Home-Based Business Ideas – Think Big, Act and Grow Rich with Unique Business Ideas

We have all seen the inviting headlines: “Home-based Business Ideas That Can Make You Millions”; “The Hottest Home-Based Business Ideas to Use Now!”; “Launch a Successful Home-Based Business with These 10 Can’t-Miss Business Ideas.” The list of such headlines is endless, followed by articles that galvanize the reader’s interest in starting his/her own enterprise with visions of “happily ever after” outcomes.But the first idea that I must present is that envisioning and dreaming about a home-based business is only a prerequisite towards successful entrepreneurship. Constructive action must follow any home-based business idea!There exist so many entrepreneurial wannabees who remain in a constant state of immobilization. Such individuals often possess intelligence and creativity, even thinking outside of the box, but remain entrapped in the idea that they cannot pursue a home-based venture due to time or financial constraints. Others feel powerless to take action because they don’t know where to start. Indeed, they are uncertain as to what steps to take, going from inspiration and cognition to actual business production. Still, other aspiring entrepreneurs must confront self-imposed limitations, believing that they are incapable, incompetent souls who are not deserving of acquiring good fortune. Fear often predominates their collective mindset as there is much trepidation that the outcome of any home-based business idea will be an unfavorable one.Regardless of the reason, refuse to remain in a state of immobilization. If you have an idea for a home-based business, go forward with it! Of course, any idea for a business venture must be thoroughly researched and evaluated. One needs to consider the competition, costs, labor and time involved, the methods and procedures of the given business, potential return on investment and a host of other issues. The importance of business preparation cannot be underestimated. However, if you determine that the idea is viable and has merit after engaging in exhaustive research (even calling upon experts for advice), you owe it to yourself to implement it.But many people who want to quit their jobs and discover their ideal home-based business may not have a concrete idea as to the type of enterprise to launch. Others may possess a few simmering thoughts as to which direction to go but the primary idea that resides in the cyberspace of their minds is that they are just desperate to work at home!In order for a particular home-based business idea to germinate, perhaps one must first explore one’s own interests. Is it possible for an avocation to become a vocation? If you are passionate about creating jewelry, for example, that may be the underpinning of a home-based startup jewelry business. If you are a photography aficionado, photography may be the means to gain self-employment.Successful Internet marketers always trumpet the importance of finding a niche. Your interest may uncover a niche that proves profitable. If you can tailor your hobby and interest to meet the needs and demands of a particular market, you can quickly prosper.Local markets can even be tapped to develop a money-making enterprise. Consider a home-based entrepreneur who creates a free community newsletter, receiving advertising dollars. Another may find it more creative and profitable to sell a map of the local establishments, designed on a placemat presented by a given restaurant. The businesses listed on the map pay to be highlighted. Think about those who have created local surveys and reviews (comparing restaurants, hotels, etc.) and selling the resource at bookstores. The jeweler and photography, in our example above, may create work that reflects local influences, and thereby, gains local popularity. For example, I have a friend who resides in Alaska who is a sculptor and photographer. He has an inherent love of nature and outdoors, and captures the Alaskan wilderness and myriad forms of wildlife in his work. His creations subsequently capture the attention and dollars of his fellow Alaskan residents.Obviously, an interest or passion in a particular field should be accompanied by a certain amount of competence or skill. It is difficult, for instance, to become a successful artist if one does not know how to draw. Proficiency need not be inherent; it can be developed. But one should have a firm grasp of one’s abilities, talents and, don’t minimize it – potential. As Carol Brady, celebrated TV mother of the Brady Bunch series once wisely declared, “Find out what you do best and do your best with it.”(When developing an entrepreneurial mindset — when you are trying to create and define your home-based business ideas — be open to all resources, including popular cultural influences such as television programs and movies. Indeed, as actress Melanie Griffith said in her role as Tess McGill in the movie, “Working Girl”: “You never know where the big ideas will come from.”)While exploring your interests and aptitudes, as you are open to a plethora of possibilities and opportunities, think about the prevailing winds of societal needs that change from time to time. Are there any national or local trends that you observe? Are there any growing markets? What are some fundamental needs that can be satisfied on a local and/or national level.Unfortunately, for example, consumer debt continues to skyrocket in the United States. Millions of Americans owe more money than they make. So many people merely pay the interest portion, not the principal, of their credit card bills and find it increasingly difficult to pay crucial bills, such as a home mortgage. Any real estate agent can attest to the steady and scary upward climb in the rates of foreclosures. Opportunistic companies are responding to this alarming trend. Home-based businesses relating to the burgeoning consumer debt are proportionately increasing, specializing in credit counseling, debt consolidation and even collection.Consider another trend: While we continue to become more health and fitness-conscious, the rate of obesity remains on an upswing. Certain home-based businesses cater to each demographic and some to both. A self-employed fitness trainer primarily taps into our collective interest to get into better shape. A purveyor of weight loss products gains from our national obsession to lose weight. Those who are designing programs that incorporate an exercise regime with a recommended protocol of dietary modifications may prove to be doubly fortunate.So keep your finger on the pulse of “hot markets” and you may warm up to a very profitable undertaking. But don’t be afraid that your home-based business idea is too common, especially if it relates to tried and true home-based businesses. You may have an idea to add a twist to any business and deliver your own brand of special service.Among the most frequently touted best home-based businesses include computer repair, childcare, coaching (life coach or Internet business coach) and tutoring, distributing and selling tangible goods or information-related services, interior decorating, photography, transcription services, dealing antiques and collectibles, handicrafts, baking, sewing and gardening and farming. The list is not exhaustive but presents fields that have proven profitable for the home-based business owner.Many home-based business entrepreneurs decide not to walk or run on the conventional path. Their home-based business ideas are unique. Look at this creative entrepreneurial venture: Providing surf reports to those who want to “hang 10.” The owners of this business are hanging a lot more zeros when it comes to their bottom line. Another company profits from the absent-minded by offering a “reminder service,” reminding clients about special dates or occasions several days in advance. Many home-based business owners make a living by providing specialized instruction: Stop smoking groups, public speaking courses, women’s empowerment seminars are all variations on the theme of providing direct instruction. Maybe I should start a tutorial center on viable home-based business opportunities … but then again, this field is already saturated.Even absurd home-based business ideas can take off, leading to early retirement for the home-based business owner. The Pet Rock, Designer Dirt, deeds to land that once belonged to famous people (e.g, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley) have all contributed nicely to the financial coffers of their creators. Certain television programs love to highlight the offbeat, out-of the-box home-based business owner who has a unique idea. Think of something unusual and you will get massive publicity, especially if it involves a celebrity. I’m sure there are entrepreneurs right now, for example, who are getting a fat wallet on the coattails of Paris Hilton with their “Free Paris” t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and posters. They can even cater to the “Anti-Paris” community with their “Don’t Free Paris” paraphernalia.In conclusion, it is crucial to act on the idea of pursuing a home-based business venture. Do the required research and preparation and consider your talents, abilities and potential. Think about any trends in business or growing markets that you can use to your advantage. Learn about businesses that have proven to be profitable for other home-based business owners. And do not, under any circumstances, be afraid or hesitant to think outside the box. In our culture, a crazy idea can very well lead to crazy money.These home-based business ideas may transform your aspirations into action. You deserve to be your own boss – the captain of your own ship. Let your ship come into port!

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.