Finding Free Business Grants

If you have always dreamed of starting your own business, you might qualify for free government grants. Thousands of dollars are available through government grants to people who want to start small business. The grant money can be used for almost anything, from paying employees to receiving job training.

Before you start a business, you should spend a lot of time doing some research. Study other similar businesses in your area to see how much money they earn. Compare your local area with other surrounding areas to determine the best place to offer your business services. Once you finish your research and from a business plan, start looking for grants. Your local library should have all the information you need to research government grants available to small businesses in your area.

Grants are usually awarded to people with a solid business plan. Develop your strategy for success and be ready to prove it when you apply for the grant money. Determine what skills you have to offer and why people will want to use your business. You should decide if your business will be based from your home or if you will need to rent a commercial property. Include all of these details in your business plan so you will be ready for action when your first grant money arrives.

Government grants can help you to carry out your business plan by providing money for renting commercial real estate or paying utility bills. Many grants provide start up money for home businesses or specific fields of community services. It is important to research the grants that are directed towards your business niche.

Apply for as many grants as possible. You can submit applications electronically by applying online at various government websites. You can also find many private institutions that offer free grant money. When you think you’ve filled out every available grant application, search again. There are literally thousands of available grants that are waiting to be claimed by small businesses everyday.

After you send in all the applications, do something with your time while you wait. Begin to fill out applications for small business loans. Continue building on your business plan. Conduct surveys of people in your area to assess their interest in your business’ services. Check in with government organizations from time to time to track the progress of your grant applications.

You will soon be on your way to small business success with free grant money to fund your dreams. Don’t give up. Keep filling out applications until you get the money you need to turn your business dreams into a reality.

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Paid VPN Services Vs Free Anonymity Services

VPN services provide a layer of security over the Internet that makes conducting secure transactions possible. This is why it’s so popular with businesses. Quite frequently, VPN services are used by employees located in remote areas or who are temporarily out of the office to access resources on a private LAN. VPN services are generally paid ones. There are also free services that offer anonymity, which is a component of VPN services. While VPN services do anonymize Internet surfing for the user, the free services have their adherents.

Free Services

Probably the best-known anonymizing service among the free offerings is TOR. This program uses a network of volunteered connections to anonymize your IP address when you visit websites or use other resources. This is a popular solution for those who only need anonymous surfing once in a while. You can do a good job of obscuring your IP address but, given enough skill and the time and resources to make use of that skill, your IP address can be tracked back to you.

There are other free services out there, as well, but they do lack some of the principal advantages of paid VPN. Particularly for businesses, paid VPN services have some significant advantages that cannot be easily overlooked.

Paid Services

If you’re switching from a free VPN service to a paid VPN service, the first improvement you’ll likely notice is speed. Paid VPN services compete partially on the basis of how fast their servers can get their users to webpages, so they do tend to be pretty fast. Free services, including TOR, can be agonizingly slow at times. Additionally, while those free services may obscure your IP address, they don’t necessarily encrypt any of the traffic between you and your destination server, which is a significant issue for business users.

Paid services also have the advantage of there being an accountable party in the event that something goes wrong. For businesses, this is a necessity. It’s really impossible to use a free service for business purposes because of the lack of technical support and the lack of a company that can provide assistance if the product turns out to be possessed of one problem or another. If a free service fails, of course, there’s no way to get your money back and there’s really nobody that you can hold responsible for the failure in any regard.

Overall, paid services are generally much better VPN options for businesses and individuals. The main advantage is that there is a company behind the service and, therefore, there’s someone to call and ask if you have a question. The free services do have some advantages. For example, if you only need a VPN network or an anonymous IP address every once in a great while, it may not be worth your while to pay for VPN services. Other than that, however, the advantages of the paid services are significant enough that they constitute the only realistic choices for business users and for individuals who frequently need anonymity and security.

The Best Free Business Software I Have Used for Start Up Businesses

We all like that idea of starting our own business. To be our own boss, work when and how we choose, be inventive, get satisfaction form our own work efforts. We all like to do that.

But there are only two ways of getting started in your own business.

Firstly, you can buy an established one which means you need the purchase price or be able to borrow it.

Or secondly, you can start it yourself. But you still need enough money to pay for start-up costs and ongoing running costs of the business until enough income is generated to make consistent profits.

In all cases you need capital funds. It’s easy to go broke and it’s probably the main reason why businesses fail, namely insufficient capital funds.

The best way to preserve your capital funds and make it less likely to fail is to use services which cost nothing or cost as little as possible.

That’s where free online business software and tools come in!

These can literally save your business thousand of dollars if you learn how to develop and use them correctly. And the internet is full of online freebies readily adaptable for your business.

I will cover some of them here that I have advised my accounting clients to use as an alternative to more costly alternatives. These have helped their businesses grow and flourish.

A business plan should be prepared for any business you start. It sets down on paper how and in what direction it’s going to take.

This is the hardest part of starting a business and it’s up to you how much detail you want to document. It can be one page to a hundred page plan. I think for most purposes the shorter the business plan the better.

Free templates and software to prepare a business plan are available online, either from government funded organisations like the SBA. Go to their website and search business plans.

Or from other online sites like Bizgym.

Or keep it simple and write down a “One Page Business Plan”. Template samples can be found online by Googling One Page Business Plan.

Computer security is next and one of the most popular anti virus programs that offer a free version is AVG.

Using this and being aware of spam and websites that contain viruses will save you a lot of lost data and effort in the future.

Your business must also be compliant with taxation laws. For that you must record all your business transactions and keep all source documentation to substantiate the transactions.

So you’ll need an accounting package. This not only keeps the Taxman happy but it’s an invaluable record of your business’s activity and can supply you with reports you can view to see how your business is performing.

Wave Accounting is one of the best free online ones I have seen and though American it can be adapted for other countries that have GST or VAT taxes.

The best thing about it is it’s online, so you can access it from any computer you like and all data is stored online.

For an Australian version of a free accounting software package you can try ‘Freeaccountingsoftware’ site, and it’s called Free Accounting -

Marketing is at the very crux of any business success, so you have to start advertising and make yourself known to everyone as soon as you can.

A website is a requirement for any business these days, so it’s the first marketing effort you try. The cheapest way to create a website online is to build it yourself.

This can be done with a website builder. The easiest, quickest approach here is to get an internet service provider that has a good website builder wizard included as part of the package so you can start building for free.

The best option I have come across is to use an internet service provider like Bravenet. Their hosting cost is $99 per annum and the website builder wizard they provide free is the easiest one I have ever used.

Other free ways to market your business is to sign up to website business directories that offer a free listing. Sign up for as many as you can and if you find one that gets you clients or customers you can even start paying to upgrade for a better listing position.

Some of the well know online business directories are:
Aussie Pages
Our Patch

Even sign up for your free listing in your Yellow Pages and White Pages as they also list your business online now.

Printing business cards to hand out to prospective clients and customers is good marketing. To get you started with this Vistaprint allows you to order up to 250 free business cards at a time.

Backup and storage is another important issue for a business. One way to solve this problem is to use an online backup service. There are many that you can sign up with that allow you up to 2GB to 5GB free online storage.

Dropbox, is an example of one of these. It’s also great at syncing the data stored online with that data on any computer you have the Dropbox application installed on with that account. No more wasting time in daily backup routines.

Communicating with clients and customers is great way of keeping them as clients.

This can be done free with Skype, which I have found to be one of the best free software I have ever used. Free phone calls, free video calls, free IM, free file sharing. If you want to also phone them on mobile and other phones then you can buy Skype credits that’s a lot cheaper than what telecommunication companies charge.

The best of all free online software for business is Google Apps.

It has everything you need in software applications and it’s a great free replacement for Microsoft Office. They now allow up to 10 users free. It used to be 50 users free but being so successful and popular they have lowered the free cap.

You get free docs, spreadsheets and calender applications, custom Gmail, webmaster tools, Google places and many other applications that can be found in the Google Web Store that are useful business and collaborative productivity tools.

I hope what I have covered in this article can be use by you and save your business a lot of money. But remember you are the driving force behind your business. If you buy paid proprietary versions of any of the free software and business tools I have covered here always make sure the cost incurred returns you much more than you pay for.