Creating A Positive Reputation For Your Business Startup

ReputationThe reputation of your business startup is an important factor to the success of your company. For most businesses that are starting out, it is the lack of a reputation that is troublesome. Creating a positive reputation from the get-go is the first step in being a recognizable brand that connects with customers. By focusing on your reputation early on, you can ensure your business startup resonates with consumers as well as with angel investors as you look to get off the ground.

Create A Strong First Impression

Start with creating a good first impression. While this goes without saying when you meet with anyone you do business with, it also extends to the appearance of your company. From your product packaging to your office location, everything needs to be pristine and show customers and clients that you are a serious business owner that cares about your company. Your reputation starts from within, and you need to make sure you look the part before you can expect customers to identify with your brand. Give your business startup the recognition it deserves and tidy up its appearance inside and out. When you look good, you feel good, and others will take notice.

Rely On Word-Of-Mouth

One of the single biggest ways that your business startup can expand and grow its reputation is through word-of-mouth. Uber is a prime example of using this strategy as the come used this technique to increase its recognition with customers. In the very beginning of its startup,it appealed to Silicon Valley techs that it knew would recommend them to others. The strategy paid off, and the company grew in monumental proportions.

Using word-of-mouth to spread the reputation of your business can be advantageous as you look to build your brand. Positive remarks about your company can ensure you reach the masses and help your business startup grow in popularity among consumers.

Empower Your Employees

Your employees are your biggest assets, and they can go a long way in supporting the reputation of your company. Encourage your employees to sing the praises of your business and the products and services you offer. If they like what they sell, they are more likely to tell a friend, family member or neighbor. This adds to your overall reputation as most consumers rely on others to help them with their buying decisions.

Also, be sure your employees are symbols of your business startup and a reflection of your values. As your staff interacts with customers, they can portray the brand of the company and help to bolster your business reputation. Good customer service is a mark of a solid reputation that can help you be a favorite brand of consumers far and wide.

Use Your Website As A Weapon

You literally have a few seconds to garner the attention of a customer on your website. Use this time wisely and be sure to make your message effective. Make your site as appealing as possible and ensure it is a reflection of your values and vision. Your customers should easily be able to tell what type of business you are and what you stand for in the mere seconds they are on your site. If you can grab their attention early, they will stay on your site and come back often to see what’s new and buy from you in the process.

Keep in mind that your customers are savvy and they use mobile devices daily. Your website should be optimized to work with these devices so that a client can purchase from you immediately on the go. Being known as a business startup that is easy to buy from will give you a strong reputation and increase the potential customers that purchase from you on a regular basis.

Realize The Power Of Networking

There is a power factor to networking, and you need to take advantage of it. The more influential people you can associate and align yourself with, the higher your brand will soar. Having power figures support your business startup, and the products and services you carry can help you become more recognizable with consumers as their opinion matters to consumers and gives value to your brand.

You can easily accomplish this by introducing yourself to professionals wherever you go. Try attending networking events and reach out to executives at likeminded companies to strategize. Take advantage of the opportunities before you and be proactive in your approach to learning and meeting someone new.

Make Your Presence Count

You are the ultimate ambassador for your business. You need to ensure that you represent your business startup in a positive light and tout its existence to everyone and anyone. Your brand needs to become recognizable to consumers, and the only way to do that is through promotion. You need to sing the praises of your business startup and not be afraid to share the secret that your company holds. Reach out and grab the spotlight. Take the mic and let your voice be heard.

There is no fear in showing value in your business startup early on if you have a strong vision and values to back it up. You need to show your company appeal and build your positive reputation early on using every tool available to you, which means you are the speaker box for that message. Don’t be afraid to boast about your products and services, you never know who is listening, and you just might gain a loyal customer in the process.

By focusing on your business reputation at the very beginning of the formation of your company, you can easily create a brand that consumers relate to and want to buy from. Your products will become recognizable on the shelves, and your services will be sought after by the masses. Concentrate on using the variety of approaches that are available to you to build your brand and create that positive reputation that your business startup will be known for now and into the future.

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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.

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Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing for Business

Social Media

In the last decade, social media grew exponentially from being a digital channel for interacting with others into a powerful digital marketing tool for businesses.

With over 3.5 billion daily active social media users, there’s really no limit to how far you can go with it. Just imagine how many of them can eventually become your customers!

But, as you jump on the bandwagon of Social Media Marketing (SMM), you have to properly plan and assess the impact and effectiveness of SMM for your brand. This is because, just like with most things, there are two sides to the coin of social media marketing.

If done efficiently, one side promises success, while the other side can be detrimental to your business. While on the one hand, there are businesses who owe a great percentage of their success to social media, there have also been brand disasters, thanks (but, no thanks) to social media. So, in this post, we’ll be discussing some of the Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing to enable you make informed decisions that will set the pace for profitable digital marketing. Let’s Dive in!

The Pros of Social Media Marketing

Business owners and marketers are going gaga over social media these days. Well, you can’t really blame them. Social Media Marketing comes with a lot of perks, and let’s talk about some of these:

Low-Cost Strategy

Compared to other marketing tactics, social media is significantly low cost, and this makes it very appealing. The most popular social media platforms are available to join for free, and all interaction tools are also free.

However, to get the most out of social media, some businesses are investing full time in SMM strategies such as content generation, digital design, page setups, influencers, and maintenance. On average, all these cost between $4000 to $7000 monthly.

But do you know what? This is relatively more cost-effective than the average of 11.1% of revenues spent on traditional marketing. SMM gives you excellent ROI for less financial investment!

Larger Audiences

Do you want to gain traction in your industry? If Yes, then social media is a powerful tool to use in achieving this. And this is one of the main benefits SMM has over traditional marketing.

While traditional media marketing only caters to fixed audiences (TV viewers, magazine readers, etc.), SMM allows you to reach out to a global audience that is unlimited in reach and scope.

Social Media is an open marketplace. With SMM, you are reaching out to a market space filled with both your existing and potential buyers who need a little push from you to decide whether or not to buy from you.

No Demographic Restriction

What’s more, social media marketing is not restricted by demographics such as sex, social status, and age. Current statistics show that 90.4% of millennials, 77.5% Gen-Z, and 48.2 baby boomers are active social media users.

So, you can have a big market for the age group you are targeting for your products and services. It’s even more impressive that SMM can pass your targeted demographic market and pave new channels for leads generation and sales.

Go International

Before we move on to the next advantage, we should also mention that SMM helps businesses that are struggling to get into the international market.

Thanks to the vast worldwide reach of social media, it becomes effortless for you to reach new potentials outside your suburb, city, or country. Facebook, in particular, has over 89% monthly active users who live outside the US. The audience potential of SMM is huge!

Brand Loyalty

It’s one thing to have customers, and it’s another thing to have a group of returning customers who are fans of your brand. This should be your goal, and social media can help you achieve this.

How?

Well, with social media, you can demonstrate your personality to customers and also tell your brand story. It helps you interact with customers, build relationships, show them that you care, and boost your reputation. This will, in turn, foster long-term loyalty.

Reports from Social Media Today show that;

  • Almost 70% of consumers have used social media for customer service-related issues at least once
  • Customers spend 20% to 40% more with companies that respond through social media

Market place Insights

Another plus of listening and engaging with customers in online conversations is that it will help you find out more about their problems, preferences, needs, likes, and dislikes.

These insights are crucial to the success of any business. They give you information on areas to improve turnouts and get ahead of your competitors.

The Cons of Social Media Marketing

For all the advantages of social media, it is not 100% perfect. There are some cons to Marketing that can lead to undesirable impacts on your brand.

Time Consuming

If you’re already into SMM, then you’d agree how much time it consumes. According to industry reports, 64% of digital marketers spend a minimum of 6 hours on Social Media Marketing.

And that’s not even the worse of it. The other 37% spend an average of 11 hours on SMM. Most business owners who want to get tangible results from their SMM efforts find this time-consuming.

Even more frustrating, if your time spent on SMM isn’t done correctly, it will lead to zero results or traffic that don’t convert into leads or sales.

Hard to Measure ROI

It is hard to define the ROI from social network marketing. A recent study indicates that 89% of digital marketers would want to know the exact ROI of their efforts on social network platforms.

Only 37% have a handle on defining the results of their SMM efforts; 35% say they aren’t sure they are correctly measuring ROI; 28% say they don’t know how to measure at all.

What’s more, it can take a long time – months, or even years before your SMM efforts start yielding sales and customer loyalty.

Loss of Control

The worldwide reach of social network means it attracts all kinds of users, including negative and malicious persons. Anything you post online is subject to comments and criticism. Providing a medium for people to publish damaging comments about your brand is literally the stuff of nightmares.

We should also mention that these negative people include scammers, spammers, trolls, hackers, and all other sorts who want to harm your online credibility.

Bottomline

From all the salient points we have discussed above, we can see that marketing really does deliver favorable results for your business.

In fact, consumers expect all brands to have a social network presence – as much as 63% of them. And 90% of social network users communicate with a brand using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

So, it is crucial for you to up your game and remain conscious of sticking to the best practices. This will allow you to get the most out of Social Media Marketing.

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What Is Factoring and Why You Should Consider It for Steady Cash Flow

flow

Whether you are running a mid-sized company or a startup, your company requires working capital with fast financing and flexibility. Factoring companies, in this regard, provide you this needed cash flow. A factoring company typically takes on waiting for burden for accounts to receive invoice payments. In return, it provides businesses and companies with timely advance cash.

There is no denying this receivable financing method is not only flexible but and also a smart financing alternative as compared to conventional business loans. Businesses need factoring when their account receivable invoices are essentially put up for sale at a discount to a factoring company. Banks, on the other hand, require businesses to go through a burdensome and long approval process to apply for a loan. Not only this, bank loan bears interest at the current market rate and often results in heavy business debt.

Reputable factoring companies, however, start your approval within twenty-four hours and can give you the funds on the same day. This duration can be of ten days, if you are a new client. Factoring doesn’t subject your business to any volatile interest rate. This means factoring financing is a great way to avoid debt on your business or company’s book.

Factoring financing is a long-term solution for business when it comes to enumerating its benefits. However, to make the most of this finance alternative, it’s important that you have sufficient knowledge of factoring. To clear the mist, here we list some potential benefits of factoring to help you understand why you should incorporate it in your business for steady cash flow.

Before plunging into the discussion of factoring benefits, let’s understand what factoring is.

What is Financial Factoring?

In financial terminology, Factoring refers to an invoice discounting and it is used as a financing tool for businesses, particularly for startups. When a business sells goods or services to its customers, it typically offers various payment terms instead of cash at sales time. Although there are a plethora of reasons why businesses practice this, developing a long-term relationship and increasing sales are the most important. In this kind of transaction, businesses usually get accounts receivable, which they hold on their books until customers clear the debt.

Businesses Can Benefit From Long-Term Factoring

If your business faces the following scenarios, invoice factoring can be really beneficial:

  • Volatile and unstable cash flow
  • Seasonal sales
  • Long duration sales cycle
  • Business needs funding to maintain production and substantial inventory
  • Delayed payments, such as corporate buyers and government agencies

How a Factoring Company Helps Business

A factoring company deals with invoice financing, particularly for startup and medium-sized businesses that want a non-bankable working capital solution. A factoring company, typically, purchases invoices for your business from creditworthy clients. Once you do it with crediting invoices, the company advances your business with 90 percent of invoice amount within 24 hours. The remaining balance is cleared when your client settles the payment in full.

You can submit your invoices directly after the product delivery or work completion. One of the interesting features of the factoring company is it keeps your revenues inflow and causes no collection hassles or delays.

Why Your Business Should Consider Factoring for Steady Cash Flow

Fast Way to Raise Money

As mentioned earlier, factoring is an alternative financing solution for businesses looking for swift working capital. A factoring deal does not take more than 24 hours to process and complete. If your business is in need to expand its operations quickly, factoring is your go-to option. Unlike banks and other financial solutions that take a whole lot of time in applying, processing and sanctioning, invoice factoring is a fast way to raise money. In general, businesses do not have that much time when it is about making investment or processing payments.

An Easy Way of Reliable Cash flow

There is no doubt that the availability of manageable and consistent cash flow is significant for operating a successful business. This means if your business doesn’t have a reliable cash flow, it may struggle to meet its daily financial requirements. Financing factoring, in this regard, is an effective and easy financing option that can help you improve cash flow. By using financial factoring and its steady cash flow, your business can meet its daily cash needs. You can even use that money to grow your startup into an established and successful company.

Growth and Expansion

Continuing from the last point, businesses in the growth and expansion phase require working capital. Whether your business needs to hire more employees or purchase new equipment, factoring can provide your growing business the working capital it needs. It may bring endless opportunities for your business to expand.

Maxed Out Your Business Lines of Credit

A state of maxed out credit line can bring your business cash flow to a halt. Even if your company has good credit, banks can limit the amount that you can legally obtain. This may be hazardous for your business growth. However, with invoice factoring, it is only your account receivable base size that can limit. For instance, you can obtain more working capital if your business makes new customers or signs new contracts.

A Way to Handle Slow-Paying Customers

Slow paying customers are something that businesses simply cannot avoid. Managing cash-flow becomes hard if customers take 40 to 90 days for paying the due amount. Even if you work with a Master Services Agreement (MSA), which is a payment term, there are customers who pay as per their convenience. Invoice factoring allows you to benefit from instant access to your due cash. All the due payments are received within 24 hours.

Final Thought

In a nutshell, financial factoring offers multiple benefits for companies in need to raise cash without any delays. Particularly, when a traditional bank loan is unattainable and your rapidly growing business needs to meet payroll, purchase material or cover its other operating outflows, factoring is undeniably one of the best ways you can solve all these problems.

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5Ps for Marketing your Home Business

Home

Running a home-based business comes with several benefits, among which include being your boss, choosing where to work from, and setting your hours. However, this does not mean it does not come with some challenges. You only experience success with a home business when you offer a quality product or service to a target market.

This might sound easy, but most often, business owners are ineffective and inconsistent in their marketing because they lack in-depth knowledge of the area. Having an understanding of how the five Ps work together and marketing mix will go a long way in helping you find your target market and enticing them to buy. The five Ps of marketing refers to Product, Price, Place, Promotion, and Place. If you want to understand and reach the target market for your home business.

The more you target and understand your consumers, the more effective the time and money you spend to reach them will be. Even more interesting, focusing on these 5Ps will give you an awareness of what is working and what is not when it comes to marketing your home business.

To help you achieve maximum results from your home business, we’ll explain these 5 Ps and how you can apply them to your home business.

Product

First P refers to the products and services you provide. You need to be able to tell your audience about what you’re trying to sell to them. Be clear and specific. What are the details of the service or the physical attributes of the product? Explain how the features and functions of your product or service positively affect your audience in specifics.

Even more, highlight what differentiates and sets what you provide apart from what your competitors offer. Develop the habit of considering your product as though you are an outside marketing consultant brought in to decide if it is the right business for the period. Ask crucial questions such as “Is your current offering or mix of products suitable and appropriate for the customers and market today?” Assessing your products and services honestly is extremely crucial to success as a home-based business owner.

Price

The second in the 5P formula pertains to what you charge for your product or service. Your pricing should be sufficient to cover the expenses you incur and also make a profit. But, it also has to fit in with what the market is willing to pay for.

To find a great pricing range, you should conduct thorough research to know what your competitors are charging. You want to make sure your prices are competitive, and that you are also not undervaluing your product.

Beyond these, you should also assess and keep assessing the prices of the products and services you offer to know if they are in tune with the current realities of the market. Sometimes, you might need to raise your prices. At other times, you might need to lower your prices. What’s more, you might even need to combine your offerings with special promotions and offers. You could even include free extra items that cost you very little and make your prices appear far more reasonable and attractive to your customers. Also, whenever you experience frustration with your pricing, be open to revisiting your prices.

Place

No matter how many consumers hear about your products or services, they won’t be able to buy if they don’t know how to find it. Where are your products and services are sold? How will you get your offerings to your clients and customers? For instance, do you distribute your products through an autoresponder system or are they digital goods sold online? Or do you utilize a third-party such as Amazon?

It is important to consider the buying habits of your consumers to know where your products should be sold. The key is reaching your potential customers where they like to spend time. Review the exact locations where your customer gets your products. Sometimes, what you need for a rapid increase in sales is a change of place. Besides, you can sell your product in various places. Many companies use a combination of direct selling, telemarketing, selling through mail order or catalog, selling in retail establishments or at trade shows, and selling as a joint venture with similar products.

Promotion

How does your target audience get to hear about your products and services? After figuring out the essentials, you have to figure out how you tell potential consumers and clients about your offerings, how you market and then sell to them. Know the best methods to promote your products and services. To do this successfully, you need to understand where your market can be found, such as print, social media, television, or radio. In your marketing messages, you can point out the problem your product or service solves.

However, you should always keep at the back of your mind that whatever marketing and sales method you are using today, they will stop working sooner or later. Sometimes you might be aware of why they stopped working, and at other times, you might not. Whichever way, you have to develop new marketing, advertising, sales offerings, approaches, and strategies.

People

Previously, we only had the four Ps of marketing, until this last factor was added. If you hire employees to help you with your home business, you have to be very selective about whom you choose. While the quality of your products or services will impact your sales, if your salesperson is rude, you will lose clients and customers. There is serious competition in the market today, and consumers have diverse choices. And they always opt for businesses that provide attentive, responsive, and quality customer service.

Bottomline

By employing the five 5Ps in your marketing strategy, you can effectively reach your target market with precise and clear messaging about your products and services. It would also help if you can put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to picture the steps they would take to locate a product or service like yours and the information they’ll require to finally buy from you. Time and money are precious commodities, and using these 5 Ps in your home business ensures that you don’t waste them on unproductive marketing approaches.

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A Successful Online Business – How to Start One

Online Business

When it comes to the topic of starting a new online business, most entrepreneurs think that trial and error is the way to go but this isn’t so.  A number of experienced business people can give you details as to what went right during their venture into the world of startups, and what went horribly wrong. Based on these assessments, there are certain combinations of practices that, if done right, can result in starting a successful business. Here’s what most online business owners swear by.

Analyzing the Market

Nowadays, the market is somewhat similar across the world so it doesn’t take much time for a certain need to go global. That’s why you’ll need to look into your market for shortages before you can think of a product and assess whether it has an unfulfilled demand in the market. Scour the internet to find answers to your questions.

Have a look at common online forums like Quora and Reddit for people’s questions about the availability of a certain service and product to solve a particular problem. Look for keywords that have a high number of queries but much fewer valuable results. This will be an indication of a market that doesn’t have enough solutions.

Of course, you will have a few competitors in the field so it’s best to examine their marketing strategies and products before you start working on your own versions. This will help you create something innovative that adds more value for the consumer.

Post Good Content

Are you worried about how you’ll convince customers through an online sales call? Here’s what you need to explain so they go through with the entire process, up until the final purchase.

  • Give headings that pique consumer interest
  • Address the problem that your brand can solve
  • Ensure your reliability by giving details of your experience and the people on your team
  • Provide testimonials of happy customers
  • Make a good offer
  • Provide them with a guarantee so they feel reassured
  • Make it a matter of urgency so they can’t refuse
  • Make the sale

While walking your customer through the website, make sure that you’re focusing on their need and how you’re helping them.

Deliver a Proper Website

For a business that operates solely online, a website serves as a headquarters and you sure as heck can’t compromise on the quality of yours. Take it from online selling pros, most retail brands keep their websites fairly simple; they know that they have less than 15 seconds to capture consumer attention, which means a smaller business like your has less than 10. So remember:

  • No funky colors or fonts; clear, dark fonts on white works well enough
  • Make it simple to navigate to and from pages
  • Grasp consumer attention on every page with interesting images and videos
  • Collect e-mail addresses from visiting traffic to give updates on sales
  • Shorten the number of clicks it takes to confirm a transaction; one to add card details and one to confirm
  • Optimize it for mobile devices

Search Engine Help

Operating a business online requires that you be on good terms with the search engines, especially reigning power, Google. Using a PPC (pay per click) scheme to advertise your new business is effective at drawing more traffic towards your website. This will work much quicker than waiting for organic traffic to trickle in.

Advertising through Google AdWords’ Network Display strategies gives the benefit of your brand’s banners being up within a matter of hours. Moreover, utilizing such a system offers the benefit of letting you test how effective other keywords are for driving more traffic.

Once you’ve determined which keywords work best, you can then incorporate them into your advertisements, social media posts and most importantly, your website. This will boost your rankings on SERPs.

Be a Leading Authority in Your Niche

Aside from being your source of income, the internet serves as the population’s largest source of authentic information in a hundred different forms. If you appeal to the people looking for information, and not just those who set out to make a purchase, you end up building traction among a larger group of people.

Hence, lure in information-seekers by giving your expertise-based articles on different websites. You can create other forms of content, such as videos, info graphics, and images that are sure to make an impact on readers who might end up making a purchase later on. On every informative piece, add the option for them to share it with their friends.

Be active on the very platforms where your target audience asks questions relating to your field, and answer them. After all, what’s more, appealing than a CEO who actively answers questions on the internet?

Leverage Email Marketing

When you give visiting traffic the option to submit their email addresses, you get a valuable list of potential customers who have opened the doors to their inboxes for you. Essentially, it indicates that they have developed an interest in your brand, are willing to form a long-term relationship with your brand.

Individuals who visit your website and leave their email address are basically giving you permission to contact them. They are potential customers and email marketing is the best way to follow up with leads.

Enhance Customer Loyalty

Customers look for value wherever they go and that’s what you need to offer. It’s quite possible that over a quarter of people who made a purchase from your website would be willing to do it again if you contact them again with a good deal.

The first sale you make is the most crucial but it’s also expensive. Hence, you’ll need to offer them related items that go well with their purchase and send redeemable coupons to ensure that they return. If you reward them with incentives to buy again, your customers are sure to be loyal to your brand.

Even though the online-world is faced paced and dynamic, it isn’t the case for markets and businesses that are operating through the internet. The basic aspects of starting a profitable online business are still the same as before.

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What’s ERP Software and Why Do You Need One?

ERP

With the rapid growth in technologies, the ERP software market may cross $41.69 billion in profit by 2020. The statistics are enough to demonstrate the impact of this technology on businesses. This figure is undeniably impressive and reflects how important it is for companies in the future. Incorporating ERP software is one-way marketers can give their brand a competitive edge.

If your startup is in the initial phases and you are looking for a technology to help you manage business functions, ERP software is ideal, and if you don’t, this article is worth reading.

What is ERP?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning system. Many organizations use this software package to manage business activities, including project management, procurement, accounting, distribution operations, and manufacturing. It helps in day-to-day business functions while centralizing them within an integrated system.

The software is more useful when managing supply chain activities or keeping a track record of the moving parts of distribution and manufacturing. The use of ERP software is not confined to these business domains. It is utilized by many different domains that include nonprofit groups, construction, healthcare, and hospitality. Companies requiring inventory, staff, and customer management can rely on this advanced software.

In addition, ERP software stores data in a single database that allows different sections to collaborate by using the same information. ERP can organize and analyze data in the form of reports. In short, ERP software is great for bringing together the following functions into a single system:

  • Human resources
  • Financial management
  • Customer management
  • Business intelligence
  • Inventory
  • Supply chain functions

Here are some more reasons why your business needs ERP software.

Why Your Business Needs ERP Software

You might be wondering how ERP software is different from other software that performs similar functions. Although ERP software has the same goals of managing business functions, it has several unique features that make it extremely distinctive from other software.

Saves Money

You may find it a surprising fact, but ERP software is a good investment in terms of flexible pricing and saving money. For small companies, the initial price may seem heavy, but once they start using it, the software can save a lot of money.

This means ERP software can significantly increase ROI. It is merely because the system unifies multiple systems that businesses often use in fragments. From accounts payable to product development, the staff can access the necessary tools using a single centralized system. The software efficiently helps save time by keeping employees from hunting down information across different systems.

Improves Collaboration

This ERP feature generally varies as it depends upon the program business is using, but it does have a substantial impact on collaboration in one way or another. As mentioned earlier, ERP works with a unique centralized database that provides the business a source to work in collaboration. Not only does it reduces the risk of errors caused by incorrect data, but it also minimizes costs.

Moreover, ERP software reduces during projects as team members can access whatever data they need. The information doesn’t require merging within sources or systems because data is carefully collected, stored, and shared through one system. To put it simply, employees do not have to worry about the accuracy, completion, and security of data files.

Helps in Better Analytics

Businesses need ERP software if they want to improve data analytics and statistical reporting. In this regard, ERP software is ideal as its store’s data as input and makes for an unparalleled business intelligence tool. If vendors provide good functionality, ERP can be a great help in generating fast and accurate reports. The efficient software makes report compilation (that used to take days) a matter of minutes.

Besides this, the option of a customizable dashboard enables executives to see the reports when they are uploaded onto the system. The reports include information related to expense statements and custom KPIs that has essential insights for specific functions. Report access is also beneficial when a company has to make a quick and better decision.

Improves Productivity

There is no comparison of software and traditional methods that make tedious tasks even more difficult. Employees used to invest hours for monitoring inventory, generating reports, processing orders, and timesheet tracking. These tasks were time-consuming and lowered the morale of employees, increasing the risk of errors.

ERP software solves all these problems as it can conveniently automate even the most tedious task. With its integrated database, ERP eliminates all the redundant and time taking tasks, like data entry. It improves productivity by allowing the system to do advanced calculations quickly. The automatic features free up employees and allow them to focus on other essential tasks to improve ROI. That means ERP software can increase business productivity, profitability, and efficiency.

Simplified Risk Management

ERP is must-have software if your business expands internationally to keep track of imposed regulations on the business. Even if the business is local, there is a plethora of human resources, information security, and environmental rules you need to consider.

The good news is that ERP considers these regulations so that businesses can maintain compliance. The software incorporates built-in auditing features to assist businesses with documenting tax provision and chemical use. This makes everything incredibly easy, from formulating reports to sending them to the pertinent governing authority. This feature makes ERP software a great tool to manage risk.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, ERP software is a panacea of all the hectic, tedious, and manual business functions. The advanced software is multifunctional and helps businesses improve functions, accuracy, reliability, and financial management. The integrated system can manage a wide range of business activities, from supply chain management and procurement to accounting and operations.

In other words, businesses cannot deny this all-in-one software’s functional significance to enhance their overall productivity.

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How to Avoid Financial Problems for Your Startup?

Startup

There is no denying that starting your own business in an established niche is exhilarating. However, at the same time, you cannot eliminate the risk factors involved. As a startup, you have to deal with a plethora of problems, with an endless stream of administrative tasks. Not only does it require a lot of your attention but also time and critical thinking to manage business finances.

When you launch a new business, you require sufficient capital to cover all the expenses, and also funds to run your business before it turns a profit. This reason is why it is important that you work with a proper financial plan that can ensure your leap into the business world that is secure and realistic. Once you are sure that your business has enough finances, you will be able to maximize the chances of success.

Here are some tips to help startups and entrepreneurs manage financial problems:

Tips to Avoid Financial Problems for Startups

Avoid Taking Expensive Credits

Whether you’re an established brand or thinking to set up a startup, you need to make optimal use of your business funds. You need to establish some financial goals that can help you build a progressive business portfolio to benefit your business.

Remember that it is the growing period of your business, and the credit cost plays an important role. Your foremost financial goal must be to set up interest core at a minimum price to attain profitability and reduce costs.

Keep Expenses Low

Business is in the survival stage in the initial phase, so keeping expenses fixed or low is a wise move. Expenses play a critical role in helping you maintain steady business revenue. 

Always try to plan large expense, including taxes, payrolls, and cost materials for products, interest, utilities, and operating expenses in advance. Managing these expenses may help you reduce the financial burden. Moreover, low expenses will ensure your cash flow is running smoothly, even on a tight budget.

Keep a Balance between Personal and Business Finances

This important step can help you avoid financial problems. Once you register your business, make sure you set up a commercial business account. To put it simply, use different banks for your business and personal accounts.

Keeping business and personal financial accounts separate can make accounting straightforward throughout the year. Also, you can easily calculate your taxes as well as eliminate the cash crunch situations startups face due to unexpected withdrawals. This also means you need to avoid withdrawing money for personal use from the business account.

You can use different credit cards and loans for your startup but avoid using them for personal expenses.

Consider Insurance

You might not like the idea of insurance and paying a big amount for your startup, but you cannot deny that your business actually needs it. Do some research about what suits your business needs for managing business finances and building a profitable portfolio. This step is imperative to evaluate which type of insurance can provide your business with long-term financial security.

Prioritize Payments

To keep financial problems at bay, entrepreneurs need to draw a line between less important and essential costs for at least the first six months. This helps entrepreneurs project where they need to inject the cash flow. They can start by reducing unnecessary expenses and adjusting the budget.

Prioritizing payments may also help you determine the key issues, such as business overspending. Once entrepreneurs take a closer look, they will find ways to become more cost-savvy with their business expenditures.

Invest in Advanced Technology

The next important thing to avoid financial problems is to invest in the right technology. To retain a prominent position in the business world, analyze your competitors’ strategy, and upgrade business operations. Use online software to track finances and also establish a strong online presence.

Using bookkeeping software for developing budgets, paying taxes, and understanding your business financial position is a great idea. Almost, all large-scale businesses have a separate finance department that uses professional software.

However, your business is in its infancy, but if you don’t embrace technological advancements gradually,   running a business efficiently will become challenging.

Manage Money Movement

Regardless of what stage your business is at, outlining payment terms is important to manage business finances efficiently. The best way to do this is to track money movements, from supplier costs to product purchasing. Make sure you consider both the legal and the financial sides of monetary transactions to trace money movements.

This way, you can figure out which business areas are performing efficiently and where you need to invest fewer funds. The data is useable for not only tracking progress but also developing a reasonable budget.

Negotiate Your Business Needs with Vendors before Finalizing a Contract

Don’t hesitate to negotiate whenever you are signing a deal. Successful entrepreneurs know what rates can benefit their business and how they can achieve them. They carefully examine purchase terms, such as grace periods or payment penalties, which can help them negotiate a great deal.

Maintain an Emergency Fund

Once you know how important it is to negotiate the right prices with vendors for managing business finances, you need to set aside emergency funds to ensure the success of your startup entity. Know that your sales will not be consistent throughout the year. This part is where you need to have some emergency funds, particularly for the off-season, to maintain a steady cash flow. 

For emergency funds, take out a proportion of your profits or income every month (particularly during high sales) and keep it for off-month expenses.

Bottom Line

While starting your own business is exciting, it entails a myriad of challenges, especially when it comes to handling business finances. If you’re facing these same issues and want to be prepared, try implementing the tips mentioned above to help you move towards a bright future.

Financial stability in business leads to better money management and success opportunities, and thus, these factors are crucial for the success of any startup.

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What does it take to run an Online Business?

OnlineOwning an online business allows you to work from anywhere you want.  All you need is to set flexible work hours and establish your presence. Not only this, online businesses have significantly low startup costs and that is what makes it ideal, especially for new entrepreneurs. This is one of the main reasons why traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are gradually declining. They are now more focused on being globalized and ubiquitous.

To put it simply, running an online business has a plethora of benefits if you are an experienced entrepreneur. However, if you are a startup and facing troubles in creating a presence, you need to understand that starting an online business is easy, but running it requires your attention. Whether your digital set up is in its initial phase or has achieved some milestones, knowing key details of the mainstream market and understanding it is of paramount importance.

Another major aspect that is essential to consider when it comes to running an online business successfully is familiarity with technology. If anentrepreneur lacks knowledge of digital marketing or other tech-based strategies, reaching the target audience becomes a daunting task.

If you can relate to this, then the provided details might be useful for your online business. All you need is to consider the following steps while running your online business.

How to Run an Online Business?

Establish Your Business Market

There is no doubt that without understanding the target market you want to focus on, you cannot increase your sales. However, if you know where you will find your target audience online, developing marketing strategies become a breeze.

According to expert marketers, when an entrepreneur understands their core audience, it will help them find the right ways to offer the products that interest the audience. The point is, researching the market position and analyzing the needs and interest of customers is substantially important before launching your product.

 Register Your Domain Name

Your online business requires a domain name. Without registering it you cannot run your business as it is your online address, spot or place where people will find you on the internet. The good news is that there is a myriad of companies that sell a domain name.  Google Domains, in this regard, is one of the common choices you can opt for.

Your domain name plays a critical role when it is comes to branding an online company. Here is when you need to come up with a domain name that truly reflects your company and its goals. While choosing a name, make sure you use the name checker tool to help you see what is available.

Host Your Business Domain

Hosting a business domain is an integral part of running a business online. Through a web host, your online business gets space on various servers. Sometimes both registering a domain and finding a host for it can be achieved with the help of one company. Following are the key features you need to consider when you choose a web host.

  • Uptime percentage
  • Available marketing tools
  • Storage capacity
  • Email features that are based on domain
  • How it offers customer response forms
  • Hosting capability for blogging
  • Accessibility for customer support

Focus on Your Business Website Design

The first impression is the last impression’ -whether you believe it or not it is undeniably true when it is about your website design. Your customer doesn’t have a place to visit or judge your market credibility; however, it’s your e-commerce platform/website that enables customers to understand your marketing skills.

That is to say, the more attractive and informative your website design is, the more customers your online business will attract. This is where both your marketing expertise and technology create a storefront for you.  If your brand is failing to grab the attention of potential customers, it is the right time to consider alternative options.

Hiring a professional web designer with sound web skills can make a huge difference to your websites’ layout.  We recommend you choose a quality e-commerce platform to not only help you customize the website, but also run an online business.

Add an Online Payment Option

The concept of online shopping encapsulates customer’s easiness whether it is about purchasing online or paying online. That is what adding online payment feature to online business makes extremely important. It gives customers satisfaction that they can process transactions without having to go through a long and arduous payment process.

Besides that, giving your customers multiple gateways for shopping can also have a significant impact on your business success. Allow upgrades and provide different packages for purchase options to make shopping fun and convenient from your online store.

Increase Website Traffic

Providing quality products and excellent user experience to your customers is your foremost responsibility if you are an online entrepreneur. It is the only way you can retain your customers while driving more traffic to your website.

For running an online business successfully, you need to make extra efforts to stand out from your competitors, which is not possible until you leverage the right strategies to attract the right customers.  Always focus on the target group to generate more sales and create more traffic online. Here are few tips o drive traffic:

  • Register with popular search engines, like Bing and Google
  • Use persuasive online advertising on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Focus on quality content marketing

Gradually incorporate advanced digital marketing strategies to increase quality traffic on your website. Remember that, driving massive traffic involves a number of technicalities and requires you to consult with digital marketing experts.  In addition to that, never compromise on the quality of e-commerce software as it will help you keep a tab on financial information, customer data and other analytics for your future business decisions.

Final Thoughts

All in all, an online business is undeniably a decent way to earn money, but requires proper strategies and planning to run it efficiently. It takes your hard work, time and most importantly market understanding to run an online business.

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How Soon Should You Start Talking About Business Idea

IdeaSome people are just itching to launch their own business. But all they have is an idea.

It is true that being passionate about your idea is critical to establish a business. But should you discuss it with your friends and family before you have anything concrete?

When is the Right Time?

Naturally, all entrepreneurs are very protective when it comes to nurturing and protecting their business idea. Every entrepreneur initially fears that someone would steal his or her idea.

For that reason, it is important that you don’t share a business idea with people around you, without translating your idea into a viable business.

But in some cases, you can’t take things any further unless you share your business proposal with an investor who can finance your business. Seasoned experts recommend that you must never share any business plan or idea without getting a confidentiality and NDA agreement signed by the other party.

These legal documents are generally drafted by attorneys and must be signed before you discuss your idea.

How to Start Talking about your Business Idea?

An idea is fragile in its infancy stages. It must be developed into an elevator pitch or a business proposal before you could share it with other people. Don’t be discouraged if your idea doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Some of the best business ideas were once turned down by giant investors and people in general.

Believe in Yourself

Did you know that Chester Carlson, who was the inventor of the Xerox machine, received a rejection letter that stated ‘Who wants to copy a document on paper?’ Most of us still don’t know that his idea was turned down by 20 companies between 1939 and 1944. Today, Rank Xerox Corporation earns millions of dollars in profits.

The problem is not that you want to share your idea with people. What’s more important is who you want to share your business proposal with. Many start-ups and entrepreneurs simply abandon their business idea if they are rejected initially. But if you have worked on producing a quick and affordable solution to your target consumers’ problems, never doubt the potential of your business idea.

Many entrepreneurs or companies have re-located to other countries where there is more demand for their products or services. Every city and town has unique government-funded business development offices. You can get free or inexpensive resources to work on your business idea and find your target market.

Connect with Positive People

While keeping your business idea to yourself initially is the best policy, sometimes it helps sharing your ideas with motivated and positive people. Self-motivated individuals offer good advice and offer the best emotional support to help you launch a promising business.

But stay away from people who always bring you down. These people not just steal your energy, but can also rob you of your incredible business ideas.

Create a Strategy

Your business idea is like a small baby that has to grow before you could introduce it other people. Many entrepreneurs have an idea of what their business ideas or products are going to do, but they fail to figure out the ‘how’ part.

Work on developing a decent product or solution, before you could pitch it to investors. Work on creating an impressive proposal that highlights the best features of your idea as well as elaborates the mechanics or the process that’s involved.

When you re-invent something, you need to show why your idea is better than the rest. There has to be something unique about your business idea or product that offers something new or inventive. Going creative saves you from disastrous pitfalls and guarantees a steady source of profits.

Work on Promotion

A solid marketing strategy offers a strong back-up for your business idea. Once you have produced a great product, marketing it right lets you reach out to a wide audience. Study and reflect on how your competitors promoted their first products and services. Did they rely more on promotion or improving their initial business idea.

Relocate to a New Location

There are many reasons why many companies and business relocate to other cities or countries. Some firms require specialized employees while other companies might need an extra and affordable place to run their business.

Ask for Help

Connect with people who listen to your business ideas without any bias or prejudice. Most entrepreneurs look up to a role model if they can’t find a mentor. A mentorship or partnership between two parties can be both formal and informal.

You can also find true strength and support from your friends and family. Reaching out to others and asking for help is never a taboo for entrepreneurs. Successful people know that they can’t do everything. In fact, some of the most lucrative businesses were never built alone.

Test your Services

If you have developed a product, test it on a sample audience to identify its best and worst features. If you are setting-up an ecommerce store, make sure your website has gone through A/B testing and does not have any glitches before you run it live.

In case you have an idea for a mobile app, make sure it goes through a meticulous Quality Assurance process to get any bugs fixed. It is not easy to fool or satisfy today’s smart consumers. Once you have materialized your business idea, you need to promote it successfully across all channels to reach out to your audience.

Final Thoughts

The best time to share your ideas with your friends and family is when you know that your idea can successfully bridge the gap between a problem and a solution. The best time to share it with investors or other companies is when you have meticulously worked on creating and testing the implementation of our ideas. Never prematurely take an idea to an investor, he will reject it. Take a product or business proposal and you have higher chances of getting an approval.

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