How to Start a Small Business with Little Capital

Becoming a business owner doesn’t have to require huge capital investment

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning your own business, you probably stopped dreaming the second you considered how much money it would take to make your dream come true. You can dream big and start small, however, by starting up a business that doesn’t require an exorbitant amount of capital up front.  The following are just some of the avenues you can take to make your dream of being a business owner a reality.

Get creative
If you count painting or handicrafts among your biggest passions, you have the potential to turn your hobby into a successful business. According to Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBoom and VIP Contributor for Entrepreneur, selling your paintings, artwork and crafts on eBay, Amazon and Etsy allows you to reach a wider customer base without having to invest capital in a website. If you want to market your products without having to pay for placement, you can start up dedicated accounts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to show off your goods and offer exclusive discounts.

Cook up some cash
Cooking can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It allows you not only to control what you put into your body, but it also provides a creative outlet and rewards experimentation with new things. If you find that your kitchen creations are consistent crowd-pleasers, you might be able to parlay that skill into a small enterprise. Susan Ward, owner of information technology consulting firm Cypress Technologies, writes for The Balance Small Business that gluten-free and artisanal foods are two of the top small-business ventures you can start without a lot of capital up front.
If you can’t afford a retail space stocked with high-end equipment and appliances, you can simply utilize your home kitchen to create your product. Apart from selling your product via social media, you can start by selling your goods at a local farmers market. Once you begin to build a bit of buzz, you can reach out to local grocery stores and restaurants to see if they’ll begin selling your products and incorporating them into dishes.

Selling yourself
If you are in possession of a certain skillset or talent that you think can drive a small-business endeavor, you might be able to put it to use without having to pay the typical small-business startup cost. Jackie Zimmerman, writing for NerdWallet, says that your expertise can be the seed from which a thriving business can grow.
If you consider yourself an expert in some academic field or another, Zimmerman recommends plying your skills as a consultant or private tutor. If you hit upon a formula or approach that works, you can use the positive results seen by students as a proof of concept and begin marketing yourself with testimonials to back up what you’re selling.
Ward suggests that taking care of seniors is a small-business opportunity that can both help keep you financially solvent and provide a meaningful service to people in need. Ward cites the affluence of the baby-boom generation and an American Association of Retired Persons survey that found 90 percent of seniors wanting to live independently as evidence of in-home care being both profitable and important. Ward notes that there are low-cost franchise opportunities available for those interested in providing senior care.
These are just some of the small-business options that can be brought to fruition without a ton of money up front. If you have a particular skill or field that you would like to turn into a business of your own, consider all of your options and be creative wherever possible


4 Reasons to Open a Savings Account for Your Business

 

 

When you were a child, your parents opened your first savings account. As you grew and came into bills of your own, you opened a checking account to have better access to your money. Now, as the owner of a business, you’ve probably opened a business checking account so that you can pay your suppliers and separate enterprise money from your personal accounts. If you really want your business to be as sound as possible, consider going one step further and opening a business savings account.

 

1. Prepare for tax time

If you have spent time as an employee of an established business, you know that the usual automatic withholding of taxes can be extremely helpful every time that tax season rolls around. As a small-business owner, you are the one responsible for knowing how much money you owe in taxes and paying that amount to the federal, state and local governments on time. A business savings account can be a great place to store or hold the money you know you will need for tax payments. Not only will you yield some interest from setting the money aside, but you will ensure that you or your partners don’t spend it on a business investment instead.

2. Save for a rainy day

When you’re managing your personal funds, your savings account more than likely holds the money you are keeping in case of an emergency, such as a loss of job or a medical crisis. A business can use a savings account for the same thing. Amanda Cameron of Patriot Software advises that a savings account is a great buffer to cover unexpected costs that might otherwise severely hinder or even cripple your business. As liquid assets, you can access funds quickly to fix any problems, such as broken  equipment or an accident, to make sure that any work stoppage lasts the shortest time possible.

3. Earn interest

Interest rates are finally going up in the United States, which means that savings accounts might once again start earning meaningful interest. Regardless of how much interest your money accrues, the team at the Money Supermarket Financial Group points out that you will almost certainly earn a more competitive rate of interest with a savings account than in a checking account. Whether you intend to use the money in the account for a rainy day or just have it there for safe keeping, keeping it in a savings account ensures that your money is working for you.

4. Stay organized

Just like an individual can have more than one savings account, a business can also have multiple accounts. While it might seem confusing to maintain separate accounts, it is a very basic way to make sure that all of your money will be used for its intended purpose. Keeping your equipment funds in an account apart from the emergency money will help ensure that you don’t accidentally overspend in an emergency and not be able to pay for upgrades your tools need to stay competitive. This ensures more stability, even if it comes at the cost of added account maintenance.

Consider talking to an associate at your bank or your financial advisor for the best advice for taking your business savings to the next level. A business savings account is by and large a sound decision, but there may be options available to you that work better for your business’s needs.

Check out our Business Banking Options!

3 Ways to Help Your Teens Build Good Credit

When your teen finally takes the big leap and moves out of the house, they’re going to need a solid credit score for a lot of life steps: renting an apartment, getting a loan or finding a good deal on insurance.

For that reason, it’s important that teens build up their credit scores before they move out. There are a few ways you can prepare them for this in the years leading up to graduation.

  1. Make sure they have a checking account and debit card to go along with it
    Getting your teen started with their own bank account is a significant step in building their credit score without ditching their safety net. A teenager under 18 years old can still sign up for a debit card; they just need a co-signer. Since you are co-signing on the card, your personal account will be linked to your teen’s in case of an overdraft. With this checking account and debit card, you should also teach your teens the importance of managing money well.
  1. Teach them the credit card basics
    Credit cards are a bit more complex than debit cards, so it’s important to sit down your teen and help them understand the basics. Signing them up for their own credit card is a bigger step than signing up for a debit card, but it’s an additional step that will help boost their credit score — assuming they pay the bills on time and in full. U.S. News & World Report contributor Amelia Granger says that the most critical skill a teen can learn is to pay their bills in full, even if that means starting with a smaller credit limit. Make sure you are monitoring your teen’s bills to confirm they’re not damaging their credit score rather than building a good foundation for the years ahead.

 

  1. Help them open a Secured Credit Card
    A Secured Credit Card is the perfect card to teach your teen how to properly manage money. It does this by not allowing them to use the money they don’t have, instead locking in a minimum amount of $500 they must use as if it were borrowed money from the bank. This card will help them improve their credit score and after a year they will be able to apply to a regular credit card.

Responsible money management is tough to practice if you learn it late in life. Your kids will be much better off by teaching them good financial practices.


3 Simple Ways to Earn a Little Extra

 

Sometimes your full-time jobs are not enough to pay the bills, save, and have fun. Sometimes a paycheck is only enough to make ends meet.  Sure, you can always get another part-time job or look for higher paying job. However, when you have conflicting schedules and a family having an extra job isn’t so easy.

What are some ways to earn a little extra cash and keep enjoying your free time?

  1. Pet Sitting There are many websites where you can sign up to be a pet sitter. Yes, a pet sitter. Not only do you get to enjoy the company of cute fluffy creatures, you also get to spend some time in the sun. If you do this, plan accordingly. For example, if sign up to pet sit on a Sunday you’ll have company to watch the game and exercise early in the morning. TIP: Pet sitting is in high demand in South Florida. Take some time to look into it.
  1. Clean your home, and sell your unwanted items online: If you have unused –or gently used items– try selling them. Liberating yourself from all that clutter, will feel very rewarding. Remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
  1. Participate in surveys or focus groups: Some marketers and research firms offer cash for participating in focus groups. This is not a lot of money, but $10 to answer 10 questions online buys you lunch.

If you ever find yourself in need of a little bit of cash, consider these methods.

Enjoy!


pay off your high debt

How Can You Pay Off Your High Debt?

pay off your high debt
A Balance Transfer can help you pay off your high credit card debt

High debt can make you feel stressed, worried, and a little discouraged. Just remember, where there is a will, there is a way to pay. One of our goals as a credit union is to help you become financially stable. Take a deep breath, create a timeline and think how you can reduce your spending.

Then use some of the following tips as a guidance to help you pay off your high debt.

  1. Get rid of high rate credit cards first
    What does this mean?
    Your credit card interest rate vary between financial institutions. Allowing your spending to increase unconsciously. For example let’s pretend you spend $450 in credit card A with a 29.99% interest rate; and you spend $475 with a 12% interest rate in credit card B. In time, the $450 spent in credit card A may become more expensive due to its higher interest rate. You must avoid falling into this trick.
    First, go over all your credit card statements and create a list starting with your highest interest cards and ending with your lowest. By increasing the payment on your highest interest cards you are saving money and avoiding high interest charges.
    TIP: Remember to continue paying the minimum amount due on the rest of your credit cards.

 

  1. Take advantage of Balance Transfer Promotions.
    If you have high interest rates on another credit cards think about moving your debt to your BrightStar Credit Card—especially during our Balance Transfer Promotion period. Keep in mind you must be strict with your payments in order to take advantage of the promotional rate before it expires.

 

  1. Stop spending so much on your credit cards.
    If you’re trying to pay off your high debt, credit cards are NOT your best friend. Remove all credit cards from your wallet, and start budgeting your expenses with cash. Don’t worry, this change is only temporary, only while you get more financially stable.

 

  1. Put work bonuses, or other incentives toward debt.
    We get it! Taking that work bonus and using it on a nice vacation is tempting. However, sometimes we need to put temptation aside and start thinking of our financial future. If you receive a bonus for a good sale, holiday, or other use it to pay off your debt. Your wallet will thank you later.

 

  1. Sell unwanted items online.
    A good way to make some extra cash is to clean your house from unwanted items. Sell those old presents collecting dust and start fattening up your wallet. After all, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

 

High debt should not affect your well-being. Go on, change your habits, make some smart choices, and reward yourself in the future.

You can do it!


Credit card shopping can be fun.

How to Shop Wisely During the Holidays?

Credit card shopping can be fun.
Shop wisely, save money, and treat yourself!

No matter your discipline, the holiday season is always the season of spending. You probably have trips scheduled with your family, fancy dinners to prepare for, new outfits to get, and of course, some presents to get.

So, how can you spend more wisely?

  1. Create a list: This might seem a little silly, but a simple list can go a long way. Write the names of everyone you’re planning on getting presents for and how much you will spend on each of them. Collect and take advantage of coupons, sales, and time. Try not to leave your holiday shopping for last minute, the earlier you go, the more sale items you will find.
  2. Keep in mind your Cash Reward Cards: If you’re purchasing gifts with a credit card you have to keep your rates and rewards in mind. Some cards will allow you to have a little extra spending with all the benefits they provide. Some cards will make you go over budget with all their high rates. You must be careful!
  3. Buy gift cards: Some people find gift cards a bit cold and impersonal. However, gift cards are ideal to save money and to give people the choice of buying exactly what they want.
  4. Save for the big gifts: If you’re planning on getting a 65” flat screen for your significant other, save money ahead of time. You can start by putting $20 aside every 2 weeks on a separate account, so by the time you find something you like, you won’t overspend.

Remember, your spending does not have to become a headache. So, enjoy the holidays with your family and feel thankful.


Security Alert

5 Ways to Shop Safely Online

BSCU offers identity theft protection
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft!

The modern way to shop requires computers, tablets, and phones. We no longer make long lines at the store, or wait for a customer service representative to help us. Technology allows us to shop for our favorite items at the comfort of our  home. In addition, we can choose to have an online chat with a representative if we need help. But, it is not all fun and games in the online world. With the expansion of the online world came a different kind of danger. A danger that can seriously affect our financial life, this is called identity theft.

The following tips can help your shop safely online.

  1. Look for a lock padlock: A secure online shop can be difficult to find, you need to pay attention. Secure sites contain a secure sockets layer (SSL), which is an installed encryption that allows you to shop safely online. This appears as a locked padlock placed at the bottom of your web browser, or next to the URL in the address bar. Try to shop on sites with a secure ‘lock’ only.
    TIP: Never give your credit card number through an email address.
  2. Protect your PC: Hackers don’t just sit and wait around. They use phishing emails, impersonate your social media friends, and send viruses to scan your computer. In order to prevent this, you should always keep your computer protected with an antivirus and pop-up blocker. Avoid clicking on anything that may look suspicious, such as emails directly asking for your personal information.
  3. Check your statements: Be careful and check your statements constantly. Do not just wait for your bill at the end of the month to check your expenses. If you see any unusual activity in your  call your financial institution and to help you fix the problem.
  4. Avoid public computers and Wi-Fi: Public computers and Wi-Fi are great if you are reading a book or gossiping on social media. However, shopping online is risky on public outlets. It makes it easier for hackers to steal your private information and go on a shopping spree with your money. Have patience, wait until you’re home or a friend’s house to start shopping.

Take advantage of these tips and shop safely online this holiday season. Good luck!