Plan Ahead When Applying for A Business Loan

In order for many businesses to get off the ground, they need an influx of capital. One of the most common financing aids for small businesses is to look into getting a loan. The overall process for attaining a small business loan has become much easier over time. With traditional banks and online services who are more than willing to supply the funds.

 

Although it’s become easier to attain a small business loan, applying is still a hassle. If you do your homework and are diligent, you’ll manage to avoid these common mistakes.

 

Business Plan is Incomplete

One of the most important things to have when applying for a small business loan is a clear business plan. Some things it must include is a mission statement, executive summary, overall business concept, target audience/market, competition, team, marketing plan and of course, financials.

In some cases, financial lenders may only read your executive summary. If this is the case, then this section must fully summarize your entire business plan. Without these sections included into your business plan, it will appear incomplete and will cause the lender to lose confidence in the business and potentially you as the owner.

 

Check Your Credit Score

The first thing you need to do before you even consider looking into a small business loan, is you need to check your credit score. If everything is in order and your credit report is up to date, then you should be alright. If you have a credit score of 7o0 or above you should have little to no issues borrowing with a low interest rate! But, if your score is under 650, it may be a bit more difficult. Potentially having a high interest rate could hurt your cash flow.

 

Did You Borrow Enough?

If you’re running a start-up, you’ll always need more money thank you think. Unexpected costs could come up at any time while running a business, you need to be prepared. Raising enough capital will be the best way to cover you. Helpful tip, when discussing the exact numbers of your loan, aim for at least 7 to 9 months of just operating costs. So, take the time before going in to construct a proper budget plan.

 

While running a business, and as a business owner, it’s important to select the right financing option that works best for you and your business. If that option is a small business loan, then remember these tips in the process!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

Get Ready for Tax Season Sooner Rather Than Later

Although your mind is probably still getting over holiday mode. The year has just begun and there are already a lot of things both professionally and personally that needs to get done, especially being prepared for tax season.

 

For small business owners, it’s a great time to start thinking about taxes. Now, that may not sound as exciting as mistletoe or holiday parties and dinners was, but they’re important to starting this year on a good and organized note.

 

Organization is Key

Start by organizing all of your financial records from 2017 into one specific place. This should include your profit and loss statement, invoice history, and previous tax paperwork.

 

Arrange Your Quarterly Payments

The past payment date for your 2017 quarterly taxes is January 15th. So, take some time over the holidays to make sure that you have enough money set aside to pay your tax burden and the appropriate paperwork ready to go. The last thing you want to do is start the new year by missing your last tax payment or setting yourself up for a penalty.

 

Plan Ahead

For some small businesses, this could be the last year that you can claim a lot of small business deductions. Deductions are going to be a key part to keeping your small business afloat. Go back and look through your purchasing receipts and be prepared to deduct things from your expenses.

 

It’s the smart move to be as prepared as possible. If you have the time, reach out your accountant. Doing this before the end of the year will help ensure sure that both of you have all the information needed to do your 2017 taxes. By doing these steps and being prepared for tax season now, it will take a mental load off so that you can truly enjoy your holiday season.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

Why Your Business Can’t Rely Only on Social Media

Sometimes you have to experiment with multiple marketing tactics for social media in order to find something that works best for you and your business.

 

But why can’t you rely on just using social media? For example, let’s say Instagram is the platform that works best for your business. If you’re spending time and money building your following, but don’t have a website where your followers can get more information. What’s going to happen when Instagram changes their algorithm? Or when people can’t see your posts anymore? You’re going to lose money.

 

Knowing where and when to invest your dollars and what’s the best use of your time.  Once you’ve found what works, you can begin focusing on the tactics that get the most results for your business. If you haven’t figured out what marketing tactics work best for your business, use some of these tips to help figure it out in the coming new year.

 

Instagram

No more are the days of exchanging phone numbers, now it’s exchanging your Instagram names. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get the most bang for their time and money.

 

Video

This has been a huge tactic used in 2017. Your followers love to see who is behind a brand and fully engage with them. Creating content for social media has been a huge push this year. For example, Facebook ads that use video can cost you far less money than ads with a static image.

 

Facebook Ads

If you haven’t tried them yet, you should. With proper guidance, you can get cost effective conversions for email sign ups – you can also get cheap traffic to your website to collect some emails.

 

Whichever tactic you go with, always make sure you’re directing your followers back to your own website and collecting emails. Not all marketing tactics are going to work for your business. This is why you must spend time experimenting with multiple tactics and see what is the best result to use for your business.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

Why People Aren’t Clicking Your Call to Action Button

Customers love to read your content, but for some reason they aren’t clicking your call to action button.

There’s a call to action button on your page, but the sales and leads just aren’t rolling in for some reason. Why not? Below are some of the most common reasons your visitors aren’t clicking your call to action button – and, even more importantly, what you can do about it.

 

Can’t See Your CTA Button

You’ve made your call to action button bright and shiny, you’ve tried to put it in the right place. How can your potential customers fail to even see your CTA button? Simple, you didn’t give them a reason to notice it right off the bat. By making the button obvious, oftentimes isn’t obvious enough.

Make your content compelling. You want to grab attention by offering something valuable right off the bat. Minimize the amount of time it takes to see your call to action. Location, location, location! Readers eyes will tend to skim and scan your page, you’re going to have to think about your call to action in terms of its immediate impact.

 

Your CTA Looks too “Heavy”

Heavy in this context refers to something else: the “cost of clicking.” People have a quick clicking-finger, always ready to click somewhere else if they think it’ll take too much work to go through your content.

Don’t overwhelm them. This is why marketers run A/B tests for their call to action buttons. They want to see what gets people clicking! Spotify’s call to action button for example, is a simple green button placed in the middle of the page. It consists of two words: “Download Spotify.” Is it fancy? No. Is it effective? Definitely.

 

Nothing Urgent in Your CTA

Why should someone click your CTA? This is the central question that you have to answer if you expect to make any sales or leads online. To make your button more urgent, start using power words. A free course. A secret bonus if you sign up. Rather than improvement, use boost. A boost sounds more immediate. Power words grab your attention and paint a picture.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

 

 

One Month Left of 2017, Make It Count!

There is officially one month left of 2017, let’s make it count! Now, before you go ahead and start thinking about 2018 full time, make sure you take time to reflect back on 2017.

 

Retirement Savings
With only a month left, there’s still enough time to start tucking away some money for retirement. Retirement savings may not be as attractive as paying off old debts, but it’s just as important. Retired you will thank yourself in the future. Being able to tuck away some extra dollars means that you’ll have a little extra cushion money when retired!

 

Stay in Touch
Staying in touch with past clients is a great way to keep your network warm and cozy through the holidays – it may also get you new business. There’s no need to send a fruit basket, but a friendly email or a nice card is a great way to stay in touch. Especially over the holidays, put some thought into your card. Thank them for their business, express why you enjoy working with them and mean what you say. This is a great opportunity to reach out and show them that they’re business is valued.

 

Pros and Cons
Ask yourself what went well this year? Did certain things not work? What are things that you’d like to change? The best part about looking towards the new year is taking a quick look back. Take note of the things that worked and didn’t work this year. So that moving forward into 2018 you’ll have a fresh start on all kinds of things.

Update systems, create new streams or revenue, work with new partners or let old ones go. How can you set yourself up for more success in 2018?

 

There’s still a month left of the year. Before diving into 2018, take a chance to reflect back on 2017. Make sure to have all your boxes checked, and you’ll cruise into the new year feeling refreshed and ready for success!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

Financial Tips Every Business Owner Should Know

Understanding finances is the cornerstone to running a successful business. There are so many helpful financial tips that business owners typically learn the hard way. Some of these tips may seem obvious while others may actually surprise you, but these tips are here to help business owners learn these financial situations the easy way, not the hard.

 

Patience is Key
Starting a business tomorrow isn’t going to make the money you want it to. In some cases, years could go by and business owners still winter why they’re still broke. Usually because they’re living in a field of dreams that just isn’t true. Starting a business requires some serious hard work, sales skills and charm – especially in the beginning stages!

 

Running a Business IS Risky Business
Some may say “There’s nothing to lose”, but in reality, you have an entire business that could be lost. Some businesses have very large start-up costs and very high failure rates. There’s just no such thing as guaranteed income, which is why running a business is risky business. Business owners get really excited about an idea and then a few months later they realize it does require risk, therefore making them uncomfortable and bailing on that idea.

A true entrepreneur understands that everything is a risk! Having one job and one paycheque to some is riskier than running their own business where they control the income. Not everyone sees it this way, and some even wish they hadn’t started a business. Being able to understand that running a business can be risky is an important financial tip to learn early on.

 

It’s Not All Yours
Business owners need to account for gross, net profit and taxes in their finances. You may need to make at least 5 figures a month to comfortably meet your business and personal goals. This is one of the toughest financial lessons for business owners.

 

Gross vs. Net
There’s a huge difference between your gross income and your net income. You could be making an easy six figures, but if you’re putting all that back into your business you will probably have a net profit of $0. You may already know the difference, but the challenge with it is working on increasing your net income. Over time it’ll get easier, but it certainly isn’t fun.

The silver lining to these financial tips is that over time, business owners will improve. Unfortunately, there isn’t a manual for all this stuff but experience is usually the best teacher in these cases.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Burnout

If you haven’t already started humming Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas, you might start after this! We all know that the holidays can be a tad overwhelming for any business. The holiday burnout usually begins with events and parties, work obligations and family commitments, finding time to shop – a lot of high expectations with only a little amount of energy to sustain it all could cause you to boil over.

Once November hits, finances, family issues, work, illness and over-scheduling are common obstacles. You can avoid the crazy holiday burnout with these 5 tips!

 

Plan Ahead

Small business owners don’t always want to completely leave their responsibilities for weeks on end. Rather than constantly checking your emails, or rushing to the phone whenever it rings, let co-workers and clients know the specific times and dates that you will check your emails and voicemail over the holidays. By planning ahead for regular check-ins, this will help keep your holiday burnout and stress levels to a minimum.

 

Tidy Your Desk

By avoiding the clutter on your desk, you’ll help avoid mental clutter. The last thing you want to do when you get back to the office after the holidays is deal with outdate items and papers on your desk. For each piece of paper, either toss it, pay it, file it, or act on it! Once you’re done organizing, both your mind and desk should be clearer and more relaxed.

 

Holiday Goals

Rather than telling yourself you’re going to bring in 12 more clients by the end of the year, set daily goals. Tell yourself that you’ll contact 6 of those clients today, 6 tomorrow. Breaking down a larger goal into daily, smaller goals, you’ll get your work done more efficiently.

 

Stuff Your Stocking, Not Your Inbox

Be sure to check that you have plenty of space in our inbox to store all your emails and also your voicemail while you’re away, your colleagues, clients and employees will feel a lot better knowing that their emails will be ready and waiting for you to open up when you return.

 

Step Away from The Desk

It’s the holidays, during those weeks leading up the holidays it’s important to take a break. Go for a walk, take some time to decompress and compose yourself! It’s important to schedule some quality downtime in order to maintain balance in your life. The holidays are no reason to stop exercising or taking care of yourself, no one needs the added stress of not fitting into your jeans post-holiday season!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Grow Your Business From Referrals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has to be one of the easiest and best ways to build a small business. Building a business off referrals saves you and your team a lot of time and money spent on marketing. It also gives you the upper hand. When you are referred to a new customer or client, they’ve already heard great things about your business.

In fact, if you’re using referrals to build your small business, these new customers and clients will come to you.  This gives you the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to anyone who comes our way. It gives you the ability to raise your rates more easily as these new people are more likely to say yes to your rates since they already know how awesome you are.

 

But how do you get those great referrals? Here are some times to help you start.

 

Do Good Work

This may be obvious but if you don’t do great work, you won’t get referrals from current or former clients. In general, the better the service you provide, and greater customer support you offer, the more your current clients will use your services. Leading to them telling their friends about their great experience, which can potentially bring you more business.

 

Ask Current Clients

It’s simple, ask. Most of the time, the reason you aren’t getting referrals, even if you are providing great service, is because you haven’t asked for them. Inform your clients about your desire to grow your business. Then, ask your clients to refer you! Your clients want to help your business grow. But they don’t think to refer you to others if you don’t ask them to.

 

Know When to Ask

The most ideal time to ask for referrals is right after they complement you, or right before a final deal closes. If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services.

 

Keep it Simple

Make sure to tell your clients how they can refer you, and where they can go to write you a review. Give them an easy way to provide feedback, submit a new lead, or share your services through their social media. The easier you make it for them to share your services, the more likely they’ll be to refer you.

 

Thank Them

It’s always important to thank your clients for working with you and for referring our business to their peers. Without them, and their referrals, you may not have a successful business. Thanking them not only works as a reminder of your business, but as a relationship building strategy. Remember, growing your relationships with current clients will help you grow potential clients in the future.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

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