Category Archives: Business

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs- What to Know About Business Loans for Women

Despite showing outstanding growth in the past years, women are still lagging behind compared to their male counterparts when it comes to growth, in areas like ownership of public companies, hiring, and revenue.

As women keep looking for ways to start and grow their businesses, obtaining working capital is a major challenge, traditional lenders won’t just allow you unless you have a history with them. If not so, they will always require extensive collateral or more personal guarantees that you will repay the cash. Also, the application process for small business loans with conventional lenders can be very slow with extensive documentation required to verify your company records and personal financial background.

How to grow my business using a business loan for women

A business loan for women can assist entrepreneurs to cover expenses in line with maintenance and establishment of your small business, for example:

  • Buying a larger office space and financing a fitout
  • Covering costs when planning  a new marketing campaign
  • Investing in latest tech to better your services
  • Training your staff new skills to improve productivity

 

How to get a business loan for women

First American Merchant is glad to be to play a role in empowering thousands of women looking to make their companies successful. We provide female merchants with working capital to help them sustain and develop their businesses. FAM offers great small business loan options for female entrepreneurs to source quick working capital.

Our application process is online and automated to provide small business loans to a maximum of $100,000. With us, no need to worry about verification; we use simple, significant revenue info from your company to have you approved for a business loan– not sophisticated documentation that will take you a whole month or more to gather.

For women looking to borrow finances for a new business idea or to support one that is already up and running, there is no need to through the tedious application process of traditional lenders only to have your application rejected in the end- you don’t want to waste your precious time on failing projects.

Free SWOT Templates for Your Small Businesses

A SWOT analysis is one of the most valuable tools an entrepreneur has to help make better business decisions. This exercise — whose name is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats — explores the positive and negative aspects of proposed ideas, strategies and other business moves. It also identifies any internal and external forces opposing those proposals and ways they can impact the company.

Most SWOT analyses are broken down into a two-by-two matrix, with one box for each of the four components. If you’re not sure where to start with your analysis, here are six free, downloadable SWOT templates to guide you.

Bplans offer its SWOT analysis template as a downloadable PDF file. From this resource page, you can find instructions for filling out a SWOT analysis, what to use it for, and sample SWOT analyses for various types of companies and industries. These include food establishments, as well as online stores, such as an Etsy shop, to give you an idea of what business-specific SWOT analyses should look like.

2. BusinessBalls On BusinessBalls, you’ll find several different downloadable SWOT tools available in Word and PDF format. This article includes a detailed explanation of each SWOT component, as well as a filled-out sample with numerous types of potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your business might have.

3. Creately If you’ve ever wondered what a SWOT analysis would look like for some of the world’s biggest and best-known corporations, Creately has designed samples for companies like Google, Amazon and Nike on its SWOT analysis template page. You can also create and edit a blank template using Creately’s web-based SWOT software.

4. MindTools MindTools offers a SWOT worksheet that guides you through the process of filling out your analysis. This article lists a series of questions you can answer for each component to help you figure out what to put in each box. For example, for Strengths, you are asked to list what advantages your organization has over others and what your unique selling proposition (USP) is; for Weaknesses, you’re asked what factors cause your business to lose sales. This thorough, introspective look at your company may help you uncover things you didn’t think of.

5. Priority Matrix Priority Matrix, an app by Appfluence, provides a seven-step process that guides you toward filling out your SWOT analysis. First, it instructs you to choose your objective and decide what area of your business you want the analysis to focus on. Then, you need choose your “SWOT team,” the key team members who will be involved in any decision-making that happens following the analysis. After listing items for each SWOT component (the next four steps), your last step is to prioritize the results and figure out your next course of action. You can also download the Priority Matrix app to help you create your analysis.

6. SlideModel SlideModel’s collection of free PowerPoint SWOT analysis templates can help you get your message across in an eye-catching and engaging way that can help persuade your audience. The first is a basic, one-page template that simply lists items under each SWOT section. There are also two multislide, table-based templates — one template is very simple and flat, while the other uses sleek graphics and a clean layout — both of which use a master SWOT analysis as a cover or intro slide, and then break down each section in the next slides. Additionally, the concept-based SWOT analysis template uses shapes and colors to visually illustrate ideas, whereas the creative template allows the use of images, diagrams and other objects.

Six Big Regulatory Changes That Could Affect Your Business

It’s a new year and there’s a new incoming administration. That means there are likely some big-time regulation changes in the pipeline, not to mention changes that were already on the agenda. Some proposals will fail, while others will pass, but all of them could significantly affect your business in 2017 and beyond.  Top of the list this year are the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the currently suspended change in Department of Labor overtime regulations, and minimum wage or paid sick leave efforts at local and state levels. However, there are a bevy of other potential changes on the horizon that the savvy entrepreneur should be aware of as well. Here are some of the proposals we’re keeping an eye on this year, and how they might affect small businesses.

A freshly sworn-in Senate took the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Jan. 4. The senators voted 58 to 41 in favor of a budget resolution instructing congressional committees to draft a reconciliation bill, which would include a provision to repeal the ACA either in part or in whole.

Jessica Jennings, regulatory compliance manager at PrimePay, said that while the bill will be limited to items that affect budget and revenue, the portions of the ACA that could be repealed under this process include:

  • Insurance subsidies available on the health care marketplace
  • Medicaid expansion
  • The individual mandate and large employer shared responsibility payments
  • ACA fees on health insurers
  • The medical device tax

Last year, a U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against a pending change to overtime regulations that would narrow exemptions and extend mandatory overtime pay to an estimated 4.2 million workers. Whether the overtime regulation change becomes final or not will determine if business owners need to reclassify employees, adjust wages and benefits accordingly, or budget for additional overtime. [See Related Story: Are You Ready for the Department of Labor’s Overtime Rule Change?]

Prior to the injunction, many companies had already done their due diligence in assessing payroll costs, reclassifying workers, communicating the changes and seeking professional advice, said Bob Drainville, president of Timesheet Mobile.

“Most likely, if companies have already put the processes and technologies in place, then they will stick to this, as it’s too difficult to reverse employee classifications and potentially have negative fallout due to worker frustration and possible disengagement,” he said. “At the very least, the overtime rule has given companies the chance to review wage and hour obligations, which is one of the biggest sources of DOL fines and penalties.”

Proposed rules from the federal CFPB would prohibit what are known as mandatory arbitration clauses in financial products. Those clauses essentially prevent consumers from filing class-action lawsuits against the company in the event that something goes wrong. The rules would instead leave people to litigate on their own, a time-consuming, costly endeavor that often has very little payoff in the end.

“It is expected that the Obama administration will issue the final rule before President-elect Trump’s inauguration,” David Reiss, research director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at the Brooklyn Law School, said. “Entrepreneurs with consumer credit cards should expect that they could join class actions involving financial products. They should also expect that credit card companies will be more careful in setting the terms of their agreements, given this regulatory change.”

Reiss added that the final adoption or rejection of these rules is also subject to the Congressional Review Act, which empowers Congress to invalidate new federal regulations. Even if the rules were adopted, Congress could ultimately reject them.

“Republicans have been very critical of the proposed rule, which they see as anti-business,” Reiss said.

New federal regulations governing the way enterprise companies report assets, financial statements and leasing activity are also on the horizon in 2017 and 2018. Cameron Nokes, senior industry product manager at Accruent, said many larger companies have already prepared for the change, but small businesses should be aware that they could be subject to the rules in the near future.

“Smaller companies, startups and entrepreneurs can begin to prepare for FASB’s implementation of these standards by following in the footsteps of enterprise companies and carefully reporting their financial assets and tracking their leasing activity so that it is FASB-compliant,” Nokes said. “Since many of these companies do not have robust finance departments, it’s important to be ready in advance.”

At the end of December 2016, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed off on amendments to the agency’s Risk Management Plan. Those changes include additional accident-prevention measures, revised emergency-response requirements and additional reporting mandates.

“Over the past decade, facilities to be affected have reported more than 1,500 accidents,” Steven Minsky, CEO of LogicManager, said. “These accidents resulted in nearly 60 deaths; 17,000 injuries; 500,000 people evacuated or told to shelter in place; and more than $2 billion in property damages. These risks are preventable, and accountability for negligence is greatly increased [under the new regulations].”

Minsky added that the new EPA regulations are more likely to affect large businesses than small businesses.

Measures raising the minimum wage or mandating paid sick leave have been gaining popularity throughout the country in municipalities and statehouses. More of the same should be expected in 2017, said Richard Alaniz, a labor and employment attorney for the Alaniz, Schraeder, Linker, Farris, Mayes law firm.

“At the state and local level, business owners should prepare for minimum wage increases and expanding paid-sick-leave requirements that will take place within 2017 and beyond,” Alaniz said. “Moreover, cities and states are accelerating the pace at which they enact employment laws, and many employers are caught off guard by these laws each year. For example, California now prohibits most new employment contracts from requiring employees to litigate their case in another state or under the laws of another state.”

As a result, keeping an eye on your local and state governments will be just as important to your business’s well-being as watching for developments at the federal level this year.

The Ways to Reduce Your Business’s Tax Liability

Tax season is now underway, and businesses across the country are preparing to submit their financials to the IRS. If this is your first business tax return, you might be nervous about how much you owe the government. Fortunately, there are plenty of smart, simple and legal ways to reduce your tax liability. Business News Daily spoke with tax experts to uncover some of the best strategies for lowering your business tax bill. Know which deductions you can legally make The IRS allows for a wide range of tax deductions that you can potentially use to your advantage.

“Many small business owners are unaware of deductions and are missing out on money that can be saved every year,” said Gary Milkwick, chief product officer of 1800accountant.com.

Milkwick named a few of the most common business expenses owners can deduct from their taxes:

  • Expenses and mileage for personal vehicles that are used for business.
  • Cellphone bills, if the phones are primarily used for business
  • Costs incurred to operate businesses from home (portion of the rent, utilities, etc.)
  • Meal and entertainment expenses with existing or potential partners, employees, contractors and clients (meals and entertainment expenses are 50 percent tax deductible)
  • Costs to purchase business equipment, such as computers, printers, monitors and phones
  • Setting up and contributing to retirement plans

If you’re going to invest in new equipment or services for your business, the timing of those purchases can affect your tax liability for the current or next year, said Milkwick. While it’s still early in the year, you may want to think ahead and plan out what you’re willing to invest in before the end of 2017.

“If it’s November and you’re planning on purchasing equipment within the next several months for a business expansion, for example, it may make sense to accelerate the purchase of the equipment before the end of the year to get the tax deduction in the current year,” he told Business News Daily. “Same goes for services. If it’s towards the end of the year and you’re planning on a large marketing campaign over the next several months, it may make sense to prepay for some of the costs to take the deduction in the current year.”

Happen to have the spare cash to make bigger investments? Be sure to consider tax-friendly opportunities. For example, you can write off a significant portion of initial investments in areas like real estate and oil and gas, said Casey Minshew, COO of EnergyFunders.com.

“Oil and gas investments that pass through ‘intangible drilling costs’ help reduce an investors’ taxable income, as they can take these costs as active deductions against their earned income,” Minshew said. “This can generate up to a first-year return of 30 percent based on tax benefits alone, even before a drop of oil has been produced.”

If you want to learn more, see this Charles Schwab article outlining which investment expenses are and aren’t tax-deductible.

Business owners often mistakenly think that all cash inflows are taxable income and all cash outflows are deductions, Milkwick said. In reality, the nature of the cash inflow or outflow determines its deductibility.

For example, he said, income from the sale of the business’s goods or services is taxable. However, some common cash increases that aren’t taxable to the company include bank loans, lines of credit and loans from the owner to the business.

“These [loans] are also not deductible to the owner until the business spends the money,” Milkwick added.

If you’re not sure about whether you can or should use these strategies, consult with your tax attorney or CPA.

While it makes good financial sense to explore all your options for reducing your tax bill, you need to be careful: If your deductions look suspicious to the IRS, the agency might select you for an audit.

The IRS has switched its focus from large corporations to smaller business entities like sole proprietors, LLCs, partnerships and S corps, said Jessie Seaman, senior managing attorney at Tax Defense Network. In other words, Seaman said, your business could be under even greater scrutiny than your bigger competitors are.

Seaman noted that the IRS commonly looks for certain types of business tax deductions — such as those for home offices; meals, travel and entertainment; vehicle use; and real estate losses — to make sure taxpayers are adhering to limits and regulations.

Similarly, Steven Aldrich, chief product officer of GoDaddy and former CEO of online accounting system Outright, reminded business owners to keep personal and business expenses separate. (The IRS looks for personal expenses reported as business expenses, he said.) And always report full, gross income before any fees, such as those for credit card processing, are taken out, he added.

In Demand Smart Business Ideas for You

If you’re thinking about starting a business, the New Year is the perfect opportunity to pursue your entrepreneurial dream! If you want to strike out on your own, but you’re not sure exactly what to do, we’re here to help. Getting started can often be intimidating, but Business News Daily came up with 17 big ideas to help you get your dream off the ground in 2017!

Tech implementation consultancy

Are you an expert in all things IT? Do your friends come to you when their computers breakdown or their networks are compromised? Well, tech consultations might just be the line of work for you.

Huge strides are being made in technology, whether it’s in the realm of AI and machine learning, or big data analytics. And you can bet that means companies large and small will be looking to integrate new tech with their business operations.

But entrepreneurs already have a lot on their plate, and many don’t have the time or energy to learn their new technology inside and out. A tech consultation service that could help businesses implement and operate their technology solutions should be in high demand and could prove highly profitable.

Estate sales

People regularly need to liquidate the contents of their homes, whether it’s in the event of an inheritance, the result of a divorce, or just a regular old move. That’s where estate sales come in.

You don’t have to be a licensed appraiser (though it helps) to price out a home and organize a sale. Once you’ve established prices for all of the contents for sale, advertise and organize a day to bring in members of the public to buy the products. In the end, you can take a tidy percentage of the gross sales, and the homeowner walks away happy, without the headache of getting rid of all their stuff.

Freelance copywriter

Do you consider yourself a wordsmith? Setting yourself up as a freelance copywriter could prove to be a lucrative side-hustle … or maybe even a full time job.

Companies will pay big time for someone who can write clean copy, whether its for advertisements, websites or blogs. Some will even pay you for your editing services. However, consider how much work it takes to make freelancing work your full time gig.

Cannabis licensing consultancy

With both the legal and medicinal cannabis markets continuing their rapid growth, now is a great time to start a cannabis licensing consultancy. Once you familiarize yourself with the different state regulations and the major players in the approval process, you’re ready to start helping dispensaries and grows attain their licenses and approvals.

According to Medical Marijuana Inc. the medicinal market alone in 2015 was worth nearly $600 million. Add to that the continuous legalization of recreational use in states throughout the country and you have a fledgling market with room to grow. Now is the time to get into this burgeoning industry.

Info Great Home Based Business Ideas

There’s no place like home, so how can you start a successful business that allows you to work from the comfort of your own abode? Working from home isn’t just a nice perk, it can also be lucrative if you break into the right line of work. In this countdown, Business News Daily takes a look at these 21 great ideas for home-based businesses to help inspire you to found the next big company right from your own living room.

If you’re a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney’s offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.

If you’ve got business expertise already, you can help other entrepreneurs launch and maintain their own businesses by offering your services as a business plan consultant and writer. Help your clients figure out their ideas, goals and finances for their businesses and put them all in one organized business roadmap. You can also help conduct market research for your clients, so they can determine how successful their businesses can really be, or if they need to make changes or go in another direction before wrapping up their business plans.

Even though consumers are constantly upgrading their phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices, a lot of people still don’t understand how important it is to recycle their old electronics. According to DoSomething.org, 20 million to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide each year, and only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled. Allow people to drop off their unwanted electronics at your home, or go mobile and offer a pickup service. In addition, you could help your customers back up their files and clear sensitive information from their devices as well.

Becoming a massage therapist requires proper training and licensing, but if you’re looking for a great career to pursue that you can also turn into a home-based business, massage therapy might be the right choice for you. And with a massage therapy business, you have options: You can either invite clients into your home for appointments, or make house calls for massages.

Business Ideas For Holiday-Themed

The year’s end is upon us and, with it, so too are the many holiday celebrations. Consumers across the world have been shopping for the perfect gifts and searching for the necessary services to support their holiday events. And as people deck the halls, many seasonal businesses will be opening their doors to accommodate their needs. Whether you want to launch a part-time seasonal business or just capitalize on the season to create a lasting business, these are 11 holiday businesses that you can get up and running in no time.

The holiday season means music is constantly in the air. Whether its events with live music or neighborhood caroling trips, organizing and scheduling that kind of musical manpower is a tall order. A business that helps plan and schedule caroling trips, or one that maintains a team of musicians specifically available for hire for holiday parties could be a useful — and profitable — venture for celebrations everywhere.

Another great business idea for crafters is to make and sell holiday wreaths and floral arrangements. Purchase artificial branches, pinecones, flowers and ribbons from your local craft store, and turn them into dazzling home decorations.

Pies, cookies, fruitcakes and gingerbread are all staples of the holiday season. If your kitchen is constantly filled with the smell of freshly baked desserts during the holidays, why not get paid for it by packaging and selling them? People love giving and receiving candies and baked goods during the holidays, so you’re sure to have a huge demand.

Taking children to the mall to see Santa may be free, but parents will pay big bucks for a home visit from Kris Kringle (or perhaps Mrs. Claus, if you’re a woman). If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of time on Christmas Eve — or buying/renting a Santa suit — you could make arrangements to drop by the homes of friends and neighbors with young children and personally deliver a few gifts. Want to take this business past the holiday season? Try being the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.

This Crafty Culinary Businesses

The restaurant business isn’t the only entrepreneurial option for food lovers. The desire to offer people a unique culinary experience has spawned interesting food trucks, subscription services and green eateries, to name a few. These 10 businesses have succeeded because of their off-the-beaten-path approach and delicious delicacies. Pay-it-forward pizza: Rosa’s Fresh Pizza Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and Philly pizza joint Rosa’s Fresh Pizza truly lives up to its hometown’s name. The restaurant is decorated with a wall of colorful sticky notes worth $1 (or one slice), which feeds its homeless visitors.

“One day, a customer asked to buy forward a slice for a homeless person,” Mason Wartman, the owner of the shop, said in a video for the Ellen DeGeneres show. He then purchased sticky notes, which now cover the wall of the restaurant. “Then a homeless person takes a sticky note and trades it in for a slice of pizza.” According to the video, Rosa’s feeds approximately 40 homeless persons a day. Visit for a slice of pizza and the gift of giving back. If you’re not in the Philly area but still wish to help out, the restaurant has set up a donation page.

Delivered canine cuisine: The Farmer’s Dog Since the growth of subscription services, items for dogs (made by the humans obsessed with them) have gotten really popular. The Farmer’s Dog is a subscription service which delivers healthy farm-to-dog bowl dishes carefully formulated for your dog’s breed. Answer a questionnaire about their breed (mixed or otherwise) weight, activity level, current dog food, and The Farmer’s Dog suggests the perfect combination of healthy ingredients, all of which are sourced from restaurant suppliers and human food purveyors. According to the site, the dog food is never frozen and delivered days after it is cooked.

Furthermore, the recipes are tested on humans, for a happier and healthier pup. Liquid nitrogen ice cream: Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery If basic, store-bought ice cream isn’t unique enough for you, Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery will likely meet expectations. Mix ‘n’ Match Creamery is an Oregon-based ice cream parlor that serves liquid nitrogen ice cream, and every order is custom, so you can have any flavor you want. According to the company’s website, the liquid nitrogen “freezes everything so fast that ice crystals don’t form,” making its ice cream extra smooth and creamy. Customers choose a base — premium milk, nonfat sugar-free milk, or vegan coconut milk — then from more than 30 different flavors like caramel, cheesecake, coffee, gingerbread, and mint. From there, customers can choose from dozens of different mix-ins like almonds, bacon, cereal and chocolate chips. Mix ‘n’ Match makes the ice cream right there in front of you, with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

Dining in the dark: Opaque Opaque, a restaurant in California, promises to change your view of going out to eat by wining and dining you in the dark. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like—you eat your meal in a pitch black dining room. When you arrive at Opaque, customers look through the menu in a lighted lounge and order food. The restaurant’s staff will then check coats and bags, and lead you to your seat. According to the restaurant’s website, Opaque is staffed by blind and visually impaired servers who have been specially trained to serve food in the dark. Dining in the dark may seem like a strange concept, but according to Opaque’s website, it’s all about having a more in-depth sensory experience with your food. Opaque has multiple locations in California.

Food trucks with a cause: Drive Change The food truck trend has hit its stride. Popular trucks in major cities have long lines of eager customers waiting outside on their lunch breaks. But Drive Change, a hybrid profit/nonprofit organization, is taking food trucks to a new, socially-responsible level by giving back to the community. The organization hires, trains and mentors formerly incarcerated young adults, and the food trucks serve as a form of transitional employment with the ultimate goal of preparing these young people to go back to school or start full-time employment. Drive Change currently operates only one food truck, located in New York and called Snowday. It farm-fresh foods prepared in their kitchen in Brooklyn and served at the truck. Drive Change plans to open more food trucks in the future, and each truck “employs and empowers 24 young people per year.” All food truck sales go back into the organization’s re-entry program to help more former inmates get on the right track. A grow-your-own-mushroom kit: Back to the Roots Back to the Roots was started by two college students who were inspired by something they learned in a class:

You can grow mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. Co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez wrote of their experience, “After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers.” In an effort to get people more connected with their food, Back to the Roots created an easy, 10-day grow-your-own organic-mushroom kit. Their organic mushroom farm comes in a small box (the mushrooms grow right out of the box) and simply requires watering twice a day.

The company also sells a “garden in a can” product that makes growing organic herbs at home even easier, a self-sufficient water-garden aquarium (the fish feed the plants and the plants keep the water clean), and ready-to-eat organic cereals. Professional cheese sculpting: The Cheese Lady Do you love cheese? Bet you don’t like it as much as Sarah “The Cheese Lady” Kaufmann, who makes her living as a traveling cheese sculptor. She creates cheddar-cheese carvings for grocery stores, sporting events, festivals, photo shoots, and any other business or event that needs a giant hunk of cheese. Kaufmann has carved everything from a scene of the first moon landing to the Chicago skyline. Though she makes most of her money carving cheese, Kaufmann also hosts seminars, where she informs audiences about the art and traditions of cheese making. Subscription spirits: Tasting Room Want a little wine to go with that cheese sculpture? If you still haven’t found your favorite go-to bottle, Tasting Room can help.  Tasting Room is a wine club subscription, but unlike similar services that send you whichever bottles they want, this service allows you to taste various wines to find the ones you like before you buy, so that you only get shipments of wine you know you’ll enjoy. How does it work? When you sign up, you’ll receive a tasting kit complete with six different wines in special mini bottles.

Simply log in to your Tasting Room account and follow the instructions; the site will generate a “wine profile” for you that tells you more about the types of wine you like, such as where they come from and what foods pair well with them. After that, you’ll receive shipments of wines you like (and if you get one you hate, just tell them and they’ll replace it or give you a refund). Bacon business: J&D Foods J&D’s Foods makes a huge variety of edible products — mayonnaise, popcorn, croutons — and all of these products have one thing in common: They taste like bacon. Founded in 2007, J&D’s was started by two friends whose mutual love of bacon led them to the logical conclusion that everything in life should taste like this savory meat product.

They started by creating a bacon-flavored salt that could be added to nearly any food to lend it that distinct, cured-meat flavor. Since then, J&D’s has expanded its offerings to include much weirder products, such as bacon-flavored lip balm and sunscreen and, of course, its highly popular Mmmvelopes (that’s right: bacon-flavored envelopes) though they are currently out of production. Comfort food for the grieving: MealGifts What do you give to those who have recently lost a loved one? You’re probably thinking flowers. But although flowers are pretty, they’re ultimately useless to mourners. This is why David Storke, a former funeral director from Virginia, founded MealGifts. Storke’s company delivers family-style meals to grievers all over the United States. So, if you want to send a little comfort food to someone far away, there’s no need to cook and ship your famous lasagna. Whether it’s a full pot roast or some vegetable stir-fry, MealGifts delivers all the goodness of a home-cooked meal without requiring any of the home cooking.

This Places to Find Businesses For Sale Online

Want to be an entrepreneur? You don’t necessarily have to start and build your own brand-new business; sometimes the best move is to buy and grow an already-established company. Aspiring owners who don’t know where to start should consider looking into websites, which direct you to the best businesses and properties for sale. From there, you can decide which best fits your entrepreneurial goals and budget. Here are seven companies to find a business to take over:

1. BizBuySell.com BizBuySell.com boasts that it is “the Internet’s largest business for sale marketplace” and offers users options to buy a business, buy a franchise, sell a business, get help with financing and more. Users can search for businesses by category, state and country, and even set a minimum and maximum price. You can also search franchises by type, state, and amount of capital you have available to invest. Or, you can search for a business broker near you.

2. BizQuest.com Search on BizQuest.com for your desired businesses, franchises or business brokers by location and business type or industry. And perks for sellers are good, too: BizQuest.com allows you to post ads in just five minutes. The ads are then shared on the company’s partner websites, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. BizQuest.com also gives you the option to browse listings in top cities as well as the most popular franchises and industries.

3. BusinessBroker.net BusinessBroker.net has more than 30,000 business-for-sale listings just waiting for you to sift through. As with the other websites, you can search for businesses and franchises, find brokers and see listings by industry and location. BusinessBroker.net also has a finance and loan center that offers professional help to guide you in your business purchasing decisions.

4. MergerNetwork.com MergerNetwork.com has more than 15,000 active business-for-sale listings around the world. It allows sellers to post ads for their business for free and connect with over 14,000 entrepreneurs, investment bankers and business brokers.

5. BusinessesForSale.com This website currently has more than 62,000 business listings in the United States and around the world, including available franchises. Users can search by business sector and location to find the perfect business for them. BusinessesForSale.com also has features like email alerts and a services directory for those who need accountants, brokers, lawyers and more.

6. LoopNet.com With more than 800,000 listings available, it’s easy to understand why LoopNet.com is a reliable resource for discovering businesses for sale in your region. If you’re already a business owner or an entrepreneur with a busy schedule, LoopNet is available in app form (on Google Play and in the App Store) to peruse listings on your schedule, from wherever. Additionally, the site is partners with commercial real estate firms like Century21, Chusman & Wakefield, CBRE, Sperry Van Ness, and Re/Max Commercial. On the other end of it? If you’re looking to sell your current business, LoopNet provides the opportunity to list your business.

7. BusinessMart.com BusinessMart.com, like many of the other websites, has both businesses and franchises available as well as resources and services to help you get funding. It also allows you to search by location and business category, or search franchises by your available capital.

Pinterest Everything You Need to Know For Business

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are often go-tos for businesses and brands, but many companies can also benefit from the visual aspects of a platform like Pinterest. Ready to take on one of the most pin-teresting social networks out there? Here’s everything you need to know before you sign up.

Pinterest is a platform that allows users to share and save content to virtual collections called pinboards (also referred to as simply “boards”). The social network has both a website and a mobile app, and was launched in 2010 by co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra. Initially, the website was available only in a closed beta model, and users could join only by invitation until August 2012, when Pinterest opened to the public.

The platform has a unique demographic in that the vast majority of its more than 100 million active users (according to Venture Beat) are female. A comScore study found that approximately 71 percent of Pinterest users in December 2014 were women, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While you can find just about anything on the Web on Pinterest — the website’s categories include everything from art to technology, Pinterest is known as a hub for DIY and craft projects, recipes, fashion, home décor and health- and fitness-related information.

Creating your account

To use Pinterest, you first have to sign up for an account. For businesses, it’s really important that you make sure you specifically sign up for a business account. Using the main sign-up page creates personal accounts — to create a business account, go here.

It’s important to make this distinction because business accounts, while free like personal Pinterest accounts, give you access to features to help your business thrive on the platform, like analytics tools.

To sign up for a business account, you need to enter your email address, a password, the name of your business and your website (though including your website is optional). You also need to select what type of business you run from a drop-down menu. From there, you can set up your profile.

When you log in to your Pinterest account, you’re taken to your home feed. Your home feed shows you all of the most recent pins from the other Pinterest accounts you follow and features endless scrolling for seamless browsing.

Across the top of each page you visit on Pinterest, there is a large search bar. To the left, you’ll see the Pinterest logo (which takes you back to the home page when clicked), as well as menu options for Analytics and Ads. To the right, there is a drop-down menu, which displays links to all of the categories you can browse through on the platform.

The + allows you to quick-add a new pin or create a new ad, and the chat button pulls up a drop-down menu with three options: News, You and Messages. News displays trending pins and other site updates; You shows your notifications from when other users interact with your pins, and Messages pulls up your messages with other Pinterest users.

Clicking your profile picture pulls up a drop-down menu with options to go to your profile to see all your boards and pins, as well as to access your settings, billing, ads support and the platform’s Help page, and to log out of your account.

So what exactly are pins and boards? Well, in simple terms, pins are the content you share on Pinterest, and boards are how you organize that content — sort of like visual bookmarks. Before you can start pinning anything, you need to create your boards.

Once you click, a box will pop up with the information you need to fill in. You can enter a name for your board and a description of what your board is about (these are optional, but should be filled out as they can help people discover your boards more often), and select a category for it (also optional, but very important for the same reasons). In addition, you can choose to keep your board secret, so that only you have access to it.