What Are the Characteristics of an Entrepreneur?

The characteristics of an entrepreneur.Latest figures show that more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs. Some do it out of choice, others are forced into it through downsizing and a tough job market. Whatever the circumstances, these are the key competencies and characteristics required for entrepreneurship.

Curiosity – the desire to learn new things

Do you want to understand how things work? Do you enjoy learning new skills? Entrepreneurs like to find out about their subject, they read all the information they can get their hands on, they keep up to date, they search their environment to find opportunities. Their antennae are always alert to new markets, new needs, new products and services.

Optimism – view reality in a positive way3

To succeed with your own business you need to be a positive optimist. How do you react to problems? Are they opportunities to improve or do they bring you to a grinding halt? Do you believe in yourself and your environment? Realism is essential but so is the conviction that you are able to deal with it and succeed. This all impacts on how you handle failure. Entrepreneurs are able to manage and learn from failure. They are able to view it positively – an opportunity to learn and grow and then move on.

Risk taker – there are no guarantees

Are you prepared to risk your time and effort, your money and your reputation in the entrepreneurial venture? Risk takers are willing to trust their instincts and act on them. The risk can be significantly reduced by careful research, planning and implementation of your idea but you have to be able and willing to step out of your comfort and safety zone to get going.

High energy – willing to work long and hard

The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary! Are you willing to put all your energy into this venture? Are you excited by the thought of working hard at your own business? If you don’t have true passion for what you are doing you will find it difficult to gather the energy to work at it. Are you able to adapt to changing circumstances? Do you have stamina? Persistence is essential to entrepreneurial success.

Innovative – bring creative ideas to life

Do you think outside the box? Are you responsive to change? Do new ideas excite you? Innovation is not just about coming up with creative ideas and solutions it is about the ability to create value from them. Can you create business value from your idea? Innovation is the process of using available resources to bring your ideas successfully to life.

Self Discipline – self motivated and accepts responsibility

Are you accountable for your actions? Do you motivate yourself from within to perform or do you rely on outside motivators? An entrepreneur firmly believes that success or failure is within their personal control and take full responsibility. They don’t allow themselves to be distracted by external influences and they set goals for themselves.

Look at your past experiences. When have you demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit? Successful small (and big!) business owners typically displayed entrepreneurial tendencies from a young age.

If you think you have what it takes then find out more about starting a small or home-based business at Top Home Based Businesses.

Julia Derby’s website My Home Business Ideas offers a free and practical guide to starting a home based business from finding the right home business idea to planning, setting up and marketing your own home based business. An information-packed site that will set you on the path to success with your own small business.

Teenage Entrepreneur: Benefits and Basics of Hiring an Employee

When having your own business, you’ll eventually have to hire employees. All successful businesses have employees. The big ‘boss’ normally doesn’t do any of the manual work. They’re just the brains behind the operation. To succeed in your own business, you need to work smarter and more efficient. No one can do all of the jobs that they want to do, there just isn’t enough time. Hiring an employee will solve the problem though.

Hiring an employee is not easy though. For one, you’re not “single” anymore. You now have to consider the income and profits of the business, as you have to pay a salary to your employees. It can be a huge responsibility that you will have to carry on your shoulders.

Not only do you have to take care of the payroll, you also need to take care of the 24employee taxes that need to be paid. Hiring an employee is not cheap, and you should only hire one when you really need it in my opinion. Also, it is important to find the right employee – someone who will work hard, and have the same interests as you or passion for the job. Finding the perfect employee may not be easy, and you may have to interview many employees for their education, prior experience, and their behavior before you find someone that you believe is suitable for you. For teenage entrepreneurs, a great employee is someone sitting around your house right now – that is, if you have siblings. Siblings make great employees; however, you will still need to pay them for their work. If you hire someone close to you like a friend or a family member, it is important to make sure that they understand that this is a business arrangement.

Keep this in mind for a benefit though, hiring an employee can double your income. For example, in a sushi house, a sushi chef can generally make 80 California rolls in an hour with around minimum wage. Let’s say that each California rolls profits the company $2. That employee alone is earning $160 for the company. After you deduct their salary, every hour, they are earning you around $150. Have a couple more employees, and a good business, and you’ll find yourself earning hundreds of dollars an hour. It’s definitely a good deal! That’s why you’ll find that many successful businesses do not only have the owner of the business working at it alone; there are a lot of employees to back the business up.

Last but not least, if you do not have a lot of time to work on your company, you should hire an employee. Let’s say you can only work 10 hours a week on your company, and you hire an employee who can work 10 hours a week as well. By hiring the employee, the company can potentially be twice as sufficient. It helps your company expand and succeed at a faster rate.

Hiring an employee is not easy business though. There is a lot of documentation that you have to go through. Since you’re young, not a lot of people will take you seriously as well, which makes it a lot harder.

Teenage Entrepreneurs: How to Spy on Your Competition

If you have a business running, you have competition. What is competition? Competition is any business around that carries similar products, and may get customers from you. No matter how you plan your business, you are bound to run into competition. Don’t be scared away from them! Your company can still shine despite of their existence. It is important to do some market research to learn what works best for your competition, their business strategies, and what they lack that you can offer.

Identify all potential competitors

No matter what business you have, you will definitely have potential customers lurking around. If you feel that no business sells the same sort of product as you, think of what other things will the buy in replacement for your product. Those are your competitors. It is important to recognize their weaknesses, and their strengths. Do they have a more convenient way of purchasing the products? Is it cheaper? Make a list of the different weaknesses and strengths, as you will have to be able to outdo them some way.

 

The competitor’s advertisement plans and strategies

Look around to how your competitors advertise their products. Do the  y hand out fliers at the mall or post posters around? Do they have TV ads or do they mail catalogs? What are their prices for their services and products? From observing these things, you should be able to identify what works and what doesn’t and the reason behind it. It’s a lot easier to work and find customers when you already know the market, and your customer’s needs.

Shop at your competitors

By shopping at your competitors, you can learn what products and services they offer, and the price range. You don’t want your products and services to be too expensive than what is on the market. Study them to see what works, and what sort of products are most popular with customers, and the reason behind it. You can talk to the storeowner and manager some questions that you might want to know. Although other business owners within your community may see you of a threat, and a competitor, talking to business owners from other places and community is ok. Most of the time, they’ll be happy to share with you some of their experience, and answer some questions.

Surf the web

Look around at the web, and surf your competitor’s website. With the technology nowadays, much information obtained is from the Internet. Use the most of it, and research on different business plans and strategies. Surf your competitors’ web sites, and see what the latest products, discounts, and news!

All business has competitors, it is important to know what to do with them, and how to be as up to date with them. Use them as a research tool, and your business will flourish.

Nine Ways Social Enterprise Develops Entrepreneurs

Social enterprise– investment in individuals and organizations committed to transforming institutions, communities, and society– often requires support at multiple levels and stages to ensure success. From funding to network building to evaluation of impact, here are nine ways the expanding field of social entrepreneurship continues to support and grow innovation.      

Building Foundations: Skoll Foundation invests in, connects, and celebrates social enterprise and innovators through a wide range of activities and channels for individuals and the broader community, including the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.        

Global Connections: Through living stipends, professional support networks, and access to a global network of peers, Ashoka supports individual social change leaders in over 60 countries at all phases of their professional careers with systemic change-level ideas for the world’s most pressing problems. Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship identifies the world’s leading social entrepreneurs across sectors and in partnership with leading institutions, including the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.        

Fellow Ventures: Echoing Green offers competitive early-stage seed funding for visionary leaders with bold ideas for social change who are identified through a rigorous selection and screening process. The two-year fellowships provide emerging leaders and their organizations technical support and assistance, and network connections to engaged, passionate, and informed social entrepreneurs. Draper Richards Foundation annually supports a group of six social innovators in their efforts to launch new nonprofit ventures with potential to provide learnings for the field as well as solve existing social problems in an large-scale manner.        

Targeted Aims: Acumen Fund invests in international nonprofit and for-profit “bottom of the pyramid” social enterprises for the poor and underserved. C.E.O. Women creates economic opportunities while developing entrepreneurship skills for low-income immigrant and refugee women through intensive mentoring, coaching and access to capital needed to start a small business.        

Next Generation: New Profit supports a multi-year financial and strategic portfolio of social entrepreneurs working in education, workforce development, and youth-focused development among other areas. Sparkplug Foundation concentrates seed activity on one-time grants for new nonprofits and new ideas within existing nonprofits around music, education and teaching, and grassroots organizing.

Social Capitals: Calvert Foundation: Using the power of investment capital and industry due diligence to enable a portfolio of high impact sustainable and scalable social enterprises to address critical social needs. Good Capital increases the flow of capital to innovative ventures by creating market-based solutions to inequality and poverty through solid investments in for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises.

Transformative Connections: RSF Social Finance offers framework for investment in nonprofit and for-profit social ventures across food and agriculture, education and the arts, and ecological stewardship, to bring about systemic and personal change in the financial marketplace. Root Cause, a nonprofit entrepreneurship incubator, develops alternative frameworks for entrepreneurs, funders, researchers, and advocates to connect, grow and sustain social benefit ventures in the civic and community sphere.       

Advising Innovation: Social entrepreneurs and their supporters also benefit from a variety of other services that inform strategic growth and development. Nonprofit Finance Fund connects nonprofits and their funders with loans, lines of credit, asset building programs, and financial consulting and advisory services that map the impact of management decisions on their finances. SVT Group assists entrepreneurs and their funders with valuation and measurement of service and mission impact.        

Competitive Edge: Changemakers gives emerging entrepreneurs a collaborative community space and opportunities to submit ideas through friendly “challenges” that address the world’s most pressing social problems. The World Bank Development Marketplace identifies and funds innovative, early-stage social ventures with high potential for development impact. Ideablob lets eligible entrepreneurs and small business owners across the US share their business ideas daily for a chance to win monthly prize money– based on online community voting from other innovators.

By continuing to benefit from an increasing range of creative solutions meeting their needs, social entrepreneurs can continue to provide effective, innovative, sustainable approaches to the world’s challenges.

How to Increase Your Pension: A Guide to Getting a Better Pension When You Retire

old man

The recession has meant that two million people in the UK have had to delay their retirement plans because they will not have the amount of money they expected to. So what can those approaching retirement do to protect their savings and get a better pension?

Should Individuals Rely on the State Pension?

Anyone relying on the state pension in retirement is likely to be very disappointed. This tax year the full basic state pension is £95.25 per week for a single person, and £152.30 per week for a couple. Given increased life expectancy, many experts predict that the state pension may not even be around in years to come. Therefore a pension from a job, or a private pension, is a necessity.

How Much Should You Save?

Most people are probably not saving enough. Those people who save 10% of their salary – an average amount – from age 25 to 65 can expect to receive only about a quarter of their final salary on retirement.

For those who have a final salary pension scheme things look better, but most people are unlikely to be in such a scheme for their entire working life, so will need to supplement it with a private pension.

Top Ups – the Way to Get More Money From a Pension

There are no restrictions on the number of private pension plans a person can take out, as long as total contributions do not exceed earnings or the annual £245,000 allowance, whichever is higher. This means that a pension can be topped up by making additional contributions or by opening another pension plan. Those who belong to final salary pension schemes may be able to buy ‘added years’, which will increase pension entitlement later on.

Making Good Losses During the Recession

Those coming up for retirement may find it advantageous to make last minute additional contributions, as the tax relief on these will boost a pension fund’s value. For example, if a higher rate taxpayer were to contribute £8,000, this could end up as a net cost of £6,000 for a £10,000 pension contribution!

Getting a Better Annuity

When someone comes to actually take their private pension, it is important not to just go for the pension offered by one’s pension provider. The new pensioner should always exercise his or her ‘open market option’, which means shopping around to find the best annuity rates. This can make a great deal of difference over a lifetime.

Whatever age a person is in, careful pension planning and saving can make a great deal of difference to a comfortable retirement and one which is something of a struggle. This is especially the case in the current economic climate.

A Guide to Getting Debt Advice: Debt Management Advice Can be the First Step to Debt Consolidation

ans

One of the worst things about debt is that it has the habit of growing of its own accord once it gets past a certain stage. An individual with debt problems may take the decision to stop spending. They may try to get their finances under control. But this may not be enough to stop debt growth in many cases. The only really effective way to do this is to get some impartial debt advice and to find a way to take control of debts rather than to allow them to remain in charge.

Accepting Debt Advice is the First Step to Eliminating Debt

One of the biggest causes of serious debt problems comes from fear and embarrassment. An individual that can no longer cope financially is likely to hide their problems away rather than to seek out debt advice. Being in debt is still viewed by many people as something to be ashamed of even though it is relatively commonplace nowadays.

Most consumers, however, don’t know what to do to get themselves out of debt. They may simply choose to ignore the situation but this approach will make things worse. Their debts will continue to grow and their situation will continue to get worse. Things can be a lot easier if people accept that they need debt advice and they try to get help as quickly as they can.

Talking to a Specialist Debt Advice Bureau May Help

Some people will make a start by trying to sort out their own problems. This is “doable” and there are many tools and debt advice sites that can be useful. Many will, for example, use an online debt calculator to try and help them assess if a debt consolidation solution is a good route to take. Others may use budgeting software to do much the same job.

Many people who have serious debt problems or who don’t feel confident of finding their own solutions will take a different approach. They may, for example, opt instead to talk to a debt management specialist to get some free and impartial advice. Agencies that could be helpful here include:

  • The Citizens Advice Bureau
  • CCCS (The Consumer Credit Counseling Service)
  • Payplan

There are many other websites, companies and individual specialists that a consumer can also choose to talk to. Most will offer free and impartial debt advice and a 100% confidential service. Some will also be able to help individuals to manage a debt management solution once they have chosen it. So, actively seeking debt advice can relieve some of the stresses of being in financial difficulties and can actually help individuals to get out of debt.

Understand Foreclosure Vs. Bankruptcy Options: How Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Enforcement of Mortgage Liens Differ

bankruptcy

The long-term impact of foreclosure vs. bankruptcy deserves deliberate examination before reaching a decision. Filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 may only temporarily prevent the loss of a home. When complying with all rules and making payments, homeowners may retain their home permanently. Allowing the enforcement of lien without filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 guarantees home loss and may create tax liability.

Effect of Foreclosure Vs. Bankruptcy in Chapter 7 Liquidation Cases

When facing imminent foreclosure, filing Chapter 7 immediately empowers the automatic stay provided by 11 U.S.C. Section 362. The automatic stay prohibits creditors to collect amounts owed, enforce liens, and contact debtors. However, foreclosure vs. bankruptcy rights change.

The act of filing invokes the automatic stay even though a creditor may not receive actual notice for days. When considering foreclosure vs. bankruptcy under Chapter 7, bear in mind that creditors must eventually receive all past due and future mortgage payments. If payments are not made, the court can and will allow the collection of mortgage debts and enforcement of liens to resume.

The change in a creditor’s rights in foreclosure vs. bankruptcy may be temporary. Chapter 7 may prevent enforcement of a lien for 30 to 60 days. In practice, following court procedures frequently requires one or two months before courts entertain motions to lift an automatic stay. This time may allow a debtor time to catch up mortgage payments when no longer paying other debts.

Impact of Foreclosure Vs. Bankruptcy in Chapter 13 Payment Plans

Filing Chapter 13 also invokes an automatic stay. Thereafter, a debtor may include past due mortgage payments in a proposed plan for repayment. A plan for repayment may propose up to 60 months to catch up past due amounts. All future mortgage payments must be made on time beginning the day a case is filed. In practice, Chapter 13 trustees collect one payment from debtors for proportional distribution among creditors.

Debtors who fail to make regular plan payments to a Chapter 13 trustee are at risk and the foreclosure vs. bankruptcy dilemma continues. Similar to a Chapter 7 case, creditors may request termination of the stay or case dismissal. Courts routinely grant these requests when payments are late.

Allowing Foreclosure to Proceed Without Filing Bankruptcy

A homeowner that allows foreclosure to proceed rather than filing bankruptcy may be liable for imputed income. Mortgage lenders that enforce liens frequently receive less than the total debt owed, legal costs and administrative fees.

Unpaid amounts become a deficiency balance that remains payable by the former homeowner. Thereafter, many lenders charge off deficiency balances and claim a tax deduction. The IRS considers a mortgage lender’s loss as income received by a borrower and may then assess non-dischargeable tax liability.

Best Foreclosure vs. Bankruptcy Strategies

Filing bankruptcy may allow debtors to keep their homes when making future payments or alternatively surrender homes without future payment obligation of any kind. The consequences of foreclosure vs. bankruptcy may transform a portion of a mortgage debt into priority tax liability that must be paid despite filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 later.

Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment

The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

Advantages of Renting an Apartment

  • Flexibility. Although there is a commitment when renting a property, it’s easier to move to a new place than it is for a homeowner. Falling house prices can make it very hard to sell. Many homeowners have to reduce their prices further in order to move house.
  • Low deposit. Most landlords require 2 to 3 months rent as a down payment. First-time home buyers will be expected to pay down at least 5% to 10% of the amount they wish to borrow. This figure will rise to as much as 20% for a bad credit mortgage deal.
  • Repairs. Any maintenance and repairs aren’t the responsibility of the tenant. The landlord is legally obliged to carry our repairs within a reasonable period of time.
  • Building insurance. Although the tenant remains responsible for taking out contents insurance to protect personal possessions, it is up to the landlord to insure the building and its structure.
  • House price fluctuations. There aren’t any concerns about negative equity and mortgage foreclosure during periods of economic instability.

Disadvantages of Renting an Apartment

  • No investment return. Landlords offer rental properties because they are seeking long term capital appreciation. The tenant is funding an investment for someone else. Although prices fluctuate, property values will be a lot higher 20-years from now.
  • Notice. Provided that notice is given within the legal guidelines, the tenant has no choice but to vacate the premises on the date that is specified. This can be very unsettling and stressful.
  • Decorating. There is minimal scope in-terms of developing the look and feel of a property. Some rental properties haven’t been redecorated in years.
  • Bad credit. Would-be tenants with adverse credit, such as defaults, delinquent accounts and bankruptcies, will find it harder to rent an apartment. Letting agencies will normally perform a credit check before letting a room or house.
  • Uncaring landlord. A bad landlord can make the tenant’s life a misery. Although there are laws in-place to help, it will take a lot longer to get repairs and problems resolved.
  • Raising a house deposit. The cost of apartment rental could leave little disposable income to set-aside for a deposit on a house. This problem will be exacerbated when house prices are rising as an even larger deposit is needed to get a foot on the property ladder.

Apartment Rental vs Buying an Apartment

Due to the potential for long term capital appreciation, buying a house should be a long term priority for most families. However, there is no point in buying when the future is uncertain, property prices are falling or if finances are already stretched. Renting an apartment gives people flexibility with respect to moving between states, family commitments and future career opportunities.

Choosing the Best Debt Management Solution: How to Reduce Interest Rates to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Solution

Credit card holders have many options for debt management. The cardholder may have fallen behind on payments or may just want to save money with a lower interest rate. These credit consolidation tips will help get credit card debt under control.

Manage Debt and Reduce Interest Rates by Paying on Time

The most basic rule of debt management is to pay at least the minimum amount on credit cards on time. There is no room for error when paying credit card bills. Triple check the numbers when paying bills online to be sure that at least the minimum payment is made. Mail payments at least a week before they are due.

Credit card companies are not as forgiving of late payments as a utility company might be. A payment that is just one day late may not effect the consumer’s credit score, but it could make his or her interest rate jump significantly. In an emergency, the fees involved in making a payment over the phone on the payment due date should be accepted rather than let the payment go even one day late.

Negotiate Directly With Creditors to Reduce Interest Rates

Creditors are often willing to reduce interest rates, especially if the cardholder has a good track record with the creditor. All the consumer has to do is call and ask. When calling to negotiate, point out the number of years with the creditor and a history of on time payments.

Join a Cardholder’s Debt Management Program

This solution is a good option whether or not the cardholder is in good standing with the creditor. Call and inform the creditor of financial hardships which may affect ability to make the minimum payment on time. Rather than let the account go into collections, the creditor may enroll the account into it’s own debt management program, which will lower interest rates and a reduce the minimum monthly payment.

Generally, the cardholder must agree to stop using the card while in the program. The drawback of this solution is that most programs offered by creditors are only available for a limited time, usually six months to one year.

Enroll in a Private Non-Profit Credit Consolidation Program

Finding a legitimate debt management program can be useful for improving finances. The firm will negotiate with creditors to get very reasonable interest rates. Then debt will be consolidated into one monthly payment, which the company will disperse amongst the creditors. Credit will not be damaged and interest rates will remain low as long as the cardholder pays on time each month.

This solution contains several drawbacks. Most consolidation companies require clients to pay off debt in four to six years. Therefore, monthly payments may be higher than the creditor’s current minimum payment. The cardholder will not be allowed to incur any other credit card debt while in the program.

Consumers often have a difficult time with debt management due to high interest rates on credit cards. High interest rates can be avoided by paying on time. Cardholders can also work with creditors to negotiate lower interest rates or enroll in a private credit consolidation program to manage debt.