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Angel Investments Helping Young Entrepreneurs

An angel investment is a type of investment in which a business angel, angel investor, or an informal investor who provides the capital for the start up of a business in the exchange of owner equity or convertible debt. In this form of investment, the investors organize them into angel networks for sharing their research and also pool the investment capital. In the angel investment investors, unlike venture capitalists, invest their funds while managing pooled money that other people in a managed and professional form of fund. These types of investment bear high risks and are also subjected to the dilution from future rounds of investment. The investors need a high return on their investment. The early stage companies usually fail because of the lost of large percentage of this angel investment. There are angel investors that are professional and they seek the investment having potential to return almost 10 times or even more than its original investment and in the 5 years.

The term ‘angel’ that is used in the angel investment is typically originated from the Broadway where this term was used for describing the wealthy individuals who are known for providing the money for the theatrical productions. The investors that invest funds in this form of investment are usually retired executives or entrepreneurs, who have many interests in investing the money for a number of reasons. The main reason include that they want to make use of their networks and experience on full time basis and they also want to monitor the new generation of entrepreneurs. Angel investors not only provide the funds but they are also involved in providing the important contacts along with valuable advice about management. There are several ways of meeting to the angel investors that usually includes the symposia and conferences held by the investors.

E-Commerce – Top Three Financing Options To Startup Or Grow An Online Business

E-commerce businesses don’t need much capital to get started. But they do need additional funds to fuel growth and extend operations. Banks charge online businesses very high rates for loans. The approval provisos are usually so stringent that online businesses are often unable to qualify at all. Collaterals are a must; and with the high interest rate the loan becomes very risky for the owner.

Fortunately, small e-commerce businesses can look at alternate avenues to seed their business growth. Let’s discuss some of them.

Get funds from friends and family

If your funding needs are not too high (around $10,000-$50,000), consider acquiring seed capital by soliciting a loan from friends and family. Have a proper business plan at hand, so you can demonstrate how the money will be used and the expected returns during the next one to five year period. This will make the investors more enthusiastic and you more comfortable asking for the loan. Do this even if you are very close to the prospective loaner.

Consider taking a loan in phases. Make sure you give an account of how each loan installment has helped sustain the business before the next installment arrives.

Contact angel investors

Consider contacting angel investors if you need $100,000 or more as funds. Angels invest in startup businesses to support their growth and expansion. They look for businesses that have been in existence for 1-2 years or at least have solid workable ideas and a strong business plan. You’ll find many websites that help entrepreneurs network with business angels and vice versa. Ask questions to get an idea of the kind of arrangement the business angel wants. Find out which businesses they have invested in previously, the terms and type of agreement that will be used, repayment schedule or how much share they would want you to divest, etc., before accepting the loan.

Incorporate the business to offer private placements

Small businesses incorporate to get tax benefits, protection from personal liabilities, and to acquire funds for expansion. Businesses offer private placements, also called non-public offer, so they have control on who they bring on board and on the expectations of shareholders. With private placements, small businesses can raise a large amount of money in a short time. They also bring down the risks associated with a single investor contributing all the money and as a result putting her in a powerful position over the business.

Apply for a merchant cash advance

Another funding option open to small businesses is business or merchant cash advance (MCA). MCA providers buy a percentage of your future credit card receipts at about 15%-50% discount for a lump sum that is paid as an advance. The amount of advance is based on the monthly volume of your credit card sales, and time in business. It requires no collateral and minimal paperwork. The approval rates are high and the processing time is as short as 3-7 days. MCA works for businesses looking for immediate funds that can be paid back within a year.

Take advantage of the fact that you have more than the bank to go to if you want to expand your business. Whatever funding option you choose, ensure that you understand every aspect of the transaction. Don’t sign any agreements or accept loans without being very clear on the terms of repayment.

UK’s 10 Most Outstanding Local Business Directories

The success of local online business directories to supply information quickly on demand made them more enticing for consumers to use when looking for a local business. This increase in demand for local online business directories makes them important marketing tools for local businesses today. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own (i.e. law office, bookkeeping company, laundry shop, pizza parlor, etc.) local business listings can help you grow your business.

There’s a survey done on consumers and online business directories and it was found out that consumers prefer online business listings to quickly find businesses in their area. The survey revealed that over 50% of businesses found on directory searches result in either a call or visit by a willing customer. You need to make sure that the local business number called is your business!

Today, several online business directories offer free business listing-ensure that your business is visible on these free online directories. And although paid-for listings will often appear at the top of the directory results, there are strategies to get your business to the top of a directory using a free listing.

Ten Major Online Business Directories in UK

1. Yell.com

The leading online business directory with over 6 million monthly users, Yell.com allows free business listings but the option to customize your listing by adding in photos and description are non-existent at present. They have their site on paid listings and the price range from 300 pounds to 600 pounds depending on the business category.

Verdict: don’t miss the free business listing; spending some money on paid listing is a good investment too because of the site’s large pool of users.

2. Qype.co.uk

Qype.com.uk can handle ALL types of businesses directory listings. Qype’s users actively rate and recommend businesses on the site. So get your business mentioned on this site and watch out for a surge in sales! Qype lets businesses add lots of extra information for free like photos and business description. A full listing will really standout and getting good customer reviews can get you to the top of the listings for free. Qype do offer a paid-for listings service for approximately £50/month which represents good value in increasing leads with fewer effort on your part.

Verdict: list your business, add extra detail; consider their paid-for listings should your budget allows.

3. HotFrogUK.co.uk

A relative newcomer to UK, this bizarrely named directory has developed quickly thanks to its excellent Google PR. All listings are free and a business can add lots of extra information which will help you to get up their ranking and also start appearing in Google for relevant search terms.

Verdict: while the site is free, take the opportunity to list your business.

4. Vivastreet.co.uk

This is a free online classified advertising service, not a directory. Vivastreet has over 1.2 million users per month and enjoys a very good Google PR. No other site can promote events, special offers, promos, etc. like Vivastreet.co.uk. However, the free directory listings on the site will expire; you need to go back and re-list your advert on the site regularly. While your listing is on Vivastreet, however, it can do tremendous benefits to your Google Places listing.

Verdict: if you have special offers, promos, events, etc. to promote, the site is the best for you.

5. City-visitor.co.uk

Perhaps because the site has been here for quite some time now, its design is showing signs of obsolescence. They offer a basic free-listing which is useful as a citation for your Google Places listing. When the site convinces you to go for their paid-listing though, think twice because the value may not be commensurate with the money spent.

Verdict: list your business for free but not worth paying for.

6. FreeIndex.co.uk

FreeIndex.co.uk is another rising player in UK’s business directory listings arena. It’s free directory listings is not to be missed for all business owners. The site doesn’t buy business listings-all businesses on their directory have been listed by the owners themselves, which helps boost reputation on Google page ranking. The site is very good in generating leads for local businesses too.

Verdict: don’t hesitate to use the free business listing but take time to consider the lead generation offer of the site.

7. Bizwiki & AccessPlace

Two separate directories but they share information, so if you list on Bizwiki you get free directory listings on Access Place too! Their combined monthly audience is approximately 700,000, and you can list your business and extra information including photos, service description, opening hours, etc. for free.

Verdict: Recommendation: strive to get positive consumer reviews to push your listing to the top

8. Yelp.co.uk

Yelp is huge in the US; Google recently tried to buy them for a reported US$500m! They’ve been in the UK for a couple of years and are rapidly building a loyal audience; they’ve grown from 100k users to 500k in 12 months! Yelp is known originally for their restaurant reviews; now they cover all business categories. The site puts emphasis on good reviews, and to get good reviews means you need master how Yelp’s online community functions.

Verdict: it has the potential to become a major force in the business directory listings arena, so list now for free and start generating some positive user reviews.

9. Bview.co.uk

Bview.co.uk’s focus is on local promos more than local SEO London listings, which makes them a different online directory. The main focus is on London businesses providing them a venue to advertise their local promos, which is distributed to mobile apps and other relevant sites

Verdict: great lead generator if you have discount vouchers so list for free, add your promos vouchers and wait for the phone to ring.

10. ViewLondon.co.uk

Viewlondon.co.uk is a directory devoted to lifestyle and entertainment businesses, that is to say bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants, venues, etc. They now cover major cities in the UK and are expanding rapidly. The site allows listing businesses for free without limiting the information that can be added. They have several advertising and paid-listing opportunities; their service could be expensive but a lot of business owners say that their service works.

Verdict: if you’re into the entertainment business, then list your business for free and consider testing their paid-for options to see what the return is like.

Conclusion:

Online business directories are powerful local business marketing platform today. Local business owners should take advantage of the free listing opportunities and focus their efforts on getting directory users to leave sparkling reviews to boost their free directory listings rank. Don’t be afraid to spend your extra marketing money on these leading directories but make sure you shop around-it’s a competitive market!