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.

 

RIP: Traditional 9-5 Work Hours

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the gradual death of the traditional 9-5 hours, and that seems likely to continue. Thanks to technology and new workplace policies that allow employees to have flexible work schedules, there isn’t a huge need to stick to the traditional work hours. Having an online/mobile workforce is upon us and there are many jobs out there that are flexible in nature.

 

The Freedom of Flexibility

People like to point their fingers at Millennials and say they aren’t interested in working, but for most it’s more about the idea of freedom and having flexibility. With technology and the economy constantly changing it’s a lot more possible to work from home and have more flexible hours. Even with office jobs, there is plenty of room available for a more flexible start and finish time or working from home a few days a week – as long as the work is getting done!

 

Even if you aren’t a business owner, there are numerous options for everyone. If you are a business owner then you get the opportunity to be creative about how you manage your employees and their schedules.  This is an advantage since the rising generation of employees value the importance of a work/life balance.

 

Collaborative communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams give you the opportunity to interact effectively with your team when working from home.

 

Work on Your Own Clock

Business owners who have the flexibility to work from home can work at peak hours that are most convenient for them. Technology allows you to be connected and complete your work tasks as necessary from anywhere!

 

Though there are still some traditional 9-5 working hour businesses, it’s simply not as necessary or as common as it used to be. It’s a lot easier for both you and your employees to create a schedule that fits yours and their needs, allowing you to take back control of your time and create the work/life balance that everyone wishes for.

 

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

 

Federal Tax Reform Proposals: DAS Legal Can Help

The controversial tax-reform proposals have been sweeping the internet the last couple of months. The federal government has a plan to address the use of some common tax-management tools for private corporations. But how much will these changes cost small businesses?

 

In the federal proposals, there are 3 main changes being discussed:

  1. To limit the spreading of income and capital gains among family members associated with the corporation.
  2. To prevent a corporation from investing in passive assets using corporate after-tax earnings.
  3. To ensure that capital-gain tax treatment cannot be used in taking out corporate earnings in lieu of taxable dividends.

 

If you are concerned at all with whether or not your small business will be impacted by these changes to the federal tax laws, DAS Legal is here to help. They offer an Elite Package that has coverage for Tax Protection. After you have filed your taxes, if you happen to get audited and informed by the CRA that you owe any additional taxes because they did not comply properly with the new tax laws. DAS Legal will assign you a tax lawyer to work with you and your accountant (if applicable) to represent you with the CRA.

 

There is a $500 tax protection deductible, but DAS Legal will cover all of the reasonable and necessary costs incurred by the appointed representative, this includes any of the additional expenses and disbursements such as experts’ fees, court fees, and reports. If you are audited DAS Legal will cover you.

 

Still have questions? As a DAS policyholder, feel free to call their helpline with any general legal questions before filing a claim – 1-877-255-4269. Policies start at $175+ tax per year, for more information click here.

 

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

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.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Which Do You Prefer?

 

Move over Slack, there’s a new kid in town. Most of you probably know already, Microsoft Teams is now available for Office 365 users. Both tools enable businesses and teams to chat in groups or one-on-one and also allows to send files, either on your phone or on your desktop. These collaborative tools have been designed to allow businesses communication ideas and goals, allowing their employees to share information to the entire group or someone individually. But, Microsoft Teams benefits from its connection to all of Microsoft’s productivity tools.

 

While both of these collaborative tools feel and look very similar, once you’ve worked with both of them – you’ll learn that they really aren’t that similar.

 

Slack

Slack to some, can be seen as the iMessage of business collaboration. Its overall growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. The application is easy to use, features excellent suite of mobile and desktop versions and includes a varied color scheme, making the tool easy to navigate.

By paying more, you’ll have access to more advanced features. If you’re looking for something basic, free and to integrate with multiple third-party applications, then you may want to go with Slack for your business.

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams allows its users to access all of the Office 365 tools – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Meetings, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, OneNote, etc. – without having to actually leave the application itself. With this, it allows your team to edit, create or view any Microsoft application.

If you’re a HootSuite user, you can connect and have access to it directly within the Teams app – along with many other third-party business tools. This function alone, allows you to delegate and communicate to your employees and external consultants, post content to social media and answer customer service requests – all without leaving the app!

 

If you’re a small business with limited revenue, consider trying out Slack as it’s cheaper than Office 365 and has the option of add-on applications and tools that will provide you with additional features and functions when needed. Larger businesses, would benefit more by using Microsoft Teams – especially if you already own Office 365. Teams was designed for businesses specifically and features the applications and tools that would overall benefit a larger business greatly.

 

Now tell us, which do you prefer?

 

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.

 

 

Is Your Business’s Online Security at Risk?

One of your main priorities as a business owner needs to be your online security. If you don’t believe that your business could be a target for cyber-crime or cyber-attacks, think again. Statistics show 43% of cyber-attacks are focused on small businesses.*  Your business could lose assets, private information, lose revenue and develop an untrustworthy reputation – or you could go out of business. Knowing how you may be putting your business at risk could potentially save everything. But where should you start?

 

Employees

If you have careless or uninformed employees, this could be the main cause of security incidents or data breaches. Making sure that all of your employees, including yourself, are educated and trained on cybersecurity and cyber-attack basics. Closely monitor, control and manage all privileged credentials to stop any exploitation from happening. If an employee is let go, be sure that you terminate their accounts so they can no longer access inside your business networks.

 

Electronic Invoices

If you email your clients invoices, a hacker could easily intercept that email and alter the information so that instead of you being paid, the money is deposited into their account. So before sending an invoice, be sure to confirm that the client is legit and that you aren’t being scammed.  The security measures you take when sending information via email should be two-factor authentication and encryptions.

 

Personal vs. Work

Always remember to keep your personal devices and your work devices separate. Make sure you have dedicated accounts for your email and social media platforms for both professional and personal. If you keep private work information on your personal device and accidentally leave it somewhere, that data is now in jeopardy.

 

Third Party’s

Before you work with any third party provider, do your research and confirm that they’re reputable and know what they’re doing.  Verify that they use the best security practices and that they require unique credentials for each and every user.

 

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

 

 * “43% of Cyber Attacks Target Small Business”

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