If you are a small business owner, you probably know how difficult it is to get finance for business, particularly for a first time small business entrepreneur. No need to hold off your dreams just because you are unable to get funds from bank or other sources. If you are unable to get a business loan, yet you are sure your business idea is going to work, you can turn to your friends and family for getting some funds. Taking money from friends or family is always considered a risky business and you have to be very tactful as well as truthful so that you don’t jeopardize your relation with them.
But you need to take the risk and go ahead with your plan if you want your dreams to come true. Here are some tips to help you get some cash for your startup:
1. Seek the right time:
You need to be patient and wait for the right time to ask for money. You cannot exploit a happy family moment to ask for money. Never ask for money when someone had a bad day or a fight, chances are you won’t be helped.
2. Show your faith and passion:
When you ask for money and tell them about your business plans, show optimism and faith in yourself. If you say stuff like that ‘I will try but’ you will end up having no money at all. So just stay upbeat, be very confident and share with them a colorful positive picture of your vision. Remember that no one will believe in you if you won’t believe in yourself.
3. Be Respectful and keep the right attitude:
If you are asking for their input in your dream and the project, they will obviously get involved and give you suggestions. So listen their suggestions, keep them updated about your project details and show respect if they stay around you. No one wants to see their money going down the drain so if you are actually taking their money, you are giving them a right to get involved.
4. Present a complete plan:
Nothing gets the confidence of a person than a neatly written down well sorted plan. If you want to go an extra mile to get the confidence of your family and friends, take the pain of planning out in a well-written format. You will surely impress them with your planning and dedication.
5. Sign an agreement:
Most people overlook this important point while dealing with friends or family, but let me tell you, it will save you in tough times. If they agree to give you some amount of cash, write down the agreement clearly, set down rules and mention the risks. Get it signed in the front of at least one informal witness.
6. Choose someone who can afford to lend:
When approaching a friend for money, make sure they can afford to lend or lose the money. Do not get the money from someone in dire need of cash themselves. Also ask for the minimum amount not the maximum.
Always keep the above points in mind before approaching a friend or family member for a loan for business. We all know how relationships can be ruined if one is not careful and not invested enough in the new business idea. Don’t ever make that mistake!
I love shopping! There, I said it. But managing a business, particularly a start up can suck up all your time and my regular shopping expeditions are not regular anymore. So what does a girl do? Online Shopping comes to the rescue. Though people have been shopping online for quite some time in the rest of the world, in India we are generally more wary of Online Shopping. But thanks to a slew of new e-commerce websites in the last couple of years offering COD (Cash on Delivery), more and more people are jumping the Online Shopping bandwagon.
I am sure that almost every month you hear of a new shopping website. Now with so many choices to go for, which site do you choose? The main thing that defines online shopping experience apart from ease of website navigation and payment is Customer Support. I do quite a bit of Online Shopping, so I am going to list my experiences with some of the popular shopping sites.
I have had some of my best shopping experiences with Jabong.com. I have shopped 4 times on this website and every time I was dazzled by their great customer service. Need some extra info about clothes or shoes sizing? Just call them and they will help you out. Not at home when the product is delivered? Just ask the courier guy to deliver the products to your next door neighbor after verifying and they will do it gladly. Apart from the great customer service, they have a good website with excellent navigation, a great selection of products ranging from Apparels for Men, Women and Kids to Cosmetics and Home Accessories. Highly recommended website!
Flipkart is a great website for Electronics, Computers, TV, Books, Mobiles and related accessories. I have shopped thrice on Flipkart and every time they have delivered within the next day. Though I have read some bad reviews about Flipkart recently, my experience with them has been good. (Maybe I was lucky or maybe they have improved their customer service!).
Though I personally don’t like the website design much, but it is functional and usable and that’s what matters most in a e-commerce website.
I am on the fence about this website. I love a great deal as much as the next person and this website offers some pretty great deals on High Street and Designer brands as well as some local Indian brands. I have shopped 4 times on this website. First time, it was a good experience. I received the products on time. Second time I ordered a handbag from a brand I had not heard about. But the bag looked nice and the discounted price of the bag was a fraction of the original price. I thought I was getting a good deal and so I ordered it. When I received the product, it was really low quality and I believe that the discounted price should be the actual price (not the original price mentioned on the site). So I think you should stay away from the lesser known brands as it is just a marketing ploy to show a huge discount on the products. Being a compulsive shopper, I could not stay away from this website (who can resist Guess, FCUK, Zara at 80% discount!). So I shopped yet again and ordered some known brands. Though this time I got the right products, the delivery took more time than mentioned on website and I had to call their Customer Care several times. Now I shopped once again on this website, ordered a popular Indian brand shoes and got the same shoes but the brand name was different (I had not heard of it). I did not call Customer Care as I know they are not too prompt and just decided to not shop on this site any more. But who knows if the next big sale can lure me or not?
My verdict: Shop with caution on this website. Don’t order lesser known brands and don’t trust the delivery time mentioned on their website.
Babyoye.com is a popular store for Baby and Maternity products and is endorsed by Bollywood actress Karishma Kapoor. I had heard a lot about this online store and finally ordered some products a couple of months ago. I ordered two different categories of products and interestingly they sent me two separate invoices. Also one of the product was delivered promptly and the other one took almost 15 days and that too after many emails to their Customer Support. Though I must say they were prompt in communication. This may be a one time glitch and I think I should not judge the website based on this. Maybe I will give it another try soon. Also their in-house brand baby clothes were of good quality.
This is another Baby products store. They have a decent collection of baby and maternity essentials and the website is pretty good too. I ordered a few products once and I got them on time. They also have occasional good sales on the website. Worth to give it a try!
This is a a great website for Cosmetics, Accessories and Personal Care items. I shopped for cosmetics online for the very first time on this website. Their customer support is great and I received all my orders within 3-4 business days.
One suggestion: They should stock some more brands. Right now it is very limited.
Now this is a website that is different from countless other websites selling Women’s clothes, accessories, makeup etc. They have a wide selection of trendy products – some known brands and some unknown but stylish brands and in all budgets. What’s not to love? Well, their delivery time which is 20-27 days. They claim that they source their products from all over the world, so it takes time. I had ordered a product on their website and it was delivered after 22 days. That’s a big downer for me. Will I order from this site again? Maybe if I see something unique which is not available elsewhere. Also I won’t order anything expensive on this site considering the delivery issues.
If you love makeup, you are going to love this site. They have a great collection of cosmetics and provide good customer service. They ship within 3 days and offer free shipping for orders above Rs 250.
Also they have this amazing StyleCraze Community where you can interact with your fellow makeup addicts.
(Update: Due to a recent change in their business model, they no longer run the eCommerce website and now focus solely on the Community.)
This website has a good collection of some High Street brands like Mango, Aldo, Nine West etc. and also some good cosmetics brands, particularly Inglot. The website is good if you are loyal to certain brands but in my view the site can benefit by adding some more variety and more brands. I had ordered Inglot Cosmetics once here and got the order on time. So no complaints there. I will definitely give it a try again.
I will post reviews of some other websites soon. I would love to hear your views and experiences on these shopping websites.
(Note: I was not paid for this review and am not biased towards any website. This post is based on my personal experience)
Ok, so you have started your small business. Now comes the tough part- running your business smoothly and effectively. You need to have a basic money sense to do that. You don’t really need to get an accounts degree for having a good money management sense. You just need to know the basics of money handling. If you can afford an accountant, nothing can be better than that. But there are several aspects of money management that you should keep in mind to keep a check on what your accountant has been doing. You really don’t want a high debt and a negative balance sheet in the long run.
So let us understand some money principles to follow:
1. Book keeping knowledge :
Let us start with some book keeping knowledge. As stated above, you don’t need to have a degree in accounts but a general knowledge is a must to keep your business engines in fast gear. The best entrepreneurs keep themselves armed with the knowledge of money basics. You just need to know about cash flow, inventory management, assets and liabilities, how your credit card works, how to read a balance sheet and income statements. All these important aspects should be on your fingertips for gaining an insight into your money flow.
Most of the people I know don’t care about the importance of good banking. Your business’s actual financial health is going to depend largely on your bank. You bank’s offers and usage, its maintenance fees, cash withdrawal fees, online banking facility, interest rates and overseas draft fees will surely suck up your budget if you don’t choose wisely. Use a bank specifically providing services for small business if you can have the option. This will benefit you in a lot of ways.
3. Assets and Liabilities:
So, what is an asset and what is a liability? An asset is anything which is helping you bringing in cash. Liability is anything which is exactly the opposite. Office furniture is a liability while your product is an asset. If you concentrate on how to develop assets and decrease liability, you will definitely stay on the money management success road.
4. Credit management :
Credit money is the plastic money which has been replacing the old money payment methods like check and cash. It is quite important for online entrepreneurs to use credit cards for payments. All you need is to open a credit merchant account. But your fees will be calculated with your business’s credit score. So keep a healthy credit score. Also the credit score of your business will impact widely on your options for taking interest. Low credit scores often result in the refusal of loan or higher interest rate. So if you are using a credit account, try making payments on time for the future of your business.
And last but far from least you should have a budget. No business, home or country can run without a proper budget. You can use accounting software to make budgets which are very accurate and easy to use. If you are bootstrapping, you can search for some free accounting software or get good software for a very small amount (far cheaper than hiring an accountant). You should set aside some money for taxes as well as plan in advance for some anticipated big expenses like upgrading software/computer, office renovation etc.
Having a proper financial system in place will avoid unpleasant surprises in future.