How to Boost Employee Success

Employee Success

After you’ve taken in the best and the brightest interviewees into your workforce, do you sit back and relax? No! This is where many managers and business owners make a mistake. After the initial hire, they automatically think that their job is finished forgetting that they need to continually be in touch with their employee to help them grow.

Employee success and engagement is the company’s success. Are your employees emotionally invested in committing their talent, time, and energy towards adding value and progressing the initiatives of the company?

Once your employees are neglected, inevitably, you won’t get the retention, revenue, and overall success level that the company is targeting. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, employee disengagement results in over $550 billion in lost productivity in the United States. So, it is evident that while this is a problem today’s managers and leaders face in the workforce, it is also an excellent opportunity for them to up their game.

Let’s discuss strategies to take towards boosting the success of your employees.

Share the Vision with the Workforce

An employee will hardly be satisfied in a job if they lack a sense of job significance. They would feel excited and energized about the work they have to do when you regularly share the direction and vision of the company with them.

The importance of communicating the company’s goals and plan for your staff cannot be overemphasized. And this is not a matter of taking it to them once or occasionally; you have to say it to them regularly.

Make your employees feel that they are working on something fundamental. The day to day responsibilities at work can feel tiring, but when your staff knows the big vision and purpose of their team, department, and overall company, they would be able to push through and succeed at a higher level.

Communicate Well

This is related to the first key strategy we discussed above. Nothing discourages a staff more than when they feel they are being lied to and kept out of crucial business discussions.

Over communication is one of the traits of successful leadership. So, managers and owners need to communicate always and consistently about the changes in the work structure and company. This will go a long way in helping staff members feel secure in their positions and more engaged in their jobs and commitment to the company.

Encourage Your Employees to Own the Job

To enable employees to be more successful at their jobs, you have to develop a decentralized command ecosystem. Your employees shouldn’t be just 9-5 workers who clock in and count the seconds till they can clock out. No! It shouldn’t be so.

From your VPs down to your customer service staff, enable all your staff members to think that their work is of central importance to the company. By involving them in setting the goals for the company, you’d be helping them understand and care for the company as much as you do. You can do this by empowering and encouraging your staff to be intrapreneurs and own their jobs.

Intrapreneurs have access to the capabilities and resources of an established company, and this helps them to come up with innovative projects and ideas that will enhance the future of the company. And what’s more, they are given autonomy to work on this project.

Give your workers latitude with their choices, but of course, with proper guidance. Put your faith in the ability of your employees to do a great job, and you’ll be rewarded with increased job satisfaction, ownership, engagement, and success rate.

Know the Career Ambitions of Your Employees

Several companies are usually more concerned about what they can get from an employee, than what the employee can get from them. And this ought not to be so.

The relationship between a company and its staff members should be a win-win situation for both parties. While you, the company gets the benefit of their work, their jobs should also be getting them closer to their professional goals.

Now, the question is: how do you help them with this if you are not aware of their goals in the first place? Beyond the questions and answers during the interview, when you take in a new hire, someone in the company should be responsible for learning their development track and professional goals.

This will ensure that your employees will keep moving forward (most likely within the organization, and they’ll continuously reach out for better results in their jobs.

Defined Roles and Responsibilities

Often, employees struggle with job success because they don’t know what expectations and standards they are being evaluated by. If a person is not aware of his/her specific role in the overall goals of a team, results will suffer. Thus, align roles and responsibilities for each team member according to their skills and expertise, and make them aware of it.

Feedback

How do you give feedback to your employees? Do you only give feedback when an employee needs improvement or has made a mistake? To help boost your employees’ success, it is equally essential that you provide positive feedback.

Bill Nelson, in his book “1001 Ways to Recognize Employees”, showed that the thought of making a difference and being recognized for excellent work are the two main drivers of work performance. Unfortunately, a larger percentage of the employees he spoke with during his research haven’t even heard “Thank You” in over six months. You want your staff to succeed, right? Then start showing appreciation and giving positive feedback.

Giving feedback to your employees is crucial. But even more, do they have an avenue to also provide feedback to their managers about their team and business without the fear of being judged or punished. Train yourself and your managers to listen carefully to your employees when they suggest improvements and new ways of doing things.

Bottomline

Boosting employee success is no rocket science. Even as you engage in the strategies we have discussed above, there is no harm done if you simply ask them to tell you how the company needs to improve and what needs to be effected for their work to be more fruitful and productive. Good Luck!

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Tips To Engage People in a Conversation

Conversation

Engaging in conversation, especially when you have to start it, can be nerve-wracking. If you want to start talking to people around you or make some new friends, then you need to work on your conversational skills. Good thing you are reading this article. Here, we have highlighted and discussed vital tips that will help you better your conversation prowess.

Keep reading to find out more.

Become an Active Listener

Do you know that listening is different from hearing? Hearing is an inborn skill, but listening is one we consciously acquire over time. When you listen to someone speak, you hear what they say, you digest the information and try to understand before giving corresponding feedback.

So yes, if you want to engage in conversations more, you have to start practicing the skill of being an active listener consciously. Give full attention to the person talking.

Active listening is not just waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can immediately respond; it is more of being engaged with what they are saying, showing interest, clarifying, and asking questions.

This goes a long way to show that you genuinely care about what they are saying and about them.

Engage with Questions

If you find it hard to make small talk, have you tried the simple method of asking questions? It is no hidden truth that people love to talk about themselves as well as the things that interest them.

So, if you ever find yourself at a loss for what to say, ask questions, especially about conversation topics that you think or know would be of interest.

Whether it is someone sitting next to on an airplane or a stranger at the grocery store, you can always start a conversation by asking open-ended questions. For instance, for the airplane scenario, you could ask, have you tried this airline before? What did you think of it?

You’d be surprised at how the talk would flow from there. Social anxiety might be preventing the person you’re conversing with from becoming engaged. But if you start the conversation with non-personal open-ended questions, you’d eliminate that feeling of trying to force a conversation.

This method can make, even a stranger, feel that you know them, and you listen. If you are engaged, your fellow conversationalist will reciprocate, and you’d have excellent communication.

Confidence Speaks!

Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person mumbled or trailed off while speaking? This can be a major turnoff.

And the truth is this can only happen if you’re distracted or you’re overly worried about how other people would perceive you. Well, you’d have to come out of that shell. You can only form a connection with people when you show your true self rather than trying to conform to what you “think” their expectations are.

When you bring up a conversation topic, be confident in the fact that what you have to say is important and worthwhile. This would cause many people to be engaged in your line of conversation.

One of the reasons why so many fail at public speaking is because they lack vital confidence in what they’re saying. Try confidence and see how it boosts your conversations!

Gadgets

Gadgets, especially your phone, could be the main reason why you’ve been finding it hard to engage others in a conversation. And it’s so sad that in this social media age, so many of us are guilty of this.

Even when others engage us in conversation, we prefer to scroll through social media pages while we talk. And why we might want to justify this by saying we are multi-tasking; it just doesn’t work that way. There’s no way the person you’re conversing with won’t notice your unfocused attention. Being distracted by your phone could seriously harm your relationship.

Paraphrasing

Earlier on, when we talked about listening, you might have decided that one of the critical differences between hearing and listening is understanding. You want to understand what people say to you before replying, and you also want to make them feel that you heard and understood them.

One of the best ways to do this is reflective listening. This involves saying back what they said to you in a paraphrase. Though this might sound repetitive, it’s a superb mental trick that will help you have more engaging conversations.

Even more impressive, this will also prevent any form of miscommunication between you and the other person.

Stop Focusing on Yourself Alone

Sometimes we become so focused on ourselves, our problems, and all that is currently going on in our lives, that we completely forget to let go of all this stress while engaging with others. When you’re talking with others, you have to let go of these distractions, so the person feels important and worth your attention.

Body Language

The importance of paying attention to body language cannot be over-emphasized. So many researches have been conducted which shows that a vast majority, as much as 90%, of our communication is non-verbal. Your body language is as important as your verbal communication, sometimes even more so.

If you’re mindful of body language, you can quickly tell when someone is interested or uninterested in what you have to say. Having your body facing the other person will help. Direct eye contact is also great.

Bottomline

If you’ve been following, we’ve discussed eight different tips that will help boost your conversation skills, and help you start up talk with people quickly. However, don’t get discouraged if you still find it hard to start up conversations with people.

These things take patience and consistency, as long as you keep applying these tips to your daily lives, you’d soon become a conversation pro.

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How to Increase Your Work Productivity

Work Productivity

Have you been complaining about how your day seems spiral out of control? You start your workday feeling a 100 with a goal, plan, and list, but at the end of the day, you are unable to accomplish most of the items on your list. There are days when completing our To-Do list seems beyond reach, and you keep scrambling to achieve deadlines.

Being productive at work can be a difficult task, and the temptation of mobile games, social media, the Internet and the bustle of co-workers doesn’t make things easier.

So, how do we go about becoming more productive at work?

With only so many hours in a day, maximizing this time is critical to productivity. There are two ways you can increase your success output in a day – you either increase the number of hours you work for or you work smart. The second one is the better option.

Being more productive at work shouldn’t be confused with busyness. Productivity means getting effective results in a short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more free time.

Imagine ending your workday with a contented sigh, knowing that you productively achieved everything on your list. In this post, we will walk you through practical and easily applicable strategies for increasing your work productivity.

Stop Multitasking

Taking on a few tasks at once can be quite tempting, especially if some seem easy or small. But it doesn’t work. According to Earl K. Miller, a neuroscience professor, “multitasking is not humanly possible.”

Research also shows that trying to do several things at the same time reduces productivity, and shuffling tasks can cost up to 40% of one’s time. When you have to switch between tasks, your concentration and focus are continuously affected.

Need for reasons to stop multitasking? A study conducted in the University of Sussex in the UK reports that multitasking may be harming your brain physically.

So, stop trying to juggle eating lunch, presentation, and making phone calls. If you focus on completing one task, you will end it faster, giving you more to move on to the next. So, dramatically increase your productivity by prioritizing the tasks you have on your plate and allocating time for each.

Take Regular Breaks

This might sound counter-intuitive. However, taking scheduled breaks will help improve your concentration.

Some research also shows that taking short breaks in between long tasks will ensure that you maintain a constant level of performance. You might have noticed that when you are burned out, you never work as well.

Learn to spend that 15 minutes grabbing coffee mid-afternoon or taking a 5-minute walk around the office. Besides improving your concentration, this will also boost your mood.

Set Small Goals

Have you ever experienced an overwhelming feeling while looking at the big projects you have on your calendar? This happens to even the best of us and isn’t a cause for alarm. If the goals you set for a day are looking complex, you can break them down into smaller tasks.

This will make you feel more in control, keep you on track with your day-to-day activities, and increase your productivity. So, rather than write a project on your to-do list and allocate a deadline, you can try breaking down the project into all the tasks that will go into completing it.

Do the Biggest Tasks When You’re at Your Best

Several people do mental sludge tasks such as reading emails and other routine chores in the morning. Sometimes, we unconsciously push our big goals to the end of the day because we are not confident in our ability to accomplish them.

And by the time we finally get to them, we are too burned out from the day to give them the attention they deserve.

This is wrong; several work productivity experts recommend that you start your day with tasks that are the most creatively demanding, especially if you are a morning person.

However, if you work better at night, this doesn’t apply to you. Tony Wong, a productivity expert, advises that we do our most demanding tasks at times when we feel most productive.

Understand that there is no perfect schedule that is ideal for everyone. Understand how and when you work best to get your big projects done in no time.

Prepare a To-Do List

Each night, create a to-do list for the next day. To-do lists are invaluable aids for productivity. They help you get organized, provide you with pivotal focus, and reward you with feelings of satisfaction when you check things off your list.

What’s more, making a to-do list and updating it each night before going to bed means that you won’t waste time looking for your next tasks at the start of the workday. You can also try to talk through your list with someone else.

The co-founder of Buffer, Leo Wildrich, talks about this technique in “What Multitasking Does to Our Brains,” saying:

“The to-do list I jotted down didn’t change, but it felt as if I had done half the work of it all in my head already. The next day, all I had to do is look at the task and get it done.”

The next question is: how many items are on your ideal to-do list? To become a productivity superstar, you have to stay focused.

And getting that focus involves narrowing down your options (the items on your to-do list). So, as you review your to-do list each night, you have to ask yourself some critical questions:

  1. What are the crucial tasks on this list?
  2. How many of these highlighted (important) tasks can I achieve realistically or make significant progress on tomorrow?

Be Proactive

You need to put yourself on a realistic deadline for your tasks and work towards achieving them. This will help you eliminate distractions.

However, it is also essential that we take note of certain unavoidable disruptions such as a colleague asking for quick assistance or your manager requesting a quick meet. To handle these, you have to know how to deal with interruptions.

Inform your colleagues of your need to focus. On your work chat app, turn your status on as “unavailable/busy.” Let them know of your deadline and need to concentrate. This will significantly minimize your chances of being interrupted.

Bottomline

These strategies discussed above should serve as a solid foundation for you to most out of your time in a short time.

But you should also keep in mind that change does not happen overnight. Start with small steps and be consistent. Consistency is the key. Even if you slip up on any, dust yourself up and try it again.

Cheers to more productive days!

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Things that can Damage Your Business Credit

Business Credit

Many of us have this dream of becoming self-employed. One way to turn this dream into reality is to use your savings as investments to run a successful business. Part of accomplishing this goal is making your financial standing-worthy. No doubt, stable credit scores play a vital role in building this creditworthiness.

That is to stay; good business status scores come with a slew of benefits that mostly include supplier financing, lines of credit, easily available business loans, and business credit cards. In addition to these advantages, good credit scores help you with lower insurance premiums and higher credit limits. It attracts plenty of financial opportunities for entrepreneurs from existing suppliers and lenders.

However, not all entrepreneurs can reap these benefits due to poor financial status scores. This often happens when business owners commit small mistakes while using their business credit cards. Although these mistakes are petty and committed unknowingly, they may damage financial standing when reported to financial agencies.

If your business also faces this issue, you might be making the following mistakes.

Mistakes That Damage Business Credit

Co-signing Loan with Someone Else

You might know that co-signing a loan for anyone, including your friend or relative can bring disastrous results to your financial standing. It happens when the borrower fails to meet the terms and conditions of loan repayment. It is important to remember that, when you co-sign a loan for a relative or a friend, you share a partial responsibility of the borrower. That means when the borrower fails to make the repayments, it automatically affects your commercial loan scores if you also do not make the payment. Being a co-signer of a loan can be potentially disastrous for your business.

How to avoid that?

The easy way to avoid that is to become selective for the people you decide to co-sign a loan for. Plus, don’t forget to investigate the borrower’s history that includes his/her financial stability to repay the loan amount. Go through the options that the borrower will use to make the payments. Determine whether or not these options are viable and will not cause you problems in the future.

Ignoring Credit Problems

How many times have you tried to cross-examine your financial reports? No wonder if the answer to this question is “never.” Most small business owners rely on the yearly report for all the details. And this one of the mistakes that you do when it comes to maintaining good financial standing. Taking out time to check monthly financial reports is always beneficial to ensure its impeccability. If you wait long, checking out the errors will become hard. Remember that, even the minor errors in your report can be damaging and will lead to poor financial status rating. The other warning signs include missing payments, zero-rated business credit cards, and not allowed to make big payments.

How to avoid them?

You can prevent this by taking prompt actions or keeping your standing scores in check.

Closing non-functional Accounts

You might feel disposing of your old-fashioned sneaker is the right way to get rid of old things. It is because you will not be using them in the future. However, this is not the case when it is about your credit cards. That means, if you cancel your old credit cards, you might lower your financial standing scores. It is because those cards might have a good financial standing history. But when you decide to do away with those credit cards, all good financial standing history that contributed to your existing scores is automatically removed.

How to avoid it?

Retaining your old credit cards or keeping those accounts open, you can save your good payment history. Even if you are not using a credit card, don’t close it as it could affect your business financial standing scores.

Late Payments

Keep in mind that your timely payments are one of the major factors used to determine your financial standing scores. If you are a late payer or delay paying your bills, it affects your standing scores. Every time you make a late payment, it negatively impacts your standing scores. Even a single late payment denies your good financial status ratings and classifies you as a late payer.

How to avoid it?

It is obvious that how could you avoid this problem. You have to ensure that you make all your necessary business payments by either vendors or creditors on time. In case you miss out on a payment to the supplier for any reason, you may settle it through an agreement. Request the supplier to not report to the business financial agency and make up for the payment.

Max out Credit Cards

Maxing out a credit card is another vital mistake that many business owners do. Doing so raises the ratio of financial utilization. With a high credit ratio, you are always at a high risk of losing your credit rating. Many entrepreneurs believe that as long as they are paying off, the maxed-out amount on their business credit card will not affect the credit rating; which is not the case. No matter if you pay off the credit amount, it will have an impact on your credit scores. Credit bureaus interpret high utilization of ratio differently.

How to avoid it?

Financial agencies generally expect users to use only 30% of their credit limit. When this credit limit is surpassed, it indicates that your business is facing financial trouble. One way to avoid this is to use your debit card occasionally to make payments. This will keep your financial standing utilization ratio low.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, using business credit smartly is essential to improve your credit scores. And good credit scores translate into several financial benefits that may help you strengthen both your business investments and revenues. It presents you as a reliable candidate in front of banks and lenders.

Thus, avoiding the mistakes mentioned above is of paramount importance if you don’t want your business credit scores to be damaged. Think of alternative ways and solutions that can help you avoid these costly mistakes.

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Smart Reasons to Use Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards

Whether you’re a startup or you run an established brand, a business credit card is essential for the financial well being. A business credit card is much more than a way to pay for your business purchases. It is a convenient mode for entrepreneurs to increase their company’s power. Not only does it enable access to revolving credit lines but also provide a range of lucrative rewards, fraud protection, and most importantly, smooth out the cash flow.

A business credit survey from Federal Reserve showed that nearly 52 percent of companies that have at least 50 employees use business credit cards for several purposes. With a set credit limit, the business owners make purchases, transact money, and withdraw cash. Many businesses use credit card although, like a regular consumer card, they carry an interest charge if the entrepreneurs don’t repay the balance in the billing cycle.

Despite a high-interest rate, using business credit cards is considered beneficial when it comes to making smart purchases. Here are some reasons why purchasing on your business credit card is more savvy and advantageous in the long run.

Why You Should Use Business Credit Cards

1. Brings You Travel Rewards

You may have seen many entrepreneurs putting marketing ad from Google and Facebook on their business bank cards. They use it for the monthly payments. The trick is tremendously advantageous for gaining an extra thirty days of cash flow at zero cost.  Plus, it is an easy way to scale their business quickly. 

To put it simply, the travel mile strategy with business travel credit card offers a plethora of lucrative rewards. However, to make the most of this strategy, you need to choose your business bank card wisely. That means if you typically fly from a specific airline, consider using the co-branded credit card of that airline.

 The idea is great to receive a variety of traveling perks that may include easy airline status, priority boarding, and checked bags at no cost. Choose a business bank card that comes with flexible travel rewards that you can use with more than one provider.

2. Better Reward Protection

If you have ever tried to use your business credit card to deal with outside or international vendors, you must know that it is critical to pay them through the plastic. In other words, making foreign transactions with business credit card protects entrepreneurs to dispute the payments or save their cash on hand.  The fraud protection strategy of business credit cards provides great fraud protection. The federal law doesn’t put fraudulent charges more than $50 on the cardholders. Many card issuers offer 0 percent liability.  It is worth noting that this offer is not the same when you use a business debit card as per federal law. So using a business credit card is a better and smarter choice.

3. You can Finance large Business Purchases

One of the significant benefits of using a business credit card is that the entrepreneur can leverage its equity to purchase things that help their business to grow. It is because come with a strong financing strategy, you can finance large or small purchases inexpensively. Use your business credit card with a relatively low-rate balance transfer or low introductory rate.

Also, remember that even you use a credit card that comes with a 16 to 20 percent interest rate is a cheaper option than other financing options for your business. They may carry hidden high rates.

4. Insurance Coverage

You might not have heard about that you can save on rental car or travel insurance by paying through business credit card. The travel saving insurance makes an excellent offer for traveling enthusiasts. Several business credit cards come with collision damage coverage when a customer rents a vehicle. This primary coverage means you don’t need to file claims for your auto insurers first. Some banks offer secondary coverage that provides many benefits if auto insurance does not cover the amount of damage or loss.

5. Help You Fund Your Startups

Business credit cards, without a doubt, offer multiple benefits if you’re a startup. As mentioned earlier, many small business owners spend hundreds of dollars to run online ads and make payments with their business credit cards. Using that for payments adds many reward points or perks may help business owner pay for other expenses and purchases.

The startup financing strategy of business credit cards often relies on the personal credit card scores or history; especially when issuers evaluate applications. That means these business credit cards offer you a financing option for your new businesses if accessing other finance forums is difficult for you. Additionally, you can use other sources than just business revenues to meet the income requirements of banks.

6. Save Money on Expenses

Cashback strategy includes in some of the popular rewards that any business or brand can use.  Your card can have flat cash reward on all your purchases. Also, you can have large cash back rewards for some specific categories of your spending.

Cards that come with a high reward may charge you higher fees. However, the best way to maximize cash back is to use multiple cards. Know that if you analyze your spending carefully, you will be able to determine and understand which business credit card is best for you.

7. Provide Excellent Employee Perks

Many smart entrepreneurs accumulate their cash back rewards of the year and use them for annual celebrations and bonuses. Others share travel perks and miles with competent employees. Thus, making purchases or using a reward that benefits in-house or even remote employees is an excellent idea.  This is undeniably a smart strategy to positively impact on employees’ productivity and satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

To crown it all, using business bank cards for purchases, payments, and rewards is an easy way to keep the business cash flow running. Thus, the given reasons are advantageous for using business credit cards smartly.

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Get Matched with a Credit Card!

Steps to Get Credit report for Free

A credit report is typically a financial report. If you have ever used a credit card or requested a loan, your bank evaluates credentials through your credit report. From the number of credit cards you’ve used in past, payment details, money that you owe on cards to the loans you’ve taken, a credit report lists them all.

All these factors make your credit card score, which is a three -digit number that indicates how risky of a borrower you are. That means if your borrowers’ grade point average is low, you might face difficulties in applying for new credit cards and loans. It is important to note that your credit report is thoroughly evaluated when you apply for a new loan or credit card.

That is why checking your credit report is of paramount importance multiple times a year to make sure that its information is correct. However, you must not pay to get a credit report.  If a lender or website is charging you money or asking your personal information for a credit report, do not fall for this fraud.

It is because you can easily get your credit report without spending a penny thrice a year. You can submit your direct request to AnnualCreditReport.com, or you can receive it from credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

 Let’s see what steps you can follow to get credit report for free;

Steps to Get Your Credit Report for Free

1.     Select a Credible Source

While sources like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma allow you to see credit scores at anytime, you cannot access your credit report more than three times a year. You can only check once when major credit card bureaus send you. This is what makes picking an appropriate source an important step to get a free credit report.

2.     Call 1-877-322-8228 or Submit Request at AnnualCreditReport.com

To receive a free credit report, you can submit a request through AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, you can call on the verified number 1-877-322-8228. Remember that if any other source claims to provide a credit report and ask you to exchange personal information, it is a fraud.

Moreover, requesting a credit report will not negatively affect your credit history or credit, but you are limited to receiving three reports a year as per federal laws.

3.     Fill an Online Credit Report

If you want your credit report through a website, you need to fill out a submission form. Regardless of how many forms you want (one to three), submitting the form for the allotted report is necessary.  You will have to fill out some basic information in the form such as your name, your current residential address, and social security number.

4.     Decide Number of Credit Reports You intend to Review

You need to select the credit bureau you want credit report from. Pick Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, or all three major credit bureaus. These bureaus have all your credit-card histories and information that they get from creditors.  However, not all three of them contain the same information. This is where you need to choose the right credit bureau as this may lead to variation in your credit history information each bureau has recorded.

The best practice is to review all three credit reports to different point in time. Setting reminder to send a request for your credit report will help your view each report individually. However, if you are planning to make a big purchase such as buying a house or car that requires you to check credit, you can request all credit reports at once. This way, you can review all three of them for identity theft and accuracy.

5.     Respond to Security Questions

Before you receive your credit report, bureaus ask some security questions to assess your credibility or verify identity. The information in the questions is based on your credit report and is often tricky. You are given only five minutes to complete the answers.

 If you want to request all three reports from different bureaus, you have to answers the questions for each bureau.

6.     Submit a Request to Review Credit report

Once all the steps mentioned above are complete, the credit card bureau website will generate your report within minutes. If the report is requested via phone, the bureau will send it by mail that may take 15 to 20 days.

Your credit report has five sections:

  • Personal Information: the section comprises your name, addresses, date of birth, and contact details.
  • Accounts: the section incorporates the entire history of your different credit lines you have had, account status, current balance, and account opening date, minimum payment, credit limit, and highest balance.
  • Public Records:   the section lists your legal matters related to bankruptcy, tax lien, etc.
  • Hard Inquiries: your applications for new loans and credit cards (in the previous two years) will appear in this section.
  • Soft Inquiries:  if any insurance company, credit-card lender, employer, or lender has made an inquiry for your credit card, this section will show them.

7.     File a Dispute in Case of Any Discrepancy

This is one of the most important steps that hold the main purpose of getting a credit report. Once you receive your credit report for free, inspect it for correct payment details, balance, dates, etc. if you find any discrepancy in the information, or you find the details entirely unrecognizable, and then file a dispute. You can do it online or call the credit bureau helpline.

It is important to know that you only get credit report for free from credit bureaus, but you have to pay for identity-monitoring services.  It is because credit bureaus have unlimited email alerts, and credit reports if a fraudulent application for credit on your ID or name.

Final Thoughts

Overall, requesting a credit report doesn’t only help you determine your payment history but in several other matters. They are immensely helpful when it comes to managing your credit balances and applying for new loans. Thus, the given steps will help you get a credit report for free.

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Ideal Approaches to Achieve Business Growth

Business GrowthThe business world is always adapting to changing consumer behavior and varying needs. Competition is growing, consumers are becoming ever-demanding, and more brands are entering the market.

To stay a float, it’s necessary that small businesses achieve more growth this year by employing the right strategies. This means that your ultimate goals should include having a bigger base of loyal customers. Higher rates of customer acquisition, and a productive marketing strategy.

Here are some great approaches to help you achieve business growth.

Set Key Performance Indicators

Start measuring performance via objectively measurable indicators. Whether you’re trying to assess your employees’ performance, marketing campaign, or customer satisfaction, KPIs can take you a long way. It takes the guesswork out of the equation.

It’ll help you measure how close you’re getting to achieving business goals. Another benefit of introducing KPIs to your organization is that you can report them to project shareholders conveniently.

Improve Customer Service

Customers need attention and if you don’t provide it, they’ll find a brand that does. Research proves that customers are growing impatient and frustrated when a brand’s customer service fails to meet the mark.

This year, you need to step up and improve your customer service by implementing live chat systems, updating FAQ pages on your websites, and responding to feedback with customized replies.

Nowadays, consumers prefer to do their own research at their convenience, rather than having to call a customer care rep during normal hours, when they’re busy too. This means that they’ll look up your website, and if they have any queries, the FAQ page is the first place they’ll look. To stay ahead of the competition, upgrade your customer service strategy.

Make User Experience a High Priority

UX is becoming a critical aspect of branding, now that a business’ role is no longer limited to just selling; consumers want to know everything about you. No matter how amazing your product or services are, they aren’t the only things that determine how a customer experiences your brand.

Now, they evaluate everything; whether your website is easily accessible if your customer care representatives respond quickly enough, and if your app is user-friendly. To ensure your customers get the best user experience, you’ll need to optimize your landing page, make your website easy to navigate through, and allow your audience to reach out conveniently. Once you hit the mark with all these aspects, that’s when consumers will start considering your products.

Enhance Your Content and Marketing Strategy

They say ‘Content is king’, but is your strategy up to the mark? Now, businesses don’t just sell services and commodities, and they’re generous with information and content. Consumers love to read about products and your specialty, so rely on your expertise to create engaging content that consumers will love reading.

Sharing knowledge only shows how your brand has the skills to cater to their needs, so it’s beneficial in the long term. Content is a part of your ongoing marketing strategy, and thanks to different social media platforms, you can be more flexible with the kind of content you create.

Develop Collaborations and Partnerships

Partnering with other brands can give you a boost, especially if it’s a company that can complement your services and products. By releasing special edition products, ranges, and combinations, you grasp the audience’s attention and induce the urgency to shop and spend money.

However, your collaborations shouldn’t be limited to releasing new products; you should also make sure to affiliate with influencers to market your brand in a transparent and consumer-friendly way.

Influencers are established experts in the niche, so having them on your side can increase customer engagement.

Take a Risk and Try Expanding

Although it isn’t necessary that your business expands over time, it’s always beneficial to venture beyond your range and enter a different domain. Taking risks is always a part of running a business, so you might as well expand your range of expertise while you’re at it.

If you’re a retail brand, consider releasing your own line of makeup, home decor, or artsy products. All ideas have their own unique charm, but it’s best that you listen to your customers first.

Start by experimenting with a pilot test and analyzing how your audience responds to new products. Based on pilot tests, you’ll know whether a potential business venture will turn out to be profitable or not.

Talk Data

Data analytics are changing the business perspective from a blur to a crystal-clear view. Now, it’s much easier to understand consumer spending habits and trends that are garnering the most attention. Relying on big data to help you make well-informed decisions and investments is no longer just a great option, it’s a necessity.

Deriving trends from numbers and statistics used to be a tiring and cumbersome task, but with the help of analytics and AI, you can get insights far more quickly.

Not to mention, they’ll also be accurate, when compared to insights derived by humans. The best part? Machine learning means that your analytics software will only keep getting better at what it does, so you won’t have an excuse to make a fluke.

Try Drop Shipping Services

Drop shipping is the newest trend for e-commerce websites when it comes to delivering merchandise to their customers. It gives you the benefit of not having to hold onto any stock; any order that your customer makes goes directly from a drop shipper to them.

The product will be complete with your brand’s label and name tag, so it won’t lack customization. In addition, it offers your brand greater flexibility to operate from anywhere.

Conclusion

Some of the best ways that your business can achieve growth by focusing on customer service, marketing, collaborations, and making an impression. While it’s necessary to take one step at a time, you need to be more productive in order to satisfy a demanding audience that is always waiting for something new.

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender, or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

3 Smart Ways to Expand Your Customer Base in 21  Days

 

What is Customer base?

A customer base is considered to be the group of customer who always comes back to buy more product or service provided by any business. It is better to understand your target audience or customers each product or service made or supplied by the business is aimed at the customer base as they are the hopes of revenue generation for future endeavors.

It’s important to understand that it is far more cost-efficient and easier way to retain a customer than to gain new customers as acquiring new customers can sometimes mean an entirely new marketing strategy to be developed and adopted by the whole business, which can add to the expense. Hence, a very dynamic approach must be used to maximize sales, i.e. keep old customers and make new customers.

More two-way communication instead of just one-way communication

Customer must be treated as an asset and their feelings and suggestions towards the product must be taken into account to make it into an even more accessible and easy to use in a better way. As it is expected the old retaining customers can help bring new customers. Retained customers will feel a lot more involved with the company thus pushing their undying loyalty towards an increment.

Customer’s suggestion has helped many companies make slight changes to their product which can even help them set a USP (Unique Selling Point) as they might discover a loophole no one else might have. Some companies stopped themselves from failing miserably just by focusing on what the customer wanted, rather than what the company wanted to make. This has even led some companies that make shampoos to turn into making other products like face wash due to their customer base demand.

Maintain good after sales service and support for the customers

An effective calls support system helps the company outshine other companies. Some companies may have the most innovated product but due to some technical, usability issues and confusions have led to their termination.

A customer will always choose and trust a place that has provided all the necessary information online. Hence, It is critically important to keep fresh new content on the website with all the necessary FAQ already answered with instructions if any.

An even better option is to provide each individual as to their status of their purchased good e.g. if it is processing or has been completed and the product must be on the way with an exact date and time of receiving. This helps the company gain a little trust and patience as they could now see their purchase status. This also helps the customer support team to deal with real customers real problems that are technical.

Promote business through social media and always keep on updating fresh content

Another very innovative technique is to use bloggers on Google and vloggers on YouTube and Facebook and sponsor them to advertise your product for 10-15 seconds with very specific instructions as to what they have to say and a short how to use film. This helps reach a very vast audience with very low cost.  It is not necessary that a product that failed in the USA for technical reasons will also fail in India.

Snapchat is a very useful tool for businesses to get their product out there in the eyes of a wider audience. Snapchat helps these businesses show off different things like how their product is different, the background, production, usability and the office environment showing smiles giving the customer a sense of hard work with more smiles than sweat.

Some companies have even changed their logos and outer appearance for a better impact on the customer. By using brighter colors and short, attractive slogans can help achieve newer customers. Most small start-ups are using YouTube vloggers to introduce their product and even sometimes make them their product activist. This is a much efficient and cost-saving way than using TV advertisements which is very costly.

Some companies have even resorted to no TV advertisements but somewhat social media, e.g. Snapchat, Instagram to promote their products, e.g. Lamborghini Automotive. Newer car companies are also making their own YouTube channels to improve and show off their concept cars and newer models, e.g. Tesla, Koenigsegg .etc.

Other quick adjustments to attract new customers

Another very well known way to gain new customers is to partner up with another company that has already either been in business, is new with innovation or has a considerable following. This allows for the companies to benefit mutually from the partnership either for long-term or temporary. This has been done throughout history and is not a new idea.

It is also very imperative to know your target audience. This will help you target a specific group who will be your customer people from outside your target demographic will be a surplus. This helps the company stick with one line of action as a strategy. This will affect the way you package, color and show the overall aura of your brand, e.g.

Kids will not a buy juice box that is black and white hence, juice packaging that is aimed at kids is mostly bright in color as it catches the attention of the viewer’s eye. Similarly, if you are making extremely sweet nitrogen Ice cream, the primary customers will not cross the age of 35 or 40 at most. Similarly, Ferrari was aimed at young millionaires hence it is spaced and colored accordingly however on the other hand rolls Royce is aimed at much older gentlemen who are now retired. Therefore, it speaks luxury signifying that they made it.

 

Access our network of Angel Investors, Venture Capital or get instantly matched with a Lender. Create a crowd funding campaign or get a business plan by visiting us Funded.com

 

Cutting Costs without Reducing Your Team Is Indeed Possible

One of the things that many businesses around the world are notorious for is layoffs of their workers when they have to cut costs. It appears as though the least required asset for these companies is their workers. As brutal as it may sound, many businesses reduce their team sizes to reduce their costs every day. It is quite surprising because there are in fact dozens of different ways for businesses, especially small ones, to cut their costs without sending their employees home. Not to mention, small businesses aren’t in the best position to terminate their employees when they are already struggling with growth and expansion.

Let us first look at the circumstances and reasons why small businesses resort to firing their employees and terminating their contracts.

Reasons Why Businesses Terminate Their Employees

·         Your Employee’s Performance is below Requirements

The biggest and probably the most valid reason for firing an employee is when they are not able to perform according to the set targets. Despite this being a valid reason, you should always follow the complete procedure and let go of your employee most ethically and professionally possible. Tell them that they also have the right to quit a company when a company does not pay them as promised and vice versa.

·         Your Employee Isn’t Honest

You have noticed that your employee is not honest. They try to spend time doing nothing behind your back and are interested in things that they should not be concerned with. It is a risk to have such a worker working at the company.

·         Your Employee Is Having a Hard Time Assimilating

One of the reasons why many employees are not able to give their best is because they can’t fit in the culture of your workplace. It’s either their religious, personal or moral beliefs that don’t let them feel being a part of the team.

·         Your Employee Doesn’t Care

Believe it or not, some employees don’t care about the rules and regulations of your workplace and being at a professional place. They bully people around them, try to act pretentious, are not punctual and do not pay any attention to the dress code policy.

·         Your Employees Cost You Too Much

This is quite an oxymoronic situation where the people who bring you business are the ones costing you money. Sometimes, companies become financially weak, and the only way they have to reduce their costs is firing employees. This helps them save money on employee compensation, bonuses, and incentives.

Is Employee Termination the Only Way to Cut Costs?

Not at all! There are many other ways for companies to reduce their costs without letting go of their employees. Here are some.

·         Negotiations with Vendors and Suppliers

You can look into your current list of suppliers and vendors and look for opportunities to reduce costs. You have to realize that there are group purchasing organizations developed specifically for this purpose. Furthermore, there are online search engines designed specifically for businesses where you can find other businesses that can help you reduce your costs.

·         Buy in Bulk

One simple way to reduce your costs is to purchase in bulk. Whether you are buying products or subscribing to software or online platform services, bulk purchases will always help you reduce your costs. As a business, you are subscribed to dozens of different online services and buy various items on a monthly or weekly basis. Buy them for several months or a complete year to save your costs.

·         Reduce Lavish Expenses for Now

It is amazing that businesses offer their employees with refreshments, coffee, and teas for free, but there is a time when you can do this with ease. Until and unless you have reached a point where affording such luxuries do not bother you at all, do not introduce them.

·         Invest in the Right Technology

Whether you are buying an electric generator for your office, bulbs and lights, ceiling fans, air conditioning units or machinery, you must invest in latest and energy-efficient technology.

·         Market Wisely

Marketing can suck a lot of your capital out of business depending on the type of marketing you are doing. However, it will be rewarding for you if you use analytical data to narrow down only the marketing campaigns that are lucrative for your business. Spend on them and keep away from spending on marketing efforts that have not yielded any good results.

Similarly, you can find many other ways to reduce your costs without sending your employees home.

Risks Associated with Firing Your Employees

While firing your employees should be the last thing on your list of methods to cut costs, you must also know the many risks that come with employee termination. Here are a few.

·         Sharing of Company Secrets with Competitors

When employees are not happy with your decision of firing them, they may not care about what action you can take against them. They may go for interviews with your competitors and share your trade secrets. This can be a big set-back for you if your competitor decides to take advantage of the situation.

·         Lawsuits

When employees believe they have been fired based on unreasonable grounds, they may try to take you to court. If any wrongful termination is proved, it can be expensive for your company. Always be sure to complete the procedure of termination or make sure the termination is justified.

·         Attack on Brand Image through Social Media

Today, people have a voice, and some people are ready to listen to their voice. Social networking platforms are great places for employees to discredit your brand and slander your image if they believe they were terminated by you wrongfully.

·         Bad Performance of Existing Employees

It does not matter how much you care about your employees. They may have a stronger connection among themselves than they have with you. Therefore, when you terminate an employee and cause some dissention among the ranks.

So, it is highly recommended that you consider the many other ways of cutting costs for your small business before choosing to terminate your employees.

 

More detailed information and useful advice can be found at Funded.com. If you need to access our network of angel investors or a business plan for start-up funding visit  Funded.com

Guidelines For Successful Postings

Guidelines For Successful Postings

Rules and Guidelines For Successful Postings

Posting your Funding request is essential part of raising capital as creating your Business Plan. In order for you to get the funding you should be able to catch the eyes of the investors. Here are some tips you can follow to attract Investors and funding providers.

Title. Make your title attractive this is the first section our investors will see. Include the title of your business or invention. Make it enticing and give them something they want to hear and continue reading to your letter.

Posting. Write a short summary of your Business idea or Invention that will catch investor’s attention. Make it 2 to 3 paragraph short and make it concise and simple. Avoid too much information and do not copy and paste your Executive Summary. Your posting is not to be confused with a chat or blog. You are selling you and your business to investors and funding providers to raise capital and any posting that is not about your business is not allowed. Remember, concise and to-the-point.

Attach your Business Plan or Executive Summary. If you are looking for an Angel Investor or Venture Capital make sure you attach your Business Plan don’t wait for the investors to ask your Business Plan. Remember your Business Plan is the eye view of your business/invention.  If you don’t have a Business Plan yet at least upload an executive summary.  (You can use the Free Executive Summary template available upon creating your membership). This will give the investor the immediate reaction that you are serious in getting funds.

Private or Public posting. We have two ways of posting your request either public or private post. If you publically post be aware that everyone who not a member of funded.com will see your postings. While private posting only our registered investors and funding providers can see your funding request.

Avoid Personal Information. Even though we pre-screen funding providers, it is an ever increasingly large group and it is ultimately up to you to protect yourself from anyone saying who they are not and promptly reporting any concerns to us. Therefore we suggest not putting your email or telephone number on a public post. Private postings may not have the traffic like a public posting but is limited to our investor network that is viewing your funding request. Keep in mind that if there are investors that are interested in knowing your business venture they can always email you via funded.com and you will receive an email notification on your personal email if they replied on your posting.

Be patient for responses give some time to our investors to see your request. If you are not getting any responses try to re-write or revised your posting. You may also call us and we can look at your posting and give you tips for success.  Try to be more creative and remember you want to create interest in your business or idea and sometime it takes time for investors and funding providers to notice you, especially the right one that will fund you.