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.

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

Get Matched with a Credit Card!

How To Attract Top Talent To Your Business Startup?

Finding and securing top job candidates for your business startup is more important now than ever. You are competing against a variety of companies for the same potential employees,and job seekers have the upper hand in who they choose to work with. Your business startup needs to make an impression on job candidates just as much as they need to make one with you. But, having a plan in place to attract top talent to your business can make the process of hiring new employees more beneficial to your company. Try these tips for making your business startup a place where new job seekers want to work and allow your company to take full advantage of their advanced skills.

Tell your company story

Everyone loves a good story and your company no doubt has one with some heart. The history of your business startup’s beginning can sway any job seeker to find interest in your company. Being honest and upfront about what got you to the point you are today can make a difference for a candidate that is looking for a company that cares about them as an employee and allows them to make a difference each day that they come to work. Be transparent.

Show where your business shines

Your business startup has many strengths that you need to tout them with job seekers. As much as you are interviewing them, they are interviewing you. They need to see what makes your company special and why it would be beneficial for them to join your team. Letting them see your strengths firsthand can go a long way in helping a job candidate choose your company for their employment.

Give benefits job seekers desire

Have a structure in place that provides benefits that employees want and can use can sway even the most indecisive of job seekers. Showing flexibility and providing benefits that are advantageous to your employees can make your business startup a highly desirable place to work. You’ll find that job candidates flock to your company if you offer benefits that they can’t refuse and want as a part of their employment.

Highlight some of the reasons to work for you

Every business startup has reasons why they are the best place to work. Let your employees do your promotional work and speak to new job candidates about what they love most about working at your company. Hearing firsthand from your staff gives your business creditability and entices job seekers to want to share in the same team environment you offer. This can make your company desirable to potential new hires and give your business the boost it needs to be selected by a job candidate.

Go where the job seekers are

When advertising your job positions to potential job seekers, you need to go where they are. Think about your ideal employee and consider the environment they surround themselves with. You need to post your job on sites that will attract top talent and give you the largest and best pool of job candidates to select from.

Take advantage of social media

Social media is an ideal platform to attract new and up and coming talent for your business startup. Many job seekers are looking on social media to find jobs with business startups that can show they are up-to-date with technology and offer a contemporary work environment that is open to new ideas. Social media can be your saving grace in attracting the type of employee you need to fill a role that will advance your business startup with customers that also demand more of these platforms.

Post enticing job posts

Nothing reads worse than a boring and arduous job post that lists endless job responsibilities. This can be an immediate turn off to job candidates that are looking for a business startup to work with that offers an exciting and new opportunity. Spice your job posts up and show your creativity to potential job seekers that are looking to find that dream job with an employer that offers more than just a position.

Follow up with candidates that interest you

When you find a job candidate that you want to make an offer to, you need to show them your interest in them becoming a part of your team. Follow up with a phone call or even meet for lunch. This can help solidify the relationship and make it harder for them to say no to your job offer. They have already invested a great deal in the role and meeting or speaking to you personally shows them what a valued member of the company they will be.

Make the interview process quick

When interviewing job candidates be sure to make the process as streamlined as possible. Job seekers can get frustrated easily with long delays and multiple rounds of interviews that they have to take part in. Have an effective plan in place for an interview that gets to know the potential new hire without wasting either of your time.

Present an offer quickly

In today’s job market you need to be swift in offering candidates job offers. Most candidates are courting multiple companies for an offer, looking to choose the best option for their employment. Waiting too long to offer a job candidate an offer allows them time to accept with a different company over yours as they may have forgotten why they wanted to work at your business during a long delay. Make your offer quickly to secure top talent and be sure to get a confirmation that they are accepting just as fast. This will ensure you lock in the best talent for your business startup without competing with another company.

Hiring top talent for your business startup can help your company benefit from advanced skills and experience. You need to be proactive in your approach to seeking out job candidates and promote your business to them, so they see why your company is a perfect fit for their employment.  

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

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.

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

How to Avoid Financial Problems for Your 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.

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

Understanding Venture Capitalists: How to Get Their Attention… And Approval

It might be surprising, but a lot of venture capitalists understand the situation of would-be entrepreneurs who are looking for investors who will finance their startups. The reason for this is simple: these people who now have millions of venture capital funds stashed in banks also started as a small company owner who experienced the challenges of looking for someone who is interested in providing financial support.

They might have followed the traditional venture capitalist model, or used personal means – such as credit cards and personal guarantees – to raise significant amount of money. But one thing is clear – most venture capitalists understand the position of startup owners. And this shows their true nature when it comes to dealing with these kinds of partnerships.

Unlike the common conception that they are all too powerful and very difficult to please, venture capitalists are also human. And because most of them have experienced and succeeded in this industry, the requirements that they ask from startup owners should be seen as reasonable and realistic. Here are some of the traits that startup owners applying for financial support should have:

Passion – Those who are passionate, enthusiastic, and confident with their startups usually get not only the attention, but also the approval of investors.

Intelligence – Knowledgeable would-be entrepreneurs always have the advantage. Venture capitalists think that intelligence is tied with the success of the company.

Defensibility – Having a great concept is one thing, but being able to defend it at different levels is another. Most of the time, investors will point problems on the concept submitted by the startup owner. He or she must be able to defend the idea and convince venture capitalists that the problems can be resolved.

Contrarianism – Investors are waiting for the next big thing. Thus, unique ideas that have huge potential almost always get the nod of venture capitalists. After all, nobody wants another social networking site, not if we already have Facebook. We want something new.

Perseverance and Persistence – Startup owners who exhibit determination on their ideas always get the attention of investors. Consistent follow-ups and immediate response to queries sent by the potential investors show how important the deal is for the entrepreneur.

Humility – Despite the need for passion and determination, startup owners also need to have an ounce of humility. One must keep in mind that even the best actors or athletes have to follow the orders of their directors and coaches, respectively.

Aside from the traits enumerated above, would-be entrepreneurs should also understand what goes in the mind of venture capitalists. Usually, it only involves two things: fear and greed.

As noted earlier, investors want to put money on proposal that will be as big as Facebook. Because of this, they are afraid of letting a potential project go (fear). Also, venture capitalists look at the things that they will get once they finance a startup. This includes profit, recognition, and a powerful position within the company, among other benefits (greed).

In the end, it all comes down to these two. And startup owners might want to use these to their advantage. Of course it would not be easy. Venture capitalists are experienced people who will know if they are being manipulated. But having the knowledge of what they want is something that could spell the difference between failure and success.

 

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

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Business Operations

Making consistent and regular improvements to enhance your business operations is critical toward its sustainability and success, especially in the long-run. An inevitable truth regarding business operations is that you can’t stand still and stay competitive. You will either get better or lose valuable ground to your competitors, which is something no business wants.

There is always some room for optimization when it comes to business operations whether you are a veteran business owner or a new entrepreneur. It is vital to remember that fine-tuning your business processes will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently while saving money. This is especially relevant in the long run.

You have to know various ways to enhance operations that would work well for your organization. You will be glad to know that streamlining your operations is always achievable.  And even taking a few small and simple steps in specific areas, like productivity, increasing the number of markets you serve and limiting losses could bring you huge rewards.

Here are five surefire ways to improve your business operations.

1.      Clearly Define Business Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is a vital element of your business success. Productivity outputs surface from existing business operations; therefore, changing these results requires changing and improving your operations as well as processes themselves.

This usually starts with developing and defining measurable operational objectives and goals that all critical operational personnel are aware of. Remember that a lack of well defined objectives and goals will often lead to the failure of your new processes or initiatives, no matter how great these processes or initiatives are.

“Improving operations” is too broad and not a clear goal in and of itself. Taking an approach that is not well-defined, or does not include definite measures that need to be employed, is almost always a recipe for disaster. You should determine exactly what your objectives are if you want to succeed. For example, does your company need to eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain, or is the lack of quality systems your primary reason for downfall? Or, perhaps human capital is where the biggest issues lie.

Make sure you’ve created and defined clear and measurable goals and objectives prior to introducing any new processes for improvement.

2.      Motivate and Inspire Employees

Talented, trained and motivated staff members are likely to bring on huge improvements in business. Remember that your employees are the ears and eyes of your business operations and their feedback is important. So, if there are any weak spots or flaws in your system and processes, it is likely that your employees will know about them.

Also, it is likely that they need a better process to complete tasks. That being said, when your personnel think you are a “my way or the highway” leader who does not value their feedback, they often are not motivated and inspired to come up with valuable solutions and this will hurt your business.

Involve all your staff in improving your business operations. You should ask your employees where improvements and changes can be made. It is equally important to take notes of all the flaws that they point out and solutions they offer.

Always make sure that your staff knows their opinions really matter and you’re open to their suggestions and recommendations. Maintain a good and positive relationship with your employees and you will enjoy a much higher employee retention rate while fewer resources will be spent on hiring and training new employees.

3.      Improve your Relationship with Customers

It is likely that you have a customer database. You should take some time to tap into it to get in touch with all of your existing customers. Contact your customers by email, phone or letter to greet them. You should also remind them on a regular basis that your business is ready and willing to serve them again.

Also, get their opinions and feedback regarding what they think of your products and business in general. Getting regular customer feedback should be an integral part of your business processes. You have to continuously look for new and improved ways to encourage repeat business.

While there is no denying that both marketing and advertising are crucial to get more customers, service, quality as well as customer satisfaction are also vital to keep your business successful. Especially in the long-run.

4.      Leverage Business Intelligence

We all know that information is essential for any business organization that wants to enhance its performance. Better and accurate business intelligence can elicit better results (provided you leverage the data properly). And, to this end, businesses usually find that state of the art data intelligence software can play a crucial role in improving business processes and operations.

Business intelligence software, particularly at the highest level, allows for the timely tracking of trends and changes that can affect organizational performance. This gives managers, executives and other key decision-makers the relevant information to take suitable corrective action whenever necessary. Moreover, such insight also highlights important information that gives executives and managers what they actually need to figure out what is and is not working and what should be modified, so they may improve business performance.

5.      Cost Cutting Initiatives

There is no denying that this is one aspect where all businesses can stand to benefit considerably from a closer look. Costs can creep up, unproductive practices can become common and waste gets taken for granted over time. Eliminating waste and cutting costs is one of the easiest ways to enhance your business operations while give yourself a competitive advantage.

From ordering shipping supplies in bulk to making double-sided paper copies, you could easily cut down wasted material, time and effort in making, promoting, selling, and delivering your product. As a result, you will see a considerable improvement in your organization’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

In the end, working hard to improve and tweak business operations is the hallmark of a competitive and dynamic business. And even if your company’s current productivity is adequate it is an important end to aim for. You do not have to settle for good when you can have great!

 

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

Niche Business Marketing – How to Do It

Starting up a business is an easy job to do, but making it successful is challenging, especially when you’re competing against several business rivals. In that case, targeting a niche market is perhaps the most successful idea you can work on.

To succeed in your business, you first need to determine the market and identify the customers you’re going to target. This is what all the businessmen do. Usually, they target a large group of people with various demographics.

However, a niche market is a defined group of people that have ‘particular’ needs. By keeping in view those specific needs, you operate your business to render the products or services that meet their demands. You deal in those special products or services which mainstream businesses have overlooked.

For instance, many shoe brands provide a vast variety of shoes. But, if your business deals in providing shoes for people with plantar fasciitis, you are targeting a niche; a specific segment of the market. This is what a niche market is.

Coming to the niche business marketing, it is specializing in one area of business while targeting a specific segment of the market.

You Must Know Your Target Niche Market Inside Out

Determining your niche market is crucial for operating your business. It not only helps you to set and expand your marketing budget but also give you a clear insight into where to advertise. Further, it makes you stand out above your competitors.

For selecting a niche, you need to think about what you are best at. So, you will have enough knowledge regarding the product or service you will be dealing in. To make it clearer, let’s take some ideas you can work on to run your niche business.

Today, many people demand diet foods such as gluten-free, low-calorie, organic or vegans. However, they rarely find it in eateries. If they find their diet food online, they prefer to buy it online rather than preparing it at home. This is because it is more convenient for them.

Similarly, certain people hardly get their size in apparel stores.  Therefore, offering plus-sized and petite clothing to these potential customers will not be a bad idea for your niche business.

Niche Marketing

Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of niche marketing, let’s talk about some businesses dealing in niche markets. Lefty’s, based in San Francisco, is a store that sells school stationery, gardening tools, kitchen goods and a lot more. What’s the best part? All their products are specialized for left-handers! Furthermore, they also offer customized gifts for the lefties in your life.

Furthermore, Vermont Wooden Toys are known to offer their specialty; handcrafted toys. Based in the Green Mountain State, the business is owned by a proprietor Ron Voake. People buy his products because of certain values- dedication, love, and craftsmanship. They place their orders on the website or over phone calls.

In the same way, you need to practice several marketing strategies to make the best use of your business.  Take a look for a few niche business marketing tips here.

User-Generated Content

The era when company ads would persuade people to buy a product is long gone. Today, they usually look for experiences. They go online and search for user-generated content before purchasing a particular product.

User-generated content works in two ways; advertises your brand for free, and increases your credibility. And what’s more? It brings new customers to you. To have a better understanding, you can study previous success stories of other brands that implemented the UGC strategy.

Advertising Platforms You Need To Leverage

As niche marketing isn’t regular marketing, you need to pinpoint specific platforms for advertising your product. Promoting your niche business on social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter isn’t a bad idea. However, the thing is these platforms are already over-populated with other business rivals hence leading to high-competition.

In that case, you can limit your promotion and brand visibility to specific demographics on these platforms to reach out to your targeted customers. No matter what tactic you choose, make sure to reach your niche market cost-effectively.

Partnering With Other Services

To reach out your business goals, develop a kind of service that not only offers a great product to your customers but also give them a fantastic experience. You can do this by providing additional services such as product delivery.

However, niche businesses are small, and therefore it can be costly for you to offer extra services to your customers. For this, you can team up with other service providers to cater to your customers in a better way.

Marketing Offline

It is crucial to determine your customers’ preferences and priorities to run your business. Well, you are required to market your product offline for two reasons. First, your targeted segment may not be tech-savvy enough to leverage internet access. Second, your customers might want to make their orders offline, depending on your product nature.

Furthermore, there are many ideas to market your product offline while adopting cost-effective methods. For instance, you can distribute your brand’s promotional materials such as business cards, coupons or pamphlets in any local events. This will boost the physical connection between potential customers and your brand.

Leveraging Influencers

To operate a niche business, you must first figure out your customers’ niche interests. Once you are done with it, look for the Instagram influencers who appeal your target segment and have a large number of followers. Approach them. Send a few of your products for free and ask for a shoutout in return. This won’t only help you in increasing your audience but also builds trust about your brand.

Segmented Marketing

Well, targeting a specific segment of the market for your niche business isn’t enough. You’ll have to gather and evaluate data on their demographics, values, and interests. Then, you further segment it and approach each group within your targeted niche. In this way, you’re able to engage with your niche market. Doing so will help you to maximize your business.

Conclusion

As compared to other businesses that target a wide audience with unspecific interests, a niche business focuses on the particular needs of a determined group of people. However, if you want your business to be flourished, you need to identify your niche market first.

While focusing on your specific customers, there are plenty of strategies you can adopt to achieve your business goals. By implementing the tactics mentioned above, you’ll be able to maintain your budgets and maximize your business.

In addition to that, you can also employ other strategies or new ways to promote your business. No matter what strategies you’re working in with, the main thing you have to keep in focus is your customers’ interests. It will surely help you adopt the right tactics for your business, increase profits and raise brand awareness.

 

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Seasonable Business Cash Flow – Big Problem but with a Solution

It can be quite the hassle as a seasonable business. No matter how well you plan the year, you always seem to be struggling a while after the profitable season ends. Cash flow is somehow always a problem, but it’s not impossible to manage. Sure, it’ll take some effort and organization on your part, but it’s nothing that a dedicated business owner can’t handle.

There are a number of seasonal businesses, from farming to tourism and all the way to event planning. Although the nature of these trades is different, managing cash flow will be similar because of their seasonal characteristic. Here is what you have to do.

Know Your Seasons

You may think this is basic knowledge for any seasonal business owner. However, in a majority of cases, business owners horribly overestimate their peak season. Moreover, they underestimate the costs of operating during off-seasons. When you know the exact timings of your season, you’re able to derive accurate conclusions that set apart fact from fiction.

If you run a new business, you’ll have to start taking detailed notes from year one. Conduct research based on other seasonal companies but if you’re established, it’s time to bring out the records. Once you figure out your business’ periods of maximum revenue and expenditure and vice versa, you can plan on a forecasting strategy.

Forecast Your Business

By forecasting your cash flow throughout the year, you’re able to evaluate how much funding you have, in response to the costs. You should analyze your records to form a plan with regard to spending and sales, and how much cash flow you can retain after peak season.

You should form an analysis of sales and spending forecasts based on the factors that drive it. This includes product lines, channels, and units. Then, you should check whether your evaluation matches the accounting records.

When you’re forecasting cash flow for your business, ensure that it manages any references to sales on account, inventory management, asset replenishment and repayment of debts, which are sensitive to cash flow. When you keep track of all these things together, you won’t have to think about why unknown costs keep popping up despite the effort.

Maintain Forecasts with Concentration and Money

Making a record of forecasts once isn’t enough and never will be. The market and economy can shift within a second, so you must not fail to keep the changes reviewed and revised. This theory of development ensures that you know what’s happening, so you can adopt a new strategy next time.

Know the Expected Expenses

In a business, there are always some recurring expenses that remain fairly constant over time. You should account for these so that you can accurately forecast expenses during off-peak seasons. These costs include the price of utilities and rent but some that won’t come to mind. To know those, you’ll need to break into the account books.

In the end, you’ll be left with a somewhat expected figure as to how much you’ll have to pay in quarterly taxes and business insurance premiums. You should add these to your forecast because planning for them will be helpful during seasons with low business.

Address Changes

Sometimes, it’s enough to simply know when your business becomes vulnerable. Even if you can’t manage things yourself, you can still ask for some help. Instead of worrying about what terrors the off-season can bring to your business, think about what you can do to calmly face the inevitable. Surely, you’ll run out of capital no matter how well you manage cash flow so what does one do? You take a loan.

Think of it this way, taking an emergency loan just days before making your employees’ payroll will be very different from applying for a bridge loan months before off-season starts. For starters, you’ll get a good interest rate, and you’ll develop a good relationship with the bank.

A misconception is that well-run seasonal businesses shouldn’t need loans to generate cash flow during the off-season but this isn’t true. It’s much more achievable for a seasonal business to anticipate extra costs beforehand and take a special loan as one sees fit. Investors and bankers will show a positive response to good planning and anticipation so you shouldn’t forget to tell them about your business’ seasonality.

Restructure Some Expenses

As a seasonal business, you’ll need to pull some strings here and there to make sure that you get through the rest of the year until you’re back in peak season. One of the things you can do is to structure certain expenses in a way that they match the revenue you have in the current season.

For instance, if you make handcrafted products and deal with vendors for materials, you can form an agreement with them so they demand bigger payments in peak season while making off-season payments smaller.

Empty Your Shelves

In today’s world of consumers, quite a lot of people don’t shop during the season. This could be due to a number of reasons; they’re trying to avoid the crowd or they simply don’t want to pay the higher price. They’re waiting for an off-season sale to stock up, and as a good business owner, you should provide.

Empty out any leftover inventory from peak-season by selling products at a fair discount. This will help you generate extra revenue, as well as a pool of off-season customers. Not to mention, you’ll also be reducing the expenses of storing items.

Improve Your Line of Expertise

This is the final piece of advice that any seasonal business can get and it has more to do with becoming a multi-seasonal business. Experts suggest that seasonal businesses expand their line of work by offering different services during the off-season.

For instance, roofing companies take up jobs like snow removal during the winter. Your business can do something similar and boost cash flow throughout the rest of the year.

Conclusion

These are some of the solutions a seasonal business can adopt to improve their cash flow during the off-seasons of the year. Now, there’s no reason to do everything simultaneously. However, consistency is key. By slowly working towards a successful off-season period, seasonal businesses can improve strategies and boost peak-season practices.

 

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Overcoming a Bad Business Location – Is It Possible?

Location

In today’s day and age, experienced business owners advise future entrepreneurs to work on their online presence. They should develop an impressive website and practice social media marketing, among other activities. It almost seems as if you can build a great brand based on an influential online existence. However, even though this is true to a certain extent, don’t undermine the importance of a good business location.

This makes it crucial for new business owners to look into the location they will set up. But it’s still possible that issues like financial constraints can lead to them running a business in a bad location. Many startups seem to fail due to this reason. While there isn’t an immediate solution for the predicament, you can take particular measures to alleviate the circumstances. Here are some of the ways that you can overcome a bad business location:

Implement Impactful Branding and Signage

It’ll be hard for people passing by to avoid your store if you manage to lure them in with attractive signs and branding techniques. Captivating signage always manages to pull potential customers out of their way to stop and have a look. A billboard that appears to stand out from the rest works the best. You shouldn’t opt for one that blends in and looks similar to that of competitors. For improved results, take it a step further and provide customers with customized shopping bags that will make others do a double-take.

Brand Your Business

Oftentimes, you can turn the main disadvantage of your business location into something beneficial. Being the only brand selling something of your niche in the area is better than opening shop in a district where your competitors operate.

There are likely people actively looking for your products in the area because they’re far from the district that has most retail outlets. By branding your location online, in local publications and with flyers, you can attract loyal customers to your shop.

Developing a loyal customer base is more effective than having more people walk into your shop. There’s no point if the people walk out with nothing because ‘there’s another shop here’. These customers can boost their reputation among their friends and family. This is far more valuable in today’s world where word of mouth decides what brands people choose.

Make Friends

Since other businesses will surround you, you can use the opportunity to make friends and form collaborations with these brands. Promotions like these can raise hype for both you and your partners, so it’s beneficial for you to approach them with such an idea in mind.

A good example is that you give customers a discount if they show that they purchased from a collaborating store. While it’s best to form agreements with businesses that complement yours, such a tactic would still work when dealing with unrelated fields.

Leverage Online Presence

By becoming ‘that one brand with the –-online, you have the potential to lure in customers who live far from your business location. A charismatic and humorous social media persona will get you far as well because millennials appreciate brands that make the effort of seeming human. You can even leverage social media hashtags that have a certain amount of momentum. However, don’t generalize it, or make it too narrow.

That way, you’ll either be associated with out-of-topic posts or you won’t get any posts at all. If you have the capital for it, hire a micro-influencer to give your business location a shout out by offering samples or inviting them to your store. Additionally, you can put your skills to good use by uploading videos to YouTube. By making them informative and entertaining, you’ll drive consumers to your location.

Make Your Location Accessible

In today’s era when the youth prefers to make memories without spending too much money, you’ll be benefited by accommodating their demand. Therefore, make your business space an open one. Not literally, but ensure that it’s accessible, even by people who don’t intend to buy anything from you.

Most outlets and retail stores are condescending to potential customers who are just looking around because they don’t plan on buying anything. It’s your job to be welcoming to them by offering space for activities. Moreover, make your business location a hotspot for social activities.

You can build upon this idea by holding events yourself, and keep space reserved for events. This way, people that are close by will know that there’s a trendy-looking place in the area that’s all prepared to hold a small event.

Make Use of Windows

Windows offer an intimate look into what’s going on in a particular location. Hence, they’re commonly associated with curiosity. People have a general instinct to look into shop windows, even if they’re not paying attention.

Enhance awareness of your brand among potential customers by placing your best products at the shop window. Or better yet, make it a more personal experience by allowing others to have a look inside at the activities you hold. These are very significant factors because of how they can encourage people to walk into your store.

Talk to Local Media

There are countless ways that you can boost your visibility in the area. Hence, you can make a seemingly bad location work out for you. By talking to local media outlets, such as radio stations and magazines, you can get some flattering press, which adds value to your brand.

People who hear about you through such channels are likely to want to have a look at your products. If you’re up for it, you can write pieces for local publications or give interviews. This step allows the community to know you better. By developing a closer bond with the people around you, the chances of them putting your first before any other brand become higher. These are just a few ways that you can overcome a bad business location. While you needn’t try all of them, it helps to test more methods.

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A Successful Online Business – How to Start One

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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