Renting: a financially smart option for small business

Renting%3A%20a%20financially%20smart%20option%20for%20small%20businesses Starting a business is a huge endeavor for entrepreneurs, especially when larger expense items are on the required equipment list. During a business’s first few years of operation, renting equipment, rather than purchasing it outright, can allow the company to save money and invest toward becoming established.

Entrepreneurs started more than 550,000 small businesses in 2009, the most recent year with data available, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Most of those businesses were financed through owner investment and bank credit, to the tune of about $80,000 a year, the SBA reports. That dollar figure doesn’t stretch far when larger cost items like vehicles and office space are part of the picture. This is where renting equipment comes in handy. Some business items frequently rented include:

* Office space – Location is an important factor of doing business, but so is the cost of doing business in that location. Running a business out of your home is always the least-expensive option, and renting an office space or warehouse space – depending on the business – is usually the next best option for saving money. Renting also gives you flexibility to move if the rent goes up, or another space in a better location becomes available. However, because of low interest rates available for loans right now, it is a good idea to compare annual rent payments with potential mortgage payments, just to make certain that you’re finding the best work environment for the best price.

* Vehicles – Many small businesses, from bakeries to flower shops, occasionally need larger vehicles for delivering products or transporting their equipment. Instead of purchasing a cargo van or refrigerator truck, contact Penske Truck Rental about commercial truck rentals for individual dates or on a repeated basis as the best solution for your business needs. Get the commercial truck you need when you need it, either with a guaranteed reservation or Penske’s Rental Express program just for business that includes 24/7 roadside assistance. It’s a great way to save money not only on the purchase of larger vehicles, but also the maintenance and upkeep.

* Phone and computer systems – With the speed at which technology is constantly updating, it’s a good idea to review renting phone and computer equipment, rather than purchasing it. This works well for companies that have the potential to grow quickly – needing additional equipment – as well as companies where phones and computers are needed, but aren’t an integral part of the business. The good news about renting is that as the latest updates happen with technology, you can easily update your equipment as well.

* Office furniture – If your business is a one-man shop run out of your home, it’s probably a better idea to use the furniture you have on hand. But for entrepreneurs venturing into business with a small number of employees and office space, renting furniture is a great way to provide your workers with office furniture like desks, chairs, filing cabinets and even shelving units needed to go about business.

Careful management of budgets and expenditures helps small start-up businesses succeed. If you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur and starting up your own company, look into the option of renting equipment to save money that could be better used in other areas of the business like client acquisition, supplies or marketing.

Courtesy of ARA

Buying a home: Prepare by getting your finances in order

Buying%20a%20homeFor those considering buying a home, the current real estate market presents some unique opportunities. One of the side effects of the economic roller coaster ride of the past few years is that home prices have gone down and more homes have gone on the market. For buyers, that means more choices and better deals.  However, those same tumultuous years also can also teach buyers a lesson: Make smart buying decisions and be wise with your finances.
Impulsive buying is never a good idea when it comes to a purchase as significant as a home, but it was something of a trend at the height of the mid-2000s. Now, with banks lending far more cautiously, you need to be absolutely certain that your finances are in order – and healthy – to be able to get the best deal on your purchase.
There are a number of steps you can take to get ready to buy a home, and you might need to work on them simultaneously. Consider that you’ll need to start saving, if you haven’t already, but you’ll also need to review your credit score and do what you can to either maintain it or work toward healthier credit. Both of these tasks will help make the home-buying process better for you.
Your credit is an important factor in determining the terms under which you can get a mortgage. Broadly speaking, the better your credit is, the more positively you’ll be viewed by lenders – and that can lead to better interest rates. And because you’ll be paying off your home for years to come, it’s important to get the best rate possible.
Start by checking your credit report. You’re entitled to one free check of your report, from TransUnion and other credit reporting agencies every year.  As much as you need to check your report to find out what shape your credit is in, it’s also essential to review it for inaccuracies or fraudulent activity, both of which can have a negative impact on your score.
If your credit health needs some work, start taking action immediately. Paying bills on time, reducing your overall debt and limiting new credit inquiries can all help to build your credit – but be patient as it can take time for your positive actions to take effect. Nevertheless, the sooner you make the effort, the sooner you’ll see results.
Making a prudent decision about buying a house comes down to an honest assessment of what you can afford. Keep in mind that you might be approved for a loan that’s larger than what is practical for you to afford. While it may be tempting to buy a pricier house, the stress of struggling to make payments could diminish your enjoyment of your new home and even put you at financial risk. One rule of thumb is that most borrowers can afford a home loan that runs about two and a half times their annual salary. 
Buying a home is a complex process, but one that is ultimately very rewarding when done right. By organizing your finances well in advance, you’ll help set yourself up for success. For more information about credit and buying a home, visit www.transunion.com.

Courtesy of ARA

Five Things Before Purchasing A House

One of the main purchases you are going to make is buying a house. You have to think about it and think all your options before making the decision. Here are some of the things you need to know before you buy a house:

1) It is more essential that you have a good credit. You will most likely obtain a loan to buy a house. Thus, you should ensure that your credit is good for a smooth sailing application. It would be better to check your credit history frequently for your own security as well.

2) Prepare for long-term debts. Keep in mind that it will take years before you will be able to pay the house completely. Ensure that you will be able to manage payment for the mortgage. Having a financial cushion is significant. Since the debt is long-term, anything can occur.

3) Most loans need a document from the appraiser so it is better to get their opinion when you see a potential house. The appraisers are experts in giving values to properties depending on the location, structure, features, and added extras to the house. This will stop any sales representative from pricing the house overly.

4) It is very attractive to buy a beautiful house at a very cheap price. Before you decide on purchasing the beautiful house, ensure that it has a safe environment. Take note that one of the factors that make a house costly is good location. If you think that the price is much cheaper than it looks, the locations may not be that attractive. Ask the appraiser why the value is low. Water is almost difficult, or the neighborhood is not safe. These factors are very important in your decision-making.

5) Make sure that the house you choose suits your lifestyle. It is so attractive to purchase a house especially if it says Sheldon Homes for sale. However, you have to verify the house first. No matter how beautiful the house is, if it does not coincide with your behavior, you will not be comfortable in it. When you choose a house, make sure that it makes you feel at ease.

Your financial state is more important when planning to a buy a house. This makes it essential to monitor your credit on a regular basis. Finally, you have to know more about the home before purchasing it.

by: Sheldon Kalnitsky

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_3792.shtml

Bathroom Lighting for Practicality & Ambience

Decorating any room can be very time consuming and demanding as you want to get everything just right if you are to enjoy the finished project and achieve the look you want. The bathroom, although generally one of the smallest rooms in the house, is just as important as any other and should be allocated as much thought and time.

Lighting can be highly effective and instantly transform a room giving it that wow factor so many people want to achieve. Chandeliers, pendant lights, wall mounted spotlights and mirror lights come in all shapes and sizes and chosen carefully will make your bathroom one that you can enjoy spending time in.

If you need some inspiration then there are lots of places to find it, home decorating magazines and books can provide up-to-date ideas and designs, visit high street lighting stores or showrooms, or look online for lighting supplies.

When you think of the bathroom don’t just see it as a place where you get clean, it can be much more than that. Many see it as a refuge where they can attend to their ablutions in privacy or chill out in a hot bath for a while with the door locked away from the hassles of the family, so comfort and lighting is essential if this is to be achieved.

Bathroom lighting can come from various sources and how you choose your fixtures will depend on your taste, the decor, and your budget. Economical and attractive ceiling lights come in a range of styles, from the simple flush light and semi-flush light styles to glitzy chandeliers. Using wall lights or spotlights in the bathroom gives you the ability to adjust them, direct them to highlight a certain area or particular feature you admire. Place a spotlight over a piece of art to draw attention to it, or over the mirror for extra light can be effective particularly for those bathrooms with no natural light.

Lighting around the mirror has to be quite bright as you need to see what you are doing, particularly when it comes to applying make-up and shaving, Led bulbs and halogen lamps are generally used in lighting fixtures for these purposes as they are bright but not glaring. Bathroom shower downlights are perfect for using in moist locations as they are manufactured to safety standards, choose from a range of polished stylish chrome or brass, or classic white with clear glass upper body for a sophisticated addition to your bathroom.

Illuminated shelf lights are a nice touch in the bathroom and come in a choice of colours and sizes, using the latest led technology they use minimum energy too. The glass is toughened for safety and slots into the aluminium back ballast, complete with a built in LED driver and LED strip they require no additional wiring. They can create a truly unique contemporary effect and enhance the environment with a soft glow.

A bathroom is also a place to escape to for some peace and quiet, where it’s ok to lock the door on your other half and children. If your plan is to take long hot baths in the evening then soft and atmospheric lighting is going to be an important factor. If you have the space you could have a small table top lamp next to the bath or on a shelf to use as a softer lighting option instead of the brighter overhead light. You could even invite your partner into the bath with you and have a romantic evening together!

Never rush into choosing your lighting solutions, consider how the area can be seen to its best advantage through the use of different lighting effects. Online companies can give information and you’ll get a good discount.

Search online and you’ll find a huge choice of safety rated waterproof and showerproof lighting available and suitable for the bathroom as they have IP65 safety rating against moisture intrusion and dust ingression. Look for products that offer low voltage and mains voltage options, as well as the fire rated safety option.

by: Kathryn Dawson

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_5527.shtml

Five things to consider before sharing photos and videos online

Five%20things%20to%20consider%20before%20sharing%20photos%20and%20videos%20online More people are sharing photos and videos online with friends and family, as well as those they’ve never met. Consider this: One hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second. Pinterest, which lets people collect and share digital images, has grown to about 12 million users since launching in 2010.
The growth of these and other websites makes it easier for videos and images to be shared and reshared online – or at least end up in places beyond where they were originally posted.  
“With the advances in smartphones, digital cameras and social websites, more people are becoming interested in photography and videography, and they’re able to share their work broadly and quickly with others,” says Bill Robbins, an award-winning advertising photographer, commercial film director and current program chair of professional photography at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, graphic design, and photography. “But no matter if you’re a professional, amateur or simply enjoy taking and sharing pictures or videos, it’s important to consider how and when to protect your work. It’s something that we teach our aspiring professionals and something that others may benefit from learning.” 
Take well-known “mommy blogger” Danielle Smith for example: Smith, her family and her blog, ExtraordinaryMommy.com, made international headlines when a family photo – one used for their Christmas card – was taken from one of her sites and used in an advertisement in the Czech Republic. 
Whether you are an aspiring professional photographer, videographer or just someone who wants to share your unique content with others while still getting credit for it, here are five things Robbins suggests you consider before sharing your work online:
* Know what you’re getting into. Read the Terms and Conditions on photo- and video-sharing sites like Flickr, SmugMug, Picasa and Photobucket to make sure you fully understand and agree to the terms. Notice if the site has a designated copyright agent, displays a take-down procedure and has a clear copyright policy.
* Obtain a Creative Commons license and share your original content on sites that honor those licenses, like Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube. Creative Commons licenses – www.creativecommons.org – help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make certain uses of their work. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve.
* Keywording is key. “Keywording a photo is almost as important as the photo itself to drive people to your image online,” says Robbins. “Think of keywording as drilling for oil. You start with the obvious word and then keep drilling down until there is nowhere else to drill.” For example, if your image features a sumo wrestler, start by tagging your photos with words you think people will use to search for your particular image, like “sumo,” then use words that are more conceptual to the image, like “big,” “strong,” “powerful” and “wide body.”
* Consider your audience before you share. Are they trustworthy? Will they give credit where credit is due? Use programs that allow you to have control over your audience, and that let you select your own privacy settings to ensure you have full control over how and with whom your content is shared.
* Make it your own. Consider developing your own website or blog to post your original content so that it’s always tied back to your personal brand. Include a copyright disclaimer on your site. Then spread links back to your site through your social channels.

Courtesy of ARA