Monthly Archives: July 2014

Feeding Your Start-Up: How to Garner Enough Capital

Cash is one of the first things you will need for your business, whether it is your first start-up or if you are expanding. There are many ways of going about gathering this cash, including using your own savings and borrowing from the bank. The following is an outline on the pros and cons of each path.

Dipping into your savings

It is difficult for many small businesses to find a bank that will provide them with a loan; this is especially true if you do not have any previous sales information or data to back them up. Depending on the amount of cash needed, it might be a quicker way to revenue to use your own cash.

The best and safest way to invest your money wisely is to take it slow and steady; instead of purchasing your premises, spending money on advertising and employees all at once, make sure that your idea is viable first. One inexpensive way of checking the viability of your idea is to do market research; this may seem expensive, but in actuality, all you have to do is ask friends, family or even strangers on social media as to whether or not your idea will fly.

Once you know your idea will work, and people will purchase it, you can start working on a prototype of your product. For example, if you are trying to sell a new holistic type of dog food, make sure that all the right ingredients are in the food – and that the dog will actually eat and enjoy it. You should also recruit professionals to help you – in this case, a veterinarian would be an excellent idea, as they can provide you with the hard data on what a dog needs to be healthy. You can move onto packaging, advertising, and the like.

This “small steps” approach will ensure that you are spending money within reason, in ways that make sense – and will give you a better return of capital later on.

Asking the bank

If you have a really good business idea, and you have completed the research and have the information to back it up, garnering a bank loan might be the best logical step. Just keep in mind that many banks are very particular on who they lend to – they do want their money back, after all. Here are some tips on making sure you have the best chance of receiving that loan.

1)     Know your business. A loan officer will ask you many questions about your potential business – when asked about revenue projections, being able to answer right away will leave a better impression than having to go through scads of paper.

2)     Have the data to back it up. If you know that in 2012, 62 percent of households had at least one pet (Human Society), have the link or the document to prove it.

3)     Financials. This is probably one of the more important documents you must bring to the table when meeting with the loan officer – if you are able to, outline the revenue projections for your business, and how you will go about implementing your business plan.

Bitcoins: Not Just On-line Any More

On June 30, 2014, the state of California rescinded its ban against Bitcoins and other alternative currencies. This in turn paved the way to the first Bitcoin ATMS in California – now located in two Locali Conscious convenience stores in Los Angeles.

Although far from taking over the U.S. dollar, Bitcoins are garnering traction. The cryptocurrency first appeared in 2009, and in 2012, over 1,000 merchants were accepting Bitcoins. As well, the price of a Bitcoin has also increased – in February, 2011, the exchange rate was 1:$1; it is now about $600 per Bitcoin, down from a high of $1,000 in January, 2014.

The ATMs in Los Angeles are managed by ExpressCoin, and created by Robocoin. They allow users to purchase and sell Bitcoins in exchange for U.S. or other forms of paper currency. The ATMs themselves include a palm scanning technology, and also require the user to enter a valid e-mail address for verification.

Will Bitcoins still be as popular in a year — or five? The fall from $1,000 to $600 per Bitcoin directly results from the shutdown of MTGOX, one of the larger Japanese Bitcoin exchanges, and the uncertainty as to whether or not the Chinese government would try to ban the currency exchanges.

On the other hand, Robocoin has created a lot of interest in the ATMs. Chief executive officer Jordan Kelly said in the L.A. Times that over 100 other potential L.A. operators have expressed interest in the ATMs. From the first ATM launch in 2013 in Vancouver, Robocoin now has six Bitcoin machines in the U.S., with others in Tel Aviv, Hong Kong – a total of 13 countries.

One of the more well-known instances of large items being sold or traded for Bitcoins is an Alberta, Canada, man offering to sell his house for Bitcoins, also followed by a woman in the same province. One of the more endearing qualities of the Bitcoin is the fact that there are no middle men involved – you are not charged a fee for the bank to hold onto the currency, and you do not have to pay a fee to get it exchanged.

Some countries have already made their stance on Bitcoin obvious. Ecuador has banned the Bitcoin, and is planning its own digital money as an alternative. Europe has many exchanges available for the digital currency, and Amsterdam was the location of the Bitcoin 2014 conference – building the digital economy – from May 15 to 17.

Whether it sticks around or not, the Bitcoin is definitely an interesting subject to think about. It may seem illegal, but in many countries it is quite legal indeed. Many larger companies are jumping on board and accepting the Bitcoin, including Dell, Newegg, WordPress, OverStock.com, Amazon, Target, even Subway and Victoria’s Secret. In London, England, there’s even a pub that accepts Bitcoins – the Pembury Tavern.

The Bitcoin is an entirely new animal in the world of currency, as it is the first start-up currency – ever. It will be interesting to see if this cyroptocurrency increases its price – or falls off the map entirely.