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!

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!

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.

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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