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This is an article from e-paper Business Standard appeared on Jul 22, 2010 in page 14

How to Start Your Own Business Without Money

originated by:Abigail Michael, Teresa, Bjashes2, BR (see all) Article Edit Discuss View History

Creating and sustaining your own business is still the surest way to wealth. It is by far the more difficult route to take, but many have succeeded. There is a fallacy mindset that you need money in order to start a business. The purpose of this article is to challenge that mindset. Possessing the right knowledge and having perseverance and dedication is more important. Being prepared to fail a few times is also vital to your ultimate success.

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1. 1 'Grow' some passion and determination. Determination is the separating factor. Passion drives determination. Find some areas you are passionate about and grow your skills in those areas through studies, training courses and the practical application of knowledge and skill. Find ways to make money out of your passion rather than resorting to making the niche that makes you money your passion. 2. Be prepared to reinvent yourself. Flexibility is also a great asset as you may have to reinvent yourself a few times to find the right slant to tackle the niche you have chosen to operate in. Be prepared to give up one niche for another in the short term, moving with the times and changes in the economic climate and consumer demand. 3. 3 Conduct a few tests run on your ideas to evolve them. Preparation and planning is vital before setting out on any venture. Business plans are evolving documents. Draft one and then ignore it for one year. Compare the practical rolling out of your business venture with your original business plan, and then refine the plan again. Work on this at least once a year going forward. Favor the least expensive idea over the cost-heavy one. 4. 4 Start your business whilst still employed. 90% of entrepreneurs started off as employees in some or another capacity prior to venturing out on their own. Firstly, never

sign an employment contract containing a restraint of trade. Then, once you have adequate knowledge and experience, the ideal is to make the transition from a full time employee to a consultant, still in the same industry or even better, within the same Company. Slowly set yourself free from your familiar working environment in this manner. This allows you a soft landing, which is good for your mind and emotions and also gives you opportunity to have more flexibility of time in order to grow business opportunities and test business ideas without impacting your pocket too adversely within the first vital year of trade. 5. 5 Find opportunities to build skills you require succeeding in the area you intend operating in, with as little cost as possible. Find ways to make lucrative deals with training institutions or Companies to have them pay for your training in exchange for services rendered. We live in a results-driven society. 6. 6 Remember that the customer is most important. Always understand what the customer wants. Derive the best way to satisfy those wants. The main focus of any business is customer satisfaction. (secondary focus should then be quality, cost/profit, appearance, function of product/service, etc etc...) 7. 7 Let your creativity replace your money. Get back to basics. Leverage and minimize the need for cash and aggressively increase sales activity through developing and implementing creative ideas and concepts. Always think big. Take massive action towards your goals and persist until you succeed. 8. 8 Remember you are your best employee. Keep it small and cost free in the beginning. Be loathe and hesitant to employ people, unless you are guaranteed of their return on investment. If this is a gray area, rather dont do it. Salaries are usually the greatest management expense in any business. You want to keep these costs as low as possible, in the beginning and throughout the life cycle of your business.

9. 9 Involve your family in your business (wife, husband and children). Give them joined ownership of the success of your business. Many large Corporations have been in family generations for years. At the very least, entrepreneurs who started these great Companies have, in their children, totally dedicated Company leaders who can be entrusted with anything. Make sure your family agrees what you are planning to do. This is because you will use the family resources, the time, the money, the health, the nerves. After becoming the boss in your business you may soon become bossy in your family too. To avoid jeopardizing your family-life, discuss the business rules with your family and stick to the agreed plans. After all it still may be fun to run a family business, but things can go terribly bad, if you divorce yourself from your family-life. 10. 10 Try to avoid Partnerships. Few were made in heaven. Most were born in hell. Rather make people partners in various aspects, but never sign anything on a dotted line in this regard. Be careful when using the term partner with business associates, as the legal concept of promissory stoppers (the spoken word superseding a written contract) might bite you at a later stage, especially if you start making money. 11. 11 If you have a home, this is where your first office has to be. Write off a part of your home to rental in your books, and pay this money into your bond, if you have one. The reason for suggesting this is obvious. 12. 12 Build your ability to barter. When all else fails, negotiate. This is often the dividing line between a full time employee of a Company and an entrepreneur. In some countries, you have to negotiate a price for virtually anything. Try visiting one of those countries for a while to get some fun practice in. This is a skill you need to build as it requires strategic know-how and confidence. Take risks (but protect your legal rights) and you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. 13. 13 Give discounts and offer better value for money than competitors. Money talks. Consumers want value for money and abhor the idea of being ripped off. Make good on your promises and never be tempted to engage in false advertising as it will ruin you and your business reputation in no time. Ensure your profit margins are protected when deciding on this aspect.

14. 14 Make up for the absence of money with hard work. If you enjoy what you do, investing long hours in your business will often feel like fun and you will do it willingly. If you are forced to do something you dont enjoy too much to bring in income (only allow this for short term spurts) and are required to spend excess time doing it; ensure you carefully manage your stress levels. You may experience burnout before you start making real money or get anywhere in the ventures you are truly passionate about. This is a sure path back to becoming a paid employee all over again. 15. 15 Know your rights. Having sound knowledge of Commercial Law, especially the Law of Contract and your Countries Legislative requirements in as far as business owners are concerned is important to succeed as an entrepreneur. Seeking Legal Counsel for every small aspect concerning the law will bankrupt you in no time. Rather build this skill and knowledge as far as you can before you begin forking out money to pay for it. 16. 16 Look after your physical, mental and emotional state. If you lose your health, you lose it all. A healthy body, mind and soul (emotions included) are vital to success as a business owner. Try and get some income protector insurance in place as a self-employed person cannot afford to lose income to this possibility. Your gym fee is an important monthly expense and dont be tempted to compromise on that when finances become tight. Keep grounded in your faith as you will need strength of spirit to survive the jungle out there. 17. 17 Get the balance right. Live life within balance. Even when you are starting out a business without a cent in the bank. Losing your balance and perspective in life will make you poorer in the long run and is never a risk worth taking. Never miss a nights sleep. Additionally, it is a bad idea to be taking drugs to aid your performance ability or to meddle with your regular healthy eating and exercise plans. This will break you down and cause you to make irrational, emotional decisions which are never a good thing in business.

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Try and avoid borrowing money, wherever possible. Cash is King. Keep it that way. If you dont have money, dont spend it and dont take on large operating expenses in faith at any stage. Try and avoid committing to long term contracts, like leases or fixed employment contracts for employees in the beginning. As you are uncertain as to how things will pan

out in the first year of operating in particular (the experimentation phase), making major commitments of this nature is plain foolishness. Just dont do it. Dont flippantly share your business ideas with others. Ever had a fantastic business idea stolen? If you have, you will unlikely be so foolish again. The betrayal element could destroy your confidence entirely. Prevention is better than cure in this instance.

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Date:June 27, 2010 Categories: Work World

How to Make Your Business Life Easier

originated by:CharlyNicole, Wireless Powerlines, Maluniu, Anonymous (see all)

Let's face it; the business world can be tough, stressful, and hectic. Here are some tips to help make it a little easier and a little less stressful.

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1. 1 Perform background checks on your potential employees before you hire them. It will save you a great deal of stress later on than by just hiring the first people that come into your office. 2. 2 Check their references. Chances are that you asked for them, so actually check them. You can weed out many that won't be a good fit before you waste any more of their or your own time. 3. 3 Look into getting some kind of compliance software. This will help you avoid lawsuits and things like that. 4. 4 Get organized. Organization is key to having a successfully operating business. And this means less stress for you in the long-run. 5. 5 Make sure your employees are happy and working hard. These usually go hand in hand; they are more apt to work hard if they are happy with the work environment. The easiest way to do this is through survey software. It will allow you to customize questions to find out about little issues before they turn into large problems that will disrupt the work ambiance. 6. 6 Help them de-stress. Employees can be considered the lifeblood of a company, therefore helping them not be overburdened by stress is a necessity. Offer things like a monthly discount towards a health club. This way, they will be able to work out their tension and be ready for another day of work.

7. 7 Keep your customers coming back. Easier said than done, right? But by having great customer service and offering the occasional giveaway or incentive, you will retain those customers for years to come. 8. 8 Update your business as technology improves. This will keep you in the competition. For the most case, you have to be modern to get new clientele. 9. 9 Conduct market research on any new product or service that might be under consideration for launch. It is better to understand the market first to utilize the product or service potential. Quantitative market research is essential to obtain consumers opinions and to predict the futre trends of a market that a business operates in. 10. 10 Here are some more concrete steps: 11. 11 Have all employees know what is expected of them and how decisions regarding their work will be made. Never make the same decision twice. This is accomplished by creating a 'system' which is a written how-to manual for your business. Have all management edit it. Have all employees know how it applies to their conduct and their job. Whenever you have to make any decision, require your directs to identify the pertinent system rules. If there is none, create one. If there is confusion, rewrite it. 12. 12 Have management question all employees about the system, as to whether there is a better way to do something. Incorporate all workable ideas and make this an ongoing process. People are happy doing things the 'right way' and contributing to their work makes them more committed to your success. 13. 13 Focus on earnings, the true measure of a great business. Solicit ideas for 'spending money to make money' and pencil them out. Solicit ideas for reducing costs and evaluate the 'cost of reducing costs'. Solicit ideas for selling new or varied products and for presenting them in different ways. Evaluate their profit potential, and incorporate them in your 5-year plan.

14. 14 Focus on giving more to the customer. Solicit ideas for what else they may want. Consider dividing or combining products as well as new or varied ones. Include nonphysical things in your concept of 'product' such as 'shiny', 'hot', 'simple', 'tested', guaranteed', etc. Evaluate all ideas and devise a plan to schedule product improvements. Always test these ideas on a small scale before plunging in. 15. 15 Focus on your competition and learn why they are better or worse in every aspect. Use your competition's experience to learn the customer better. Do they have a broader customer base that you can reach with product/delivery changes? How can you benefit from their failures and their successes? 16. 16 Focus on your image. Are you perceived as smart, helpful guys with the best products at the best prices. Does your signage (packaging,business signs,etc) attract? Does your name attract? Do you have a good slogan? 17. 17 Focus on creativity. Look for creative people in your organization and hand them problems and review their solutions. They are the most powerful, under-looked and under-used resource available to you. Use your chain-of-command to funnel problems down and solutions up. Do not try to teach creativity, it can not be taught, only identified. 18. 18 Focus on directing rather than managing. Use managers to apply the 'system' and the policies stated above. Use directors to help you change the 'system' and the business. Do not necessarily expect management and direction to shine in the same persons. Remember that the business leader's job is improving the business, not managing it. Delegate, but review, all management work. Concentrate on soliciting and evaluating and incorporating ideas for improvement. 19. 19 Beware of over-planning. Plan any project/change in gross terms first for general budget and time-line acceptance. Then begin evolving/creating the idea in small steps. Although incomplete planning may cause extra work, it is faster and cheaper in the long run because visible results can be evaluated as you go forward and modifications made onthe-run. This approach will normally lead to better, quicker, lower-cost results than fully planned projects.

Date:31st july, 2010 subject:- News Article - Business Standard EAR TO THE UK-India Business Council is finalizing plans for a green bank but banks here are yet to create slots for green energy GROUND

Money to buy some sunshine

SREELATHA MENON The delegation led by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, which held talks with Indian business leaders last week, had some green ideas. One of these was a green bank that could finance renewable energy businesses. Will such a bank help small players in the interiors of the country or will it be confined to the big industries? It may help entrepreneurs but not end users, who need financial instruments designed to suit individual buyers, which only a small local rural bank can do. When a woman in a village in Karnataka bought a solar energy system from SELCO Solar Pvt. Ltd, a social enterprise that provides custom-made solar energy products ranging from electric lights to sewing machines to rural consumers, she badly needed a loan. There is no green bank in India or anywhere else. Nor are existing Indian banks green. None of their portfolios include loans for solar energy, despite India having launched a National Solar Mission with a target of 1,000 Mw by 2012 and 20,000 Mw by 2022. So, this woman, who earned Rs 800 a month and wanted to buy a system worth Rs 4,000, was helped by SELCO in getting a loan from the regional rural bank (RRB), which helped her by accepting the payback in easy installments Of course, at a whopping 14 per cent interest. SELCO Managing Director Harish Hande says the company would not have survived without RRBs. Hande calls RRB managers power houses of knowledge, who know when a villager can afford a loan and how installments should be timed to suit various rural occupations, weather conditions, and so on. Any green bank should have people with rural connect, he says. SELCO has trained village level entrepreneurs to repair solar systems supplied by the company in 18 districts of Karnataka. It is operating in Ahmadabad slums with SEVA Bank as partner. There are several enterprises like SELCO designing novel products for rural India and who have to enable the buyer with the means to buy. There is Vortex selling solar ATMs, Dlite selling lanterns, and, of course, NGOs like TERI selling lanterns. They draw from venture funds, from grants and to every small extent from banks. But for consumers financial needs, they are mostly helpless as interest rates are not attractive. According to Hande, green bank would be a wonderful asset as it would fund innovation. But what would really help and what was indispensable was creation of a space for renewable energy financing, both for the entrepreneur and the end user. We need energy inclusion as much as financial inclusion, says Hande.

Less than a per cent of banks slot of differential rate of interest for the poor is used today. If that is used to finance the renewable energy needs of the poor, that would be financial inclusion and energy inclusion in one go, says Hande. The Ministry of Renewable Energy this month expressed concern at the lack of bank credit for solar energy and a meeting with bankers is imminent, indicating that the tunnel is lit up at the other end.

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Featured Article Last edited: March 18, 2010 Categories: Featured Articles | Credit and Debt

How to Choose a Credit Counseling Agency

originated by:Waited, Krystle, John Comeau, Jack Herrick (see all)
Being in debt is not easy.

If you're struggling with debt, it can seem as though there's no one to turn to. But in reality, with the boom of consumer credit counseling agencies, there are plenty of people willing to talk with you about your debt problems. The question is, are they worth talking to? The answer depends on the agency. The steps below can help you avoid the ripoffs and choose the right credit counselor for you.

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1. 1

description Check with organizations you trust. Many universities, credit unions, military bases, housing authorities and local agencies (such as the USDA extension service in the U.S. and Citizens

Advice Bureaux in the U.K.) offer free or low-cost debt counseling. If you work for a large company, your employee assistance plan may also offer credit counseling or referrals. While these organizations typically don't offer debt management programs, they do provide a wide range of other services, including budget planning, and they can help you decide if a debt management program is right for you. 2. 2 Ask friends and family. Consumer debt is a widespread problem, so you might know someone who has already used a credit counseling service. Some people are hesitant to talk about financial matters, but it doesn't hurt to ask around, especially if you know someone has been through credit counseling. Friends, family, and other trusted associates can also provide a wealth of advice on financial issues. 3. 3 Look for a non-profit agency with a long history. Choosing a non-profit agency can help you minimize the cost of credit counseling, but be aware that non-profit status is no guarantee of an agency's legitimacy, and it's also no guarantee that their fees will be reasonable. Many credit counseling agencies are non-profits, and some are better than others. The longer an agency has been in business, the more likely it is that it is legitimate and won't go out of business after you've begun a debt management plan with them, so try to find one that has been in business for at least 5-10 years. 4. 4 Find an accredited agency. In the U.S., make sure an agency is a current member in good standing of at least one of two large trade associations, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA), which require rigorous third-party accreditation for their members. You can look at these organizations' websites to find an agency near you. An agency should be accredited by either the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Like non-profit status, accreditation is a good sign, but it's no guarantee of an agency's quality. 5. 5 Make sure the agency is licensed, if required. Not all states in the U.S. or jurisdictions in the world require credit counseling agencies to be licensed, but if your jurisdiction does, make sure the agency you're considering is currently licensed. Licensing is administered by different agencies--departments of corporations, departments of commerce, or divisions of banking, for example--in different places, so you may have to make a few phone calls to find the appropriate agency. Again, keep in mind that you still need to do your due diligence even if a firm is licensed.

In the U.S., all people considering bankruptcy must receive credit counseling from an agency approved by the Department of Justice. You can locate an approved agency on the DOJ's website. If you need assistance with mortgage debt, find an agency that is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

6. 6 Look for complaints. Compile a list of potential agencies--preferably ones that have an office near you to provide in-person counseling--and research them with agencies where complaints might be filed.

Look at the company's reliability report with the Better Business Bureau. It should be both listed and free of unresolved complaints. Check the Bureau's website and watch out for companies with a long list of complaints. Look at how long the company has been in business and contrast that against the number of complaints the company has had. It's very rare for a company to be in business for very long without getting any complaints, but don't consider any company that's only been in business for a short time yet has a list of complaints with the BBB. If a company does have complaints, be sure they are resolved. Ask the company about the complaint and trust your gut when you hear their response. Check with your state attorney general. In the U.S. the National Association of Attorneys General maintains contact information for state attorneys general offices. Look up the company on your state attorney general's website, or call the AG's office to find out if any complaints have been filed against an agency. Check with the relevant regulatory authority in your jurisdiction. If you live outside of the U.S., contact the appropriate consumer protection, commerce, or banking agency in charge of regulating credit counseling agencies and tracking complaints.

7. 7 Ask for information about the firm. Reputable credit counseling agencies will provide free information about their services without asking you for money or requiring that you provide them with personal information about your finances. If a company wants an upfront fee or won't talk about the services they provide without seeing your credit card statements or other information, don't bother with them.

Seek an agency that provides a wide range of services. A lot of so-called credit counseling agencies should really be called debt management agencies, because they push all their clients into debt management plans right away, often without offering any real counseling. Don't deal with these agencies, as most people don't really need to enroll in a debt management plan. Look for an agency that will provide budget advice, savings and credit classes and free educational materials in addition to debt management plans. Ask about the qualifications of their counselors. Find out if the counselors are certified or accredited by an independent agency. If not, ask how they are trained and what other qualifications they have.

Ask how employees are compensated. Some agencies pay their counselors incentives if they persuade customers to sign up for certain services. This means that the counselors may not always have your best interest at heart. Inquire about the security of your personal information. If you participate in credit counseling, the agency will probably have access to your personal financial information, including credit card statements and other bills. This is especially true if you enter a debt management program. Make sure that your information will be safe by inquiring about their privacy policies and safeguards.

8. 8 Don't pay unreasonable fees. In the U.K. you can generally obtain counseling absolutely free. In the U.S., it is normal for an agency to charge a small fee, but you should never have to pay exorbitant fees. You may be able to get at least one or two free consultations (or at least an hour's worth of free consultation), and in most circumstances fees should be no more than $50 for all your counseling needs. If you are truly unable to pay the fees, ask the agency if they can be waived. If they aren't willing to waive the fee in this circumstance, look elsewhere. Get fee information in writing, and read it carefully to make sure that you don't get bitten by any additional monthly fees or other charges after the initial fee. 9. 9 Choose a debt management program carefully. If you can benefit from participating in a debt management program, be sure to do some extra research before enrolling. These programs differ from counseling in that they require you to actually entrust your debt payments to the counseling agency, who then disburses payments to your creditors. See the related wikiHow for guidelines on what to look for in a debt management program, and be very careful when choosing such a plan, even if you've already been working with a credit counseling agency.

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If your jurisdiction requires licensing for credit counseling agencies, there may be exemptions. For example, some states do not require non-profit agencies to be licensed, and some do not require licensing of agencies that perform only free services. If you find that an agency is not licensed, ask the regulatory agency if there are applicable exemptions to licensing. Do your own research. There are a lot of options (i.e. debt management, consolidation, and debt negotiation) for people with debt problems. If you take time to learn more about these options you'll benefit more from your counseling and you'll be able to make informed decisions about your counselor's recommendations. You can never know too much, but if you know too little, you're just asking to get ripped off. Credit counseling can work wonders to help you get out of debt, but it's not effortless. Your counselor can help you make a budget and work out a payment plan, but it's up to you to follow through. You can also be your own credit counselor. Once you make the decision to be debt-free and live on a cash basis, cut and throw away your credit cards, then call each of your credit card companies and negotiate a settlement. Pay off the amounts you negotiated, and enjoy your

freedom. If you have a Significant Other, support each other in this endeavor and you'll both reap the benefits. Credit Counseling services require a fee and have no more power than you do. Create a simple budget. Organize and prioritize your debts then call each creditor to discuss a new payment plan. When using a Credit Counseling service, the chances of a negative impact on your credit report is higher than if you called the creditors and handled it yourself. If you decide to go it alone be aware that most creditors will be interested in getting their principal back. That is, they want the money from the cost of the original purchase. If you explain that you are willing to pay off the principle in fixed amounts and that you may have to declare bankruptcy if you have to pay finance fees the creditor may be willing to wipe any interest. You must be willing to stick to a payment plan to make this option work. If you break the agreement the creditor will no doubt reinstate all interest charges and possible late fees, etc.

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Beware any company that claims to be able to erase debts from your credit history or that says it can reduce your debt. Accurate negative information cannot be removed from your credit report, and companies that claim to be able to "cut your debt in half" may be using tactics, such as settling your debts with creditors, that can devastate your credit rating. (Note: settling debts by negotiation can hurt your credit rating, but in 5 years or less you may be eligible for credit again if you want it). Tread slowly and carefully, and assess your options fully. If you end up in worse shape because you take poor advice, it will be you that ultimately suffers. This article provides general guidelines only. It is not intended to replace professional financial or legal advice; nor is it intended to advocate any particular product, service, or company.

edit Sources and Citations

NAAG.org National Association of Attorneys General U.S. Department of Justice List of DOJ-approved credit counseling agencies (approval is required only for those that perform bankruptcy counseling). AdviceGuide.org.uk Information on where to go for help with debt if you live in the U.K., provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau. AICCA.org Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies NFCC.org National Foundation for Credit Counseling