5 Skills Needed for Success in International Business

5 Skills Needed for Success in International Business
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International business is so much more involved and politically charged than it was even a decade ago. The need for a unique set of soft skills to help you navigate the international scene has become essential. While you still need to be an efficient negotiator and have analytical skills, the more subtle skill set will make a difference to your success. 

To remain competitive on the international stage, new graduates must have critical soft skills to help them relate to their colleagues and clients. Corporate management is still looking for those that excel at the technical skills but are also interested in candidates that are proficient in networking, adaptive thinking, and collaboration.

With inclusive programs from MBA Discovery, future business associates will learn how to adapt to the changing world of business. Let’s take a look at a few of the crucial soft skills that will help you succeed in international business.

Cross-Cultural Communication

Thanks to the reach of the internet and the convenience of modern travel, companies are doing business across the world. Your role in any industry will include working within a diverse environment. Finding ways to communicate across cultural lines effectively is essential to your success. You will need to keep an open mind, respect differences, and have a high level of appreciation for different cultures, traditions, and religious beliefs. 

Networking Abilities

Developing a collaborative network outside of your home country is essential to success in today’s business world. When you have a strong international network, you are often afforded opportunities you would never have otherwise. Online platforms like Linked In make networking across the globe an easy task. Making lasting connections requires diplomacy, excellent listening skills, and mastering your elevator pitch to be sensitive to all cultures. 

Adaptive Thinking

To be an effective adaptive thinker, you must hone your skills, including tact, impulse control, and humility. Having the ability to think outside of the box can help you to thrive in any international environment. When things change quickly, adaptive thinkers can control their impulses and come forward with a thoughtful solution. 

Resilience

You need to be mentally tough and need to be able to bounce back from the long hours and regular travel that a career in international business demands. Changing time zones, long meetings, and late hours can take a toll. You need to build up your resiliency to be at your best with your international colleagues and clients. 

Emotional Intelligence

Becoming a self-aware and confident business person will help you in your international dealings. Being able to control your emotions in various tense and serious situations will gain you respect from your peers and customers. Strong empathetic skills, a listening ear, and flexibility are all critical aspects of emotional intelligence.

If you are entering the realm of international business, you need to up your game to succeed. Strengthening your soft skills, including your networking abilities, being an adaptive thinker, heightening your emotional intelligence, and increasing your resiliency can assist you in becoming a successful international businessperson. 

Is Credit Repair Good or Bad?

You’re ready to make some major moves in life that require the best credit report you can muster. Well, you now have decisions to make. To wit, you can try to shine up your credit yourself or you can hire a credit repair agency. But is credit repair good or bad? Let’s take a gander.

Is Credit Repair Good or Bad?

The Issue

It’s difficult to move forward with too many negative marks on your credit reports, so it’s understandable that you’d want them removed. However, what you need to know is that, if you have the time, patience, and persistence, there’s nothing a credit repair agency can do that you can’t. 

However, if the unfavorable items on your reports are accurate, they technically cannot be removed, and if you wait, they’ll fall off naturally in due time. Now, some companies can sometimes gum up the works to such an extent that the negative entry is extracted. However, this is a poor strategy and hardly ever works.

Let’s take a holistic look at credit repair.

Just What is Credit Repair?

At its essence, it’s hiring a credit repair organization to get info expunged from your credit reports. Most such firms tout themselves as being able to help you make unverifiable or incorrect info on your credit reports disappear. 

The real deal, though, is that most companies try to also get negative, albeit correct, data off your reports before they, at length, drop off by themselves. Check out lexington law reviews to see what’s said about that leading credit repair company.

How Do I Know I’m Getting a Legit Company?

That’s a good and proper question, since scams abound in this industry. There are bad actors out there who seek to take advantage of existing financial and emotional vulnerabilities of people like you. The good news is that you’re protected by the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, which sets forth what credit repair agencies can and cannot do.

For example, such companies may not:

  • Counsel you to make erroneous statements to the top credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
  • Suggest that you alter your identity to block the credit reporting agencies from linking you with what’s on your credit reports.
  • Charge you up front, before they’ve performed services on your behalf.
  • Guarantee that it can get info from your reports removed.

Likewise, credit repair outfits are required to disclose to you the following:

  • You do have the right to, for free, dispute information in your credit report.
  • You can file a lawsuit against it if it breaches the Credit Repair Organizations Act.
  • While it will do its best to act reasonably to make sure the info on your reports is correct, mistakes are sometimes made.

How Much Does Credit Repair Cost?

It depends on the company, but credit repair companies generally either bill you at month’s end for services rendered during the past month or charge you per delete.

With the former, a kind of subscription service, you can expect to pay $50 or $100 monthly. Here, such companies are incentivized to keep you around for as long as possible. With the latter, “pay for delete,” the company doesn’t bill you until it gets an item removed.

So, is credit repair good or bad? The answer mostly depends on what you truly want. If you’re looking to have inaccurate or unverifiable information removed from your credit reports, but aren’t inclined to tackle the task yourself, then, sure, hire a firm. However, paying a company in hopes that, somehow, it can get adverse but accurate info removed is frankly a fool’s errand. If you can’t wait for the item to drop off by itself, perhaps you need a different financial strategy. 

How Can Cloud ERP Solutions Help Manufacturing Businesses?

The manufacturing industry is super dynamic and highly competitive. There is continuous stress on manufacturers to adopt newer ways of conducting their business.

To run a successful manufacturing business, owners must focus on achieving multiple parameters such as,

  • Proper forecasting of customer needs
  • Right control over inventory
  • Efficient management of sales leads
  • Zero wastage
  • Optimised ROI

A cloud ERP solution like https://www.netsuite.com.au/portal/au/products/erp.shtml can handle manufacturing concerns efficiently. It can also aid in achieving the success parameters more effortlessly. Read on to find out how implementing a cloud ERP system can help your manufacturing business.

Enhanced Inventory Control

The ERP solution streamlines your supply chain and ensures customer demand is always met promptly. By using the supply chain management module, manufacturers can build optimised logistics strategies. With access to real-time data, there is greater accuracy in forecasting and lower inventory costs.

Improved Decision Making

The ERP solution represents a centralised view of all business operations. The central hub offers essential information about sales, customers, finances, labour management, etc. Stakeholders can make use of the data on a real-time basis to make an accurate decision. An ERP solution is the key to making perfect forecasting and budget plans.

Better Quality Management

Quality control is a critical aspect of any manufacturing process. The cloud ERP solution includes in-built features adhering to optimal quality standards. It improves process and product quality by maintaining related documents in the centralised hub. The documents include standards about manufacturing processes, audits, safety management, and employee training and management.

Better Data Storage

ERP systems eliminate the need for error-prone, redundant manual processes. With a sound ERP solution, your data is cleaned and processed efficiently. The data is then stored using the highest levels of security and privacy parameters.

Manufacturers can access the data from any location, using any device. The access controls are well-defined to ensure the optimal safety of data.

Optimised Customer Relationship Management

Manufacturing companies must stay connected to customers consistently and understand their impulses. The CRM module (customer relationship management) of the ERP solution ensures optimised customer satisfaction.

CRM improves customer response time. It helps the sales team to track and follow up with leads easily. It captures customer interactions from multiple sources and ensures that the customer is presented with the right product at the right time. 

Better Supplier Collaboration

The ERP system takes care of your supplier relationships too. With an enhanced internal communication system, your team is well-prepared to handle suppliers from any part of the world. ERP reduces response time, helps track down issues promptly, and aids in resolving the problems with proper damage control. 

Enhanced Revenue and Better Cost Control

An ERP solution can improve business revenue and help with cost reduction in multiple ways. Some of them are,

  • Automation of tasks leads to lowered labour costs.
  • Unlocking newer revenue streams by helping the business go digital.
  • Optimised inventory management that cuts down operating and administrative costs.
  • Better control over the quality of products makes business growth inevitable.

Cloud ERP System versus In-House Deployment

Some manufacturers believe that an in-house ERP system offers better control over their data and operations. This is, however, not true, and the cloud ERP solution is always the winner. Here are some of the critical benefits of a cloud system.

  1. Automatic upgrades
  2. Access to real-time data from any place and any device
  3. Lowered costs
  4. Saves more time
  5. A cloud-based solution is easily scalable
  6. Shorter deployment times

However, you cannot achieve the multiple benefits of an ERP system for manufacturing companies by simply deploying any software solution.

A trusted solution ensures 100% profitability and business growth.  Explore the critical modules of ERP solutions and find out the different ways it can help your business grow.

How to become a top commodity trader

Commodity trading is a bit different than currency trading. The new currency traders often think that they can trade the commodity market without gaining special knowledge about the industry. But doing so, they are making a big mistake. If you want to become a top commodity trader, you should follow some specific guidelines. Most importantly, you need to have a strong mindset that you will learn new things.

How to become a top commodity trader

Learning new things regarding trading business is a very tough task. But if you take rational steps it won’t take much to become a profitable trader. Let’s see the key steps which we can follow to become a top commodity trader.

Develop a strong basic

Commodity trading requires strong basic. Without having sound knowledge about the supply and demand zone, it is nearly impossible to find the perfect trading opportunity. You might be thinking that you know everything about this market and easily make a big profit without doing the proper market analysis. But this not the way professional traders execute their trades. They rely on fixed sets of logic and execute the trades after doing the in-depth market analysis. So, start working hard and learning the basics of trading.

Find a good broker

Without gaining access to a robust trading platform, you won’t be able to do the perfect market analysis. Most retail traders think that they know everything about the market and they don’t have to trade with the high-end brokers. But after taking the trades with the low-end platforms, they start to look for the best commodity broker. By choosing a good broker, you can avoid many technical problems, and thus you will be able to make better decisions. Never try to ignore the importance of a well-reputed broker. If you do so, you will keep on losing money and eventually blame the market.

Learn to analyze price action signals

To trade the commodity market, you should learn to deal with the price action confirmation signals. Once you master the art of price action trading strategy, you should be able to take the trades in a standard way. This will improve your decision-making skills. Usually, the traders execute the trades at the important support and resistance level without taking any confirmation. But if you do the math properly, you will notice the support and resistance level are often broken. And the false spikes can easily hunt down the stop loss. To avoid such problems, we can rely on the price action confirmation signals and execute the trades without having any major problems.

Learn about the chart pattern

Professional commodity traders are very good at analyzing the major chart. Learn about the major chart pattern so that you can execute the quality trades without having any major issues. Forget about the aggressive approach and look for reliable trade signals based on the chart pattern. Though it will be tough to take the trades you do have the option to use the paper trading account. At the initial stage, start learning about the continuation chart pattern as it will make the overall trading process easier. And if you take the trades with the help of a reversal chart pattern, you should look for the price action confirmation signals.

Trade with low risk

To survive in the commodity market, you must know the fact, losing trades are very common. If you try to ignore the losing trades, you are going to lose money most of the time. So, to protect your trading capital, you should stick to the basic 2% rule of money management. At times you might have the urge to trade with higher risk but you must control this greed. Unless you systematically control your greed factor, you will keep on losing money and eventually blame the market. That’s why always follow standard rules at trading and take the trades with discipline.

How Purchasing Tradelines May Improve Your Financial Situation

It may shock you to learn just how much your past financial mistakes can impact your future purchasing decisions. Even a late or non-payment could end up costing you several thousand dollars due to lending institutions and banks seeing you as a high-risk borrower.

While you can’t turn back the clock, you may be able to improve your financial situation in a straightforward way – by purchasing seasoned tradelines. The following information may enlighten you as to how.

Wider Job Prospects

Surprisingly, authorized user tradelines might be able to make you a more desirable employee on paper for businesses looking to hire you. Many companies look at the payment history and credit reports of people they are considering hiring.

While your non-payment on a TV doesn’t make you a bad person, employers can see it as a reflection of how responsible you are. Improving your credit score with AU tradelines may make a difference to your job prospects in the future.

More Loan and Credit Card Options

Some people fear applying for loans and credit cards because they believe their poor credit history will have them turned down. If you do apply, your credit score may even mean you’re not eligible for some of the more competitive interest rates that may be available.

With a seasoned tradeline of a suitable age and credit limit, that may change. A tradeline may be able to boost your credit score and make you eligible for better interest rates that make everyday living more affordable.

Better Mortgage Options

Even if you’ve done everything in your power to reduce debt to improve your chances of mortgage approval, your credit score may still work against you. Many lenders see a low credit score and associate it with poor money management. You may then be seen as a high-risk borrower and have to pay higher interest rates as a result.

In many situations, purchasing a tradeline can assist with broadening your mortgage options. The higher your score, the more lenders may be lining up to offer you competitive mortgage lending rates.

Pay Less on Vehicle Insurance

Vehicle insurance companies have made an unusual discovery. People with lower credit scores may file more claims. As they are in the business of making money, they often charge those people higher rates. You may be able to save money on your monthly payments by improving your credit score.

Improved Rental Possibilities

Finding the perfect property to rent for your family can be challenging with the best credit score. However, it’s often even more so with a patchy financial history.

Many landlords and property managers screen tenants and view their credit scores to determine how safe or risky they are as a tenant. Even if you’ve only had one blemish on your record, it can be all it takes for a property investor to decide to choose someone else.

At least 90 days before you start your search for a new rental property, consider purchasing an authorized user tradeline. By the time prospective landlords start running checks on you, your credit score may already be improved.

There are plenty of ways to improve your financial situation, such as getting a higher-paying job and cutting your costs. However, in the long-term, purchasing tradelines may also be among the best. If you’re in any of these situations above, it may be worth looking at your options.

How to Make Money in Real Estate: 8 Investing Tips

Investing in real estate is a great way to make a lot of money in passive income. Have you been considering going this route? Once you get started you’ll get the hang of it in no time, but first, you need to learn how to make money in real estate in the first place so you don’t end up wasting your investment. 

We want to help with a few tips and tricks that have helped us (and helped plenty of other investors) in the past. Don’t go in blind. Keep reading to learn how to make money investing in real estate so you can start growing your income and making your way towards financial stability. 

1. Always Diversify

As with any kind of investment, you’ll get the most out of investing when you diversify your portfolio. 

When you’re just starting out, you may be limited to one or two properties within your general geographic location. Sometimes it’s as small as a single neighbourhood or a city. 

It’s not a bad idea to look at real estate in other locations. We’ll talk more later about knowing the ins and outs of where you’re buying, but even if you aren’t a local you can do research into other cities where the market is booming. 

Even if your local market falls into a rut, you’ll have homes in other areas that can still thrive and make up the difference. 

2. Network for Success

Many people view the other real estate investors in their area as competition. They’re not. 

While you’re all looking to get the tenants in your local area, different investors have different types of properties that will attract different renters. It’s a great idea to network with each other. 

Networking will open you up to advice from experienced investors, insight into property management and renovation, and cost management. 

3. Stay on Top of Maintenance

Maintenance is everything if you want to keep making money on your properties. Poorly-maintained properties get bad reputations and if you let a building go for long enough, maintenance becomes more expensive. 

If you let a small leak go on for long enough, for example, it turns into water damage. 

Once you have renters, it’s a good idea to keep up with them so they can share any of their maintenance concerns early on. Not only will this save you time and money, but you’ll also gain the reputation of being a caring landlord who attends to the needs of their tenants. 

4. Know the Neighborhood

As we mentioned, diversification is important, but you need to be an expert on all of the places in which you plan on buying properties. 

The first thing to know is the market. Is the housing market booming at the moment?

If it is, you might be too late if you don’t have the money to buy an expensive property. While booming markets are attractive, look into areas that seem to be up-and-coming. 

You’ll pay less for your property and your income will increase sharply once the neighbourhood starts thriving. 

Also, pay attention to aspects of the neighbourhood that will attract or repel potential renters. 

What does the crime rate look like? While many people looking for affordable rentals will look past a medium to high crime rate, families with young children aren’t as likely to rent that property.

Also, look at local schools and amenities. You’ll get more younger renters in areas that are walkable where there’s access to entertainment and more families in areas with good schools and plenty of parks.  

5. Set a Budget

We want to preface this with the fact that you will go over your budget at some point or another. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set one. 

You can’t devote your entire budget towards the actual purchase of the property. You need to factor in any hidden fees, any maintenance work, renovations, and the cost of advertising (including professional staging and photography). 

Decide how much you’re willing to spend on a property before you go searching, and when you find one within your range, make sure that renovations won’t put you over-budget. 

6. Prepare for Vacancies

Even in booming markets, there will be times where you’re unable to find a renter. If you’re only renting single-family homes, this means that you’ll experience a lapse in your income.  

You need to prepare for this. Set aside a healthy amount of savings. You’ll also need to use some of this money to amp up your advertising efforts.

7. Don’t Avoid Single-Family Homes

While single-family homes are a greater risk when it comes to vacancies, they also provide more income with less work and maintenance costs. 

When you have multi-family properties, each tenant will have their own maintenance issues. There are several sets of appliances to keep tabs on. You’ll also need to do renovations on each unit.

Single-family homes attract families. They tend to stay for a longer period of time, making them reliable tenants. You’ll also only service one set of appliances and you’ll only renovate one space.

Both single-family and multi-family properties are valuable, but single-family homes should get your attention. 

8. Pick the Right Renovations

It’s easy to get caught up with renovations when you want to make your property as attractive as possible, but over-renovating leads to going over your budget and not getting the best returns on investment. 

So what should you focus on?

Aside from necessary renovations like fixing walls and floors, consider things that many people look for when they’re looking into rentals. Kitchens and bathrooms are popular places to start. 

Now That You Know How to Make Money In Real Estate, Get Started

Knowing how to make money in real estate is the first step towards your success as an investor. There’s a huge market for real estate right now as the housing and rental markets continue to grow. The best time to invest is five years ago, but the second-best time is right now. 

Are you looking for more helpful articles on investing and managing your wealth? Check out our articles on wealth management, as long as a plethora of content that can help you with your business and investment goals. We want to be your online resource for financial success. 

How Long Does It Take to Start a Business?

Are you thinking of starting a business?

Every year, many people dream of quitting their full-time jobs and starting their own successful enterprises. Often, these people have big visions for their businesses, and they hope that they’re able to channel their dreams into something profitable and impactful.

But sometimes, these people worry about how long it will take them to get their new company up and running. After all, quitting your full-time job is a risk, and you don’t want to go too long without making a paycheck.

So, how long does it take to start a business?

We love supporting people who are establishing their own businesses, and below, we’ll go into how long it takes to start a company.

Keep reading to learn more!

How to Start a Business

So, have you wanted to begin creating a business?

If you’ve wanted to venture out and build a brand and name of your own, you probably want to know the fundamentals of getting started. Let’s go into the steps of starting a business below.

Define What You Do

Before you set out to create a business, you should know the basics of what you want to do.

Of course, organisations always change and evolve, but successful business owners begin with a vision. They know which central service they wish to provide, the client needs they plan to meet, and who they believe their target audience is. 

To get this part of it right, you need to do a lot of research. Make sure you’ve thoroughly ensured there is a demand for your products or services and that you know which demographics are looking for the solutions you provide.

This can take up to a few months, depending on how much research you do.

Get Your Domain 

What is your domain?

It is the name by which your company is known on a public level. It will go on all of your official materials, your advertising, and your website, so make sure you choose wisely.

When selecting your domain name, make sure it remains memorable, fits with the tone and personality of your brand, and communicates what you do. Run it by a friend, loved one, or colleague to see if other people think it’s a good name.

How long this takes depends on you and how much time you dedicate to finding a domain that works. 

Hosting Foundry can help you with your website’s web hosting and start a business.

Find a Business Location

Where do you plan to work? Every business needs a specific location.

These locations range from an office in a high-rise to a desk in your home. Think about what you can afford and what type of building would best suit your needs.

Make sure you take into account any renovations you would need to make on your potential office and ensure it fits within your budget.

Finding a business location can take anywhere from a few weeks to 2-3 months.

Get the Proper Licenses and Permits

When you start a business, you often need proper licensing and permits.

Check with your local government to see what kinds of additional documentation you need. The requirements vary from location to location. Obtaining these documents often takes you from a few weeks to up to a month.

Your business also needs a seller’s permit if you plan to sell products.

Local Registration

You also need to register your company with the local government. 

To do this, you will need to select the type of business you want to have, so make sure that you know which type of company you’d most like to create. 

Completing this process takes about a month, including the time you take to decide which kind of company you would like to create.

Determine Your Funding Needs 

Now, you need to determine how much funding you need and how you will get the funding. 

This often takes a long time; in fact, it can last up to many months. To get started, do your research on what your overhead costs will be, including any shipping charges, product costs, utility and rent bills, and employee salaries. 

All of this information should then go into your business plan. Your business plan consists of an overview of your entire company, including a detailed explanation of what you do, your organisational structure, your expenses, and your marketing plan. This usually takes quite a bit of time.

The exact amount of time depends on how much time you can devote to putting the plan together. 

Getting Funding

After you’ve created your business plan, you should use it to try to get investors or a bank loan.

This gives you the funds you need to start your company. Often, this also takes a while, as banks and others who invest in your business will want to know how they will make their money back. While many wonderful new businesses launch all the time, newer companies are also unproven, so you will need to convince them you’ll be able to repay them.

How Long Does It Take to Start a Business?

So, how long does it take to start a business?

We recommend giving yourself a large amount of time to start your business. After all, this is the foundation of what you’ll do, so getting it right is important. Starting your company will probably take you at least a year or two.

It often takes even longer for a company to become profitable. After you launch your company, you need to work on raising business awareness and gaining your clientele. It takes 2-3 years for most small businesses to turn a consistent profit.

Ready to Start Your Business?

So, have you asked yourself, “How long does it take to start a business?”

If so, we hope the article above answered your question! It usually takes a while for businesses to get up and running and turn a profit. Still, if you have a dream and believe you can make it, the handful of years of work are worth it!

Have questions? Want more advice? Contact us today!

The fall of Arcadia: what does it mean for the future of the high street?

The high street is changing. There’s no question. Predictions suggest over 18,000 high street premises could be left empty by the end of the year, while mainstays like high street banks are estimated to close their doors a final time by summer 2032.

The announced administration of the Arcadia group should come as no surprise in the current climate. The pandemic has sent earthquake-scale tremors through our shops and retailers. But in spite of this, there has to be some shock in the industry – after all, Arcadia, and many of the other fallen businesses, are and were huge entities. So how do businesses with such apparent strength fall with such devastating impact?

The answer lies in technology. Technology has underpinned many of the world’s greatest advancements but in retail, take up of advancements has been slow enough to shake the foundations of some of our most loved stores and leave them weak and vulnerable.

The collapse of the Arcadia group is systematic to an organisation that has failed to grasp the opportunities of technology, especially of online. The pandemic may have spearheaded online shopping’s growth, but consumers have been shopping online – or using bricks and mortar stores as ‘showrooms’ to then buy online – for years. And while stores like Primark have done well with no online presence, they have a very different value-based proposition which means it’s worth the trip to the shop to rummage through the aisles – whereas the premium products that Arcadia Group sells can make people think twice about the effort when better deals are available online.

Arcadia would have always been heading into a red territory regardless of Covid-19 due to their lack of online penetration.

Then there’s the growing movement to shop small and shop local. This, of course, is a positive movement that supports fledgling and growing brands. But it’s also a movement that puts big businesses in an even weaker position. In order to thrive in 2021 and beyond, retailers will need to consider not just their investment in technology to facilitate convenience, but in their wider values and how they support communities and initiatives that benefit the world. Focuses on environmentalism (without ‘greenwashing’) and sustainability will play an even greater role in the year to come.

What are potential investors looking for in a start-up business?

When potential investors scour the marketplace for possible investment ventures, the vetting process consists of a series of checks, investigations and an extensive due diligence process to help ensure that the selected investment opportunity is the right fit. The type of investor attracted to your start-up business will depend on a series of factors, such as investment returns available, financial growth opportunities and brand identity, all of which should be extensively detailed in a comprehensive and creative business plan, complemented by an innovative pitch.

What are potential investors looking for in a start-up business?

Your business plan will be the teller of all tales, detailing how you wish to breathe life into a concept, developing it into a fully-fledged business, worthy of investment. It will illustrate the direction that you wish to take your business in, your operational structure, marketing strategies, business development practices and a contingency plan. We share insight into what potential investors look for in a start-up business.

Return opportunities

There are numerous types of investors with varied expectations and offerings, such as industry background, sector experience, market share, vested interests and investment potential. The criteria will differ depending on the type of investor, such as family and friends which are typically the first port of call as they are easily accessible, there are no intermediaries involved and it’s a low-cost investment. If your family or friends contribute significantly to your business, mitigate the risk by signing a contract detailing the finer details and clarifying expectations.

You may turn to a traditional business loan to borrow start-up finance which will have less flexibility than an alternative finance facility and there are also government grants designed to support start-ups. In return, the bank may require you to sign a personal guarantee agreement in addition to committing to repayments. If you are unable to repay your start-up loan, the personal guarantee agreement will allow the lender to hold you personally liable for the debt, putting your personal assets at risk.

Corporate and entrepreneurial investors are dedicated to investing in new talent and nurturing new businesses from their inception. Many now have accelerators and incubators to support the birth of new businesses through knowledge sharing, providing seed capital and giving access to state-of-the-art resources. Angel investors are professional investors which can also offer mentorship in addition to flexible finance.

Each type of investor will expect a financial return differing in value or a stake in the business. It is also common practice to establish a set of targets for the start-up to achieve to access further investment.

Financial growth

The financial targets of a start-up are likely to be modest until the business establishes the brand, actively markets to consumers and accumulates cash from sales and investments. Your financial aims are a core determining factor for investors as they will actively look to invest to generate a profit, so prepare a realistic estimation of your forecasted income and financial targets to depict investment returns.

Service development

Investors looking to actively invest will be on the lookout for a start-up with a clear and established view of the future – not a short-sighted business plan. Ensure that you cover multiple eventualities for a service extension which are realistic and within your financial means. Focus on the imminent future of your start-up and provide a view into how you would establish partnerships and focus on business development to help expand your offering, e.g. taking the B2B route to target client clusters, in addition to B2B. This journey, if successful, will help increase your market share in addition to brand development, ongoing marketing efforts and advertising. 

Brand development

Start-ups can formally and informally approach investors through innovative platforms, sharing their growth journey from day one, including updates and offering product trials. Online reward and equity funding platforms, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe are examples of popular crowdfunding sites which can assist with brand exposure, in addition to encouraging contributions from professional investors and interested individuals.

If your start-up is likely to depend on establishing an online presence for conversions, invest in web development services early in the process, such as for search engine optimisation purposes. Your public relations and marketing strategy will also indicate to the investor the level of exposure your start-up is likely to receive.

Contingency and business rescue plan 

The formation of a contingency plan in the event the business takes an unexpected turn will indicate your awareness of the risks associated with starting up a business. The resilience of start-ups has been highlighted in no better way than during the coronavirus pandemic. As many have reacted fast to economic uncertainties, business growth has been inevitably limited, halting the creation of new jobs. Many young and veteran businesses have found ways to overcome the pressures of the pandemic and capitalise off new opportunities, showing how determination and creativity can help increase business prospects during unstable times.

In addition to your business plan, investors will be interested in the business driver as the success of their investment will initially lie with you. The approach you take to interact with investors will help shed light on your mind-set and risk appetite. Taking a business idea and developing this into a tangible entity requires patience and willpower, in addition to industry experience to help you make decisions in the best interests of the business. Investors are interested in ambitious start-up owners who have the passion to inspire others with their business vision, helping to build a strong infrastructure for the business.

During the vetting process, you will receive constructive criticism, helpful suggestions and recommendations, instrumental to the success of your start-up. Keeping an open mind can help give you the flexibility to steer your business in the direction required to secure investors, taking into consideration the industry understanding and market experience of your investor.

Jon Munnery is a partner at UK Liquidators, a firm of licensed insolvency practitioners providing company recovery and liquidation advice to company directors in financial distress, include Covid-19 business support services.

Five Largest US Oil and Gas Companies Lost $307bn in Market Cap YoY, a 45% Plunge Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas industry was faced with slumping prices. However, with a record collapse in oil demand amid the coronavirus lockdown, the COVID-19 crisis has further shaken the market, causing massive revenue and market cap drops for even the largest oil and gas companies.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, the top five oil and gas companies in the United States lost over $307bn in market capitalization year-over-year, a 45% plunge amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Market Cap Still Below March Levels

Global macroeconomic concerns such as the US-China trade war and the oil overproduction set significant price drops even before the coronavirus outbreak. A standoff between Russia and Saudi Arabia in the first months of 2020 sent prices even lower.

After global oil demand plunged in March, Saudi Arabia proposed a cut in oil production, but Russia refused to cooperate. Saudi Arabia responded by increasing production and cutting prices. Shortly Russia followed by doing the same, causing an over 60% drop in crude oil prices at the beginning of 2020. Although OPEC and Russia agreed to cut oil production levels to stabilize prices a few weeks later, the COVID-19 crisis already hit. Statistics show that oil prices dropped over 40% since the beginning of 2020 and are hovering around $40 a barrel.

Such a sharp fall in oil price triggered a growing wave of oil and gas bankruptcies in the United States and caused a substantial financial hit to the largest gas producers.

In September 2019, the combined market capitalization of the five largest oil and gas producers in the United States amounted to $674.2bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. After the Black Monday crash in March, this figure plunged by 45% to $373bn. The following months brought a slight recovery, with the combined market capitalization of the top five US gas producers rising to over $461bn in June.

However, the fourth quarter of the year witnessed a negative trend, with the combined value of their shares falling to $367bn at the beginning of this week, $6.2bn below March levels.

Exon Mobil`s Market Cap Halved in 2020, Almost $155bn Lost YoY

In August, Exxon Mobil Corporation, once the largest publicly traded company globally, was dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average after 92 years. As the largest oil and gas producer in the United States, the company has suffered the most significant market cap drop in 2020.

Statistics indicate the combined value of Exxon Mobil`s shares plunged by 52% year-over-year, falling from almost $300bn in September 2019 to $144bn at the beginning of this week.

Phillips 66, the fourth largest gas producer in the United States by market capitalization, witnessed the second-largest drop in 2020. Statistics show the company`s market cap dipped by 49.6% year-over-year, landing at $22.9bn this week.

The Yahoo Finance data revealed that EOG Resources lost over $21bn in market cap since September 2019, the third-largest drop among the top five US gas producers.

Conoco Phillips witnessed a 42% drop in market capitalization amid the COVID-19 crisis, with the combined value of shares plunging by almost $30bn year-over-year.

Statistics show Chevron witnessed the smallest market cap drop among the top five companies. At the beginning of this week, the combined value of shares of the second-largest US gas producer stood at $141.5bn, a 36.9% plunge year-over-year.