for more information on this subject, or a government page?
While some businesses end up as non-profits accidentally -- they just can't seem to make a
Our exempt salaried staff members receive comp time for hours over 45 worked in a given week (normal workweek is 37.5 hours). They're disgruntled because they think they're being "used" between 37 and 44 hours. Are they entitled to
I'm familiar with online marketing methods such as search engine optimization, social media, and pay-per-click advertising. Can you give me some offline marketing ideas?
Surprisingly, the most effective advertising is free: word of
A friend and I want to start a business together. Do you have any tips on how to make this partnership work?
Having a partner means having someone to share the joys of success and the pains of failure with, but be sure that you're not
I currently have a corporation in New Jersey. I have moved to Florida and have continued to do business under the corporation's name. Do I have to move the corporation to the state of Florida?
Theoretically, while your corporation
My husband owns a dump truck business, and I do the bookkeeping. I also have a full-time job outside our home. He is currently expanding, and I feel so stressed out that I am considering resigning from my outside job. How can I be sure I am
I have the idea, business plan and capital for a business. My problem is protecting my idea. I'm scared that since I have little experience in the field I wish to venture in, if I ask for advice or capital, someone with more experience can
For the past couple of years I've given friends marketing advice for their start-up or small businesses, ranging from letters of introduction to promotional ideas. Many of my friends have said I should start freelance consulting instead of
What's the biggest downside to buying a franchise? What are the advantages of owning one?
Cost, pure and simple. If you buy into a proven franchise, the up-front ticket can run high -- up to a million for a McDonald's. If you choose a
I need help with a business plan for a spa and salon. SBA training courses have provided a lot of good information on how to run a business, but I want to start with a business plan. Who should I talk to about writing a successful business
In order to get your venture fully operational, you need financing. You will need money for equipment, offices, staff, marketing, and supplies. In other words, you need capital to start up. Although similar, seed capital and startup capital
If your networking and contacts find the door to capitalizing your company, the business plan is your key to opening it. It is especially important to entrepreneurs, who can use a solid document to defeat any credibility issues about your
The money for your business can come from many different places. Most ventures are funded by a combination of sources, including any or all of the following:
Personal savings and "sweat equity," or your unpaid hours, are an expected
I am a company director living in Spain. About two months ago, I started a small Web site-designing business with the help of six other people. So far, the business is not running so well, although I'm trying my best to be a good manager.
Picking a business name can be hard work: You're creating your own brand. And with so many names out there already, the task of finding a unique name can require some creative thinking. In addition, you'll need to meet local legal
What questions are appropriate to ask other franchisees? I'm applying to buy a franchise. As part of the application process, I have to visit several current franchisees. It is appropriate to ask them about net margins, gross sales, and
You may be going into business for yourself, but you shouldn't be doing it alone. Even if you have a great idea and the drive to make it happen, you may not have all the skills you need. To fill in those blanks, you need two types of people
I have a small business startup. Friends often ask me to do work for them, but I have a hard time charging them. Some say they will pay me, but I turn them down. I need to maintain a profit margin, but I keep getting caught in the same
Finding a proactive accountant -- one who goes beyond simply preparing your tax returns -- can help chart your financial course and put you in control of your money. Whatever your level of knowledge, accountants can help you better
How is the value of a company established? I have been offered the chance to purchase a company that has minimal assets but a very lucrative contract that generates substantial cash flow and profit. The problem is calculating the value of
The answer to the question "Is your business profitable?" seems like it should be obvious from a quick look at the checkbook or a nod from an accountant. As counterintuitive as it is, small business owners are sometimes among the last to
How can I get a company to consider my ideas and products for licensing? Do you have any suggestions for convincing an existing company to consider my business's ideas and products for licensing? Many companies say they can't consider my
In the previous article, "How To Plan A Print Marketing Campaign", we discussed successful approaches to marketing via direct mail, flyers, newsletters, and other print media. Now it's time to address the bottom line: results.
Writing a business plan is one of the most demanding and tedious challenges facing entrepreneurs, invariably taking dozens or even hundreds of hours of executive time. And as your business grows the task becomes ever more daunting, simply
I am having cash-flow problems. Should I obtain a line of credit to cover expenses? A few years ago I started a janitorial company. Originally, I kept my previous job, but last year I began working on my business full-time, and now I'm
Internet marketing is the buzz of the news media and business world. Forrester Research predicts that online advertising expenditures will reach $77 billion by the year 2016, comprising 35% of overall ad spending. Yet despite the Internet's
If you manage large projects or several smaller projects, you need to track how your staff is used, how your machinery and equipment is used, all while keeping up with the project schedule. The goal is to maximize all of your resources so
Dreams of quick cash and flexible schedules lure many people into losing $$$ in nasty scams. How do you know whether a work-at-home proposal is legit? Get answers to the questions below. Reputable companies won’t charge you for this
Also called the Grant of Franchise, the Franchise Agreement outlines the terms of the franchise. The agreement should work for both the franchisor and the franchisee. Be sure that you review the document with a financial advisor and an
Here's a nightmare scenario for you: You own a bakery and you've just leased a new building. Suddenly you discover the loading docks are not the right height so your bread racks can't roll into the back of delivery trucks. Now what do you
It's the first of the month. Your creditors are waiting for payment, you have to bill your customers, and you can't seem to find that form letter you created on your computer. What a mess! Your business may be off the ground, but it won't
Some people are so eager to work at home that they become easy prey for scammers who hawk so-called business opportunities that simply take the investor's money and run. Envelope stuffing and coupon clipping are two of the most notorious
A well-written and thoroughly researched business plan is increasingly viewed as a critical element for the success of any new business. Not only does it serve to introduce your business ideas to potential lenders or investors, it can serve
During the past decade we have witnessed a shift in the way Americans work. Telecommuting, job-sharing, part-time professional work, and the increase in temporary employment have altered our concept of how we earn a living. But amidst this
Order you resume headings according to the most relevant information in a place that will catch the reader’s eye.
Important information to include: Name, address, home phone number, work phone number and email address.
Provide a Job or
Are the group dynamics at your workplace beneficial, or do the staff meetings fall apart at the drop of a hat? The committee approach to business can be extremely effective - when carried out properly. Discover expert management techniques
An extremely critical area of effective teamwork is group trust. There are many signs that a group lacks trust – complaining, vicious criticism and backbiting. Less obvious indicators include employees conforming to the group with a
Mothers and others. Work from Home. Full-Time Pay, Part-Time Work. You've probably seen these ads in the back of magazines and wondered if they are just too good to be true. Is there really a way to work from home and make money in the
One of the most common traits among successful entrepreneurs is frugality. Being frugal means making wise spending decisions, not purchasing more services and equipment than you actually need. Use creativity instead of cash to generate
A home business presents an obvious problem: You might be too comfortable. You must stay dedicated to what you’re doing and be willing to work hard. You’ll find that organization and discipline can overcome a lot of obstacles, including the
You need a second pair of hands and you'd like them attached to the perfect person for the job. Hiring your first employee is a big step, and most of your thinking and calculating should happen before you file your first "Help Wanted" ad.
Can you combine something that you love to do with the structure of a business plan? Find a passion and pursue it, and success will follow. Inventory your skills and find out what you like to do. If you turn to someone else for ideas,
Setting up a home office? Starting a small business? It's a real balancing act of money coming in vs. money going out, so you probably want to cut costs wherever you can. Here are a few suggestions and money-saving strategies that might be
What do you like to do? When starting a home business, it makes sense to do something that you enjoy. Be sure that you are genuinely interested in the area you are about to pursue and have a thorough knowledge base from which to work from.
Flexibility plays a major role in your relationship with clients. Effectively relating to your customers and pinpointing their needs will help you to build a loyal customer base. In addition, it will earn you a reputation as an invaluable
There are two types of franchising: product or trade-name franchising and business-format franchising. Product and trade-name franchises designate a territory for the sale of the product. The licensee pays for the privilege of representing
There are many skills that a successful entrepreneur uses to run a business. Listed amongst the most important is the ability to set goals. Goals are especially important for home business entrepreneurs who may get distracted with household