Thursday, 25 April 2013

How to Start Your Own Business Through Bootstrapping

You may not have a lot of cash on hand, but that doesn’t mean that it is not possible to start your own business. While it requires much creativity and resourcefulness, creating a successful venture through bootstrapping is highly feasible. This article lets you in on some useful tips and ideas on making it work.

In a way, bootstrapping is starting your own business without proper financing. And to do so without risking failure, it requires highly creative means of acquisition and use of resources. It also relies a great deal on establishing networks, trust and cooperation with external parties. With clever use of innovative ideas and resources, it is highly possible to create a successful venture which you can call your own. Here are some ideas on what you can do to make it work:
1.       Buy on consignment
If you are running a retail business, be it an online or brick and mortar store, inventory usually takes up a large portion of your budget. The good news is, you don’t have to pay for the stock up front. Buying on consignment means getting the goods from your suppliers first and paying only what you eventually sell. You can return the rest of the unsold goods to them, provided, of course, that they are in the original and undamaged condition. Your cash flow will look a great deal better if you made your purchases on a consignment basis.
2.       Get the cheapest self storage available
It’s important that you have somewhere to store your inventory. Even if you are selling the stuff online and you don’t really have a retail space, storing them in your home is not a good idea. Your dog, cat, or even kids may try to help themselves with whatever you are selling, thereby damaging or even consuming your inventory without you knowing. One of the best and cheapest ways to store your inventory is to rent a self storage unit. Besides getting a good price (which is, again, important to your cash flow), it provides flexibility in terms of storage size and rental period. Some of the most successful online stores started with the help of self storage facilities.
3.       Use pre-owned office equipment
You want to save every cent you can, so forget about getting the latest laptop, printers or photocopiers. Go for pre-owned office equipment instead of new ones. It frees up your cash for other more important stuff.
4.       Work from home
This is probably the oldest trick in the book, but it is still the best, particularly if your business is online or doesn’t require an office to receive customers. Rental can often make or break a small business, especially when it is just starting up.
5.       Obtain loans from relatives and friends
If cash is absolutely running out, the banks are not loaning and you don’t want to give up a piece of your company to any angel investors or venture capitalists, perhaps friends and relatives could be of some help. Many successful ventures start with small, friendly loans. Of course, it is important that you pay back the money as soon as you can, or else you run the risk of losing your friends and family!
It is possible to start a business with very little cash, and with some creative ideas, who knows where it can bring you!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Storage and Maintenance of Training Equipment for Martial Arts Schools

With the popularity of the martial arts rising around the world, martial arts schools are increasingly becoming common in many places. Whatever the style, the type of training equipment can be more or less the same. This article shows you how to maintain the training equipment when they are not in use. 

The martial arts often conjure an image of a solitary hero doing spectacular kicks and strikes to his multiple opponents. It is precisely this image that has propelled the proliferation of martial arts schools around the world, no matter whether the style is from China, Japan, Korea or Brazil. With this come many different types of training equipment, from the punching bag to crash mats to kicking pads. These equipment can last a long time, provided they are maintained well. Here are a few points to take note of when maintaining equipment.
1. Clean regularly
This cannot be emphasized enough. Cleaning with an anti-bacterial agent gets rid of bacteria that can otherwise spread to other students. Cleaning also helps maintain the material of equipment such as kicking pads and punching bags. Of course, the most important equipment that needs cleaning is the training mat. Make sure training mats are cleaned before and after a training session as those are the biggest breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Repair any damage fast
Why not wait, you ask? Well, it’s simple; it saves you loads of money. Smaller equipment like target pads are easily torn and will get worse if not repaired promptly. The target becomes harder to repair when stitching come off too much. Start repairing with the damage is small and it will save you a whole lot of money in the long run. Many repairs can be made with some glue and leather patches. Smaller ones can even be repaired with bicycle tire patches.
3. Check all screws regularly
Equipment installed with screws have to be checked regularly. This is most important for chin up bars and other hanging equipment. A loose screw can mean a major injury for a child or an older person. Make sure screws are well oiled and tightened just right. Make sure also no weight baring metal cables are rusted as this can potentially weaken them. Ban any use of weights machine if the cables are rusted or stretched. Get them replaced.
4. Storing
You might have some spare equipment or extra mats that you feel need not be in the school all the time, or if you regularly organise competitions that require equipment to be in tip top condition, you need to find proper storage for them. A self storage facility could be an option as they usually have enough space for big equipment. Make sure all equipment are cleaned before storage to prevent mold from growing on them. Wrap them in cellophane if you will not use them for a long time.
A well maintained set of equipment will show the professionalism and dedication of the school owner and thus, gain the respect of all the students.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Valid Reasons for Taking A Gap Year Between University & Your Working Life

As a student you have to work hard at your studies to get the grades you want, and then it’s straight into the workforce. Taking a gap year means you get the chance to relax after all that academia and to re-energise before you start out on the road to adulthood and responsibilities.

 A gap year is simply taking a break after college or university and before you launch yourself into a busy working life; it can be fun and life-changing and is something that many young people decide to do. It can also be a time for them to reflect on how they live their life and make changes in certain areas, or even to come to a decision about what they actually want to do with their lives.

A gap year can entail anything you want it to, as long as you have the funds! Some people just pack a bag and get a cheap flight somewhere exotic with a rough plan of which countries they intend to visit, they go with the flow having adventures and making new friends along the way. Others plan every step down to the last detail and book all their flights before leaving and have an itinerary to follow. Whilst some work as they go to create extra funds, or volunteer their skills, others just take it easy and use their cash wisely so it lasts them the journey.

Hiking in the Himalayas, volunteering as a teacher in Kenya, working with the street children in Delhi, taking a road trip through America or surfing the seas of Australia, the world really is your oyster and the options numerous. Travel overland, fly, sail, cycle, trek, or do a combination of them all.

A plan is always a good idea, it doesn’t have to be too detailed but you need to have some kind of idea of where you want to go as you’ll need to consider finances, as well as visas and passport issues. A route makes sense too as you’ll need to think about how much time you want to spend in each place in order to see everything, and the last think you want is to have your year finish whilst only half-way through your intended destinations!

Start to plan well in advance as this will give you the time to work out how much cash may be needed, apply for visas and ensure your passport is up to date. Flight tickets can often be cheaper when booked in advance and you’ll have better options for finding discounted fares and cheaper rates. A round the-world ticket can work out a lot cheaper than buying separate tickets for various flight routes, check out STA as they are one of the biggest student flight companies in the world and have numerous routes with low rates, you can also change the itinerary on many of them to suit your destination plan.

However busy you are planning a year’s travel, don’t forget that before you go you will need to organize practical issues at home. If you rent a house then the odds are that you’ll have to give a few months’ notice to the landlord, try to settle your bills before leaving the country as you don’t want the hassle of trying to pay whilst abroad.

Even though a year sounds like a long time it can go very quickly, and then you’ll be back on home ground having to sort out accommodation and look for a job. Coming back to reality can be hard after the freedom travelling offers so you want to make things as easy as possible.

If you have a lot of belongings and furniture already it’s a shame to simply throw them away or sell them, consider putting them into a storage facility so you can reclaim them on your return. This will make life a lot easier as you’ll have all your familiar bits and pieces back and don’t have to go shopping to buy new things, check out your options there are lots of storage companies out there that offer reasonable and low rates for students.