Independent Business vs. Franchise: Which One Is Right for You?

business-841174_640Today we have a guest post from Anum Yoon. Enjoy!

Being a small business owner has a number of benefits, especially for moms looking for some freedom when growing their family. As the owner of your own business, you’re able to set your own hours, work when you want to and generate some profit to help you and your family.

But being a business owner of any kind is some seriously challenging work. Whether you’re an independent business owner or the owner of a franchise, there are some benefits and drawbacks of each. Which one is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for out of your business.

Let’s take a look at a few of the things you need to know when deciding which is the right fit for you.

Independent Business Owner: The Good

As an independent business owner, you’re truly in control of the day-to-day operations. You’re able to decide what products or services you sell, how you sell them, the name of your company and what branding you use. You’re the CEO, fully capable of making business decisions.

This also means you really are in charge of the hours you work and the money you make. As an independent business owner, you can control how much time you spend working on your business. This is perfect for the stay-at-home mom with small children who need to be taken care of.

Independent Business Owner: The Bad

Being the CEO of your own company isn’t all glamorous. You’re solely responsible for the success of your business. You’re in charge of making the right branding choices, knowing what products or services your customer is looking for and creating the marketing strategies to help your business grow.

This can be incredibly time-consuming. If you’re hoping your business will bring in a full-time income, you need to dedicate some serious time to getting your business off the ground.

Franchise Owner: The Good

As a franchise owner, you’re able to eliminate some of the stress that comes with being a traditional entrepreneur. Because you’re buying into a company that has already established branding, products, services and general marketing techniques or offers, you’re able to jump into the business world with a lot of the work done for you.

Being a franchise owner also gives you access to other owners of similar franchises. This kind of connection system can be extremely valuable to new business owners trying to build a successful company. Not only that, but you have a direct relationship with the franchisor. Owning a franchise can help you find a mentor and give you some real-world experience with running a business.

Franchise Owner: The Bad

There have been many debates as to whether or not being a franchise owner truly equates to being an entrepreneur. If you have dreams of calling the shots, creating your own business and selling a product you love, owning a franchise may not be the right decision for you.

As a franchise owner, you likely have employees you need to manage, orders you need to fill and a demanding schedule relying on you to give your all each and every day. The success of your company is also connected to those around you, meaning you may pay the price of a mistake by another franchisee or the franchisor. For mothers, especially those with young children, you may not have the time to dedicate to owning a franchise.

It’s up to You

Both owning an independent business or a franchise can bring unique benefits and drawbacks. Being an independent business owner can give you some more flexibility, but you’ll need to be incredibly focused and disciplined if you want your business to become more than just a hobby. On the other hand, owning a franchise can set you up with a business and team that wants to see you succeed, but it may mean a serious time commitment.

Knowing which is right for you depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the business-owning experience. Consider your needs and the needs of your family when making your decision.

Anum Yoon is a millennial money blogger and writer who absolutely loves sharing her insights on personal finance, lifestyle and health. You can read her financial tips on her blog, Current on Currency.

What You Need to Know About Secured Business Loans

hand-427509_640Whether you’re (finally!) turning your Etsy dreams into reality, you’re tired of the corporate grind and want to head out on your own, or you’re already at the helm of a growing firm, the fact remains that working capital is essential to your business’s success – and frankly, to its survival as well.

This means sooner or later, it’s almost certain that you’ll want to explore business loan options so you can invest in new technology, buy new equipment, hire new talent, expand into new markets, launch marketing campaigns – and the list goes on. The good news is that there are plenty of products on the business loan landscape.

The bad news is that things can get confusing in a hurry. To clear things up and help you make a safe and smart funding decision, let’s look at one of the most popular options: secured business loans.

Now, part of the confusion around the term secured business loans, is that you might think these loans are, well, “more secure” compared unsecured business loans. There’s actually some truth in this, but the added security factor has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the lender.

That’s because in order to obtain a secured business loan, you need to pledge adequate assets that you own (a.k.a. collateral), which you’ll lose if you default on the loan. Collateral can include physical items such as cars, property, land, equipment and so on, or it can include intangible items like stocks and other securities, mortgages, accounts receivables, and so on.

In exchange for pledging sufficient collateral, a lender will typically offer you a lower interest rate and a longer repayment period than if the loan was unsecured. But what happens if you don’t have enough collateral? Will you still get the business loan you need?

It depends on each lender’s policies. Banks, for instance, only offer secured business loans. However, many firms in the alternative lending marketplace offer secured, unsecured and partially-secured loans. The latter is typically defined as a loan in which the pledged assets are valued at less than 51 percent of the amount borrowed.

You also might be wondering who gets to choose the value of a pledged asset. For example, you may have industrial equipment that, based on your research, is worth $50,000. However, it’s ultimately up to each lender to make their own evaluation. Some lenders are more reasonable and realistic than others. Banks have a well-earned reputation for under-valuing assets, because it further reduces their risk.

Before wrapping up, it’s important for you to understand that lenders don’t want to take ownership of your assets. They want you to pay back your loan per the terms and conditions – and so do you. However, collateral is there “just in case” that doesn’t happen the way it should. Be assured that if you partner with a credible and qualified lender, they’ll do what they can to help you succeed; because when that happens they succeed, too!

Business Conference Success

hand-427509_640If you’re running your own business, working in a new and exciting field or simply extremely good at what you do, you’re likely to spend part of each year at business conferences. These can be overwhelming events: packed with people, with a busy timetable in the day and socialising in the evening, and it can be difficult to know where to turn.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your head on your shoulders and get orientated for success at your next business conference.

Take the Reins

Whether you’re speaking or listening, you’re going to meet lots of people and likely want to take that relationship beyond your first meeting to turn them into important contacts for your business.

One way to do that is make sure you’re in charge of the interaction: go beyond the scheduled events of the conference and create your own. Whether that’s goodbye drinks on the last night with contacts you think would be particularly valuable or arranging a business lunch the week after the conference to reflect on it with someone whose expertise you want to court, it grants you authority in their eyes, and makes it clear you see this as an ongoing relationship.

Stay in Touch

If you’re traveling internationally for a conference, you need to pay more attention to your mobile phone. If you don’t prepare, you could be hit with hefty roaming fees, as not using your phone is simply not an option in the modern world.

One way for your business to contribute to your trip is to use a secure international top up service to send credit to your phone wherever you are. This means they can be sure you always have what you need to represent their interests.

Rest

Conference burnout is a very real risk. They’re high pace environments, with events and talks scheduled from the beginning of each day, through to dining, drinking and networking events in the evening. Whatever you are doing, you’re always ‘on’ – always projecting a positive and professional image to represent both yourself and your company at their best.

To make sure you can continue to do that, make sure you get enough downtime to recharge: even if you have to block time out in your calendar to keep it as yours, it’s worth doing as it means you can continue to be at your best when it really counts.