5 Tips To Create A Home Business

Image Source: Unsplash Content Credited To: Julia Mitchell

Establish and Run Your Home-Based Business With These Tips

One of the many advantages of starting a business at home is flexibility. However, you can also launch and develop a business part-time or make it your full-time job to create an income source, pay off debt, or fulfill your dreams. Here are a few tips on launching and building a profitable home-based business.

Find a Good Business Idea

Most entrepreneurs know what kind of company they want to launch before starting it; if you don’t, you can find a product or service to offer if you consider a few things . For instance, if you have worked in a field for many years, you can take advantage of the skills and knowledge you amassed and eventually put them to work for you. However, you can also start anew in an industry you love and make your way up to the top with efficient marketing strategies and a good business plan.

Determine the Operational Costs

Your company will require a solid business plan to present to any investors when looking for funding. The best place to start would be estimating the basic cost of operations, which will contour and help you gauge how much money you need to produce the item or deliver the service you intend to offer. These expenses include production costs, shipping, taxes, rent for an office or storage space, employees’ wages, etc. Knowing your operational costs will be crucial to determining if your start-up will be profitable since you need to make more than this ground line to stay in business.

Additionally, you want to ensure that you accurately predict business expenses if you’re looking to raise capital for the venture. Standard methods to raise money include angel investors, personal loans, business grants, crowdfunding, etc. Numerous services also offer countless programs; you can find them through a firm like Rock Capital & Associates, which can develop the best financial path for your business and provides counselling and management solutions. Using a specialized service makes things easier for yourself and can develop your company beyond your wildest dreams.

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Identify Your Target Market

As soon as you come up with your business idea, start identifying your target market. A target market is a specific group or segment of the population that is likely to take an interest in your products or services. You should research and determine your target market to make sure there are sufficient customers available. This is also a great way to find out how your competition operates so you can differentiate yourself from them.

Advertise Your Business

Setting up your business’ web design is a must , as it is an essential form of marketing. Keep it simple, but remember that you have less than five seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. Advertising is crucial as it allows you to create messages that will reach your target market and show them how you are different from your competitors. To have successful marketing campaigns , ensure your customers are aware of your brand and engage with it. Use social media, place ads on different platforms, and share your content to make the best of this tool.

Create the Infrastructure

To be successful, you want to invest time into finding gear and technology that feel good to you and help you save money and work. Some key considerations include ergonomics at your working station, accounting software, a records system, etc. ​From doing taxes to paying your employees, you’re going to want a solid record system to help your company run smoothly and efficiently. Invest in labels, file cabinets, and digital records software to keep your management segment organized and up to speed.

Establishing a payroll system for the first time can be overwhelming, but you can make things easier with software that makes the most sense for your business and is compatible with the system. Today, there are numerous payroll apps on the market, but some allow you to calculate and schedule the payroll automatically. It’s also wise to use software with a tax filing and benefits function, as well as a same-day direct deposit option for your employees, if you want to keep things organized and up to date.

Never mind what business idea you have – you can make it successful from your home and have the flexibility you need. Just ensure that you work out the operational costs, know who your target audience is, advertise your offering to them, and implement a solid system to keep your venture organized and running smoothly.

Rock Capital & Associates has countless business programs available for their clients. Hiring a business finance consultant with the company gives you access to hundreds of funding sources with excellent interest rates and terms. Connect with the team via the Rock Capital & Associates website or by calling (877) 670-1590 today.

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Add Docs To Smartbiz PPP Loan

Smartbiz Document Upload

Many of my clients who’ve recently applied for the PPP Loan 2nd Draw through my Smartbiz portal have had to upload additional documents. The problem with this process is that after the loan process is completed, there’s no specific space for document uploads.

Given the above, we’ve learned to “step-through” the loan application process in order to submit additional documents and keep the loan process moving forward.

Below are the steps required to add documents to your Smartbiz PPP Loan:

  1. 1. Select View Your Loan Application
  2. 2. Select Financials
  3. 3. Select View
  4. 4. Begin Payroll Analysis
    1. a. Select Continue on “Business Info”
    2. b. Select Continue on “Choose Document Type”
    3. c. Select Continue on “Choose a Method”
    4. d. Select Continue on “Calculate Loan Amount”
  5. 5. On Upload Documents – Payroll Report:
    1. a. Drag and Drop the required document
  6. 6. Select “Continue” to complete the process then exit

The above has worked in each of the cases my client was required to upload additional documentation. Documents can be uploaded for IRS Forms, Payroll Forms or Miscellaneous Reports like an Income Statement.

If you haven’t yet applied for the PPP Second Draw, start your process now with Smartbiz!

3 things about the EIDL loan Application

EIDL Loan

I recently applied for the EIDL loan and was very surprised about how short and quick the application process was. Before I get into my 3 key takeaways, let me give a quick overview of what it is and who qualifies:

EIDL QUICK HITS

The loan is designed for Small Businesses, Sole Proprietor, Independent Contractor and Non-Profits. The applications are administered by the Small Business Administration. Notable qualifications and loan details are as follows:

  • Business must employ less than 300 employees
  • Be located in Low Income Community
  • Experience 30% loss in sales (economic loss) in 8 week period covering 3/2/20-12/17/21
  • There’s a $10,000 Advance feature which is based on # of Employees
    – provides $1,000/Employee up to 10 people (may no longer be available)
  • Advance doesn’t have to be repaid and is considered Working Capital
  • Loan and can be used for normal OPEX plus Fixed Debts, A/P and Payroll
  • Not intended for lost sales, profits, expansion or Long Term Debt
  • 30yr fixed rate at 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% Non-Profits
  • Loan more than $25k requires collateral and Security Agreement
  • Cannot compete with Private Sector lending or buy new Capital Assets
  • Max $2M loan amount and can be combined with physical disaster loan

Now that I’ve covered the basics of qualification, use of funds and the loan details, here are my 3-takeaways from working through the application:

3 KEYS TO THE APPLICATION

  1. It’s quick and easy to apply….only takes 10 minutes if you’re prepared
    • Complete your personal and business profile
    • Classify the business entity and line of work (Retail Trade, Manufacturing, etc.)
    • Provide identification (EIN/SS, DOB, etc.)
  2. Complete the financial section which only asks for Gross Sales and COGS
    • If you’re a Sole Proprietor/Independent Contractor and don’t have traditional COGS, think of Cost Of Services provided instead.
    • Focus on what impacts generating the sales transaction.
    • Raw Materials, Labor, Commissions, Product Purchases, Shipping Costs, Merchant Account Fees and things that Directly impact Sales.
  3. Certify whether you’ve a run-in the law, which includes:
    • Being convicted of a crime or the subject of an indictment.
    • Been suspended from contracting with the Gov’t or receive Grants.
    • Recently been arrested.

Take your time to think about item #2 as this will directly impact your ability to qualify. Click here for more detail and a sample calculation for a Beauty Salon.

PPP For The Self-Employed

PPP Loan

As many may be aware, the second coming of the COVID-19 Stimulus Plan was signed into law on December 27, 2020. It provided for $900 Billion of support including extended unemployment benefits, rent relief and eviction protection as well as funds for small to medium sized businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

RULES FOR SELF EMPLOYED

Self-employed individuals have found the rules around PPP difficult to understand and question whether they qualify, especially since many were either told that during the first draw or were denied as many larger companies received much need working capital.

One thing to know is that the new Stimulus Bill is much more inclusive and is geared more towards the unemployed and Mom and Pop businesses. Here are the qualifications:

  • In Business on or before February 15, 2020
  • Had self-employment income (e.g. independent contractor or sole proprietor)
  • Reside in the United States
  • Filed or will file a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2019 or 2020

What’s important to note is that 1099 employees should not be included in the calculation. The SBA (Small business Association) provides guidance on how to do this. But typically, the qualifying amount is 2.5x Payroll or what’s on Schedule C, Line 31 as the Net Profit. You can view or download the SBA document here.

STEPS TO CALCULATE

Use these steps if you have no W-2 employees in your business:

  1. Compute 2019 or 2020 payroll or use Net Income from Schedule C as
    1. 2019/2020 Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 net profit amount
    2. 2019/2020 Form 941 Line 5c gross wages and tips paid
    3. 2019/2020 Form 1040 Schedule C Line 9 employer contributions and and state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation.
  2. Divide “1” above by 12 to get average monthly amount
  3. Multiply “2” above by 2.5 to get your PPP Loan estimate

To note, if you are using 2020 and have not yet filed a 2020 return, fill it out and compute the value annualized up to $100,000 and prorated for the reporting period (if you are filing/using Quarterly 941). The Line 3 amount must be $100,000 or less. If not, reduce it to $100,000 and if less than Zero set to Zero.

You will not qualify for amounts less than Zero. Similar rules and steps are provided in the SBA document for business with employees. You can find that information here starting on page 2.

We have partnered with Smartbiz Loans who’s funded more than $4 Billion in loans since 2013 to make the PPP Loan process quick and efficient. You can prequalify in 5 minutes and complete the entire process in less than an hour if you have documentation (CARES Act Payroll Reports, IRS Form 941, IRS Form 1040 Schedules C or E and Personal documentation).

Or Contact Rock Capital Associates at (877) 640-1590 to start your application.

COVID-19 Relief For Shuttered Venus

Venue Operator Hurt By COVID? Help is on the way!

Now that the $900 Billion COVID-19 Relief Package has approved and signed into Law. I’ve begun to unwrap it’s details beginning with an area that may not be discussed in great detail or as often as PPP or EIDL relief.

What’s new and exciting is that just over 15%, or $15 Billion, of the new program has been earmarked to help live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives who demonstrate a 25 percent reduction in revenues. Essentially, if your business utilizes ticket sales to generate receipts, then you may be eligible if you’ve experienced significant loss of revenue.

I’ve attached a very good article that details the following:

• Application Timing

• Eligibility

• How to Calculate Amount

• Grant Money Spending Guidelines

Sweet T’s Peach Cobbler

This is my Mom’s recipe for Peach Cobber, my all-time favorite dessert!

When I was younger my mother used to make the best Peach Cobbler. She’s not around any longer to shower me with such great treats, so I had to take matters into my own hands.

Below is my resume for Peach Cobbler from what I remember as I watched my mom cook up this scrumptious, fruit dessert. My take on it is that I like to make it in a bundt pan so there’s plenty to go around. And there’s something about how it presents in that uniquely designed pan.

Prep time

10 mins

Cook time

35 mins

Total time

45 mins

Serves: 8-10

Cobbler Ingredients

  • 4 15oz cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup
  • 1.5 Cups Brown Sugar (fully packed)
  • 2 Pillsbury Pie Crusts (1 box)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • ¾ Cup Water

Crust and Topping Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ Cup of Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray Bundt cake pan with Baker’s Joy non-stick spray.
  2. Cut a hole in the center of Pie Crusts to fit over bundt circle
  3. Layer the first Pie Crust in the base of the bundt pan
  4. Empty contents of each can of peaches into large sauce pan.
  5. Add 1.5 cups brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and butter
  6. Mix cornstarch and ¾ cups of luke-warm water
  7. Bring to boil then add cornstarch to thicken
  8. Reduce heat and prepare topping and some dough filling.
  9. Slice 5 tablespoons of butter into ½ inch by ½ inch cubes
  10. To make crust use a kitchen mixer and combine flour, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and milk until thoroughly mixed and a ball forms (batter will be similar to cookie dough). 
  11. Remove from mixer bowl and knead for a few minutes to form shape of a ball.
  12. Pull apart a handful of dough and separate into 1 inch pieces.
  13. Add pulled dough to peaches in saucepan and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  14.  Remove from heat and spoon in enough peaches to fully cover the bottom layer of the Bundt pan. 
  15. With the second Pie Crust, layer over the the peaches base.
  16. Add the peaches mix atop the second pie crust.
  17. Flatten the balance of the dough with a rolling pin and slice into ½  inch x 6 inch rectangles. 
  18. Align a row of dough horizontally over the peach filling and another across vertically.
  19. Sprinkle Cinnamon Sugar on the top to your liking. 
  20. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

Post Funnel| Get Your Data Straight Before It’s Too Late

https://postfunnel.com/get-your-data-straight-before-its-too-late/

I wanted to share an article I contributed to on the #PostFunnel forum managed by #Optimove. The site gathers some of the brightest minds in Performance Marketing and Customer Relationship Management to discuss hot topics and share information and ideas.

In this inaugural Advisory Partner series, we discuss key trends of the “New Normal” and share points-of-view from key partners at Data Culture and Dynamic Yield.

Enjoy the article and check back for our next installment of bright ideas and key topics!

Principle Component Analysis – Flowers

I recently completed a Data Science course and wanted to review Principle Component Analysis (PCA) to develop my skills in understanding data variables highly correlated to the independent variable.

What is Principle Component Analysis (PCA)?

PCA is an ordination statistical method that reduces the dimensionality of multivariate data by creating a few new key explanatory variables called principal components (PCs). It’s mostly used as a tool in exploratory data analysis and for making predictive models.

For now, I’ll use PCA to evaluate the principal components of the Iris dataset. And later on I anticipate utilizing the methodology as part of a process of developing both a churn model and to predict customer lifetime value.

Iris Flower Data Set

The Iris Flower dataset is a multivariate set of 150 observations covering 3 flower species collected from various regions across four features; the width and length of the sepals and petals. It was initially introduced by the British statistician and biologist Ronald Fisher in 1936 and remains a very common practice set for data science (click here for more info). The data quantifies the morphologic variation of Iris flowers of three related species. Two of the three species were collected in the Gaspé Peninsula, all from the same pasture, and picked on the same day and measured at the same time by the same person with the same apparatus.

My analysis for this dataset will be to determine  the key explanatory variables using PCA and the taking the following steps in R (click here to see R code):

  1. Installing the caret package and library
  2. Loading the Iris dataset
  3. Transforming the data to normalize the variables using Log Scale
  4. Running the PCA function and plotting the results
  5. Analyzing the results

Analysis

Here are 2 tables of output from running the PCA function in step 4 above:

Table 1 – Summary of Iris PCA Object

PCA

Table 2 – PCA Object Standard Deviation and Coefficients

PCA PlotPCA BiPlot

Observations

  • Clearly shows PC1 explains 73% of coefficient variation, combined 95.99%
  • Sepal Length and both of Petal variables drive correlations
  • PC1 indicates most of where the correlation lies.
  • PC1 also explains variability and correlation to Sepal Length

The Setosa flower is clearly different from the Versicolor and Virginica which could possibly be explained by the pollination process or some other variable.

Top 3 Issues Adopting Data Analytics

This is a great report from Mckinsey & Company on Analytics and competing in a data driven world. At the moment, location based data is realizing 50-60% of it’s value driven primarily by smart phone usage and applications while the following industries are all realizing less than 40%:

% Value Realized From Data & Analytics

  • Location Based Data ~ 50-60%
  • US Retail                   ~ 30-40%
  • Manufacturing           ~ 20-30%
  • Public                        ~ 10-20%

With the exception of Location Based Data, many organizations across various industries have an uphill battle integrating and developing data driven cultures. (click link below to read full article).

Here are the Top 3 Reasons why companies aren’t yet realizing value from data and analytics:

  1. Lack Of Analytical Talent
  2. Siloed organizational structures
  3. Plain Skepticism of the real value

Regarding the issue of analytical talent, I believe it’s available and sometimes even already exists in many companies but they are simply unsure of how to identify the key characteristics and/or channel it’s use. One thing I know for sure is that Google, Amazon and Facebook dominate their industries because of data and analytics and have access to the same talent pool as many other organizations.

Companies that are siloed will always have difficulty successfully implementing programs that require participation from multiple groups within the organization and stand permanently challenged at being successful as the competitive landscape changes and data becomes more widely utilized. And that I can say about skepticism is…..no risk, no reward!

Finally, here are 2 keys to success as identified by Mckinsey & Company:

a) Incorporate data & analytics into the company’s strategic vision

b) Develop business processes around infrastructure and talent

 

The above are simple, but powerful mechanisms to changing corporate culture around data and anlaytics. Once incorporated, companies can begin to seriously unlock the value of their data and perhaps create new channels and raise the competitive landscape.