10 Steps to Start a Residential Care Home

Residential care homes, also called personal care homes, group homes, assisted living facilities and family care home are in high demand. These facilities provide non-medical care to adults, usually in a residential community. Residential care homes are designed to provide 24/7 shelter, three daily meals, laundry services, grooming help, medication assistance, and aid with any activities for daily living. Other activities may include exercise, religious services, outdoor trips, arts and crafts, and movie nights.

The process to open a licensed care home facility can be overwhelming, scary, and for many it’s stepping into unknown territory. Knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to do it is a huge part of passing the state licensing compliance test to become a state licensed care home facility. With that said, keep reading. Below are 10 steps to help you start a residential care home.

Step #1 – Make a firm decision that owning and operating a care home facility is what you definitely want to do. Again, it is a 24/7 operation, and takes money, time, and energy to get started and thereafter. It should not be something you enter into lightly.

Step #2 – Come up with a budget. How much money do you have to invest in starting your care home facility? Do you have enough to get licensed, lease or purchase a home, buy furniture and a cash reserve to get you over the hump period while building your business?

Step #3 – Decide what city, county, and state you want to get licensed in. Every city, county, and state have separate and different rules, regulations, requirements, and licensing application steps. It is a good idea to research the best place to open a facility based on who has the least complex steps, rules, and regulations.

Step #4 – Start looking for your residential facility, if you want it outside of your home. Look for a home that is one-level, tied into the main public water and sewer system, has a leveled backyard, and zero or very little steps to get into the home.

Step #5 – Once you find your home, do not lease or purchase the property until you call your local city or county zoning department. You need to ask them if the address can be zoned and permitted to operate a residential care home. If the answer is yes, ask how many residents can you have without installing fire sprinklers? Next ask, what is the process to get the address approved by the city or county?

Step #6 – Once you are comfortable with the answers from the city or county and you are determined to move forward in the process, go to your state licensing website and download their rules, regulations, requirements, and licensing application. If the information is not on their website, ask them to mail or email the information to you.

Step #7 – Review the state licensing application to determine if you are comfortable navigating through the process to get licensed without outside assistance. If you feel comfortable, start with the city or county approval process first, and then work on the state licensing process. However, remember the process, steps and order may be different for each city, county and state.

Step #8 – Make sure your residential home is set up based on the states rules, regulations, and requirements in order to pass inspection. Also, be sure your policy and procedures manual and operations forms are completed and ready for inspection. In order to get licensed, your state licensing application, attachments, facility, and all paperwork must be approved and pass inspection.

Step #9 – Getting licensed is not enough. After you are licensed, you need other essential information. You need to know how to get residents, operate your facility on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to stay in state compliance. Finally, knowing how to be sustainable, resourceful and control financial cost can make the difference between staying in business and closing your doors.

Step #10 – If you are serious about starting a residential care home seek out a creditable expert to help you get licensed in your state. It will give you peace of mind as you go through the state licensing process without needless headaches, anxiety and confusion.

Sharman Lawson is the president and senior consultant at Care Consulting and Training, LLC. As a care home consulting firm, Care Consulting and Training, LLC has helped hundreds of people get licensed throughout the country using their customized products, services, training, and consulting programs. President, Sharman Lawson is the author of the book “12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever” and an e-book “The Blueprint to Start and Run a Personal Care Home.” Sharman Lawson has appeared and been featured in Money Magazine for Women, The Oregonian, Atlanta Live, Good Day Northwest, and other local and national media.

5 Tips for Creating a Profitable Business Idea

Recent studies and surveys reveal that there’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. But for some reason though, most people presume starting a new business is a mysterious and a rather risky process. Although they might want to start a business, they fail to take the leap in fear of the risks involved. Honestly, treading on a new territory is only risky as long as it remains unknown; for once you know what you’re up to, you ‘ll also know the ways to master your way around. While the estimates might vary by a small margin, on an average; nearly 600,000 start-up businesses are initiated each year in Canada and the United States alone. However, for every individual who conquers the initial resistance to actually start a business, there are a million others who vow to start their dream business but fail to do so for the lack of conviction and a profitable business idea.

So, how do you land up with a brilliant idea for your business anyway?

Blend in the right juice!

Brainstorm on your strengths.

Brainstorm on your strengths; the reasons you want to start up a business in the first place. The key to a successful business lies in its originality and personal touch. Therefore, it’s important you identify your inherent calling. Now, your list might include “I love meeting people, I love playing with numbers, I am a computer geek, I am passionate about great food, I love kids, I am connected to a social cause, I am good with marketing concepts, or I thrive under pressure and perform best when tested”. Whatever your strengths might be, simply document everything that flows through your mind.

Take notes.

Next, write down the things you think you need help with. For instance; you are great at your job but don’t have the PR skills to market yourself well. You could therefore do well with a PR who’d make you visible and noticed. Understand that there might be people who think like you and therefore are in the lookout for a good PR to market their skills. On the other hand, there could be several other people who are probably just the opposite of you; so they might be great with their PR and communication skills but do not have the technical skills to talk about a product or service as such.

The Market trend.

Now, you might also want to think about the current trend in the market too. List down 5 products and services that you think would make your life easier; make you more productive, efficient and happier in general. This list can range from your personal to your professional life. In the end, you want to identify the top 5 factors that you think could make a world of difference to your overall way of life.

Strengths & Weaknesses | Opportunities & Threats.

Analyze all your strengths and weaknesses along with your driving factors to start a business in the first place. Find a common thread and understand the role it plays in the current scheme of events. How effectively do you think it can utilize your strengths and elevate your pitch in the marketplace? If you think you’ve got the perfect blend of a cocktail and can back your strengths to serve it well; you’ve got yourself a game-changing business idea for sure!

Gauge the current worth of your product or service.

No matter how niche or unique your idea is; it can only transform and translate into numbers and profits when you enough and more people willing to endorse and pay for it. Determine who your target consumers are. Recognize who your competitors are while gauging their products, services and presence in the market. Use surveys, promotions and consumer feedback to gauge the current market trend and your space in the marketplace.

I Am So Over 6-Figure Launches

Is it just me, or are you over them too?

I am so over the loud, screamy, yucky feeling they emit. Rather than inspired or motivated, I am repelled. I don’t believe what they are promoting, and it makes me question their integrity.

Can they really honor this promise? Even if they made 6 figures with the technique they are promoting, they probably didn’t make it overnight or with one course. How can they make that promise to you? Does it bring out the best in people or make them falsely competitive? Do they feel empowered if they take the course but make less than 6 figures? I’ve begun to unsubscribe from those who bring this energy to my inbox or social media.

Don’t get me wrong. I like earning an income. I own my own NYC co-op off Fifth Avenue, like the freedom money brings, and the power it provides to share with others. But I don’t have to scream about it, or make it my raison d’etre.

My intention is connection. The affirmation and reward is income. I lead with my heart and the money follows. Closely. Manifesting magic. This is the way of a yin-inspired entrepreneur. A yinpreneur. Leading from deep inside, your most authentic voice, and doing the work for your life and business.

If you follow me, you know I am all about slowing down to speed up your success. In my personal life, I go for the homeopathic route over the western meds. I prefer sustainable over quick fix. It may take longer to heal, but it is without the yucky side effects.

In my marketing, in my life, I want deep connection and sustainable relationships. My intention is to live my vision and serve, while creating a business that grows organically. It is not only about the R.O.I. as Return on the dollar Investment. It is also the yin-inspired R.O.I. or Return on Intention. It must align with my values, my heart, and my desire to be a dedicated mom, friend, daughter, lover, and CEO (Chief Executive & Chief Enlightenment Officer) My experience is that this vibe + consistent practice = abundance.

This is the mindset I was in when I created my business. It grew out of the desire to bring retreat to more people, and give heart-centered, mission-driven entrepreneurs a way to share their message and grow a solid community of committed connections. An alternative to salesy webinars and 6-figure launches.

Some in your circle will be paying clients. Others will share referrals. All will bring love and energy to your circle, which will nurture those in the circle and ripple out into the world. I believe we need this more than we need to scream about 6-figure launches.

Skills Needed As An Entrepreneur

Polishing your skills as an entrepreneur can help you be a better entrepreneur. Here are the skills every successful entrepreneur has in common:

Doggedness.

The ability to be persistent in time of trial. Not every business will achieve that immediate success. The determination, knowing how to handle the ups and down is vital. Success does not happen overnight, some of those successful entrepreneurs out there failed again and again before finally achieving that remarkable success. Winston Churchill said: “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. What you need to know is that failure isn’t the end but a step closer to achieving that success. This skill enables the entrepreneur to keep going when the outlook is bleak.

Stay Focused.

You have to be ready to give it all it takes, when success in the business is your priority, you will find yourself ready to tackle any kind of challenges along the way. After setting a goal, knowing how to “laser focus” on the very next step to get closer to the ultimate goal. There are so many distracting forces when trying to build a business that this skill is not easy to master.

Productivity.

This is a sensitive topic, the fact is there is no one right way to be productive that works for everybody. Learn about your peak energy times, your routines, and the productivity tools that work for you in order to create your own plan for success.

Sales.

Some entrepreneurs get stuck here, every entrepreneur is a sales person whether they want to be or not. They are either selling their ideas, products or services to customers, investors or employees. They work to be there when customers are ready to buy. Alternately, they know how to let go and move on when they are not. If you’re always nervous about selling, try enrolling in a sales workshop to learn this much needed skill.

The ability to manage people.

You need to know how to manage people well. Early on in your business, you will be everyone’s manager, so it pays to be effective. Entrepreneurs should know how to motivate and encourage the employees. Only by learning to leverage employees, vendors and other resources will an entrepreneur build a scalable company. They need to learn to network to meet the right people. Entrepreneurs strive to guarantee they will get honest and timely feedback from all these sources.

Adapting to change.

Change they say is constant! Successful entrepreneurs realize they don’t know everything and the market is constantly changing. You have to be willing to go with the trend or change. You know what brilliant entrepreneurs does? They stay up to date on new systems, technology, and industry trends.

Strategy implementation.

You need to dedicate your time to simply dreaming about what you want for your business. Where would you like to take it? What’s your vision for it? Now, how can you get there from here? Set your goals, and then develop an actionable plan to make them a reality. Then, don’t forget about those goals. Keep them at the front and center to everything you do.

Take your time.

You don’t need to rush things. Most entrepreneurs are not patient; they sometimes focus only on what comes next, rather than where the company needs to go. Overnight success may take 5 years or more. Entrepreneurs need to stop, pause and plan again at several intervals. Take a step at a time!

Entrepreneurs and Ideas

Who is an ‘Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is that fellow who, rather than working as an employee, runs a small business and assumes all the risks and rewards of a given business venture, idea, or good or service offered for sale. An entrepreneur is a business leader and innovator of new ideas and business processes.

Entrepreneurs play a key role in any economy. These are the people who have the skills and initiative necessary to improve any economy. The reward for taking the risk is the potential economic profits the entrepreneur could earn.

Yes, I know that’s hard. It’s a lot of work. And that, folks, are what makes entrepreneurship so friggin’ hard. And so friggin’ necessary. What can I say, that’s life. Besides, look on the bright side: You get to do what you want and you get to do it your way. There’s just one catch. You’ve got to start somewhere. Ideas and opportunities don’t just materialize out of thin air.

The only way I know to get started is by learning a marketable skill and getting to work. In my experience, that’s where the ideas, opportunities, partners, and finances always seem to come from. Sure, it also takes an enormous amount of hard work, but that just comes with the territory.

If you want to do entrepreneurship right, let me share the story of an African lady you’ve probably never heard about, her name is Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, 34, grew up in Zenabwork, a poor village in the suburbs of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

She came up with her business idea after she noticed most of the artisans in her community, who made beautiful footwear, remained jobless and poor.

Today, her company, SoleRebels, is one the most popular and fastest growing African footwear brand in the world! It sells its ‘eco-friendly’ brand of footwear in more than 50 countries including the USA, Canada, Japan and Switzerland.

SoleRebels’ footwear is unique because it is 100 percent made by hand using locally-sourced and recycled materials like old car tyres and hand-loomed organic fabrics.

A few years ago, SoleRebels became the first footwear company in the world to be certified by the World Fair Trade Organization.

By using local craftsmen, Bethlehem has built a global brand and a hugely successful business that has created jobs and improved livelihoods in her local community.

She started SoleRebels in 2004 with less than $10,000 in capital she raised from family members. Today, the company has more than 100 employees and nearly 200 local raw material suppliers, and has opened several standalone retail outlets in North America, Europe and Asia.

Despite its very humble beginnings, SoleRebels now makes up to $1 million in sales every year, and according to her projections and expansion plans, the company could be making up to $10 million in sales by the end of this year (2016).

Buoyed by her success with SoleRebels, She recently launched Republic of Leather, a new business that trades in luxury leather products like bags, belts and other non-footwear leather accessories.

Bethlehem was selected as the Young Global Leader of the Year 2011 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and was a winner at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in the same year. Bethlehem and her inspiring success story with SoleRebels have been featured severally on Forbes, the BBC and CNN.

5 Tips to Grow Your Business Through Corporate Culture

As entrepreneurs, starting that perfect business is often one of our biggest dreams in life. But aside from initially founding the business, the growth of that business should be the greatest dream of ours. Imagine if your company was perpetually stuck with the first five customers who walked in its doors with zero new clients trying out your product or service. I’m sure you would agree that this scenario would hardly be a dream-come-true. And although it is easy to see the important role of growth, finding ways to promote and excel that growth is typically not as easy. One great way to grow your new business is by paying special attention to the atmosphere of your company, otherwise known as corporate culture.

Of course, having an excellent product or service and a process to produce and market it is critical to the fundamental offering and success of your business. But remember, if your employees hate their job, it is unlikely that they will actively help you grow your business. In fact, they may do the exact opposite by deterring customers from your brand when they experience poor service. Companies who place heavy importance on corporate culture, however, will likely witness a much more positive scenario with employees. And since people are the backbone of any company, it is difficult to stress too much how extraordinary corporate culture and growth go hand-in-hand.

But enough talk. Now that we know the importance of corporate culture and its relationship with growing businesses, let’s take a look at five excellent ways to grow your new business by harnessing culture in the workplace.

1. Take a look at corporate culture successes. Examine the companies who are excelling at creating a productive and happy work environment, then make a list of the things that your business could copy and turn it into your personalized corporate culture.

2. Ask your employees what kind of an atmosphere would help them perform at their best. What would motivate them? How would they like to be treated? Do they admire the way a particular company treats their employees? Feedback like this is precious information.

3. Imagine your corporate culture goal and then work backward to make it happen. What kind of a company do you dream of having? You want the happiest employees ever, right? Create a fantasy and write down the things that make your fictional employees happy, then use it as a bank of ideas to pull from when formulating your culture.

4. Make honesty and integrity expected. Although the importance of honesty is apparent, weaving it into the fabric of your corporate culture is a great way to solidify it within the company. Furthermore, making sure that honesty is the top priority will help prevent your corporate culture from becoming fake and ineffective with lofty, out of touch corporate catch-phrases.

5. When you find a company culture that works, hire people who fit it. Once you hit that “sweet spot” where employees and management are working together smoothly, people are satisfied, and the entrepreneurial dream is alive and well, then stop making massive changes to the culture and instead focus on hiring individuals who are a good culture fit.

Excavation Entrepreneur

Startup lessons from a patient archaeologist

The two words, ‘excavation’ and ‘entrepreneur,’ are most likely to conjure up a construction site with giant yellow excavators. But if you were talking about Stuart Wilson you would be wrong.

Lost Medieval City Beneath the Sod

Stuart Wilson, 37, is a graduate archaeologist-and entrepreneur, though he might not classify himself as such. He was a toll collector when he invested in his passion: archaeological excavation. He followed a conviction that he was on the trail of a long lost major medieval city in Trellech, Wales.

Whereas he might have put a deposit on a home, or bought a sports car, he actually bought a 4.6 acre field-for £32,000 (about $40,000 at current exchange rates). He used his life savings and took out a bank loan to cover the cost. His mother, Barbara, said at the time, “Ah well, if you don’t find anything, it’ll make a nice picnic site.” So he had a risk mitigation plan right from the start!

This field was where he was pretty sure part of the lost city lay, buried beneath the farmland. He was sure enough of his passion that he gave up his job in the toll booth and settled in to demonstrate that his passion was about something real-and important, through digging up the site.

Without formal backers for his enterprise, he invested heavily of his time and energy, and precious little else, except an army of probably as many as 1,000 volunteers from across Europe as well as the locality, over the last eleven years.

The volunteers included archaeology students, who paid a small fee ($61 a day) to participate, as well as people from the surrounding areas. He also raised funds by selling T-shirts and other small scale revenue producing efforts. So convinced was Stuart, that he gave up his full-time job and worked shifts at a betting shop to help fund the project.

A Hidden Manor House

One of the major finds has been the remains of a large medieval manor house. But many other buildings, artifacts and whole streets have been unearthed. Stuart believes that there is much more that will see the light of day.

He was amazed to find that walls were fully intact, and floors, a well, drains, road surfaces, cobbled pavements, entrances, and now a fireplace with a chimney and a courtyard have all been found. Though they have unearthed parts of a street, know where many more exist, since they are still used as roads or tracks.

But now, following massive world-wide media attention, he envisions permanent on-site dig structures, an interpretive centre and recreations of Trellech buildings. His persistence is now paying off and he is dreaming much bigger. What in entrepreneurial terms one might call scaling. Part of the scaling might include a takeover-of more land, surrounding his own plot, since it holds but a fraction of the sprawling lost city.

Entrepreneurial Characteristics

From my own 50 years of living, observing and writing about entrepreneurship, I have come to distill seven characteristics that will almost certainly be present in a person who creates a new venture of any kind. Such a person:

  1. is predisposed to action-“I could have done that, but… “, you’ve heard many people say something similar, they never do;
  2. enjoys investigating & innovating– comments on the idea like, “it’ll never be worth it, because… ” incite finding a solution;
  3. experiences learning as a way of life-rather than shutting up shop and sticking to the known;
  4. tolerates ambiguity-and allows creativity to resolve it, often coming up with innovative solutions to problems;
  5. is a (controlled) risk-taker-will always consider how to deal with the downside;
  6. is able to put vision into practice-the passion has to have an expression in reality;
  7. while remaining very much in the present-to deal with the unexpected rather than being floored by it.

Stuart manifests most of these characteristics and his venture is now maturing. He comments that, “As a result of buying the field, my parents had many years of servitude.” In the case of almost any new venture, friends and family tend to be its best and most patient backers. In Stuart’s case this has certainly been the case, though he has now moved out of home, to a toilet block he converted to a home in the local town of Chepstow.Stuart also suggested that, “When you are a small fish in a big pond, then bigger fish tend to ignore you, leaving you alone.” However, his time of swimming in a ‘Blue Ocean’ where there are few predators, is now ending-as he is discovering.

He knows that he’s beginning to swim in a ‘Red Ocean,’ where a lot of blood is spilled, as competitors fight for prey. His solution like many entrepreneurs faced with that situation, is to become “a much bigger fish to make them think twice about attempting to take a bite.”

Financial Bootstrapping: The Stuart Wilson Example

Much that is written about entrepreneurship assumes that significant amounts of capital are needed. However, the reverse is true for about 99 per cent of new ventures started on a wing and a prayer. Stuart bootstrapped his venture big time. He cobbled together enough revenue and muscle to persist in his endeavor-a bootstrapper par excellence.

It is a particularly interesting example of bootstrapping, in that he did not set up a business, or even a nonprofit to achieve his ends. His venture is an example of something that is happening ever more frequently-and especially in the hands of creative individuals like Stuart, who don’t find that any conventional kind of organization meets their needs, and may not even think that they need a legal structure to change the world, anyway.

Of course, there are many instances in which it becomes necessary to have a formal legal entity. Stuart is now faced with choices that he did not need to confront at the outset. Two things have happened as a result of his efforts. First, he is beginning to gain traction, as the startup jargon calls it. The venture capitalists might call traction ‘evidence of market demand,’ and in Stuart’s case, it is the sheer numbers of people that have become involved with his dig, as a consequence of its revealed importance.

The second thing that has happened, is the notoriety he has been receiving from the world’s press and television media. That kind of public attention has followed disruptive startups in many sectors. When they can no longer contain their success, predators start showing an interest. There have been numerous instances of that happening. One of the more spectacular recent examples was the behemoth Walmart’s acquisition of jet.com-the online retailer.

In the case of the Lost City of Trellech, it is not buyers who may be circling the site, but government bodies or professional associations who may consider that such an important archaeological site cannot be left to what they may consider a maverick, despite his professional degree.

Potential Predator Poses a Problem

Right now, Cadw, the historic monuments arm of the Welsh Government threaten to ‘schedule’ his site. Stuart refuses to accept that they should take control, just as a business founder might fend off a takeover suitor. He has been assured by current officials that things would stay as they are, with him running the show. But he is savvy enough to know that officials come and go, just like management in an acquiring company.

Wanting to reach an accommodation, Stuart has offered to form a Heritage Partnership Agreement with Cadw, so that they can work together, without him losing control. But he’s not leaving it there. He is about to write an open letter to the Welsh Government to bolster public opinion in his favor.

It is not surprising that he has started this one-man lobbying effort, since he now has plans to turn the site into an public attraction. Stuart has submitted plans for an archaeological research centre and camp site to Monmouthshire County Council, signaling the dig site as “a valuable community asset that supports local tourism, hotels and pubs.” To ram the point home, he adds that it’s also, “an important archaeological site as well as a training and educational facility.”

Now that’s scaling, business or otherwise, and Trellech, the Lost City of Wales would inspire any aspiring entrepreneur who lacks big bucks, but dreams big.

Note: Stuart’s dad, Alan, applied for a job in total quality in our company. At his group interview, he demonstrated the quality process by baking a loaf of bread before our eyes in the office, portable oven and all. He got the job and worked with us for several years. Clearly, creativity runs in the family.

William Keyser, a veteran entrepreneur, is Managing Director of Venture Founders LLC: How To Start a Business. Startup Owl offers a wealth of free information and advice to would-be and early stage entrepreneurs.

Will is a veteran entrepreneur with VC experience and he is committed to help business startups to: clarify their business purpose; sharpen their business model; better their business plan; speed their market entry; offer customer value; finance their business right; grow their business strongly; survive their business challenges-more effectively than they might do on their own.

Business Vision Check-Up

In this highly-charged, energetic world, we’re constantly evolving and changing, and our businesses change as a result. And sometimes we’re working visions and plans that have become outdated.

Yet, here we are… in the midst of taking action for a plan that no longer fits. Our vision has changed.

In order to make sure your actions are in alignment with your Current Vision, you need to do a periodic Business Vision Check-up. This is a way to check in with what you want to do, what you want to be offering, and then how all that plays out in the next 6-12 months of your business planning, marketing, and promotional calendar.

First, sit quietly. This isn’t a quick exercise to go through during the commercial break of your favorite show, or in between scrolling on Facebook. Get yourself ready to hear what your soul has to say. Don’t worry if the answers scare you. That’s okay. You don’t actually have to DO anything right now.

But your soul does want you to listen.

Next, ask yourself the following Business Soul questions. Feel into the answers. Write them down.

  • What do you want to be known for? As in, “Oh, you should talk to [YOUR NAME]! She is awesome at _____________.”
  • Why is that important?
  • And why is THAT important? (The idea is to keep going deeper until you come up with something that makes you go, “That’s it!!!”)
  • What is your greater purpose and mission?
  • If money, current obligations, contracts, what people might say or think, etc. were no object, what kind of work would you be doing?
  • If you could work with ANYONE, who would that be?
  • Why?
  • Jump ahead to five years. In your wildest dreams, what would you be doing?

You have some very interesting answers, I bet.

Now, answer these questions.

  • What can you let go of that is part of your Old Vision? Can it be tweaked, as opposed to thrown completely out the window? (And, by the way, sometimes throwing an idea or project or even a service offering out the window is absolutely what’s needed.)
  • What kind of products, programs, workshops, retreats, consulting, teaching, mentoring, and other services are more in alignment with the answers from your Business Soul check-in?
  • When could you start offering or promoting those? What do you need to make it happen?

You now have the basis for your Current Vision that is in alignment with your Soul Business. This is where things can really be scary, but don’t let the fear keep you down. Just note all this, and breathe. You can implement this at any time… today, tomorrow, next year.

Financing Options For Entrepreneurs In The Import Business

Entrepreneurs who want to break into the import business will face various hardships. Establishing their name and getting the trust and loyalty of new customers and suppliers are just two of the challenges they need to face and successfully overcome.

Getting sufficient funds or money to support the start and ongoing operations of their import business can also be hard as well. In the import business, you need to have the means to pay your supplier.

The good news is that there are various options entrepreneurs can consider when they are looking for ways to finance their import business. These options include:

Accounts receivable factoring. Under this financing option, your company’s accounts receivables would be sold to either an accounts receivable financing company, a commercial finance company, or a bank at a discount of 80 to 90 percent of their face value. In return, the factoring company would give you a check wherein a fee of two to three percent has already been deducted. You can then use this money for import financing. When you factor accounts receivables, it is now called an asset-based loan.

Purchase order financing. This financing solution is quite similar to factoring accounts receivable. Under this option, you would assign or sell your purchase orders to a bank or commercial finance company. This company will then take over all the processes that involve billing and collecting money from your customers. Once your products are delivered, your customers will pay the bank or commercial finance company. A portion of this payment will be allocated to the financing company and the remainder will be given to you. In general, purchase order financing costs more than traditional bank loans. However, if you are unsuccessful with getting a loan, this is an option you have to consider.

Inventory financing. Under this financing solution, you would use the current inventory of your present business to get a loan. This loan will enable you to buy the goods from suppliers abroad that your customers have been waiting for. With this option, you will be able to increase your inventory without adversely affecting your cash flow. Banks and financing companies offer three types of inventory financing: floor planning, blanket inventory lien, and field warehousing.

Lessons Learned From Business Failures

It’s been a little while since the last article due to taking on a project that I never should have taken, but nonetheless was great for maturing me both professionally and personally. I thus give much appreciation to the entity that gave me the opportunity to grow in these ways although things did not work out for the long-term. While reflecting on my time on this project and the lessons learned from experiencing stress in some pretty interesting scenarios, I thought about the multiple failed attempts at business ownership that I’ve experienced and was ultimately motivated to share some lessons learned from them.

$$$ should not Be a Primary Motivator
Up front, I will cede the point that $$$ is a vital factor in any business endeavor and without it or a lack of it from poor management will lead to business failure and personal loss to some degree. In saying this, I would strongly state that your business motivation should not come from $$$ because you will miss one of the true foundations of any successful business: focus on keeping the customers satisfied and offer products / services that help customers solve problems and enjoy life optimally. Instead of being inward focused in terms of generating revenue and cash flow, you should become other’s focused and be motivated by the solutions and joy your products / services give to your customers.

It’s Not About Maximizing Every Opportunity; It’s About the Context of the Opportunity
Here’s my point here: all opportunity is not your opportunity. You should learn and discipline yourself to undertake opportunities in which you understand the context. Webster’s Dictionary defines “context” simply as environment or setting. In other words, before jumping into business endeavors that look and sound great on the surface, take the time to ‘tear apart’ or ‘stress test’ it. Not to get too saddled down into analysis, dig in enough into the opportunity to know (if possible) the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. Take the time to understand the setting and especially its connection to where you are both professionally and personally. Don’t be a rabbit chasing many trails, instead be like the tortoise and move with purpose and a committed determination to finish what you start.

Listen To But Be Not Motivated By Group Think
This one is truly colossal and to me the most important. We are by nature drawn and influenced by the company we keep, listen to, or follow. It’s no different in business. True, we need others especially those who have gone before us and accomplished feats we only wish to attain to. What we forget most though is that we all take different roads to reach the end. One person’s walk will more than likely be different than the next person’s and that’s OK. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned about business have been when I’ve ventured off the path of group think, not because I’m a rebel, but because I reacted and responded to circumstances as only I could or essentially because of the way I’m wired.

I encourage those who operate businesses or who desire to operate a business to embrace the journey and take action to serve customers in an ‘other’s’ perspective and create / offer products / services that solve problems and help others enjoy life more.

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