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Tips for international students pursuing a business career in the United States

Many international students come to the United States in the quest of pursuing a fulfilling business career. These students are oftentimes inspired by foreign businesspeople who’ve done very well in the western world, such as Fahad Al Rajaan. For many foreign students, studying and working in the US can present a lot of opportunities that may not have been presented to them in their home countries.

While there are plenty of opportunities to excel in business in the United States, there can also be a lot of challenges. To help international students succeed as they pursue their business goals in America, here are some tips for foreign students planning for a business career in the United States.

Work Closely With Your University Advisor
Moving to a new country can be very difficult. If you have relocated to the United States to attend one of the country’s myriad excellent universities, it’s important that you work closely with your university advisor. He or she will be able to ensure that you are taking the right classes in order to achieve your degree goals. Your advisor will also be able to help you with any difficulties that you might be having as a newcomer in a foreign place.

Pursue Internships And Volunteer Opportunities
Internships are a phenomenal way for foreign business students to really learn about the ins and outs of the business world in the United States. At an internship, you’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience that you can’t duplicate in a classroom setting. This is also where you’ll be able to make industry connections that might help to land you a job when you graduate.

Have An Open Mind And Always Be Learning
It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when you relocate to a foreign country. However, one of the most important things for international students to remember is that it’s normal to feel a little out of place. However, you can master the cultures and customs of your new home as long as you always keep an open mind. You should strive to be perpetually learning about the world around you, both in and out of a classroom setting.

Be Ready To Start In Lower Level Positions When You Graduate
When you graduate, you won’t be taking on a high-level job right away. In the world of American business, newcomers are expected to “start at the bottom” so to speak, degree or no degree. The biggest thing to remember about the American career landscape is that starting in a lower position and working your way up is considered not only normal, but admirable. It’s just the way that things are done in the United States.

Moving to the United States to pursue a business degree and eventual job is challenging but extremely rewarding. If you follow these tips and work hard, you can find success in the American business world. There are plenty of opportunities for international students who are ready and willing to make the effort.

The Logic Behind CU Lending

You may think of a credit union as a member-owned financial cooperative. It is created and managed by its members, and profits are shared amongst the owners. A credit union is organized under a specific affiliation, be it a company, a region, or some other special relationship shared by its members. Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks. CU lending products may include car loans, home loans, personal loans, and others.

Credit Unions Focus on Members
Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. Rather than offer loans and other financial products that concentrate on earning a profit for the institution, as banks do, credit unions offer only those products they feel would be of benefit to their members. This approach results in a focus on consumer loans and services. Credit union earnings translate to:

  • Higher savings rates for members
  • Lower interest rates on loans

While credit unions follow many of the same guidelines and practices as banks, some of the vocabulary is different. For example, in a bank, customers make deposits. In a credit union, members invest in shares.

Responsible Financial Practices
While it may be true that credit unions prioritize service over profitability, it does not mean they are not concerned with making sound financial decisions. Just like any successful bank, a credit union must collect revenue, pay salaries for personnel, and compete with other lenders who offer the same or similar products. Oversight for a CU is provided by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of elected volunteers who ensure that the credit union stays true to its principles and goals.

One notable difference between a credit union and a bank is cooperation between institutions. CU’s frequently work with one another and utilize tools to improve consumer lending and share resources in order to better meet their members’ needs. Whether it is a question of convenience, savings, or both, the bottom line rests with the service you get and your satisfaction as a member. Credit unions are invested in long-term relationships with their members.

Protected Assets
Similar to banks, member shares are federally insured, although the insurance is provided by a separate government agency. While bank deposits for individual customers are insured to at least $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), credit union members’ shares are covered up to the same amount per member by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Types of Lending
The variety of loans offered depends on what the individual CU believes is most beneficial to its members and to its operation. Some of the most prevalent products include:

  • Auto and recreational vehicle loans
  • Home loans
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Construction loans
  • Personal and lifestyle loans
  • Credit cards

You may apply for a personal or lifestyle loan to cover a wide range of needs. These types of loans may be closed-end, with a specific repayment schedule, or open-ended, functioning as a line of credit. You can use this type of lending to pay for medical expenses that exceed insurance coverage, orthodontics, vacations, weddings, funerals, debt consolidation, or any of life’s unpredictable offerings.

The idea behind credit union lending, and credit unions themselves, is to provide financial support to individuals through thoughtful resource management and responsible lending. In essence, members are creating a cycle of financial sustainability by pooling their resources and using the money to lend to and borrow from one another when the need arises.

The risks of starting an adult services business

Deciding to start an adult services business comes with many risks. Those who do so have usually tested the waters and calculated the risks before taking the leap. It is important to understand the types of challenges you may face as you venture into this industry. It can be quite lucrative, but there are some real hurdles you may have to jump.

Adult merchant processing
If you decide to take credit or debit cards for services, which makes your offerings more accessible to more people, there are a limited number of card processing companies willing to take the risk on approving you for a card reader. There are many ways the business could slide into the realm of operating illegally, so many reputable card processing companies simply choose to avoid dealing with high risk business ventures. There are companies that specialize in making card readers available to these companies, however. Some offer point of service terminals at slightly higher fees, but they make it possible to present a professional way for you to provide your customers with payment options.

The Legalities
Because the laws vary from state to state, it is sometimes tricky to know whether you are operating lawfully or breaking a law. For this reason, adult service business owners must be vigilant about researching the laws in their own states. Even after informing themselves through research, it is still important to retain legal representation to fill in the gaps. Research may not help if you have to go through litigation or with knowing some subtle nuances of the law. The most successful businesses educate themselves, but rely to attorneys to make sure all bases are covered. They also educate their staff about what is legal to ensure an employee does not put the company at risk.

Reputation
It is likely that your true friends will not judge what you have chosen as a business venture once they know you work in adult services, or one that sells merchandise like sex toys. There is also a possibility that they will judge and distance themselves from you. For many who try to maintain traditional value systems, a business of this type is still taboo. People make assumptions that adult services is connected to either something illegal or morally questionable. If you are open about what you do, it may limit the number of people in your inner circle. For some business owners, this is a blessing rather than a curse. Others, however, should be prepared for potential backlash from their own communities and from others in conventional businesses.

Credit processing is key for both online and traditional business

Today, there are more people who are either thinking about starting an online business or have already taken positive steps to do so. There may be many reasons, to do so, including a firm belief in a product or service, or a desire for financial independence.

No matter the product or service, an online business gives the owner control and access to lots of shoppers. A person who owns a traditional store is limited in the number of shoppers who visit the store. Here are some of the other common reasons why more people are starting online businesses.

Most traditional stores have a specific number of hours that they are open. However, an online business never closes, making it possible for the owner to make a sale even while he or she is asleep. In the online world, this 24 hour a day capability doesn’t take extraordinary effort, it just takes an online presence.

A person who owns an online business has flexibility when it comes to work hours compared to someone who owns a traditional store. While both kinds of owners may have to work late hours or on the weekend to get the job done, the owner of an online business can choose where that work can be done without worrying about taking time out to also oversee a physical store location. Managing contractors or employees may factor into the efforts of an online business owner, but unlike the owner of a traditional store, those contractors and employees can be based anywhere in the world, allowing the online business owner the flexibility to choose the most cost effective option to get the job done.

Someone who owns an online business is able to work anywhere with an Internet connection, including at home or while on holiday. Someone who owns a traditional store may also work at home, but if they are away on holiday, there is no easy way to mind the store from a remote location.

For both online and traditional businesses, one key process that has to be done well is collecting revenue from sales. When it comes to accepting credit cards, a traditional business has to have special equipment installed at every location where a sale may occur. Compare that to online sales, where the buyer provides the special equipment (their computer and browser).

In both the online and traditional store, once the sale happens, a credit card processor takes over the job of verifying the transaction and paying the business. The bottom line is no matter what type of business one has, it is important to have a reliable and secure payment process in place.

Written by Charge.com Payment Solutions, Inc., a trusted provider of credit card processing solutions for businesses. To equip your business with small business credit card processing, go to the company website to get started.

Software programs as outsourcing alternatives

The Internet makes outsourcing of business functions, especially back office type functions like accounting and word processing, especially attractive for companies in high-wage regions like the USA and western Europe, to outsource to low-wage countries where trained professionals can do a competent job.

Outsourcing may be a great idea for individual companies, but on a national level this kind of activity may cost jobs in America and other high-wage countries. Some business owners, large and small alike, are seeing the harm this trend may cause in their home country and as a result, have begun taking actions that lower their back office costs, but helps to keep jobs in America.

The key to saving a lot of US jobs isn’t people, but rather software. Three important pieces of software, all created in America, play an outsize role in keeping some jobs from being shipped overseas.

The Microsoft Office Collection
Arguably one of the most popular pieces of software to ever be invented, the Microsoft Office collection has found a comfortable home in the American business community. Even better, the collection was completely created by the all-American company—Microsoft—Bill Gates’s iconic, multi-billion dollar corporation.

Featuring well-known programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the Microsoft Office collection is widely being in a variety of diverse business applications. For instance, a company memo can easily be created in Microsoft Word, while important monthly budget figures can be collected, sorted, and analyzed in Excel.

QuickBooks
The brainchild of Intuit, an American-based company headquartered in Mountain View, California, QuickBooks has proven itself to be an asset in the business world, allowing business owners to track their sales and expenses, take the hassle out of taxes, and act as an overall organizational tool for finances.

Aside from organizing finances, QuickBooks has also gained a reputation for being superior in managing payroll and inventory. As most business owners know, running a business is filled with financial pitfalls and loopholes, all of which must be tracked and managed accordingly. Enter QuickBooks! Moreover, this essential piece of American-made payroll software is great for fending off the tax man at the end of the year.

TurboTax
Taking after its name, TurboTax is a tax program that has made end-of-the-year taxes much easier for everyone ranging from the small business owner to the individual consumer. Just like QuickBooks, TurboTax is also the creation of Intuit, meaning it is as American as they come.

Business owners know all too well the logistics involved at the end of the year when tax season arrives in full swing. However, tax time can be made much less stressful by using TurboTax, especially when you consider the fact that the financial info recorded in QuickBooks can easily be integrated into the TurboTax program. TurboTax is quickly becoming a staple amongst freelancers, small-business owners, and even CEOs.

The point here is that an American-owned business doesn’t have to look overseas for a low-cost alternative to completing necessary back office functions. In many cases, software that is made and maintained by American companies offer a viable alternative to sending money outside the country. Before deciding to outsource, a manager or business owner may first want to do a little research to see if a domestic software option is better and cheaper than sending work to a foreign country.

Business cards and stationery products are cheaper online

Previous posts on this site discussed how various online tools such as virtual databases and podcasts can be an important component of any business or project. The key advantages are often lower costs compared to how such tasks were accomplished before the widespread adoption of the Internet, and the flexibility that the web-based processes offer.

While these advantages are obvious for things that were first created online, for example tools like Twitter, the advantages exist for decidedly low tech products business cards. In spite of the wealth of online methods for connecting with potential clients, customers, or partners, including very popular social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, success in business still often hinges on personal relationships. When meeting face-to-face, it may be second nature to exchange emails or phone numbers, but it always helps to back that up with something tangible like a business card.

No online description in the world can substitute for the feedback you get when you look at a new stack of your business cards for the first time. You often know, without having to put it into words, whether those cards will work for you. The logical conclusion is that the average person may have to try several different designs from different sources before settling on one that will work.

If you are planning to make several attempts at finding the right card, you should be systematic in your search for the best quality and the best value. It is easy to find low cost business cards online, and with a little bit of effort on a search engine it is easy to find where to find the cheapest business cards on the web. However, it isn’t so easy to find what business cards will work for you.

Once do find that perfect combination of price and quality, by all means keep using that company. If the price is low enough, get two or three different designs and use them all.