How to Greatly Reduce Startup Costs (and Remain Agile during Growth): Three Worthwhile Strategies

Your passion for your startup is bound to have plenty of goals and aspirations. It better! There is a great deal of opportunity to be had if you’re quick to the market and don’t succumb to financial mishandling.

Much of the base requirements for launching the startup have been dropping in price. A greater access to the work force also changes the opportunity to grow (while remaining agile). Marketing platforms are bountiful and ripe for your startup if you put in the effort.

The following will explain three worthwhile strategies for reducing the cost of your startup without the drawbacks associated with cutting corners:

1. Accelerate Distribution with POP Displays

A point of purchase display can often be found within big retail stores, convention floors, convenient stores, and other retail locations. They are generally used to house your products but can be tailored to act as a brandable item to display in busy locations to generate impressions.

There are a few reasons why these types of items are worthwhile to a startup:

· They will allow your products to stand out from those that are merely shown on shelves

· They will allow your sales team to quickly introduce the products to a retail location

· They sometimes become collectable to small segments of your community

Your mission: Do your research into these POP displays and begin generating ideas with your graphic designer and sales team. Have your sales team reach out to locations and explain the ease of adding the product line to their stores (since it’s already good to go). For an added bonus, give these away to your community (if they’re designed well) and watch the buzz start up on the social feeds (by encouraging them to share their wins with others).

2. Reduce Growing Pains with a Virtualized Task Force

Staffing becomes a make or break element of the startup. Hiring can come at a high price depending on the need for additional help in the business. Likewise, hiring too fast without steady income and profits will put a strain on the startup finances.

As the staffing tips article here on YoungGoGetter suggests:

· Hire slow, in the beginning, so that you don’t run the risk of being overstaffed

· Allow employees to use their own devices to cut down on hardware/software costs and enable them to work from any location (thus reducing in-house costs).

· Seek contracted employees to perform low-level tasks or work with freelance teams to complete larger goals (without the need to keep them on the books).

Your mission: Discover the ways your startup can virtualize its workforce. Divide tasks based on priority and difficulty and give items that would hold back the in-house team to virtual assistants, freelancers, and contract employees.

3. Generate Perpetual Buzz within Niche Markets

The big retailers and massively funded startups have the financial backing that it’s not worth their while to target extremely small segments of the market (since they can strive to capture those at the top of the bell curve). This presents an excellent opportunity for new startups to begin gaining respectful amounts of market share one at a time (and with little to no competition).

A focus on the niche markets will allow you to find your true customers.

· One’s that will become passionate from its very first introduction (early adopters)

· One’s that will help you understand what can be improved (the user testers)

· One’s that will tell others because they’re used to being ignored by big brands (buzz agents)

· One’s that are willing to make an early investment (the crowd funders)

Your mission: Start on the local level and begin radiating outward. Leverage local SEO techniques to build a great starting point for the startup. Capture those early adopters and get them on board with building the initial buzz by encouraging them to share the business and marketing material. Then use what you’ve learned from these individuals to begin capturing larger segments of the marketplace – one niche at a time.

Easing Into International Growth For Your Small Business

Bill Cairns, international business consultant and BC Group president, recently labeled small businesses as more flexible in adapting to market demand and different cultural needs. He also said that small businesses are better at cultivating close relationships in countries like U.S.

But expanding into foreign water draws several concerns; would the budget be enough to cover the expansion? Would it be possible to move some of the office equipment and items from the current location to the new one? These are some of the questions that can give second thoughts to small business owners.

That said – it is quite possible to ease the process of international growth and start off on the right foot in an overseas location with the strategies mentioned below:

1. Financial planning
Moving overseas might raise the need for additional finance for small businesses, but with the goal of NEI being to increase the U.S. export trade by double figures in 2014, small to medium size businesses (accounting for 70 percent of the nation’s export) have access to export financing capital with program incentives that let them find new customers, win overseas government contracts and increase sales across the borders.

Moreover, the Small Business Administration offers some export and import special loan programs, which some banks use to provide direct loans to small business owners. But it is important to note that finance should be applied for 6 months prior to growth expansion to avoid documentation and other time-consuming legalities later on.

2. Logistics management
One of the most important decisions associated with international growth is the selection of international moving companies. In this case, certified move managers are the ideal option because they are usually well versed in aspects related to overseas relocation and providing businesses with real-time customer support.

Also, good moving agents offer additional services that streamline the whole process. For example, there are some companies that provide language and cultural training in addition to transport-based overseas moving, so it is possible for small businesses to take advantage of such offerings and perhaps enroll staff members who will be working in the new location(s). Other commonly provided services include custom information, excise duties, local taxes and local import fees calculation.

3. Trademark protection
Trademark and copyright infringements don’t only happen in the case of tech giants or large corporations; even small businesses are prone to these threats, especially when dealing in a unique product or service.

And what’s important to note is that intellectual property rights are different from country to country. For example, in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and European countries, intellectual property infringement is taken quite seriously, while companies might get away with trademark and patent infringements in some of the Asian countries. It is important to be aware of the local rules for maximum protection.

4. Exit strategy
Reality is harsh in the business world, but there is no other way around it. It is possible that small businesses fail to execute properly, or things go wrong after the first year because of changing consumer tastes.

An example comes from Tim Horton, a Canadian coffee franchise that didn’t do well in the U.S. So in this case, an exit strategy can be a blessing in disguise if things don’t go according to the plan.

Remember Employment Taxes

There are a lot of things that you need to consider when starting up your business: attracting customers and clients, implementing the right technology solutions, and even finding the right space to house your business.

However, as the end of the year approaches, your biggest concern should be your financials – specifically the taxes associated with running your business.

Employment Taxes
You probably already know that you have to pay taxes for your business, but if you hire people to work for you, you also have to pay employment taxes. Employment taxes include tax on any income earned as well as FICA, also known as Social Security and Medicare. How you pay those taxes depends on how the people you hire are classified: Employees or Independent Contractors.

Independent Contractor
An Independent contractor is someone who is self-employed but does work for your company on a contract or as-needed basis. One example might me the accountant you hire to do your taxes each year.

Although he works for you, he has what is called complete freedom of action. This means that although you have some say in the quality of the final product, and can set deadlines for when the final product is due, you have no say in how, when, or where he completes the task.

Independent contractors are responsible for paying their own income and employment taxes. This means that you are not responsible for deducting FICA (Social Security and Medicare) or income tax on their behalf. However, you will be responsible for issuing a 1099 to them at the end of the year, and sending a copy of that 1099 to the IRS.

An Employee is someone who you hire to work for your company on an ongoing basis, usually in your office. One example might be the receptionist you hire to answer your phones and make appointments.

In the case of the employee, you do have a say in how, when, and/or where they complete their work. For example, you could have your receptionist working from home, but she must be on the clock during normal business hours, and she must work in a quiet space so that her calls sound professional.

With employees, you are responsible for paying/deducting employment taxes from each paycheck, and sending those funds to the IRS. You are also responsible for issuing each employee a W2 at the end of the year, and filing a copy of that W2 with the IRS.

Getting Guidance
The world of employment taxes can be confusing, especially since tax codes and laws change constantly.

You can find a wealth of information at the IRS website on what qualifies as an Independent Contractor vs. Employee, as well as the different classifications of employee (such as common-law and statutory). The site can also give you information on how and when to deduct employment taxes, and information on filing.

If you have several employees, your best bet is to hire an individual to handle your payroll and take care of all of the employment taxes, either as an employee or independent contractor. Another option is to hire a company that specializes in payroll administration and employment tax services.

Whichever option you choose, you should make sure that the individual or company has a strong background in payroll administration, accounting, and employment tax codes. That way you can be sure that everything is handled properly, and that your company meets its tax obligations.

How to Handle the New Startup Slump

So you’re working on a startup. You’ve found a few good team members, caught the attention of at least one potential investor, and are getting ready to get your first product out the door. As hard as this work is, it’s actually the honeymoon period of your business: the halcyon time in which possibilities are endless and anything can happen.

After the honeymoon period, of course, comes the slump. Maybe you launched your product, but the initial interest wasn’t quite as big as you had hoped. Maybe you had an amazingly successful launch, but now sales have plateaued or dropped off completely. Maybe you didn’t make it to the front page of the iTunes App Store, didn’t get that review in Ars Technica, didn’t get that second round of funding.

Or maybe you did all of that, and you’re still slumping. It’s bound to happen at some point: what goes up must come down, and the initial high of a new startup is always replaced by a slump at some point. If you’re currently in the slump, here are a few things to do to ride it through and begin your upward trajectory again.

When did you last take a vacation? How about your team members? Americans in particular are notorious for skipping vacations, especially in startup culture where long hours and full commitment are paramount.

However, burnout is real, and it is one of the key causes of that slumpy feeling. By going away for a while, you allow your mind to open up to new experiences and stop running in the same old ruts. To quote startup CEO Justin Moore, a long holiday “allowed me to clearly see the answers to two important business decisions for 2012 that I had struggled with prior to taking a break.”

Is your slump money-related? Instead of looking at a bunch of endless possibilities and funding options, are you staring at dried-up funding sources and a bunch of unpaid bills? This kind of money trouble is enough to drain the morale of even the most exciting startup.

The truth is that money trouble is less related to the quality of your product than it is to the way your business manages its finances. A lot of startup owners jump in and assume they’ll know how to handle their own accounting, but they end up causing themselves a lot of financial stress instead.

It’s time to outsource, even if you think you can’t afford it. A good accounts receivable financing team will help you bring money into your business, streamline your cash flow, and make sure you are free to focus on your strengths instead of trying to solve your business’s financial problems.

The Second Launch
For your first product launch, anything seemed possible. Now that you’re approaching a second product launch, you have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. You have a more realistic estimation of how much your second product will make. You also know exactly how much grunt work is involved in successfully taking your product to market. This makes a second product launch seem less like an exciting endeavor and more like a chore.

How do you solve this type of slump? First, you celebrate your small wins. Did you clean up your stockroom so you can stack new inventory? Find some way to reward yourself.

Secondly, you rally your team. Every startup has its drudge periods, but with the right people around you, you can bring excitement back into even the most mundane tasks. As Lefty at My Life, Starting Up writes: “This is the one reason why I’d never do a startup without passionate people.”

So? Are you ready to get yourself out of the slump? Maybe book that vacation, or hire your new accounting team? If you have other tips for startup owners and new entrepreneurs, leave them in the comments.

Why Young Entrepreneurs Should Know A Thing Or Two About Marketing

The global fiscal meltdown of ’08 translated into an important lesson American consumers. While financial insecurity became rampant, the need for self-employment and entrepreneurship was highlighted. The event also sprouted the need to be proactive and to pursue business ventures as somewhat of a necessity.

5 years later, the idea to individually sell product/service is easy enough to bring forth like before, but it is the marketing imperative that is turning out to be the limited factor. It’s one of the major pitfalls startups are laced with. However, there are ways to overcome this limitation in the long run.

Cutting out the loopholes
In the initial stage, a startup goes through a roller coaster ride and this is the period where most of the marketing loopholes need to be identified. This is why young entrepreneurs should develop the ability to think preemptively for the first six months or so.

The loopholes in the initial phase will be defined by the stakes. For instance, startups that rely on online revenue are considered to be the stakeholders on the internet. The biggest liability of this stake is security – both physical and network. It is quite important because most modern startups are connected online in one way or another.

Internet protection for businesses is an essential asset for any small company. This issue has also become even more relevant lately due to concerns about data security for startups engaged in providing consumer cloud services.

Focusing on such loopholes can curtail to the marketing success of the company. For example, businesses with a secure network and user base can advertise themselves as the ‘most secure consumer company’ or ‘a company that cares for consumer privacy’.

Understanding external dynamics
Regardless of the nature of the product/service, it should reach the customer/target market in the most convenient way. A common mistake made by owners of young businesses is that when they bring a tech-savvy idea to the industry, they only think about marketing it to the tech-savvy populace. Most of them miss out on the bigger picture – their idea of reaching success should have room to allow for simplification and massive reach.

For instance, Therma HEXX is a young entrepreneurial venture which has really kicked off not only because of its innovation, but how they simplified the use of their products. The startup has literally reinvented the way of heating and cooling rooms. They simplified the technology so that it can be easily used by anyone without having to be ‘tech specific’.

Barriers faced by budding entrepreneurs
Essentially there are two types of barriers that budding entrepreneurs can face. The ‘internal’ aspect is defined by characteristics such as confidence, self-worth and motivation. The ‘external’ category mostly deals with influences, group dynamics, experience, technology, education, time and resources.

It is the second category that is more defining in terms of affecting the outcome of a young entrepreneur’s venture. It also means that the social behavior of young business owners have a crucial role to play in venture marketing success.

While the presence of inexperience can be natural, entrepreneurs can quickly improve under practical circumstances. Doing so would also cut down the costs of marketing consultancy firms and PR companies.

The initial business phase is the most important, so getting a grip on how marketing works will help entrepreneurs to gain revenue and come up with sound strategies in collaboration with the rest of the staff.

7 Staffing Tips for Startups

The kind of staff a startup chooses to support its organization will be critical to success in the early game. Startups have limited cash, which means hiring decisions are often made by executives instead of human resources. The job ad and interview process are crucial to the hiring process. Before you begin the hunt for the perfect candidate, consider the means of the business and the role of the person.

Hire vs. Contract
The core functions of your business are duties you want carried out in-house. These are people you need face time with, like developers and systems administrators. This is why companies hire for UI/UX positions and outsource the actual coding of the system to others. There are skilled coding positions that are done in-house, but these are usually management-level positions. Contract out low-level tasks that require little skill. Empower project managers to hire their own work force remotely and hold meetings to check the progress of those tasks and make suggestions on removing roadblocks along the way.

Facility Costs
When you’re relocating, or even if you’re settled, the upkeep of your facility takes time and energy. Small duties like taking out the trash or making coffee can be shared among the office, but ordering supplies is a bit more involved. There are intern positions that can help with this, but you should consider a person to manage resources as your company scales. You can designate an office manager and hand those responsibilities to that person.

Allow Devices
Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work lowers the cost of your hardware, but it can cause a need for IT staff. You can contract positions out while you grow familiar with candidates by posting engineering staffing job openings with recruitment firms. This saves you the time of sorting through applications and leads to more qualified candidates. These firms often prep you ahead of time, with information about the candidate. Once you’ve hired a candidate, you can work out a more permanent contract with the employee and handle most IT concerns in-house.

Hire Slowly
Remember to hire for your most critical positions first. It’s easier to explain to investors that you didn’t meet a goal because you were understaffed than overstaffed. Make a list of the duties you can’t do yourself and start small. For individuals, use contractors to augment the work you’re already doing. Once you have a viable product, scale with a partner and your first few hires. This gives you time to refine your pitch and practice the important beats. Once you have a working product supported by a small staff, you’re ready to get more funding and do some hiring.

Hire for Cost
Everyone wants the best, but talent is expensive. Remember that you need to work within your means as you launch, replacing your group with better people as your business scales. Be sure that you reward your ground floor employees with positions that fit their performance, but hire people you can afford until you can show that your product will grow and make money.

Network for Hires
The best hires are people you meet through others. These are contacts that may know your fellow professionals and can offer some recommendations for people you should work with. If you don’t have the money to pay a staffing firm to qualify hires for you, and most startups don’t, you need a more efficient way to meet people. Job fairs also get you some face time with employees, and provide an outlet for branding.

Budget Time
The most valuable asset you have is your time. As important as hiring can be, you can only sacrifice so much time toward finding the right candidate. Delegate as much of these duties as possible to your administrative staff, and leave the review process to you or someone equally technical.

Why Studying the Liberal Arts Can Help Your Business

If you want to be an entrepreneur, what are the most important classes you can take? Business classes, right? Think again. While a background in marketing, research and development, finance, and promotion is all essential to helping your small business get off the ground, the truth is that you can learn much of that information on the job or by hiring consultants to help you set up a LLC or design a webpage with a sticky sales funnel.

However, you can’t outsource an education in the liberal arts. If you don’t take the time to study history, literature, art, and philosophy, you won’t have a foundation upon which to build your business. As the saying goes: if we do not study history, we are doomed to repeat it. But if you do take the time to study the liberal arts, you develop an enormous cultural understanding from which you can create something completely fresh and new.

Here are just two examples of how the liberal arts can influence your business:

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What does it mean to live a good life? These and the other big philosophical questions have been around since the dawn of humanity, and form the basis of nearly all religions and belief systems. Taking the time to seriously think about these questions, and understand exactly what they’re asking, helps your small business in three ways.

First, these questions help you determine what you want out of life. Maybe for you, living a good life means donating proceeds to charity, or hiring under-served populations, or increasing educational outreach. Maybe it means always having enough to provide for your family.

Second, these questions help you decide how you want to run your business. If your vision of a good life includes love and friendship, you don’t want to create a business where you and your employees are forced to work 80-hour weeks. If you view humans as stewards of the Earth, you’ll want to create a sustainable business that does not take too much from the environment.

Lastly, these questions help you develop your product. Understanding what other people want out of life helps you create something that adds to their existence and does not detract from it. A product created by a philosophical thinker does not include excess packaging or unbreakable clamshells. It is beautiful, functional, and useful.

Fine Arts
If you look up the history of famous logos, you’ll quickly learn that the McDonalds logo, for example, uses red and yellow because these colors “subconsciously trigger hunger and/or induce excitement.” This is the sort of basic knowledge that’ll have you telling some poor graphic designer to make your logo green because it’s the color of money.

If you take the time to study the fine arts, however, you begin to get a greater understanding of how color, line, shape, texture, and perspective all work together to create an unforgettable image. Spend a semester studying the world’s great painters, and you’ll never say “let’s make it the color of money” again. Instead, you’ll be able to work with a designer to create something that truly reflects your organization’s mission and purpose.

You’ll also be able to bring that sense of artwork into your product design. Steve Jobs, of course, famously used his knowledge of calligraphy to give us Macintosh typefaces. What will your fine arts education produce?

If you don’t yet have a solid background in the liberal arts, it is time to start taking some classes. As Gwynedd Mercy University notes: students who study the liberal arts “deepen their base of knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills” and are “distinguished by professional competence as well as a deeper understanding of social responsibility and their place in the world.”

It’s hard to think of a better foundation for a budding entrepreneur.

Build A Good Image: 5 Aspects of A Successful Start Up Space

Image is everything, especially for a startup.

When a startup first enters the business world, it can be difficult to establish a good name or professional reputation. And it’s reputation and image that, in the end, will help a startup generate a solid client list, a pipeline income and eventual growth.

When it comes to first impressions, an office space can either tarnish or build your image, especially when pitching to new clients. If you’re looking to up your new business’ reputation, pay attention to your new office’s design and layout.

Here in San Diego, where start-ups are plentiful, office layout and design play a big role in office image and professionalism.

Here are five aspects of professional-looking layouts that will surely boost your new start-up’s image and have you luring clients away from competitors.

Consolidate Space
A good office space needs to have an equal balance of free space and desk space. For a simple, yet professional design, you may want to consolidate desk space in one area and create open, walk-through space that creates accessibility for your employees and clients.

One way to consolidate office space is by using cubicles to compartmentalize work stations. Last year, when I was redesigning my company’s floor layout, I simply searched cubicles office environments in San Diego and found a practical fit for our budget.

Waiting Room (Space)
If you want to legitimize the feel of your new business space, you may want to plan for a waiting room. A waiting room can be good for organizing appointments, walk-ins and clients. Waiting rooms (spaces) definitely give office spaces a professional feel, which is ideal for attracting new clients.

Meeting Room
Professional offices absolutely need to have meeting rooms. Why? This is the space where both professionals and clients converge in order to exchange and tailor ideas and services. By having a well-sized meeting room in your office space, you’ll be able to provide your clients with a reserved, private area that compares to that of the modern, corporate conference room.

Technology has to play a big part in office design. Whether it’s having computer access at every desk, accessible phone lines, WiFi access and teleconference capabilities in your meeting room, emphasizing technology in office design will help your brand build a legitimate, professional image.

If you’re new to owning or renting a brick and mortar office, one of the first things you have to keep in mind is to remind your customers (clients) of your brand, even in your new office. Clients will be coming in for both informal and formal meetings, so that means they need to see your brand stamped on (nearly) every surface of your office.

Most companies tend to have logo and brand signs over their waiting rooms, work rooms, front office (reception), meeting room and on doors around the office. This will help you have brand message consistency, which will no doubt help your clients leave your office space with an impression of professionalism.

Professional office design is definitely essential when you’re trying to create a reputation of legitimacy. By following these simple office design elements, you’ll be able to create a strong name for your business, even if you’re a struggling startup.

Will 3D Printing Reinvent the Logistics Industry?

Take a close look at how the world has handled logistics since the early days of globalization, and it becomes quite clear just how much human enterprise relies on international transport. Without logistics, businesses the world over would be unable to operate and individuals would be affected on a multitude of levels.

With the early days of 3D printing currently taking the world by storm, it appears as if we could see a dramatic change in the logistics industry in the coming years.

Logistics has always revolved around getting an item from point A to point B as quickly and inexpensively as possible. This being said, logistical issues pop up all the time and often cause major hang-ups in industry. What 3D printing has to offer is a new approach to getting goods from one place to another. If industry experts prove to be correct, it could cut out the need for a grand supply chain, thus dramatically affecting the global economy in both positive and negative ways.

What 3D Printing Offers to the World
3D printing has endless applications, but it’s always easiest to start off with a real-world example. Let’s say you’re having problems with your vehicle and it turns out you need a new part – a brake rotor, or maybe even a new vent. Typically, you might have to order this part and wait for it to be shipped to you. But with 3D printing, the part could conceivably be produced right in your own town, which would cut down on the amount of time you’d have to wait and reduce shipping costs.

This is actually closer to fruition than you might think. Ford Motors is already utilizing 3D printing for prototype parts, and it may not be long until this technology becomes commonplace in the automotive industry.

3D Printing and Logistics – The Good and the Bad
When considering the effects of 3D printing on the logistics industry, it’s important to consider how the logistics industry operates today. Many items require custom shipping boxes that must be designed and manufactured before anything can get shipped out. It’s an effective method of getting a parcel from one place to another.

Once 3D printing becomes better integrated into daily life, the logistics industry will be under a great deal of stress to keep up with the demands of the world. We will see companies restructuring how they operate on a mass scale, as global commerce welcomes an additional form of product delivery.

It’s not likely that 3D printing will have a negative impact on the logistics industry in the near future. Technology is still advancing, and until these techniques become more commonplace, their effects will most likely be minimal. But years from now, 3D printing could cause a sea change in global logistics.

On The Go? Online Apps and Tutoring Resources Let You Take Your Education With You

Being a Young Go Getter often means being on the go — from classes to band practice to a sports meet, to homework, study groups, and a part-time job. Squeeze in quality time with friends, a boyfriend or girlfriend, and your family, and you’re just about as busy as you can be.

How do you maximize your resources to take advantage of every moment? With the tool in your pocket or backpack: your smartphone, iPad, or laptop. The current generation has an advantage no other generation has ever experienced: the ability to access a wealth of knowledge nearly instantly, from anywhere that has an internet connection.

Here are some examples of how Young Go Getters can use online education resources to succeed not only in the classroom, but also in your busy lives.

Scheduling apps
Your parents, and even your older siblings, had to handwrite course and homework schedules into a school-provided datebook. You have access to some of the best educational scheduling apps ever created, including Studious, an app specifically designed to help high school students manage time and plan when to do assignments. Studious even silences your phone when you’re in class, and turns the ringer back on when you’re not.

With a scheduling app, you are able to instantly see the blocks of free time in your schedule, and slot in various homework commitments and other activities to ensure you get everything done. If you have a 45-minute break between track practice and your community service project, that’s a perfect time to hunker down by the locker rooms and crank out some calculus worksheets. These scheduling apps can even help remind you when to buy your mom a birthday present.

Knowledge banks
Don’t carry around heavy textbooks unless you need them. Everything from the complete works of Shakespeare to the full set of Euclidian postulates and theorems can be found online. Start with Mashable’s list of 10 Must-Have Apps for Successful High School Students, and you’ll have everything from Yorick’s skull to a fully-dissected virtual frog at your fingertips. (Unlike actual frog dissection, you won’t have to wear gloves or wash your hands afterwards.)

No matter what you’re studying, chances are there’s an online resource to help. You can also use online resources to look up primary source information on various historical topics, such as newspaper headlines run on D-Day, or original sketches drawn by Leonardo da Vinci.

ACT and SAT prep
Just when you thought your schedule was full enough, you have to make room for the all-important ACT and SAT prep. Students who prepare before taking the SAT and ACT have a huge advantage over students who don’t; not only do you learn about the types of questions that will appear on the test, you also learn how to navigate the test itself, and handle hazards such as the SAT’s “wrong answer” penalty. (Remember: if you’re taking the ACT, it’s okay to guess when you have no clue about the answer. If you’re taking the SAT, it’s not — although educated guesses sometimes work if you are able to eliminate other answers.)

It’s always good to take at least one ACT and SAT practice test before taking the real thing, and an in-person test prep class helps you get a quick overview of what to expect on test day. If you need additional test prep, study tips, or tutoring, try the Huntington online library. It travels with you as you go, meaning you can study for these all-important tests while in the car with your parents or while standing in the school cafeteria line.

General improvement
Is spelling not your strong suit? Still unclear on the Circle of Fifths? Nervous that you won’t remember the difference between continuous and continual? If you want quick improvement resources, there are plenty of online apps and programs to help you catch up on any subject. Flashcard programs in particular help you quickly review vocabulary words, historical figures, or any other subject in which you need a quick refresher — and the programs automatically keep track of the answers you miss and continue to drill you until they’re mastered.

These are only a few of the ways in which online educational resources can help a Young Go Getter master subjects, plan schedules, prep for major tests, and ace coursework. Take some time to explore the best educational apps on the iTunes App Store or Android’s Google Play network. The best part about these types of educational apps is that they are both numerous and often free — if you don’t find one that works for you, simply try another until you’re getting what you need. Then take charge of your time and go, go, go!