10 Small Business Startup Tips

Small Business TipsAccording to a recent Forbes.com article, over a half a million small businesses get started each month while more shut down than start-up. With this statistic, it’s not a surprise that some would be leery in joining the almost 30 million small businesses in the United States. It may also come as a surprise that over half of the working population works in a small business and that most small businesses are home-based. Why then do people start small businesses with these kinds of odds? Because many of us are still deciding what we want to be when we grow up. And once we’ve learned that, we choose to make a go of it on our own.

Starting a small business or a home-based business is not something that should be entered into lightly. More often than not you’ll go through a long period languishing while trying to make your business viable. As with many big decisions in life, starting a business is a very big risk. There’s never an assurance of success. Rather, it is expected and statistically likely that you’ll fail. However, if you’re willing to work at beating the odds and fulfill a professional goal, this may still be the route for you.

I’d worked in libraries for over a decade. I spent the majority of that time in library administration. I knew a good deal about how to run a small business because I’d essentially been doing so for quite some time. However, when you go out on your own there are many pitfalls that can be made in your businesses’ infancy. Contrary to the popular song lyrics, the best things in life aren’t free. Shortcuts will likely come back to haunt you and so too will not putting in the sweat equity needed to not only financially succeed, but to also feel emotionally and psychologically empowered.

If you want to start a small business it has to be a deliberate process. However, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. It doesn’t hurt for you to do some research. The Small Business Administration is a great free resource. So too are the books. Really, there are any number of tools to help you start-up or navigate the waters of small business. If you’re like the almost 75% of all U.S. business who are non-employers (self-employed with no additional payroll or employees), then you can be sure that there is plenty of information to help you achieve your goals.

Running a small home-based business can be inexpensive, not cheap. Don’t scrimp on the stuff that can really make you appear more professional without breaking the budget. Here are a few startup tips for your business:

1. Get a domain name.

You may not need to register your business’s name with the state. The fact is, that process may be unnecessary and It can be costly depending on the nature of your business. However, it helps if you have a domain name so that you can have a traditional online storefront and presence. That isn’t to say that you need to sell products through your site, it just means that you have a place that you can send people to online to find out more information about you and your products and services.

2. Use social media.

No longer can people lament about how they don’t use Facebook or Twitter, being on social media also lends an air of credibility and savviness to your business. Using social media is inexpensive and easy. There are plenty of online tutorials on how to use social media and by getting yourself out there by using the social media networks, it opens you up to more clients and the ability to interact in real-time with them as well. Also, don’t simply have a presence on social media, depending on your demographic, there are still some people who simply aren’t using social media. Thus, you must also have an easily accessible webpage as well.

3. It doesn’t hurt to use old school marketing tools.

Professional business cards as well as marketing items are now nominal in cost. Don’t just settle for free cards, pay that little extra to brand your items. This way you can be fully in charge of the message you’re putting out there. Think about it, what did you think of the person who handed you a business card that were clearly free ones?!

4. Use accounting software.

Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Nutcache and the list goes on. You can even use Excel if you’re so inclined. Regardless, it’s imperative that you start consistent and accurate record keeping from the very start. Make sure that all of your transactions, big and small, are in a place that will make it easy for you come tax time.

5. Work in the cloud and back it up.

Cloud-based software is available for everything. It also doesn’t hurt to use free ones in this case. Google is the gold standard when it comes to free. However, document creation and retention aren’t the only things you can do in the cloud. Accounting software, website administration, almost anything you can think of can be done in the cloud. Plus, it makes your data accessible anywhere that has an Internet connection. And don’t forget to backup your work. If you’re saving your work to your computer or saving it to a virtual drive in the cloud, be sure that you have a backup. Redundancy is key and it can also be very economical. A good rule of thumb is to have a physical and virtual off-site backup because Murphy’s Law always happens.

6. Be virtual.

Depending on the type of services you offer, there are companies out there that can assist you in getting jobs/projects. Companies like Upwork provide you with a place to offer your services to others and provides you with an online workplace. Being a freelancer has never been so easy. As a freelancer, you don’t have to limit how and how many clients you have.

7. You have to pay some to get some.

Yes, you can start a new business with no cost, however, by investing just a little money upfront you’ll almost ensure a return on your investment. Pay for a virtual fax service, marketing materials and other little things that will go a long way in ensuring that your business isn’t like every other “mom and pop” business. Just be careful not to go all in too fast. Recurring costs, though small, can add up fast. If you have recurring costs it means that you have to earn at least that much money per month.

8. Be tax savvy.

You must be cognizant of what kind of tax impact there will be as a result of your business. It’s common, depending on the type of business you have and if you don’t have employees, for you to not withhold any taxes during your first year. Getting a baseline for what your business will be like is important, just don’t forget that Uncle Sam may hit you with a large tax bill at tax time. Visit the IRS website or speak to a tax professional to help you with getting this sorted out before it becomes a very expensive mistake.

9. Make time for yourself.

When you commit to owning a small business the one thing you’re guaranteed is that it’s going to be hard. Despite how challenging it is, you have to take time for yourself. It’s easy to work long hours and to forget that we aren’t machines. Even if it’s just a 15-minute walk each day or something else that will break up your workday, you must not forget that sometimes it’s best to literally walk away to clear your head. This will do wonders for your mood and your process.

10. Be disciplined.

Sure, we all think that working for ourselves would be the best job in the world. But it’s not until you’re actually doing it that you realize just how easy it is to be trapped by the pitfalls of having no other boss than yourself. That quick television break inevitably turns into a television marathon, sleeping in one day turns into not setting the right habits you need to be successful. It’s easy to say that you’re going be disciplined and fully devoted to the success of your business, but old habits do die hard.

Each day brings challenges and uncertainties. You have to be willing to fail spectacularly. But you also have to be willing to love and nurture your business even on the days when you just don’t feel like it. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Despite that, the sky’s the limit and your earning potential is limitless when you’ve devoted yourself to doing what it is that you are passionate about. It’s important to remember that you’re not to give up when it gets hard. Those are the times you have to really dig in and remember why it is that you’re doing it in the first place.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9394187

How to Think Differently in Business

Think Different In BusinessTo hit gold in business, you have to think gold. What is your business all about? How do you intend to maximize profits? Here are tips on how to think different in business:

Think back to the future

Don’t wait till the harsh business storm hits your business; rather, always think of what to do better or next. For example, what are the things you need to put in place to ensure business growth? What stage is your business on the business chart, that is, in areas of development, growth or decline? Is your business vision realistic? What is your current profit margin? What is your intended profit margin? How do you intend to speed up your productivity? Evaluating your business, keeps you prepared for the future.

Believe your ideas are valuable

Always think your glass is half full. Think about possibilities not only about likely constraints. As a business owner, you have to nurture a positive mental attitude; believe things will work out fine. If there are possible risks, device means to avoid or manage them. Risks are unforeseen, but you can plan ahead to avoid or mitigate them. Being positive in business enables you take a chance on yourself, be bold to take calculated risks, and believe you are adding value, even when the numbers say otherwise. That is a way of thinking differently in business.

Dig beyond your current offerings

Do not just view things on the surface. Think intensively and carry out research on other ways your business can benefit your target market. Reflect on the true realities of where your business stands at the moment. What are your business challenges? Classify them and analyse them to see how you can make a difference. Outline your business SWOT analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Go beyond the surface; be realistic.

Your competitors are watching

Understand your business environment; be familiar with your competitors’ strategies – if you are not, you can bet that your competitors are doing their homework. What resources do they have that surpasses yours? How can you leverage to collaborate and partner to get the necessary resources? What’s the best way to build more goodwill? Do a survey on your business, and be cautious of the events happening in your business environment. It’s business, so be prepared for the competition. Business is about profit making and goodwill, be focused on these objectives.

Create a war-room

Now that you know who your competitors are and understand your type of business. Identify the threats and evaluate them. Compare your business to your closest competitor. Be battle-ready. Draft a graph of your sales and profits. Can your business survive in business storm or in an unstable economy? Figure out what you can do better? What is not working? Are your key employees performing as expected? Carry out a performance appraisal. Take action: pave the way for more business improvements, do some advertisements, up your business game. Remember it is a game of profit, and that should be your aim.

Thump your chest

What makes you outstanding makes you great. Build on your business competence and promote it. Every product or service must have its own uniqueness, that thing that makes it different from others. Device means to make your business goals and objectives unique. Distinctive competence is that special attribute that shows how your business is similar to your competitors, but different in aspects of branding, concept and product offerings.

Business is nothing without profits. A business seed can only grow if the business soil is fertile, and the fertility starts from your business thoughts. Be better by thinking differently.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9365862

Why Businesses Do Not Sell

Business Don't SellIt would be nice to live in a world where every business-for-sale was sold at top dollar. While there is no such thing as a perfect business free from all defects, there are a number of problems that can hinder a sale that could be remedied, if given enough time. This article lists ten of the reasons which are often cited as contributing factors in an unsuccessful sale or a completed deal for less than potential value.

Business intermediaries need to be up-front with their seller clients, educating them on the challenges faced, and the likely impact that one or more of these issues will have on completing a successful transaction.


a. Valuation/Listing Price:

Arguably, the price a business is listed at is one of the critical elements to a successful sale. An owner’s emotional attachment to their business, coupled with an inexperienced business intermediary’s desire to obtain the listing and please the seller, can be a recipe for disaster. Overpricing a business will deter knowledgeable buyers from establishing communications. Additionally, it will be extremely difficult to defend the valuation when a business has been priced unrealistically. The typical outcome is that the listing will languish in the marketplace and recovery becomes more difficult. Once on the market for months on end at the wrong price, the process in re-pricing and re-listing creates a whole new set of challenges, the least of which is maintaining credibility.

b. Unrealistic Terms and/or Structure

Deal structure, asset allocation and tax management must be addressed proactively and early in the process. Often the Buyer and Seller place all of the focus on the sale price at the expense of the ‘net after-tax results’ of a business transaction. In most cases, a seller could achieve a deal that provides a greater economic benefit when an experienced Tax Attorney/CPA assists with structuring the transaction. In addition to structure there are a number of other issues that could be problematic, including:

Seller insists on all cash at closing and is inflexible in negotiating other terms.
The buyer’s unwillingness to sign a personal guarantee
The lack of consensus on the Asset Allocation
Seller insisting on only selling stock (typically with a C-Corp)
Inability to negotiate equitable seller financing, an earn-out, or terms for the non-compete


For a successful sale to occur, a business owner must have the right team of advisors in place. An experienced mergers & acquisitions intermediary will play the most critical role – from the business valuation to negotiating the terms, conditions, and price of the sale as well as everything in between (confidential marketing, buyer qualification, etc). Aside from the M&A advisor, a business attorney who specializes in business transactions is critical. Once again, “who specializes in business transactions”. Any professional who has been in the industry for more than a year will be able to point to a transaction that has failed because the lawyer that was chosen did not have the specialized expertise in handling business transactions. Additionally, a competent CPA who is knowledgeable about structuring business transactions will be the third key role. While a business owner’s current legal and tax advisors may have the best of intentions in assisting their client with the business sale, if they are not experienced with mergers and acquisitions it would be highly recommended to evaluate alternatives. In some cases, there is one shot when an offer has been received and it is therefore imperative not to attempt to make a deal that is out of reach and impossible to complete.


The majority of buyers are seeking profitable businesses with year-over-year increasing revenue and profits. When a business has a less stellar track record with varied results or possibly declining revenue and/or profits, complications with the business sale are likely to occur. Not only will decreasing profits and revenue impact the availability of third party funding but it will have a material impact on the business valuation. While buyers traditionally purchase businesses based on anticipated future performance, they will value the business on its historical earnings with the major focus on the prior 12-36 months. For those businesses which have deteriorating financials, the seller should be able to articulate accurate reasons for the decline. Both the lender and the buyer will need to obtain a realistic understanding of the underperformance to assess the impact it is likely to have on future results. In cases where the seller is confident that the decline was an anomaly and is not likely to repeat itself, structuring a component of the purchase price in the form of an earn-out would probably be necessary. In other circumstances, when there are two or more years of declines, the buyer and lender will question “where is the bottom?” and what is the new normal. In this situation, a decrease in valuation will be inevitable. Cash flow is the driver behind business valuations and business acquisitions. The consistency and quality of revenue and income will be one of the key focal points when assessing an acquisition. It all relates to risk. Those businesses with dependable recurring revenue generated from contractual arrangements will generally be in greater demand than businesses who produce income based on a project based model.


One of the most critical components to a successful business sale is for the business to maintain accurate, detailed, and clean financial statements that match the filed tax returns. Not only will these financial statements be the basis for the business valuation but they will also be the criteria for whether the business will qualify for bank transaction funding. Too often the business is managed as purely a lifestyle business that is focused only on short term owner compensation, without regard to building long term value. In these cases, the owner has taken very liberal personal expenses that may not be able to be added back when deriving the adjusted earnings. Given the importance these documents represent, a business owner should ensure that the books are professionally managed and up to date. Records that are messy, incomplete, out-of-date or containing too many personal expenses will only give prospective buyers and lenders reasons to question the accuracy of the books. Last but not least, businesses that have a ‘cash component’ will need to report 100% of this income for it to be incorporated in the valuation.


Businesses that have a handful of customers that produce a large percentage of the company’s revenues, will probably have customer concentration issues, especially if one client represents greater than 10% of sales. It is important for a business owner to recognize that a business which lacks a broad and diverse base of customers possesses a higher degree of risk for a buyer as the loss of any one of these large clients could have a material impact on the future earnings. As a result, customer concentration will have an effect on the valuation, deal structure, and salability of the business. Vendor and industry concentration can also pose complications when selling a business. Specialization can be a competitive advantage for a business and assist in winning contracts. However, this same narrow industry focus could be a detriment if it is perceived that the business does possess a broad supply chain and ample options to source products and materials.


It is not uncommon for the owner to play a significant role in the operation and management of the business. This is particularly true with smaller enterprises. Where this situation can present a problem is when the owner is not only the face of the business but also deeply involved with all facets of the company – sales, marketing, operations, management, marketing, and financial. If there are no key employees and there are few written processes and procedures, the business lacks a dependable and repeatable work flow. When it becomes evident that the business cannot operate effectively without the owner’s hands on involvement and personal know-how, it becomes problematic. Of equal concern is the relationship the owner may have with the customers of the business. If the customer does business with the firm largely in part of the relationship with the owner, this situation will create customer retention concerns and possible transition problems when the business is being sold. In summary, buyers want a business that can operate independently from the current business owner.


It is not uncommon for a business owner to become complacent after running the company for an extended period of time. Becoming tired and lacking the previous ‘fire in the belly’ has a way of spilling over into the business fundamentals. The number of trade shows that the business participates in decreases, the travel and new customer sales calls that routinely took place on a daily basis in the early years, have been paired down. The investment spending on equipment upgrades, vehicle replacement or marketing programs have been cut back. Innovation has come to a grinding halt and the business is on auto pilot. The financials have luckily held steady but for how long? An owner who has become burnt out almost unavoidably transmits their lack of zeal and drive to their staff and clients in a number of subtle ways. The net result is the company’s performance slowly begins to deteriorate. Unfortunately, this situation can become even more pronounced when the owner finally makes the decision to sell the business and mentally checks out at the worst possible time. Transferring ownership can be viewed by some as a highly emotional process, and the decision to sell at the right time is often ignored until the issue is forced upon the owner (failing health, divorce, disability, etc.) and usually at a fraction of the former valuation.


Over the last two centuries there have been a number of industries that have developed and grown significantly. In this same time frame, many new industries have been created while others have become extinct. The future outlook for a given industry will have a direct impact on the valuation and marketability of the business during a sale. Businesses facing obsolescence or mired in a shrinking industry will face an uphill battle when it comes time to transitioning or selling the company. Maintaining a diverse offering of products and services that are relevant to the market, not just today, but also with an eye to the future, will enable a business owner to avoid this situation. Not only will this assist in mitigating the impact from declining sales but also demonstrate to a prospective buyer that the business has a clear path to grow in the future.


From loan application approval to transaction funding is a process in business transactions that can take six weeks or more, that is with an ‘experienced’ business acquisition financier. Many deals have fallen apart during this time frame because the buyer became aligned with the wrong financial institution. There is nothing worse, for all parties involved, to find out four weeks into the process that either the loan terms previously promised were not correct or worse, that the bank underwriter declined the loan.

In the field of business acquisitions, not all banks/lenders are the same. There are conventional loans, SBA backed loans, and there are lenders that provide cash-flow based financing and others that only provide asset based funding. One bank may turn down a borrower for an SBA 7a loan while another institution will readily accept it. Every lender has its own unique and frequently modified lending criteria. Therefore, buyers need to ensure they are working with the right lender from day one, or valuable time is wasted causing the deal to be compromised, or lost to another, better prepared candidate. Buyers should consult with the business intermediary representing the sale to determine which lenders have reviewed and/or pre-approved the transaction for funding. Obviously, buyers who are prequalified from the start and verify that the bank’s lending criteria conforms to the type of businesses they are evaluating, will be the best positioned for a successful acquisition.


For some businesses the saying “location, location, location” cannot be more important to the value of the company. Typically, this will pertain to retail businesses. If the physical location is of major importance, the business buyer will seek assurances that they can either purchase the real estate or be able to sign a long term lease. On the flip side, the business could be located in a part of town that has fallen on hard times or could be located on the owner’s personal property, both situations necessitating that the business be relocated. Also, some businesses are not easily relocatable without affecting the current customer base. All of these circumstances add another layer of complexity to the transaction.

Additionally, the type and size of facility can also have a material impact on the sale. If the facility is not large enough to provide the enterprise a sustained growth path, a buyer could become disinterested. Another situation could be the value of the property. If the current owner purchased the land/building a decade or two earlier and the financials or recast do not reflect a current FMV rent/lease payment, valuation problems will occur.

Business transactions involving the sale of commercial real estate can be hampered by the Environmental Site Assessments (ESA’s) – Phase 1 and Phase 2. Property that is contaminated can be very costly to clean up and will have an impact on the closing. When this situation arises, it will be important for the buyer and seller to have a clear understanding of the costs to resolve the issue, which party is responsible, and whether a price offset will be warranted.

Other complicating factors involving commercial real estate include zoning changes that require a property to be brought up to new codes, and clear definition of who bears responsibility and the cost of this process. Last but not least, the agreement by the landlord with either a lease assignment or offering a new lease at comparable rates.


Most small business owners have spent the majority of their life building their business. It is not uncommon for a business seller to become so emotionally attached to the company that they look past some rather glaring problems that a business intermediary, a lender, or prospective buyer will immediately recognize. It is natural for a seller to want to obtain the highest price possible for their business. There is so much bad information on the web related to multiples and business valuations that this should not come as a surprise. M&A Advisors need to be honest and direct in educating a business seller on the challenges faced in a potential sale, the range for a realistic transaction price, as well as creative terms and structuring options that might be utilized. Being a people pleaser and ignoring any potential problems will only provide the seller with unrealistic expectations. In the arena of business negotiations there are few if any “pleasant surprises”. Dealing with issues up front rather than late in the sales cycle process should be the golden rule.

Michael Fekkes is a Senior Broker at ENLIGN Business Brokers in Nashville, TN. Michael is a Certified Business Intermediary [CBI], a Certified Exit Planning Advisor [CEPA], Chairman of the International Business Brokers Association [IBBA] – Communications Committee, as well as a former business owner. He can be reached at 910.691.2202 or mfekkes@enlign.com. ENLIGN Business Brokers is a Professional Services Firm serving the Southeast that is headquartered in Raleigh, NC providing business intermediary services ranging from valuation and sale to exit & succession planning strategies.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9430186

Why Is Trade Credit So Important To Business Credit

No matter what, your business is it is likely you need supplies. For some companies it may only be a matter of office supplies and equipment, for others it might be an entire product line brought in for re-sale. No matter what type of business you are going to be dealing with vendors. Because of this you are in the perfect position to build your business credit in a way that will benefit your company in several ways.

Even if you can afford to buy your paperclips with cashdon’t. Right from the start you should be contacting vendors that you will be doing business with and enquiring about the possibility of trade credit. Use your business name, address, and pertinent information to obtain vendor accounts so that it is your business that builds credit not your personal credit history.

Make all of your purchases on trade credit accounts whenever possible. Not only will this build up a great deal of positive credit history for your company, it also helps you keep your finances in order with excellent records of all of your expenses. That’s a plus at tax time too, and it also keeps you from blending your personal money with business funds.

Why Trade Credit is Important to Your Business’ Financial Future?

Unless you want to be supporting your company out of your own pocket for the rest of its business life making sure your business has operating funds all its own is important. It will also make a huge difference when you need extended operating capital, expansion loans, equipment loans, or any other type of financial backing. Of course if your personal credit is excellent you might be able to back a loan with thatbut do you want to bet your family’s home on it?

Many small business owners do just that. In some cases it can work out okay, but anyone who has been in business for any length of time can tell you it doesn’t take much for it to become a disaster. Even if personally backing a business loan does work out with a hitch, or disaster, is tying up your family’s financial situation for years a good idea? What about when you want to buy a new house, car, or pay for college tuition? How bad will you feel when you have to tell them that you can’t because your equity funds are tied up in backing a business loan?

With proper business credit your company can get the financial backing it needs without your help. Where your help comes in is in the intelligent planning and building of trade credit right from the start.

Because the economy has caused financial industries to re-think how they evaluate lending fewer lenders are willing to take a chance and risk a loan to a business of any size if it isn’t stable and doesn’t show fiscal responsibility. Your well-established trade credit history proves how well your company handles it’s financial obligations.

Avoiding Complications

Establishing business credit through trade credit is even more important if you have a partner or take on investors. Obtaining loans gets tricky when you are backing a company that you are not a sole owner of. Obtaining venture capital with no history of good financial stability is more difficult than if you have exemplary business credit as well.

These are all things you may not think of if you are sitting in your basement starting up a shoe-string business, but Ted Turner started in his basement and Google was the brain-child of a couple of college studentsthings grow. If you want to grow with your business start it off right.

Start Off Easier

Trade credit, otherwise known as vendor credit has also helped finance more small business start ups than lending institutions. No money for the things you need to get your business operating at full capacity? Get trade credit and pay as you go like you would a start-up loan. True start-up loans are much harder to aquire now with the economy being the way it is, but vendors need business just like you do and are more willing to extend varying amounts of credit to get you to buy their product.

Even if you are only able to obtain a small amount of credit take advantage of it as a way to get started and build credit. Make your monthly payments faithfully and apply for more credit. Some vendors will happily increase your limits when they see a reasonable payment history without even being asked.

Major Advantages of Trade Credit vs. Bank Loans

In some cases trade credit is even better than a bank loan. Repayment amounts are often lower than a bank loan, there is no down-payment and interest is often less than a bank loan. For those reasons it makes better sense to use trade credit for operating supplies and products than it does to use other forms of loans.

What to Look for in Trade Credit

Look for vendors who report to the major business credit agencies. The big three business credit institutions are slightly different than the big three personal credit agencies. Business credit reporting agencies are: Dun and Bradstreet, Experian Smart Business and Equifax’s Small Business Financial Exchange.

Make sure vendors report all activity: both good and bad. You want to build positive credit including information on when you pay on time, early, and more than the minimum.

Find out what the limits are on your account. You need to use credit to make it count, but you shouldn’t max out your accounts either. Just like in personal credit overcharging to the point you are at your limits only looks like poor management and financial skills.

Find out if they offer discounts. These can be very beneficial to you if you have the money to pay for items. Use your vendor account to purchase the item and then pay for it within the specified amount of time and get discounts for early payment. Many vendors offer deals like 20% discount on purchases paid within 10 days. This can end up being a sizeable amount on big ticket items like computers, office furniture, or product for re-sale.

Consignment vs. Credit

When seeking out vendors for products some offer an alternative to credit called consignment. In these cases products are supplied for you to sell and then you pay the cost of each item sold. One of the cons to consignments is that the cost is usually higher than items purchased outright. The bigger drawback to consignment purchases is that you do not develop any credit history. The biggest advantage to consignment purchases is that there is no interest charged and if you do not sell an item you return it in the original condition without penalty or cost.

Using consignment for products to sell is a viable option if you do not have income to start with but should be avoided if you can afford to make minimum monthly payments while proceeds start to come in. The key goal is to get started affordably while at the same time building credit for a bright future.

Why Being A Loan Officer In The Mortgage Business Is Horrible

Why Trying to Be a Loan Officer (that is, Sell Mortgages) Is Especially Grim

… and why pursuing a career in home loans is pretty much doomed to failure.

I gave the mortgage industry — the whole loan originator gig — a serious go of it a few years back. That was just before the entire real estate market melted down.

But even then, I knew after about six months that it just wasn’t for me. And as it worked out, I ditched just before thousands of loan officers were driven out by the economic collapse.

It’s odd, really, that I even gave it a whirl. I already had a great freelance sales gig in place, and that was earning me a great income. But I’m the kind of guy who is always out there looking for something new and more exciting. It was right when I was moving to Dallas, and the whole “mortgage consulting” thing seemed as if it could be fun, and I had buddies in the industry pulling down $25K a month routinely. So I thought what the hell, and I gave it a go.

But it didn’t take long for me to realize I was in the WRONG PLACE.

Because there was no way it was ever going to create the lifestyle I wanted for myself.

Even leaving aside all of the stuff I’m about to cover here, (even leaving aside having to pander to real estate agents, and what that does to your soul), at the end of the day, trying to sell mortgages — working in that industry — is just nowhere near capable of creating the kind of life I’ve got going on and had come to get used to.

The hours, the office, the boss, the stress, the tedium, the grief … It’s enough to make you want to jump off a bridge. Seriously.

But even leaving that stuff aside. Even assuming you’re a glutton for misery and your idea of a good time is a life of constant, bitter struggle and mind-wracking tedium … Fundamentally there are three main reasons why I think trying to sell in the mortgage industry is a really bad idea, especially right now.

The gravy train is over. It has become harder than ever to close deals.

There are several reasons for that. I’ll list a few of them:

The housing market has tanked, taking with it a lot of the people who used to be in the industry. The ones who are left are desperate for business. This has the effect of not only putting you on a crappy level with the client (since it’s get the deal or eat Ramen noodles all next month, you end up begging for business, cringing under anything a client says or demands), but it also has the effect of making the whole mortgage racket more and more a rate game.
And that’s the second reason for why it’s harder than ever to close deals. Rate are too damn high, they’re fluctuating all over the place because of all the government interference in the economy, and your prospects are OBSESSING over rate, ready to cut your throat and run to the guy down the block and leave you high and dry with nothing, over an eighth of a point.
What else is making it hard to close deals is the fact that they’ve taken away all but a small handful of programs — I think you’ve got THREE now; used to be dozens. Everyone needs to put money down, and everyone is stuck in a fixed rate. Like it or lump it. (Problem is, a lot of people are choosing to lump it.)
And finally, one other thing making it harder to close deals is the increased difficulty of getting lenders and proposed loans to fall in line with the new guidelines. Used to be, deals could be slam-dunks and you knew it. You could bury three points in the YSP and still slam-dunk it. Nowadays nothing is a slam-dunk, even at par, and underwriting can kill a deal sixteen different ways before sun down, and leave you feeling you’ve been mugged in a back alley.

So those are some of the reasons why it’s become harder to close deals. And that’s assuming you can even find prospects and get the deals into processing and submitted to begin with. That takes me to the second reason I think trying to sell mortgages as a loan officer is a bad idea:

It is just flat out hard as hell to attract attention anymore, much less differentiate yourself from all of the other loan guys out there.

For one, people are jaded and afraid of getting screwed. They’ve become insanely suspicious — in part because they’re being flooded every day with offers for free credit reports, refinancing opportunities, doom-and-gloom horror stories of foreclosures and mounting unemployment.

Try marketing yourself as a loan officer. Good lord. You’re competing against fifty thousand other hungry mortgage guys. You’re competing against huge banks and desperate net branches. And everyone is selling on price, price, price. Selling on having the “lowest rate.” Everyone is fighting to make a buck. They’re running ads, they’re running banners, they’re sending out useless mailings, they’re falling over each other trying to get someone –anyone — in town to refer them some business.

Not a pretty sight.

And to make it worse, the big advantage you USED to be able to have was in specializing in something, some niche. The guys making the best money were framing themselves as “mortgage consultants,” and trying to stand somewhere between being a loan officer and a financial advisor.

And it worked for long time. The guys who were good at it made a fortune.

But things have changed. Back in the day, you had dozens of programs to choose from. You could customize a mortgage solution for a client, and really bring value to that interaction. You could build a plan for them, around their goals and dreams, and show them how the mortgage you were structuring for them would help them and their families get where they wanted to go.

Well … That’s all gone now.

You’ve got THREE programs you can offer nowadays. Conventional, VA, or FHA. Fixed, fixed, or fixed. That’s it. That’s all.

No more no-money-down programs. No more stated-income or stated-asset programs. No more negative amortization loans with investment plans behind them.

Increased restrictions on investment properties.

Massive reduction of new-construction loans, and the effective extinction of jumbo (much less super-jumbo) loans.

There’s no way to “consult” or offer “mortgage-planning” when it comes down to a fixed rate. People have been trained to focus exclusively on price.

And there’s always someone willing to cut your throat for an eighth of a point.

So the second reason why I’m against selling in the mortgage industry came down to how hard it is to find good leads, and how hard it is to differentiate yourself, or in any way rise above price.

The third reason is more personal:

It just takes so much damn WORK to try to close a mortgage deal.

Even leaving aside the effort it takes to bring in a qualified lead. (And “qualified” has a whole other meaning when it comes to home loans. Someone can want a new home loan all he wants. Whether he qualifies, under the new guidelines, however … That’s a completely different story.)

Even leaving aside the effort it takes to get the prospect to want to work with you.

That still leaves all of the endless documentation required to get the deal closed and a commission check in your pocket.

There is the appraisal, the sales contract, the gigantic loan application, the credit check, the required bank statements and pay stubs, the verification of employment and income, the verification of bank funds, the home-owners insurance, the mortgage insurance, and on and on and on it goes.

Then the client has to actually get approved.

And come up with the down payment.

(And somehow, during all this, manage to avoid the hoard of hungry banks and mortgage companies and other loan officers out there trying to steal your deal out from under you before you can get it to closing.)

And even THEN it’s not over. Because it takes time, you see. And you have the pure joy of sweating under the stress of endless underwriting grief, where nothing is easy anymore, and every closing is precarious and uncertain.

So let us try to sum up …

At the end of the day, trying to sell home loans in the mortgage industry is hell on wheels. It is getting harder and harder, to earn less and less.

This year the industry is predicted to take another slug in the head, and thousands more will end up unable to close enough loans to pay their bills, or see their mortgage companies chain their front doors closed, without so much as a severance check from commissions on deals that had already funded.

I predict that we’re headed toward complete and utter commoditization of mortgage lending, with mounting government controls, where everything becomes cookie-cutter and in the hands of a few gigantic banks.

So unless you want a future in a cubicle, taking down loan applications over the phone and entering them into a computer for eight bucks an hour (assuming things don’t go completely automated, and they still need someone to at least type the stuff in) …

Here’s my recommendation:

– Forget the mortgage industry.
– Find something different.
– Find something better.

I’ll be talking a lot more about that “something better” here real soon …
At MaverickSalesGuy (dotcom)

How To Get Hired For Competitive Business Analyst Roles

Looking for a new business analyst job can be intimidating whether you are a seasoned business analyst looking for a challenging business analyst position or you are applying for entry-level business analyst positions.If you do not handle your business analyst job search correctly, you may be passed over for positions that you are really qualified for or your resume may never get to the desk of the hiring managers or you may get discouraged by the lack of interest in your resume from potential employers. Whatever your situation, what I am about to say next may help you find your ideal business analyst job quickly, fast track your business analyst career or help you become a star player in the business analyst industry, so, pay attention!

Why Do I Need A Cover Letter and a Resume?
One of the things that can set you apart from all the other business analysts out there is your cover letter. This statement may be unexpected because most of us assume that recruiters and human resources departments receive so many resumes that your cover letter barely receives a cursory glance. However, this is no reason not to send out a great cover letter with your business analyst resume. You need a cover letter for the following reason; a cover letter shows that you put extra effort into introducing yourself to the company by creating a customized letter describing your business analyst training, business analyst skills and business analyst experience. Without the cover letter, the company assumes that you may be applying to every single business analyst job out there rather than taking the time to apply to specific business analyst position that matches your skill set and background. Your cover letter helps recruiters to select you from the hundreds of candidate’s resumes they receive. The recruiter scans your cover letter to see if anything jumps out to grab him and if your cover letter is memorable, he or she will move your resume over to the “Read” pile instead of the “Toss” pile.

A Good Cover Letter Will Help You Get Hired Fast!
Your resume will probably look much like that of other candidates who have the same business analyst education, skills, and training. This is why I highly suggest the use of a cover letter when applying for a business analyst position if you want to make a favorable first impression. Even if you dont have much prior business analyst work experience a cover letter highlighting your business analyst education & business analyst training gives you the means to show the hiring manager that you still have what it takes to do the job well. You should showcase your applicable characteristics even if they are mentioned on your resume. This shows that you took the time to create a unique cover letter that specifically addresses the company you are applying to. Note that you may not reuse the same cover letter over and over, as each cover letter must be unique and customized in order to stand out from the other candidates.

How To Write An Awesome Business Analyst Cover Letter!
You have decided to apply for a business analyst job posting and you have read the rest of this article, so you are ready to write a cover letter that makes your resume stand out. Here is what you must do. Read the job description and then use your cover letter to position you for the business analyst job opening. If the job opening is for a Business Analyst with Agile Methodology experience, mention that. If the resume requires Rational Unified Process (RUP) experience, mention that or else mention that you have Rational Unified Process (RUP) Training. List the key, measurable business results you have been principal to achieving. List all UML Training, Agile Training, Use Case Training, Requirements Analysis Training, skills and job experience. Mention any Fortune 500 corporations, business consulting experience, or experience in any industry aligned with that of your potential employer.
Finally, make sure your cover letter matches your key business analysis skills, training, certifications or job experience with the qualifications or requirements of the business analyst job posting.

Get the Attention of the Hiring Manager
How do you get noticed from a cover letter? The answer is getting the hiring managers attention right from the beginning of your cover letter. The introduction of your cover letter should be concentrated on grabbing attention in order to interest the reader into reading the letter through to completion. In the introduction you can tell of how you became interested in the business analysis industry, any formal experiences you may have in gathering business requirements, your successes, and your passion for being a business analyst. Then get into some of your previous business analyst projects and the results of the projects. Continue on by filling in the details about the business analyst skills you have mastered and the experience that makes you the better choice for the position. Accentuate how those learned skills will help the company to accomplish its objective of requirements gathering.

How To Format A Business Analyst Job Search Cover Letter
When writing your business analyst job search cover letter stay close to the straight and narrow path in formatting the letter. Use normal business conventions in the opening paragraph, when addressing the business analyst job position, and in the closing paragraph of your cover letter. This will apply to cover letters that you send to business analyst job postings by email, fax, snail mail or business analyst jobs posted on job boards like Monster.com, Dice.com, etc. Be courteous and business-like. Formality will not take away from you if you have something interesting to say, so keep the cover letter short by being focused and getting straight to the point. The entire cover letter should not be more than four paragraphs. Avoid starting out with to whom it may concern., that is old school If possible, you should use the name of the recruiting manager mentioned in the business analyst job posting. Do not use slang, cute phrases, emoticons or graphics. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Use a spell-checker and if possible, get a friend or mentor to proof-read the cover letter before you send it out.

Finally, remember that your cover letter presents you with an opportunity to get your ideal business analyst job. It is your opportunity to connect with and capture the recruiters or hiring managers attention, tell your professional story and stand out from the crowd. It may take hard work to create great business analyst cover letter, but it is worth the effort, when you land that great business analyst job while others wonder why they are not as lucky as you.

I wish you success with your business analyst job search.

Difference Between E-commerce And E-business

E-Commerce and E-Business are two completely different terms but unfortunately they are always used interchangeably by many of us. The reason behind this lies in the meanings of business and commerce in English language. But there is a difference between e-commerce and e-business. There are many people who understand the subtle differences between the two and there had always been a debate among these two groups about the differences and similarities between e-commerce and e-business. The aim of writing this article is to clearly bring out the differences between the two as both of them are completely different phenomenon.

The differences between the two are as follows:

1. E-Commerce is the subset of E-Business. If you remember the Venn diagram you studied in school then you can very well understand what I am trying to convey. The later one is a very broad concept while the former one is just a small part of it. This relationship will be cleared in the subsequent points.

2. Those activities which essentially involve monetary transactions are termed as e-commerce. However, e-business is a much broader term. There are many other things besides selling including but not limited to marketing, procurement of raw materials or goods, customer education, looking for suppliers etc.

3. To sell online is e-commerce but to bring and retain customers and educate them online about the product or service is e-business. Having a website to do it is not sufficient. But, having a professionally built website loaded with latest technologies to capture the attention of the visitor and win his/her appreciation is required. When money is involved then the first thing which user looks for is safety and security of his/her money. Having a website laden with such qualities is important.

4. When Dell sell computers, laptops, monitors, printers, accessories etc online then it is not engaged in e-commerce but e-business. Let me tell you how. When a visitor comes on the website, the first thing he see is website design and navigation as well as those things which are going to help him find what he is looking for and if he directly lands on the page he was looking for, he looks for the information related to it. The information provided should be appealing and clear maximum doubts of the visitor so as to convert him in a client. Till now no money has been exchanged nor been talked about. So, was this e-commerce? No, it is e-business which guides the visitor.

5. E-commerce has also been defined as a process covering outward processes that touch customers, suppliers and external partners while e-business covers internal processes such as production, inventory management, product development, risk management, finance etc.

In all, e-commerce can be described as the use of the Internet and the web to transact business. More formally, digitally enabled commercial transactions between and among organizations and individuals. On the other hand, e-business can be described as the digital enablement of transactions and process within a firm, involving information systems under the control of the firm. Moreover, e-business applications turn into e-commerce precisely when an exchange of value occurs.

National Agents Alliance Business System Revealed

Do You Seriously Want To Know The Truth About NAA?

Re: National Agents Alliance Business System

Dear Friend,

What have you heard about National Agents Alliance? Did they tell you how theyre turning ordinary people into millionaires in less than 5 years? Did they introduce you to all those people who earned 6 figures in their 1st year? When I saw this I couldnt believe a word I read.

I mean, how does a plumber without a high school diploma walk away from his $12 per hour job and earn over a quarter million dollars in just a couple years? I decided to investigate

I punched in the name National Agents Alliance into the Google search engine and 2 of the first 10 listings were from the Rip Off Report. Now if youve never heard of the Rip off Report then you probably dont know how they earn money. They are similar to the Better Business Bureau.

Both are run by people that want to make a profit. Dont think for one minute that its an office full of retired 70 year old veterans sitting around an office trying to make a difference in the community!

Dont be fooled by the word non-profit because the people who operate the company or organization skim their salaries off the top of the non-profit. These people dont work for free!

BBB earns money by soliciting an annual fee from their members and Rip Off Report earns money when visitors click on the ads throughout the website. Do you want to hear something funny?

When you search for Better Business Bureau complaints you find the BBB on the Rip Off Report! But wait it gets better

When you search for Rip Off Report Scam you find numerous consumer complaints about the deception and lies in the Rip Off Report! Where are you supposed to go for advice?!#$

The bottom line is if you want to know the truth about National Agents Alliance or any other company you have to investigate it yourself. You cannot depend on these websites or even the newspapers for that matter.

The only way to discover the truth about anything is to C 4 YOURSELF! One day I was talking with some friends after Church about Tony Robbins walking barefoot over hot coals…

My friend John was explaining step by step how it can be done. Fred didnt believe it. Chris was confused and went back and forth between John and Fred. Dave was pointing out Johns mistakes. And I just sat there silently listening to everyones opinion.

Do you want to hear something funny? None of them ever tried it before! The very next Saturday we were having a bonfire at my cottage. I pulled the wood from the fire, spread out the hot coals, took off my shoes and socks and my friends started hooting and hollering.

I didnt say one word. I took my 1st step, then my 2nd, then my 3rd, 4th and finally my 5th step was on the grass. Was it hot? Yes! Did it burn me? No. Was I hurt? No

Did I now know the truth about walking barefoot over hot coals? Yes. The only person you can trust in this world 100% is yourself. If you reading this article you certainly do not know me from Adam so it will not do my team any good to preach the National Agents Alliance business opportunity to you.

Instead Ive chosen to help you understand the only way to discovering the truth in anything.

National Agents Alliance, Rip Off Report and Better Business Bureau are all out to make a profit. There is no secret here, but which one of the 3 do you think is out to help YOU make a profit?

If youve never researched the idea of becoming a business owner then you might be unfamiliar with some basic principles. The first principle you want to consider when investigating a business is risk vs. reward.

If National Agents Alliance cost $5,000 to join a team then it would only make sense to hesitate and spend a lot of your time researching the opinions of others to save you from making a big mistake and

Thats perfectly understandable. Who wants to lose $5,000 to a bunch of scheisters!?

But if the risk is low and the cost is $0 to join a team then your time is better spent by just giving it a shot and finding out for yourself.

If you want to know more about the National Agents Alliance, you can take a free tour at www.NAAPowerPlayers.com