A lack of finance can hold your business back and prevent your brand from becoming as successful as you're hoping it will be. The good news is that, today, there are more and more options becoming available that you can consider in order to get start-up capital for your new business venture, or inject some funds into the business for necessary growth and development to help you hit your goals. Before you apply for funding, here are some of the key things that you will need to consider.
#1. The Type of Funding:
The first thing that you should give some thought to is the type of funding that you're going to secure for your business. There are several different options available; business bank loans, online loans, peer-to-peer funding, angel investments and even crowdfunding are some popular options that businesses use today to get together the funds they need. Consider all of the various options carefully and determine which would be the most beneficial for your business in terms of how much money you can raise, how quickly you would be able to access it, how likely you are to be accepted, and how you'll be expected to make repayments. Check out Become for a wide range of different business lenders to consider.
#2. Your Credit Score:
Whether or not you have had a business before, if you are applying for certain types of funding – especially a business bank loan – then you'll need to take your personal credit score into consideration. Most banks that provide funding for businesses will look at the credit score of the owner to get a better idea of your financial situation and determine your level of risk when it comes to lending money to your business. So, don't let your personal financial history come back to bite you; check your credit report first and determine what needs to be done to improve it, if needed. And, don't forget to check your business credit score too.
#3. Your Business Plan:
No matter what kind of business funding you are applying for, your business plan will be pored over and taken into careful consideration. Taking some time to improve and refine your business plan, along with making sure that you have planned for how you intend to use the funding and how it will add value to your company, is absolutely crucial. It's worth including this, whether you're going to invest the funds into employees for your company or a better online marketing strategy.
#4. Your Past Sales and Contracts:
In order to secure funding, you will likely need to create a sales forecast to include in your pitch and give potential lenders or investors a better idea of how much money they can expect your business to make using the funding that they will provide. Before doing this, it's worth getting proof of any sales and contracts that your business has already secured, which will add some weight to your forecast and show prospective lenders that your brand has the potential to be successful.
Getting funding for your business is a huge step forward, so it's crucial to be as prepared as possible.
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Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."