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!

Stay Fit While Running Your Business

Small business owners need to get creative when it comes to establishing times to work out and methods for staying fit. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but your business and everyone around you will thank you when you’re feeling more productive, active and excited about your company and your life.

The challenge is: how do you stay fit while running a small business?

 

Take Exercise Breaks
When you stimulate blood flow you refresh your mind by giving it oxygen and an escape from staring at a computer screen.  Every hour just stand up and stretch, go for a quick walk around the building, do some squats or jumping jacks. On a conference call, walk around rather than sit.  The key is to get up and do something!  If you pause frequently enough, you can get in a few hundred squats or jumping jacks a day!  Studies have shown that breaking up your work leads to a more productive work day. Time spent on exercise is made back in improved productivity.

 

Don’t Forget a Healthy Lunch
You’re hurting your business if you don’t refresh your mind with a nutritious lunch break.  Your body needs nutrition to function properly.  Many small business owners skip breakfast and even lunch sometimes, running mainly off coffee all day.  Doing so is a recipe for disaster.  Skipping meals makes you less healthy and leads to weight gain, since your body reads no food as a signal to store whatever calories it gets. You’ll be amazed how much more energy you can obtain from an apple, snack, salad or sandwich for lunch. Don’t skip meals!

 

Rest
Sleep is critical to your health and well being.  Entrepreneurs are the biggest violators of this because they have so much too do all the time. Get the proper amount of sleep and you’ll be sharper and more energetic.  Skimp on rest and you’ll risk high blood pressure, possible stroke and a variety of heart related issues as well. Bottom line – you’re not invincible, you need sleep!

 

By applying these healthy principles to your lifestyle, you’ll kick off 2018 with more energy to grow your business. You’ll be in better shape too!

 

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!

 

 

Black Friday Business Strategy: Amazon

While Thanksgiving is this weekend for our friends south of the border, businesses have their eyes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – even though turkey, mashed potatoes and pie sounds really good! Everyone is prepping for the busiest shopping weekend of the year and strategizing how to become victorious in-store and online.

 

It may seem contradictory for businesses to discount their products just a few days out of the year. But it’s a phenomenon that has led to increased sales, fantastic promotional opportunities and success rate. Sales are expected to increase by 3.4% compared to last year, generating 1/3 of their overall sales.

 

Over the last few years, analysts have noticed a gradual shift in Black Friday shopping, many consumers have turned to the internet to do their spending rather than fighting through lines and hordes of people in-store.

 

The celebratory shopping day that is Black Friday continues through the weekend into Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday a great way for companies to drive increased sales and gain online traffic. It’s also a great strategy to combat slow business days following the mayhem shopping weekend. Shoppers can’t resist a good sale!

 

Amazon

Amazon has truly set the standard for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The company doesn’t limit their sales to just one or two days. They start Black Friday deals the Friday before the main event and call it “Black Friday Deals Week.” Amazon Prime members have access to deals at least 30mins before the general public. Their strategic move doesn’t just result in a high volume of online traffic, but results in an increase in sign-ups for Prime membership for the remainder of the year.

 

Overall, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have created a sales extravaganza that is bar none. Businesses both large and small continue to benefit from these shopping holidays. So much so that these two days of sales easily surpass the other 363 days of the year.

 

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!

3 Tips When Shopping for an Invoicing Service

What works for your business may not work for another’s business, this is true in just about every aspect of a business, especially when trying to find an invoicing service. When searching for the right invoicing service for your business, here’s what you need to look for:

 

Currency
With everyone and anything being accessible on the internet, you have the opportunity to have a global clientele. But, with this you’ll need to be able to accept different currencies. So if you plan to have a global clientele, you need to make sure that whichever invoicing service you choose can accept multiple currencies – without charging you an arm and a leg for the conversion rates.

 

Fees
A rude awakening for most beginning business owners are the payment processing fees for credit cards. Although you can’t get rid of these fees entirely, you can at least do your research and shop around for the best deals. Look for an invoicing service that has a straightforward and easy fee structure.

Once you’ve found the most straightforward structure, be sure to compare how much the fees actually will be. Fees are important, but they aren’t everything. If they have a low service fee, but don’t accept foreign currency then it may not be suitable for you.

 

User Experience
Business owners like to get paid quickly and easily. Your business’ invoicing service needs to be both simple for you and your customers. There’s no use in using an invoicing service that is super complicated, your customers are going to think the same thing.

It’s difficult enough to get people to hand over their money, let alone if the process makes it even more difficult. Make sure your invoicing service accepts credit cards and ACH payments. Some prefer to have one or the other, but accepting different forms of payment will benefit your business.

 

If you do your research correctly, you’ll find several invoicing services! Business owners need to find the right one that works best for them. Following these 3 main tips will help you at least narrow down the search! Happy Hunting!

 

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!

Here’s How to Get Paid On Time

No one likes being in those tough situations where a client is late on a payment and you have to make a collection call. Collection calls are usually held off and made haphazardly only when you’re short of money and need those funds to pay expenses. By holding off on making that call and collecting, your business and cash flow suffer.

 

You’re never too busy to make collection calls, no one likes to make them. They can be tedious and risky. It could create tension with the client and potentially jeopardize future business with that person – or you could not get paid at all. Take a look at these tips to help make sure that you get paid on time.

 

Acceptance Letter

By adding an acceptance letter to your invoicing process, the client signs this document after you have delivered your product/service but before invoicing. Make it clear that everything has been delivered, it’ll prompt clients to disclose any potential issues they may have.

 

Managing Disputes

If the dispute is valid, address the issue immediately. In this case, consider showing them the signed acceptance letter. Only if this approach doesn’t work, then consider speaking to a legal counsel to determine the best solution.

 

Track Your Invoices

Take notes on a notepad or use the invoicing aging report that comes with most standard accounting packages.  This will allow you to keep track of who owes you what and when.

When the invoice is a few days past due, give them a call and ask if there are any issues and if they can provide you with an expected payment date.

 

Late Payments

Always remember to show your client respect and professionalism – even if they don’t show it to you. This is both a good business tactic but also a good collection tactic.

 

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

 

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