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!

 

 

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!

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.

 

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.

 

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