A wise man once told me if you want to run your best business, you have to invest in the best tools!
In the beginning stages of building a web business on a budget, I found myself trying to make the most of what I already had. In one sense that’s smart money management, but experience quickly taught me that limited investment back into the business is not the best way to go. When traveling in the land of tablets and smart devices, I learned the hard way that out-dated flip phones just won’t do especially if technology is supposed to be your thing. Not to mention the fact that it’s almost impossible to work on a computer you can barely turn on when it crashes, freezes or takes far too long start up. Point being, if you have been putting off stepping up your gadget game and investing into your business, now is the best time to make a change.
All serious entrepreneurs should have a list of business essentials on their holiday shopping list. First thing you want to do is make note of what your business needs. At the moment I am in need of quite a few things including the new iPad for testing mobile websites and applications along with a new digital projector to display presentations for my 2014 Power Circle Conference – powercircle.sistasense.com. I always have a short list of software programs or electronic tools that I need to make my business better. What about you? Take a moment to think about those things that are essential to your business growth and productivity; then create a holiday shopping list to match.
Capital + Cash Back: Get the Essentials First
If you use Paypal to handle all your business sale transactions I highly recommend getting a PayPal Debit Card. Rather than waiting 3-7 days to transfer funds from Paypal to your Bank Account, this handy MasterCard gives me the ability to quickly purchase what I need for my business. Plus there is the added perk of the cash back you acquire for each purchase.
As a long time Paypal user I was recently invited to try out Paypal Working Capital, which in my opinion is an ingenious alternative to traditional small business loans. As an entrepreneur there are times when you could use extra capital to invest back into your business. Via PayPal’s Working Capital Program I was able to apply for and receive several thousand dollars for my business within 10 minutes. There are no tedious forms to fill out, no credit checks and no long wait for approval. Paypal uses your transaction history to assess your eligibility and those approved can borrow up to 8% of their annual sales revenue through Paypal.
For me the best part of the Paypal Working Capital program is that I was able to set a fixed percentage rate that Paypal takes out from my daily sales to pay back the loan. As I get paid, they get paid back. There are no penalties if there are days you do not generate any sales, the interest rate is significantly lower than traditional loans and the repayment process is flawless.
Truth be told, it is sometimes hard and frustrating to add another bill to your budget, but because Paypal takes a small percentage of your daily sales they basically do all the budgeting for you. I’ve quickly paid back over 20% in my first month without any noticeable affect to my profit return. Plus I still have funds remaining from the loan that I can continue to invest back into my business.
For the most part I deal strictly with cash, but over the last year I’ve found the Amazon Visa card has also been quite useful to me. Similar to PayPal Working Capital, this card provides me with an additional source of funds to tap into on an as needed basis. Like most credit cards it can be used anywhere, but I especially like using my Amazon Visa card in combination with their free shipping deals + purchase points. I like the fact that I can get either get money back or points that I can use on Amazon towards future purchases.
Last, but certainly not least on my list of essentials is eBates, which connects you to an extensive list of online stores (including Amazon) where you can get cash back for your purchases. Adding eBates to my online shopping essentials means getting nice little cash back checks in the mail, which is definitely a great way to get back some of the money I spend. If you’d like to sign up to eBates through me and receive a complimentary gift card you can do so at ebates.sistasense.com.
It’s up to you how you invest back into your business, just keep in mind that its the right thing to do. I’m all for finding creative ways to keep most of the money that you make, but with these essential tools I’ve learned that you can work smart and spend smart too!
This Startup Tips and Tools post is also featured in the Books.Buzz.Business issue of SistaSense Magazine.