zxfvA partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership.

Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Because partnerships entail more than one person in the decision-making process, it’s important to discuss a wide variety of issues up front and develop a legal partnership agreement. This agreement should document how future business decisions will be made, including how the partners will divide profits, resolve disputes, change ownership (bring in new partners or buy out current partners) and how to dissolve the partnership. Although partnership agreements are not legally required, they are strongly recommended and it is considered extremely risky to operate without one.

Types of Partnerships        

There are three general types of partnership arrangements:

  • General Partnerships assume that profits, liability and management duties are divided equally among partners. If you opt for an unequal distribution, the percentages assigned to each partner must be documented in the partnership agreement.
  • Limited Partnerships (also known as a partnership with limited liability) are more

What are the Small Business Size Standards

zzxsYour business might be eligible for programs that are reserved for small business concerns. To qualify, your business must satisfy SBA’s definition of a business concern, along with the size standards for small business.

SBA defines a business concern as one that is organized for profit; has a place of business in the U.S.; operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor; is independently owned and operated; and is not dominant in its field on a national basis. The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or any other legal form.

SBA has established numerical definitions, or “size standards,” for all for-profit industries. Size standards represent the largest size that a business (including its subsidiaries and affiliates) may be to remain classified as a small business concern. These size standards apply to SBA’s financial assistance and to its other programs, as well as to Federal government procurement programs when there is a benefit available to qualifying as a small business concern.

How to Make Your Business Plan Stand Out

zxdOne of the first steps to business planning is determining your target market and why they would want to buy from you.

For example, is the market you serve the best one for your product or service? Are the benefits of dealing with your business clear and are they aligned with customer needs? If you’re unsure about the answers to any of these questions, take a step back and revisit the foundation of your business plan.

The following tips can help you clarify what your business has to offer, identify the right target market for it and build a niche for yourself.

Be Clear About What You Have to Offer

Ask yourself: Beyond basic products or services, what are you really selling? Consider this example: Your town probably has several restaurants all selling one fundamental product—food. But each is targeted at a different need or clientele.

One might be a drive-thru fast food restaurant, perhaps another sells pizza in a rustic Italian kitchen, and maybe there’s a fine dining seafood restaurant that specializes in wood-grilled fare. All

Always Do This When Looking For a Metal Building Construction Company

Metal structures have become popular for of a number of reasons. They are easy to construct, affordable and take a shorter time to complete compared to the other options. Whether you want to construct garages, warehouses, barns, or industrial buildings, you can always use metal to do so. The problem, however, is that not many people know how to choose the right metal building construction company. You need to understand that the contractor you choose for this job will always determine how good your structures will be. It is not a wise idea to just hire the first company that you come across even without knowing what to expect from them. Always do the following.

State-of-the-art equipment

You have to look at the kinds of equipment that the company uses to construct the buildings. Starting from metal fabrication to joinery and the actually finishing, they should assure you that they have the right tools. There is no way a contractor can promise the best results when they do not even have the required tools. The best companies have invested in state-of-the-art equipment and keep upgrading them to meet the ever changing need of their clients. They also have highly trained staffs who

How to Develop Effective Business Startup Ideas

In today’s competitive world, people are more eager to run their own business rather than working under the other person. Every year, large masses of people establish the company and become successful entrepreneur. Have you ever thought about why they prefer to set up their own small business as opposed of working in another company? Some person does not like to work in the organization where they don’t have the opportunity to develop their innovative ideas and implement them for the success of company. If you are running own business then you can steer your company in right direction by making the decisions about how you can get the prosperous and bright future. There is no need to work with the co-workers that you don’t like because you can make the decisions about whom to hire or fire. It is believed that risks always bring reward so if you are running own business then you have to deal with all the problems by yourself and get the more benefit. As a company owner, you will face new challenge each day and learn something good from those difficulties. If you are among those people who are looking for the best Business

I Needed to Make Invoices for Stuff I Sell to Business and Corporate Clients

Do you ever have need to print up a bill? Some people refer to them as invoices. I do not have a full time business, but I do make money selling some stuff on occasion. Sometimes I sell to businesses. They always want an invoice with their purchase order number on it. Instead of adding to my costs by buying a bookkeeping software bundle, I just go to the Invoicehome website to make and email or print invoices when I need them.

They have plenty of design templates available. I picked one that matches the Americana type of presentation of my little side business. For regular customers I do a lot of handwritten invoicing. They do not mind. However, when I sell to a business or corporate client, I have to deal with an accounting department. Even when the CEO or owner makes a purchase, they refer me to someone in accounting to get paid. They want a printable invoice with a purchase order number on it that they give me and a sequential invoice number. Read more

Tips For Growing A Successful Business

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money – only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success. Read on to find out how.

1. Get Organized
To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day – as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.

2. Keep Detailed Records
All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you’ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you

Green Business Practices

From changing a light bulb and using recyclable products to installing energy efficient equipment and systems, every business can make simple changes that save energy costs and natural resources.

The following resources will help you Green Your Business!

Become Energy Efficient

The Small Business Guide to Energy Efficiency includes tips, advice, and resources to help you save on energy costs: from energy saving tips to information on grants, loans and incentives available for making energy efficient upgrades to your facilities.

Adopt Environmentally Sound Business Practices

  • Develop an Environmental Management System to enable your organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. Examine this case study for additional guidance.
  • Comply with Environmental Regulations
  • Conserve water
  • Explore Green Commuting Options
  • Reduce your business’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Learn about the impacts Climate Change may have on your business
  • Commit to Environmental Preferable Purchasing

Improve Your Waste Management System

  • Learn how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle within your business
  • Follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s Guide for Industrial Waste Management
  • Identify whether your business produces Hazardous Waste
  • Recycle Used Electronics
  • Implement Sustainable Materials Management within your business
  • Check your municipal and state waste management websites for more information
  • Consider servicizing your business

Invest in Renewable Energy

  • Review this site on Renewable Energy for Small Business Owners

Foreign Workers and Employee Eligibility

As you prepare to hire employees, be sure that you understand all laws and regulations about employee eligibility. In particular, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) governs immigration and citizenship in the United States. The INA is especially important to small business owners because it addresses employment eligibility, employment verification and non-discrimination. This guide provides an overview of these provisions and assistance on how to comply with the INA.

Employee Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form)

Federal law requires you, as an employer, to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Within three days of hiring a new employee, you must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form, commonly referred to as an I-9 form. This requires examining acceptable forms of the employee’s documentation to confirm his or her citizenship or eligibility to work in the United States. You can only request documentation specified on the I-9 form. Employers who ask for other types of documentation not listed on the I-9 form may be subject to discrimination lawsuits.

You do not file the I-9 with the federal government. Rather, you are required required to keep an I-9 form

International Online Sales

Selling your products online allows for immediate entry into the global marketplace. However, shipping your product overseas presents a few challenges if you have little experience with taxes, duties, customs laws, and consumer protection issues involved with international commerce.

If you are just getting started, the following resources will help you to understand legal and regulatory requirements when shipping overseas:

  • – E-Commerce Toolbox: This site brings together information and resources the U.S. Department of Commerce and other U.S. government agencies offer to U.S. businesses interested in using the Internet to export their products.
  • Electronic Commerce: Selling Internationally – A Guide for Business: As members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States and 28 other countries have signed on to guidelines that help protect consumer information on the Internet.

Resources for Your Business Partners Abroad

Doing business abroad requires that both you and your business partners complete forms mandated by the U.S. Government. Below is important information for non-U.S. citizens with whom you do business:

  • Forms for Business Travelers and International Workers Entering the U.S.
    Provides the basic forms and requirements you’ll need to follow if you have people coming into the U.S. to temporarily or permanently work for your business.
  • Business Visa Application Information
    Covers information about the application process for business (B-1) visitor visa travel to the U.S. and explains the visa process when U.S. companies invite employees, current and prospective business clients, and prospective clients and partners to the U.S.

Business Visas 101: Temporary and Permanent Business Travel

Many small businesses chose to operate with foreign partners, investors, or workers in some capacity.  Before you start booking plane tickets there are travel and immigration laws that you must consider. Any non-U.S. citizen or resident who wishes to legally participate in business related activities in the United States will require a visa – a document attached to a passport that gives permission to apply to enter the United States. The

Organization and Management

Organization and Management follows the Market Analysis. This section should include: your company’s organizational structure, details about the ownership of your company, profiles of your management team, and the qualifications of your board of directors.

Who does what in your business? What is their background and why are you bringing them into the business as board members or employees? What are they responsible for? These may seem like unnecessary questions to answer in a one- or two-person organization, but the people reading your business plan want to know who’s in charge, so tell them. Give a detailed description of each division or department and its function.

This section should include who’s on the board (if you have an advisory board) and how you intend to keep them there. What kind of salary and benefits package do you have for your people? What incentives are you offering? How about promotions? Reassure your reader that the people you have on staff are more than just names on a letterhead.

Organizational Structure

A simple but effective way to lay out the structure of your company is to create an organizational chart with a narrative description. This will

Resources for Your Business Partners Abroad

Conducting business abroad may entail frequent international travel to visit prospective business partners. Likewise, business partners may come to the U.S. to work with you. The following resources will help you find and authenticate paperwork you and your overseas business partners may need for traveling.

Resources for Doing Business Abroad

  • Stay Safe & Secure while Doing Business Abroad:
    The State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) can help your business stay safe abroad—whether you’re on your first overseas business trip or your expanding your operations into your 100th country. OSAC maintains an office of security analysts that can help you with security questions big and small, and a website full of the latest information on trends and benchmarking. Plus, OSAC has over 140 in-country networks around the globe that can help you make instant contacts with other U.S. businesses operating overseas.
  • International Travel Resources, Tips and Advisories
    Provides must-read resources if you are planning to go overseas to conduct business. Country-specific resources include current travel advisories, tips for international travel and document requirements.
  • International Business FAQs
    Lists answers to frequently asked questions about doing business

What are some tactics businesses can use to increase unlevered free cash flow

Unlevered free cash flow is defined as earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) less capital expenditures, changes in working capital and taxes. Companies use a variety of tactics that increase unlevered free cash flow by targeting any of its components. The company can increase EBITDA by switching to more profitable projects or slashing its selling, general and administrative expenses. The company can lower its capital expenditures by being very selective in its investments and terminating any unpromising capital projects. The company can also decrease its changes in working capital by delaying payments to its vendors and maintaining tight control over its inventory. It can also switch its jurisdiction of incorporation to a different country that has a lower tax rate.

Increasing Unlevered Free Cash Flow

The company can increase its unlevered free cash flow by increasing its EBITDA. One way to do so is to start more profitable projects or shut down unprofitable business units. By doing so, the company is able to sell goods and services that yield a much higher gross margin and increase the company’s EBITDA. For

Marketing and Sales

Once you’ve completed the Service or Product Line section of your plan, the next part of your business plan should focus on your marketing and sales management strategy for your business.

Marketing is the process of creating customers, and customers are the lifeblood of your business. In this section, the first thing you want to do is define your marketing strategy. There is no single way to approach a marketing strategy; your strategy should be part of an ongoing business-evaluation process and unique to your company. However, there are common steps you can follow which will help you think through the direction and tactics you would like to use to drive sales and sustain customer loyalty.

An overall marketing strategy should include four different strategies:

  • A market penetration strategy.
  • A growth strategy. This strategy for building your business might include: an internal strategy such as how to increase your human resources, an acquisition strategy such as buying another business, a franchise strategy for branching out, a horizontal strategy where you would provide the same type of products to different users, or a vertical strategy where you would continue providing the same products but would offer them


A cooperative is a business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Profits and earnings generated by the cooperative are distributed among the members, also known as user-owners.

Typically, an elected board of directors and officers run the cooperative while regular members have voting power to control the direction of the cooperative. Members can become part of the cooperative by purchasing shares, though the amount of shares they hold does not affect the weight of their vote.

Cooperatives are common in the healthcare, retail, agriculture, art and restaurant industries.

Forming a Cooperative

Forming a cooperative is different from forming any other business entity. To start up, a group of potential members must agree on a common need and a strategy on how to meet that need. An organizing committee then conducts exploratory meetings, surveys, and cost and feasibility analyses before every member agrees with the business plan. Not all cooperatives are incorporated, though many choose to do so. If you decide to incorporate your cooperative, you must complete the following steps:

  • File Articles of Incorporation. The articles

Collecting Sales Tax Online

If you run a business with a physical storefront, collecting sales tax is straightforward. You charge your customers the sales tax required by the jurisdiction where your business is located. For example, if you operate a retail store in Nashville, Tenn., you collect both state and local sales taxes from customers buying merchandise at your store.

But suppose you start selling your products online. Does that mean you charge customers the same sales taxes that you do to those who are coming into your store? It depends.

When to Collect Sales Tax Online

If your business has a physical presence in a state, such as a store, office or warehouse, you must collect applicable state and local sales tax from your customers. If you do not have a presence in a particular state, you are not required to collect sales taxes.

In legal terms, this physical presence is known as a “nexus.” Each state defines nexus differently, but all agree that if you have a store or office of some sort, a nexus exists. If you are uncertain whether or not your business qualifies as a physical presence, contact your state’s revenue agency. If

Can You Handle A Home Based Business

Think you can handle your own home-based business? Certain personality traits could help you succeed. Starting a business is a big responsibility that includes commitment, professionalism and self-discipline. It involves careful consideration, such as what type of competition you’ll encounter, the demand for and quality of the service or product you’ll provide and the management of cash flow. Read on to find out how a swift launch and expedited growth can occur as long as you weigh the pros and cons of developing a business, create a solid business and financial plan and understand and abide by local and federal laws and guidelines.

Find Your

Inner Drive

When it comes to starting your own business, examining your abilities before you act can save you from disappointment and wasted time in the long run. For instance, ask yourself whether you can set goals and stick with the plan. Once the goals are set, do you think you can accomplish what you’ve planned? Setbacks will occur; do you think you can remain optimistic?

Most entrepreneurs often demonstrate characteristics that include confidence, risk-taking, creativity, drive and determination, but the following personality traits can directly impact your

What is the main business model for insurance companies

Insurance companies base their business models around assuming and diversifying risk. The essential insurance model involves pooling risk from individual payers and redistributing it across a larger portfolio. Most insurance companies generate revenue in two ways: charging premiums in exchange for insurance policy coverage, and then subsequently reinvesting those premiums to “float” into other, interest-generating assets. Like all private business models, insurance companies should try to market effectively and minimize administrative costs.

Pricing and Assuming Risk

Revenue model specifics vary among health insurance companies, property insurance companies and financial guarantors. The first task of any insurer, however, is to price risk and charge a premium for assuming it.

Suppose the insurance company is offering a $100,000 conditional payout. It needs to assess how likely a prospective buyer is to trigger the conditional payment and extend that risk based on the length of the policy.

This is where insurance underwriting is critical. Without good underwriting, the insurance company would have to charge some customers too much and others too little for assuming risk. This likely prices out the least risky customers, eventually causing rates to raise even further. If a company prices its risk

What is the difference between business intelligence and competitive intelligence

Competitive intelligence is the act of understanding a company’s industry and industry rivals so the company can make better business decisions, while business intelligence refers to the tools, software and systems that play a vital role in the strategic planning process of a company.

Competitive intelligence is an acute type of market research conducted by a business. With competitive intelligence, businesses use the same type of tactics utilized when conducting market research; however, the focus is to answer more target questions rather than review broad market trends. Competitive intelligence can include the knowledge of a competitor’s operations or business partners, as well as a deeper understanding of the industry in which a company operates.

Competitive intelligence is any material information a company possesses that allows it to make better-informed decisions than the average company in its industry. It does so to operate more efficiently. Conducting competitive intelligence allows a company to spot opportunities in the market and beat out its competitors. For example, a company might follow Twitter messages, blog posts, LinkedIn profiles and email blasts to track what a competitor is doing.

Business intelligence represents the physical tools and software a company uses