How does a web page make its way to the internet? Well, it has to be designed first. A person who wishes to do so would use various codes and tools to develop a web page.It isn’t necessarily a ‘web page’ just yet. The only people who could view the webpage at this point are those who have access to the computer where it is saved. It can be uploaded for computers in a local network to view. However, if it is the designer’s goal to expose it to the world, or to the millions who view the internet on a daily basis, he or she would have to employ the service of a web host to accommodate his or her web page.To further understand what a web host is, think of the internet as one huge building, with units available for rent. You would need to literally rent one of these spaces for your web page to stay in. Think of web hosting services as those land lords (and ladies) who you contact to appropriate a space for you in the Internet ‘building’.After a web hosting service accepts your request to have your web page viewable over the internet, you would then go through the process of sending the details of your designed web page to them. Apart from the details regarding the design of your web page, you would also have to provide them with a desired domain name.Think of the domain name as a title for your establishment. It’s what your potential visitors would type in their web browser’s address bars to access your web page. Once you notify the chosen web hosting service of your domain name, it would then be subject for approval. What happens during this time is actually evaluation, where they check if the domain name you choose is still available for use, among other things. When that is finished, and if the domain name is found to be available, the web page is then saved and stored on the service’s host computer in their location. Called a server, this special type of computer has the ability of enabling people all over the world to associate the domain name you chose to the web site that you designed.People and establishments usually choose to have a web hosting service maintain and hold their web pages, simply because it is quite expensive to operate a server computer. The costs which accompany some higher-end web hosting services usually pay off in the end. You are generally given more freedom to customize and personalize your web page, so you can attract a significantly greater number of surfers.Speaking of costs, there are actually some companies which offer free web hosting services. However, the downside to these free services is that your options in customizing your domain name are quite limited. You may expect the actual name of the company integrated into the whole domain name to standardize things.
Small businesses are an important part of the American economy. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), they supply roughly 55 percent of all jobs in the private sector, and they generate about half of all privately generated Gross Domestic Products (GDP), according to some estimates. There are over 27 million small businesses in the United States. They can be self-employed, home-based, Internet-based, and owned by men, women, and minorities, producing a very broad range of innovative products and services. Yet they continue to struggle in securing financing to start or grow their businesses.Small businesses have always relied on commercial banks for business loans. The increase in bank consolidations has resulted in larger banks, making it more difficult for the small business owner to secure funding for their business. Since more than 60% of small businesses rely on credit lines and loans, and the bulk of this financing comes from the banking sector, small businesses are increasingly looking for more sources to fund their businesses.The good news is that there are many other sources available for small business owners, including government-backed loans, and grants. The major difference between the two is that loans need to be repaid; grants do not. However, the U.S. government, recognizing the important role that small businesses play in our national economy, recently announced the availability of interest-free ARC loans. Grants and ARC loans offer two additional sources for small business funding that are worth investigating.Business GrantsGrants are not loans. Grants are free money that does not have to be repaid. Government grants are offered only to local and state, educational, and public housing organizations, and non-profits, and do not apply to start-ups. In addition, the government may offer some specialized grants to companies engaged in environmental efforts like energy efficiency and recycling, as well as businesses that train youth and senior citizens on the latest technology. That’s why they are referred to as “special purpose grants.” So, where do other small businesses go for grant money?Grants are available from local government agencies and private corporations and organizations. Some of the private sources include trusts and foundations such as the Gates Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, Ford Foundation, Hasbro Industries Charitable Trust, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kipling Foundation, Clorox Company, Allstate Foundation, and International Paper Company. Each source has their guidelines on what type of business will qualify for grant money, and the business owner must meet the criteria. Grant money can be as small as $500 or as large as $5 million. The application process is long and tedious, requiring the applicant to present a solid business plan. The competition for grants is keen with no guarantee that the applicant will receive the money. But for small businesses who qualify and are willing to tough it out in order to get free money, it is worth it.ARC LoansBusiness loans in general differ from grants in that they need to be repaid, with interest. In addition, grants are based on the presentation of a well-written business plan, while loans are based on credit scores and often require collateral.Recently, however, the U.S. government announced a new program of interest-free loans called ARC (America’s Recovery Capital) loans, an extension of the 2009 Recovery Act, offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). ARC loans provide up to $35,000 (one time only) of interest-free money specifically to small business owners to help them pay down debt on other loans. In essence, it buys them time to get back on their feet. The loans are available until September 30, 2010, or until the funds are depleted (only 10,000 loans are available), and are offered through SBA lenders only. SBA pays the fee to the lenders; the borrower pays back only the principal. Other specifics on ARC loans include:* Only private, for-profit enterprises up to 500 employees are eligible; non-profits are not eligible
* Business must be at least two years old
* Business must demonstrate an immediate financial hardship
* Loan money can only be used to pay off existing outstanding small business debt
* Loan money is paid out to the borrower over a six month period
* Repayment of the principal begins after the last loan disbursement is received
* Borrower has up to five years to repay the loan principalThe new ARC loans offer both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include instant cash flow improvement, more money to re-invest in the business, and more time to restructure the business and position it for future success. For some small businesses, it is just what they need to survive. For others, the disadvantages include the strict criteria for qualification and use of ARC loan money. In addition, unlike grant money that does not have to be repaid, ARC loans need to be repaid. So, a small business owner who meets the qualifications must present a solid business plan that convinces the SBA lender they will be in a position to repay the loan within the time period allotted. That is the risk for the borrower, the lender, and the SBA who is guaranteeing the new ARC loans.ARC loans are not for everyone. However, they may be just the solution needed to save some small business owners.
A Health Savings Account or HSA is becoming an increasingly popular tool for many people to save money, reduce their annual tax burden, and pay for their medical expenses. Like with an IRA, individuals wishing to enroll in a HSA programs can deposit a maximum amount of money into their a HSAs each year and then invest that money into high interest-yielding vehicles, such as stocks and bonds.However, while HSAs do provide an excellent method of saving money and developing a strong savings account, there are some requirements that participants will have to be comfortable with in order to make the most out of their a HSA. For most people, HSAs are wise financial moves that will help to protect their money while also developing a nest egg to use for future medical expenses.Here are some things that everyone needs to think about when considering open a HSA:Healthy people will reap more advantagesHSAs can be used by anyone to pay for qualifying medical expenses and to grow wealth. However, in order to have a HSA, participants need to enroll in high deductible health insurance plans. As a result of these high deductible health insurance plans, participants will pay smaller premiums for their health insurance each month, but the plan deductible will be increased. In order for the health insurance provider to begin paying for qualifying medical expenses, participants’ annual deductibles need to be met first.When a HSA participant is healthy, he or she will have minimum annual health care expenses. However, if an individual has any health conditions that require attention and care, the individual will have to pay more out of pocket towards his or her health before the health insurance provider begins covering the medical costs.The deductible associated with a HSA can vary based on the particular plan that a participant chooses. Therefore, it is important that individuals select a plan with a deductible that they are comfortable paying. Then, as they contribute money into a HSA, those contributions can help pay for medical expenses until the deductible is met each year.Depending on a participants’ unique health situation, a HSA can still help them save money even if they do have ongoing health conditions that require attention because of the money participants save each month off of the cost of their premium payments. If they invest that monthly savings into high interest vehicles, they can increase the funds used to pay the deductible effortlessly.A Health Savings Account lets you save for future health care expensesThe money that individuals contribute to a HSA can be invested into any type of investment that the individual desires. In many cases, individuals choose to put their savings into high interest-yielding vehicles, such as stocks, CDs, or a money market account, which means that the funds will grow tax-free. These funds can be used in the future to pay for qualifying medical expenses. In essence, individuals who participate in a Health Savings Account are making wise financial choices that will benefit them down the road.However, if an individual has an accident and needs the funds from a Health Savings Account immediately, the individual will have to feel comfortable withdrawing the money and using it to pay for an incident. Individuals who have ongoing medical conditions may also have to feel comfortable using the money regularly to pay towards the health insurance deductible.Everyone considering enrolling in a Health Savings Account should also be aware that the funds they deposit into a Health Savings Account can be used to pay for anything – not just medical expenses. Therefore, a Health Savings Account participant can grow his or her savings tax-free for as long as he or she wants. The savings will only be taxed if they are withdrawn to pay for an non-qualifying expense.Increased control over health conditionAnother benefit of enrolling in a Health Savings Account is that participants will have increased control over how they spend their medical dollars. Funds from a Health Savings Account are limited and fully controlled by the account owner. Therefore, participants tend to pay close attention to which medical services they receive and what those prices are. As participants shop around for the best prices, they are in better control over their medical expenses and services.However, if an individual is prone to desiring many medical tests and services performed and would rather not think about the price of the service or the necessity of the service, the individual may end up paying more money than he or she would like because of the high deductible. Therefore, a Health Savings Account is often more desirable for individuals who are discriminatory when it comes to their health care expenses and services.For more information about establishing a Health Savings Account for 2010, individuals should speak with a qualified health insurance or Health Savings Account advisor, as it is important that participants are fully aware of the requirements and functions of a Health Savings Account. Health Savings Accounts are wise financial and health care options for many people and, if used optimally, can save participants thousands of dollars each year off the cost of health care expenses – while also helping them to grow their wealth.