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October 19, 2017

What You Should Know About Startup Accelerators

startup financeWith so many startup companies, the competition is fierce. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in. It’s likely that there are many other entrepreneurs in your niche. The trick is finding a way to make your company stand out above the rest. For some companies, that means working with a startup accelerator.

What is it?

A startup accelerator is an experience that supports the growth of an early company. To accomplish this growth, they provide education, mentoring, and financing. They give you a way to build your company from the ground up. The accelerator only lasts for a certain amount of time; it’s a rapid growth process. While the time period might be short, you can see a great deal of growth in the process. In only a few months, you can see the same growth that you would expect in years of hard work.

Start-up accelerators work for almost any type of industry you can imagine. For example, new insurance companies can benefit from Insurance accelerators. An insurance accelerator would specifically focus on growing a start-up insurance company. Meanwhile, a new clothing brand could find an appropriate accelerator to give them intense growth. There’s something for every company.

What makes them so special?

There are many different ways to cultivate a start-up. However, an accelerator is particularly effective. There are a few reasons for this. For one, there’s the fixed time frame. Instead of having an open-ended agreement with no true end date, you have a set time frame. It’s easier to analyze your results and predict your company’s future when you have strict time frame. You get results, and you get them before your time is up.

There’s also the fact that an accelerator uses mentorship to get results. Unlike crowd-funding campaigns and other types of investors, accelerators give you advice. While that advice helps your company in the present, it also helps your company in the future. You can learn invaluable business skills through mentorship. Additionally, you can gain insight into your industry and use that insight for years to come.

Finally, accelerators are cohort-based. For years, educators have seen the benefits of an education cohort-based environment. Those same benefits translate to business education. Being part of a larger group is a great way to grow your company.

Do accelerators really work?

While the concept of accelerators is sound, it’s important to ask yourself if they really work. It seems so, considering that many entrepreneurs would be happy to relive the experience. About 90% of entrepreneurs in a survey said that they would do the accelerator program again. Similarly, 95% of them said that the accelerator was worth equity stake that they lost. The time and equity lost in an accelerator program seems well-worth the gain.

An accelerator program might not be the right option for everyone. However, it could be the right option for your company. If you’re looking for a way to gain insight and knowledge while gaining momentum in your business, an accelerator is a great option. You could see huge business growth in only a short time.

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October 18, 2017

ALL ABOUT OWNER FINANCING

property financeYou and your family have made the decision to move out of your house and sell it. Or, perhaps you are wanting to sell an office building or a piece of vacant land. Most people think that there are only two ways that a potential buyer could pay for that property. Either the buyer has to have a load of cash or they must be able to get a loan from their friendly, neighborhood bank (or a less friendly mega-bank, but that is a discussion for another time).

What is Owner Financing?

A third way of selling a property – one which has been used for centuries – is to offer owner financing. You could use owner financing to sell a used car, an appliance, or just about anything else of value, but using owner financing for real estate is the safest and most profitable way to do it. So, what is it? Owner financing means that you are acting in some ways like a small bank, albeit a nicer and easier-to- work-with bank. When selling the property, you receive a down payment from the buyer and set up a real estate note stating the interest rate, term, and monthly payments.

Let’s try an example in which you are wanting to sell a house valued at $100,000. You and Betty Buyer agree that she will give you a $10,000 down payment and make payments to you on the first of every month at an interest rate of 6% and a loan term of 30 years. An attorney or title company would normally prepare the needed documents, including the real estate note, a deed of trust (or mortgage, in some states), and a title commitment. Each side signs in the appropriate places, the deed of trust or mortgage is recorded with the county, and you are done.

Advantages of Owner Financing

  1. There are a number of positives from offering owner financing, which include:
    Can be completed much more quickly than with a bank loan, and you have the flexibility to set up the note however you want, subject to state and national laws.
  2. The pool of potential buyers becomes much larger. They may be good credit risks but perhaps do not qualify for a bank loan.
  3. More income for you since you are recovering the original profit plus interest from the note.
    4. It helps the buyer to purchase a property that they probably could not have otherwise have bought.

When Not to use Owner Financing

  • Of course, owner financing is not appropriate for any of the following situations:
    You, as the property owner, still owe a lot of money on the property to a bank or other financial entity.
  • You need all of the cash from the property right away.
  • You need the cash from the incoming payments to survive. If the payer ever defaults, you may need to pay for a foreclosure and go without the note income for several months.

What’s Next

You successfully sold the house to Betty Buyer and all of the documents were properly created and signed. The hard work is done, so you can mostly wait for the monthly payments to come in. However, at least once per year, you will want to make sure that the property has adequate fire insurance (with you as the primary beneficiary), that property taxes are kept current, and that the property is kept in good condition.

If, down the road, you decide that you need some cash out of the note right away, you can contact a note buyer. Good note buyers will explain that you can sell all of the note or just some of the payments, how the process works, and when you can expect to receive funds.

There are a lot of note buyers out there, with varying levels of expertise and integrity. Be sure to work with a real estate note buyer with whom you feel comfortable, that is a licensed real estate broker, and that has a high rating from the Better Business Bureau or a comparable entity.

Alan Noblitt is the owner of Seascape Capital Inc., which buys real estate notes and business notes. He may be reached at (858) 672-4678 or toll-free at 1-800-634-4697. If you would like to learn more about real estate notes and read informational articles, visit www.seascapecapital.com.

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September 5, 2017

Why property investment should be a key part of Estate Planning?

plan for your estatePeople underestimate the importance of property investments within estate planning until it’s too late. Estate planning is your declaration after you pass away. You may not want your family to receive money and other assets you intended for your wife and children. Molly McCollough found out how essential property investment within estate planning is the hard way.

Meet Molly

Molly McCollough is a 54 year old woman who is the founder of Theature Company. Molly thought she and her husband has everything figured out. They never thought they needed life insurance or a strategy for financial planning because they were married and didn’t have children, so everything would be left to Molly. After her husband, Joe died, Molly found out being his wife didn’t carry much weight in collecting his estate.

The Issue

Molly’s husband didn’t have a will, and the money he left behind was in a foreign bank account that did not have her name on it. Because Molly’s name was not on any of the accounts, she didn’t have access to anything.

Molly was afraid and mourning the death of her husband. Molly needed to figure out a way to gain access to his estate before his family tried to claim any part of the estate. Molly felt her husband was hiding secrets, and she didn’t know where to turn or who she could trust.

Molly said, “There’s just something about death and greed and money and long-buried resentment that bubbles to the surface when there’s any substantial inheritance. It tears families apart. People lie and steal and cheat.” In her situation, she was right. Joe’s family did just what Molly hoped they wouldn’t. They came and took all of his estate and left her with nothing. Inheritance drama is something no one wants to deal with and it can cause years of frustration, and put a rift between families.

Life insurance, financial planning, and estate planning are things you need to discuss with your partner before it’s too late. Make sure you and your partner have a will whether you have children or not. If these things are not in place before you pass away, the state will do what they see fit, and most of the time, it’s not what you wanted.

The Solution

At Unified Lawyers, we work tirelessly to help people who don’t understand wills, trusts, estate planning, and similar assets. We understand the urgency in these situations and always put our best foot forward. We are not a traditional law firm. We believe in helping people instead of collecting a check. All our fees and costs are straightforward so each of our clients know how every cent of their money was spent. We are here to help you get your situation resolved.

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September 4, 2017

Loan Types to Consider if You Own a Small Business

offering business loansSmall business owners are earning increasing visibility in Western society, and are increasingly applauded for their courage in setting off on their own. Founders pour their hearts and souls into both startups and other types of small businesses, and for many people their lives revolve around their company. But even once your small business is off the ground, you’ll likely need to take out loans of some type to cover expenses and to help you expand your company. Read on for some basics on the different types of loans that you could take out, depending on your business’ specific needs.

Business Line of Credit

A business line of credit offers you readily available cash whenever you need it for your business. Like a line of credit for a credit card, there is a fixed maximum, but you only pay interest on the amount of money that you actually use. Also as with a credit card, funds are there for your business when you need them, even if what you really need is physical cash.

Different lenders will have different terms with your business line of credit, but some may require that you routinely pay off the entire amount. Even if your specific line of credit only requires you to pay interest, it is always a good idea to pay off portions of the principal as regularly as possible.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are very similar to the personal credit cards that you already have open. Unlike a business line of credit, withdrawing cash from a business credit card typically incurs high fees, but there are other benefits to business credit cards. Depending on the specific card, you can earn cash back bonuses or “points” on various purchases, which may help you cut costs in the future. You can also build your business’ credit, even if you already have the capital you need, by making relatively small purchases on your business credit card and paying them off quickly.

Term Loans

Small businesses can apply for term loans, which would give you a lump sum of money that must be repaid within an agreed-upon amount of time. Term loans do also accrue interest, which typically must be paid back monthly. Term loans may be repayable in extremely variable time periods, from several months to several years. These loans are best for business that are looking to make big purchases or investments, but need a one-time financial boost in order to do so.

Equipment Loans

If your business needs to purchase new equipment or machinery (including computers, printers, or other industry-specific needs), equipment loans may be the way to go. These are especially beneficial when a business has no other costs that require a loan, except for the equipment costs. Equipment loans are typically made for the exact amount of the desired equipment, and may sometimes be kept for the entire lifespan of the equipment. As with all loans, equipment loans will accrue interest, which will need to be paid back regularly.

In addition to these more standard loan types, there are also some less traditional loans, such as competitive loans offered to small businesses by online companies such as LendGenius. To learn more about these non-traditional finance options, and the potential benefits for your business, visit their website.

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August 21, 2017

Money Making Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms

home mom moneyWhen you’re a parent, expensive situations can come out of nowhere! Whether it’s an unexpected medical bill, an important field trip, school supplies, or a seemingly endless supply of diapers, sometimes there’s simply not enough money to cover everything. As a stay-at-home mom, the pressure of financial strain might make you feel as if you have to go straight back into full-time employment, but that’s not always the case. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways you can add to the household coffers.

Online surveys

One of the most straightforward ways of making a little extra additional cash is to complete online surveys. Although payouts per survey aren’t huge, over time, consistent survey completion can yield a tidy sum.

Get paid when you shop online

Believe it or not, there are companies that pay you to shop online! Using affiliate links to your favorite stores, you can earn money every time you make a transaction. A percentage of your purchase will be paid back to you; usually you will need to hit a milestone (generally in $5 or $10 increments), and payouts are given as store vouchers or PayPal credits. A convenient way to earn whilst enjoying a little retail therapy!

Transcription

If you have a decent typing speed, reliable internet access, and a good pair of headphones, you could make money from transcription! Online platforms connect freelance transcriptionists with companies looking to have usually short excerpts transcribed. It’s important to note that payments are usually made per hour of audio transcribed, rather the time it takes you to complete the task, so only go into transcription if you can type fast enough to make the task worthwhile. However, if you have the skills, it’s a great way to bring home some extra cash!

Sell old stuff online

Do you have old clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, or gym equipment lying around the house, never used? It’s time to let them go, and earn some money while you’re at it! Selling platforms such as eBay make it straightforward to unburden yourself from the things that are taking up precious room. Simply snap some photos, add a dazzling description, then wait for the bidders to snap up your items.

Start an Etsy store

If you have a creative flair and wish to sell your own products, it’s easy to set up a store on Etsy. Advertise your store across your existing social media, involve friends and family, and create a buzz around your designs. With good word-of-mouth and online reviews, you’ll be making money in no time!

Childminding

If you enjoy looking after children, consider setting up your own childminding business. This may involve gaining some additional qualifications, but your investment can return a significant income once you get going. It will also allow you to keep spending time with your own children while you work.

Cash loans

We all experience times when money is tight; sometimes the best way to go about resolving a temporary cash flow problem is to take out a cash loan. It’s now more straightforward than ever to take out online loans, so do not be afraid to consider it as a solution to your money worries.

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