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!

 

 

Marketing Nightmares That’ll Haunt You

Have you ever been slowly drifting off to sleep, or you’re lounging in bed on a Sunday morning – when all of a sudden, your head jerks up from the pillow and your heart skips a beat!

You think to yourself “Did I schedule that campaign? Send that link? Change that subject line?” These tiny moments of terror and fear should be enough to remember to yourself, marketing is a complicated beast, even a relatively small mistake can reveal its dark side. It’s  all chilling stuff but that darkness is avoidable, all of these mistakes are preventable with a few precautions!

 

  1. Dead-End Pages

If you’re a small business and have a website, you’re already doing better than the competition. But many small business websites that do already exist still don’t offer a way for visitors to engage with those businesses online. Having an informative website is great, but if you don’t provide your visitors’ a simple and direct way for them to immediately act on, then you’re wasting your time and theirs. Start to think about how you can actively create an ongoing relationship with visitors by creating at least one call to action that will spark that relationship on your landing page.

 

  1. Following the Wrong Metrics… Off a Cliff

It feels great creating something that gets a lot of traffic, and watching your social share count rise makes it even better. None of this does much good if very few of those visitors actually engage with your business any further. All those new leads could leak right out of your funnel if you can’t get them from there to your checkout page. Just remember that your page views, social stats and having a high conversion rate aren’t the end goal, they may not stand in direct relation to revenue and profit. So, watch your step.

 

  1. The Inconsistency Gremlin

Inconsistency is that annoying little gremlin that’ll throw a wrench in your entire marketing plans. Have you ever been to a webpage and the special price is $38, but the checkout says $38.99? These discrepancies may not put a huge dent in your conversion rate, but they’re likely to chip away at it over time. Inconsistent marketing can actually cost your business money. At the start of a new campaign, sit down and list your core value proposition, pricing structure, etc. Then, look back at that document every time you create a new piece of that campaign so that the inconsistency gremlin doesn’t come crawling out from the shadows.

 

  1. Bloodthirsty for Leads, Leads to Unsubscribes

It’s normal to be excited when you tap into a new source of leads. But, some marketers take that excitement and take it a little too far. They begin sending their new leads emails constantly, with messages that boil down to wanting them to BUY NOW! This is a perfect recipe for unsubscribes, you have to build trust. Do more than send emails to move those new relationships forward. Use thoughtful, respectful follow up sequences to give leads reasons to buy, rather than just telling them too.

 

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.

How to Introduce New Products and Services

When developing new ideas, services or products for your business, it can be hard when you have so many different ideas whirling around in your head! Introducing something new to your business is an investment – one that requires an organized plan if you want the launch to be successful.

There is always the possibility of the launch being unsuccessful, but you can minimize that potential risk by asking yourself the following questions:

 

  • Will this improve your overall current business performance?
  • Can this improve the lives of your current existing customers?
  • Does this fit your current business plan and strengths?
  • Is this going to benefit your long-term goals?

 

Host a brainstorming session with your team to develop new ideas and strategies or take the time to survey your current existing customers. Always remember to keep up with trends going on in your industry and scope out the competition.

 

Once you have your new product, service or idea – it’s time to evaluate. Be sure to take into consideration that if once this idea launches and it takes off fast, can you handle the fast growth and can you meet a sudden increased demand? If you’ve answered no to either of those questions, delay your launch date until you answer yes.

 

Test the product or service out again so that it’s continuously giving consistent results. You can work out any of the kinks later, but it must work well enough so that your customers won’t get angry. Then, it’s time to prepare for the launch. Which typically will involve conducting research on the main competitors, identifying the target market and developing your marketing strategy.

 

Think you’re done? Nope, now it’s time to PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE! Start getting people talking about your product through a rolling launch, promote sneak peaks of your product a few weeks early leading up to the launch date. If you have loyal customers, offer them an exclusive preview or test run of the product. Send out an email newsletter or post on your social media platforms about contests and giveaways to help market your product.

 

After all of this, be sure to pay attention to reviews on and offline. Figure out how your customers are using your product or service, what they like/dislike about it, any improvement areas, etc. You might be surprised by seeing a customer use the product or service differently then you had originally imagined. Embrace this and just update your marketing strategy to go with it.

 

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

Digital Marketing: Unhealthy Habits

Digital marketing is everywhere and used by almost everyone. Being successful at digital marketing doesn’t necessarily come from what you’ve learned. You can become successful by learning how to stop doing the things that are negatively impacting your goals and overall vision. Stopping these bad habits can be hard at first, and it’ll require you to move away from impulsive/unconscious behaviours and start to understand where you can take control of your actions and future.

 

To become an innovative leader in the digital marketing world, start here:

 

Rejection Isn’t Failure

Learn to take control of your thinking process, no one wants to hear rejection but it happens from time to time. It doesn’t always mean you’re a failure, it simply just means that you need to take the feedback you were given and put a little more work into it or the solution just isn’t the right fit at that time. Rather than focusing on what went wrong, use that information to make your next move to achieve your goals.

 

Don’t Pay for Attention

Digital marketing gives you the opportunity to skip over traditional media and reach your target audience on a more personal level. Just be creative and you won’t need to pay. If you don’t know where to start? Start with the basics l social media marketing and working on your SEO!

 

Stand Out

Whether it’s business or personal, we live in a competitive and globalized society. We do everything to try and differentiate ourselves from the competition and to try and make ourselves as uniquely different as possible to gain our consumers attention. Focus on aligning your business with your true self, once you are fully comfortable with yourself then you won’t need others to give you your approval.

 

Embrace Failure

Learning how to re-teach your brain to accept appropriate risks isn’t an easy task to do. But once you’ve successfully managed to accept appropriate risks and can conquer your fears could mean the difference between a quick freelancer gig and an entrepreneurial one.

 

Having the ability and mindset to work through and recover from setbacks, relapses and obstacles – is what will make your business goals much easier to accomplish.

 

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

Small Businesses: Avoid These Marketing Mistakes

Knowing when and how to invest in marketing for our business may be the key ingredient to your businesses’ success. Here are some common marketing mistakes that every business makes and how you can avoid them!

 

“Me” to “They”

One of the most common marketing mistakes is when business owners haven’t made the transition from “me” to “they.” Many small business owners start their businesses either because they are passionate about something or because they had a specific problem and found a solution that worked for them. You need to focus on providing products and services for your audience. So instead of thinking about what you want and what you want to promote, instead start thinking about what your audience wants and needs.

 

That’s Not Your Market

Sometimes business owners insist on going after a “broad” audience, when it’s just the wrong market. Whether they’re trying to sell equipment that’s worth thousands of dollars and going after clients that don’t have that kind of budget, or they’ve created something that would work with one type of market but insist on trying to sell to another as well. Business owners need to align their intentions and marketing with the correct marketing approach. Or else they’re going to keep spinning their wheels and losing money.

 

Putting Money Where They Shouldn’t

It’s no secret, a lot of marketing takes money, therefore it’s in your best interest to determine when to spend it and to make sure it’s on the right things. Whether you’re spending money on things you aren’t ready for yet or spending money without knowing how to properly measure the ROI. Instead, maybe spend those dollars on classes that can teach you things like how to use a website for sales and marketing.

 

Not Spending Money at All

Trying not to spend money on a business is a huge mistake. It can be scary to invest money yes, but you need to do it. There’s no way around this. Investing money isn’t the problem, investing in the wrong things is.

 

Even though there are plenty other marketing mistakes and there common, they are also avoidable.

 

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

 

 

Page 1 of 212