Use our Startup Guides to get your business up-and-running fast

Now you can access our five Startup Guides, and you can download the MP3 audio files and the quick-start templates to help get your business going fast.

Visit http://www.40billion.com/startupguides/ to get these quick and easy Startup Guides today.

In these Startup Guides, you’ll discover useful tips for:

  • Funding your business in 4 ways
  • Writing a business plan in 13 easy steps
  • Forming a company or incorporating
  • Managing your cash flow… so you don’t run out of money
  • Protecting your ideas and intellectual property

Go to http://www.40billion.com/startupguides/, or just click “Startup Guides” from the home page of 40billion.com!

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Introducing direct payments

Now, when you raise money through gifts/contributions on 40billion.com, the payments go directly to your PayPal account (minus applicable PayPal fees), or funders can mail checks directly to your business’ address.

There is no longer a minimum required for you to raise, no waiting period before funds are disbursed, and no fee charged by 40billion.com for this service. That’s right: No minimum, no waiting, no fee!

Start a new Raise now (or edit your current Raise), and invite people you know to make direct payments to help fund your business.

http://www.40billion.com/raise_main.asp

5 tips for approaching friends and family about your business

At 40billion.com, we provide online tools to help small-business and startup entrepreneurs increase access to funding and resources by leveraging their social networks, including friends and family. Here are 5 tips that we give to entrepreneurs to help them approach friends and relatives about their business:

1.  ASK FOR ADVICE & REFERRALS, NOT HANDOUTS

When you approach friends and family about your business, just share your idea in a conversational manner, and ask them for their advice, feedback, or referral. People are usually glad to give you their point-of-view if they think their advice or feedback may be helpful. And, if they really believe in you, they will either offer to help or they’ll be willing to refer you to someone who can help.

2.  FORMALIZE A LOAN OR DISCOUNT

Businesses often get started with a loan from the entrepreneur’s friend or relative, but it can be difficult to manage the relationship, especially if the loan is not formalized with a written agreement. Create a formal loan agreement with details of the loan, including what is owed, when payments are due, and any consequences for missing payments. Even if you’ve promised a discount to your friend or relative in exchange for a loan or referral, put it in writing and provide a discount coupon that can be redeemed. This may significantly reduce the risk of ruining your personal relationship over business.

3.  GIVE A PRESENTATION

Are you serious about your business? Then give a business plan presentation to your friends and family, and show them. This is your chance to display your professionalism and passion, while getting free advice and feedback from people you know. The result could get you closer to the funding, resources, and customers you need to get your business up and running.

4.  POST ON SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES

Add a description of your business to social networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This easily allows your friends and family to read about what you’re doing and spread the word to other people they know. So, instead of you going to them, they will come to you and ask about your new business.

5.  KEEP IN TOUCH

Be sure to thank your friends and family who supported you or helped you spread the word. Then, be sure to keep the lines of communication open by sending them regular company updates to let them know that their support has been put to good use, and you’re achieving those milestones that you set in your business plan. These communications will go a long way toward maintaining good relationships with your friends-and-family supporters, and they will be more likely to support you again as customers, investors, advisors and advocates.

40billion.com Launches New Features to Help Small Businesses Find Funding

Innovative Tools Help Small Businesses Access Loans and Resources by Networking Online

ATLANTA, GeorgiaJuly 28, 2009 – 40billion.com (http://www.40billion.com) launched new features to enable small business entrepreneurs to raise capital and access startup resources through friends, family, and others in their communities and social networks.

Most small businesses startups fail due to lack of adequate funding and resources, and there is a $40 billion gap in seed funding. By combining innovative tools with the power of the Internet, 40billion.com aims to bridge the gap and enable millions more small businesses to succeed.

About half of all new businesses seek financing from the entrepreneur’s friends and family, but it can be difficult to communicate business ideas and to manage funding relationships with many people. 40billion.com simplifies everything by enabling entrepreneurs to create business plan profiles and launch fundraising drives that are viewable anywhere via the Internet. And it is free to sign up and get started.

Entrepreneurs can broadcast their business ideas and funding requests to friends and family, even post them on popular social networking websites, and the service allows many people to make loans or gift contributions ($25 up to $10,000) in support of a business, while easily tracking and receiving notifications online.

Furthermore, lenders and borrowers may download a promissory note template, which they can use to formalize business loans in a more professional manner. Loan interest rates are negotiated between the lenders and borrowers, and 40billion.com emails notifications when funding offers are received and reminders when payments are due.

As an incentive, entrepreneurs may offer product discounts and freebies in exchange for low- or no-interest funding and other much-needed resources. Soon, for added confidence, those providing the funding will be able to track how the entrepreneur spends the funds that are raised.

There are additional features available exclusively for members, including the ability to schedule online business plan presentations, an open database of service providers, a job board for posting and browsing startup jobs, and a discussion forum (a.k.a., The Elevator) where everyone can share ideas and tips about what works and what does not. Members can even follow a company as it progresses, by signing up to receive alerts whenever the entrepreneur posts company updates.

Advantages over banks and other lending websites

  • No credit score required: raise money for a business, while keeping personal finances and credit score private.
  • Private profiles: protect ideas and limit viewing to invited participants only.
  • $99,000 maximum: raise more funding than many other sites allow.
  • Gift contributions: provide an additional funding option, besides loans.
  • Targeted business network: leverage other entrepreneurs and lenders with similar interests to raise funding, find service providers, post jobs, and acquire customers.
  • Spending tracker: lenders track how the funding is spent by the entrepreneur, in order to increase peace-of-mind, transparency, and accountability.

 

Advantages over conventional friends-and-family loans

  • One-to-many: manage and track hundreds of relationships, transactions and communications at the same time; no need to make a hundred individual loan payments every month.
  • Email reminders: get reminders automatically when payments are due, and get notifications when new company updates, transactions, or offers are posted.
  • Public profiles: expand access to funding and resources by connecting with thousands of people who visit 40billion.com every month.
  • Targeted business network: leverage other entrepreneurs and lenders with similar interests to raise funding, find service providers, post jobs, and acquire customers.
  • Spending tracker: lenders track how the funding is spent by the entrepreneur, in order to increase peace-of-mind, transparency, and accountability.

 

About 40billion.com
40billion.com helps entrepreneurs raise funding for new businesses through friends and family rather than through traditional financial institutions. Using the Internet-based service, entrepreneurs connect with their social network – friends, family, friends of family, colleagues, and others in their communities – to raise capital. 40billion.com’s scalable platform facilitates the funding requests and transactions to make it easier for an entrepreneur to manage many funding relationships. 40billion.com is patent pending. For more information, visit http://www.40billion.com.

Free startup job postings, and public Raises

We’ve added new features to help you raise money and find resources for your business:

* FREE JOB POSTINGS

Looking to hire new employees or contractors for your business? Create a job posting that is visible to thousands of professionals and others seeking employment every month. It’s free!

To post a job, just sign in, click ‘Search’ and ‘Post a Job’.

* PUBLIC PROFILES

Now, you can choose whether to make your Raise (fundraising profile) private or public. By default, your Raise is private so that only invited friends and family can view it. However, you now have the option to make your Raise public so that anyone can view it (without an invitation and without signing in).

To make your Raise public, just sign in, click ‘Edit’, and uncheck the box next to ‘Make Private’.

Please continue to send us your feedback. 40billion.com was built for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, so we welcome your ideas on how to make it better.

Free loan documents for business loans between friends/relatives

Now, you can formalize loans between friends and relatives for free! On 40billion.com, you can generate a customized loan document at no charge. Other websites charge up to $200 for similar services.

HOW IT WORKS

When a friend or family member views an entrepreneur’s Raise, they can offer a loan to the entrepreneur, then select the loan amount ($50 to $10,000), annual interest rate (0% or 5%), and period (12 or 24 months).

40billion.com calculates the interest and summarizes the loan terms, based on an unsecured loan with a single payment (one lump sum). 40billion.com instantly generates a professional loan document and notifies the entrepreneur via email regarding the loan offer.

The entrepreneur and lender can view the loan document online. They may print and sign the loan document, if they wish to execute a legally binding loan agreement between individuals. The lender may transfer funds to the entrepreneur by any offline method (e.g., check or cash) without worrying about extra charges and fees.

THE BENEFITS

– There is no charge, so you save up to $200 at a time when you need it most!

– Instantly generate a customized loan document to formalize a loan agreement between friends or family, without straining your relationship.

– Entrepreneurs receive affordable loans from one or many individual lenders they know; even manage 100 lenders easily.

– Lenders can offer a loan with up to 5% interest annually (a higher return than your savings account), while helping out a friend or relative starting a new business.

– Track loan payment due dates, and view/print the loan document as often as you’d like.

– Receive email notifications and reminders.

TRY IT NOW

Go to http://www.40billion.com, click ‘My Account’ and start a friends-and-family loan today.

New features to bailout small businesses and startups

In this tough economy, entrepreneurs like you are struggling to raise money to start new businesses or keep their existing businesses afloat. While big corporations are getting multi-billion dollar bailouts, who is bailing out small-business entrepreneurs? Many aspiring entrepreneurs are turning to friends and family for help during these tough times, and 40billion.com makes it easier than ever to tap into your social network and raise money for your business or idea. Here’s what we’re doing to help you, in lieu of a bailout package…

WE’VE EXTENDED YOUR RAISE

Your Raise (fundraising profile) has been extended up to one additional month, at no extra charge. Your Raise is now scheduled to end on December 13, 2008. Even if your Raise had ended, it has been reactivated with the new end date. So sign in, invite your friends and family, and start raising the money you need for your business through small loans and contributions.

WE’VE LAUNCHED NEW FEATURES

We’ve added new features and made significant improvements to help you raise money for your business. Some of these include…

* New loan document service:

Instantly generate a customized loan document to formalize a loan between friends or family, without straining your relationship.

* Posting on Facebook or MySpace:

Post links to your Raise on your Facebook or MySpace page. Increase your exposure, and allow your friends and family to access your Raise easily from your Facebook or MySpace page.

* Access to your email contact list:

Easily import your contact lists (or address books) from your existing email accounts, whether you use Yahoo, GMail, AOL, Plaxo, or Outlook. No need to type all those email addresses, when sending invitations to your friends and family.

* New default invitation messages:

You always have the ability to customize your email invitations, but we’ve made things easy for you by providing default invitation messages that are friendly and professional. Also, now when you send an invitation, the recipient does not have to sign in (or join) to view your Raise; however, they do have to sign in to offer funding and access other site features.

* New email notifications:

Now, we send you an email notification whenever you receive a loan offer or contribution, when you receive a message from someone who has viewed your Raise, and when another member grants you access to their private Raise. We do much of the work, so you can focus on your business.

…and much more.

Sign in to your account, and check out the improvements we’ve made. And with the extra time you have between now and December 13th, invite your friends and family to help you raise money for your business with a small loan or contribution towards your target.