Marketing Magnetism – 4 Surefire Ways to Make Your Brand Desirable

So you’ve got your killer product or service, you’ve started your business and everything is falling into place. The books are organized, your staff has proper training and now all that’s left to do is start growing profits and kicking goals. But how exactly do you make your brand stand out from the rest?

Front of house.

You know how when you’re trying a new restaurant, your initial opinion about the quality is generally based on how the dining area and staff are presented? That’s because they’re right in front of you. You’ll want to constantly remind your target demographic that you exist in a way that showcases the quality and adds value to their lives. A great way to do this is by having branded promotional products.

Figure out what type of product will be most useful to your customers, select the highest quality item and splash your branding all over it. It’ll become a part of their daily lives so when they need something, their mind will subconsciously direct them to you.

Know your point of difference.

Pretty much everything has been done a million times before so it’s important to have a proper understanding of what makes your product or service different to everything else on the market. It could be the level of customer service you offer or maybe your product has a new feature no other company is including yet. Whatever it is, know it, own it, and milk it. There are many times in life where fitting in with the crowd can be beneficial, but when you’re building your brand, the opposite is true.

Sell a lifestyle, not a product.

Why do people buy Samsung or iPhone over other options that do the exact same thing for half the price? Some would say it’s a status symbol, others would claim pure stupidity. The real reason, however, is because these brands sell a lifestyle.

You’re not buying a phone, you’re buying the happiness shown in their ads and the ability to easily integrate other tech devices in their range with the phone in your pocket. Likewise, you need to build a lifestyle around your brand. Remember, to truly showcase the value you offer and stand out from the crowd, you’re not selling your product or service, you’re selling what they can do to improve the customer’s life.

Targeted campaigns.

This tip brings together all the others. Now you know your point of difference and you’ve integrated yourself into your demographics lives with useful promotional products, you want to expand your reach and make sure you’re the business they think of when they need something. You’ve worked out how you’re going to sell the lifestyle your product or service offers and planted the seeds, now all that’s left to do is become omnipresent.

Find out what else your customers are interested in and align your brand with their interests. For example, if your target demographic follows car racing religiously, sponsor a team if it’s within your means. If you’re looking closer to home, support local initiatives in whatever way works best for you. It doesn’t really matter how you complete this step, the point is to get personal so work out what interests best align with your brand and get out there.

Marketing is a delicate, complicated process, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a winning strategy and ensuring customers turn to you when they need something. Good luck and happy marketing.

3 Ingenious Ways to Fund Starting Up Your Factory Business

One of the most important aspects of a business is getting started on the right foot. If you don’t have the money to get off the ground, you’ll stay stuck in one spot until you do.

Firms like Equify Financial are great options for start-ups, and opportunity exists everywhere you look.

That being said – you do have some intelligent options for getting your factory business up and running. Check out these options for 3 ingenious ways to get funding so you can take on the world and get your factory moving.

1)   Equipment Financing

The biggest direct need you have to open up your factory and get it running is probably all based around equipment. There are lenders out there who will work with you for your specific needs to get you the perfect set-up. Even the amount of the loan and the rate at which you pay back your loan can be based on the value of the equipment and your specific factory output.

Equipment financing is what’s called a self-secure loan. What that means is that if you run into trouble paying for the loan, the company could end up seizing equipment. This actually lowers your risk and can also keep the level at which you need to qualify quite low as well.

Equipment financing isn’t just limited to huge purchases, you could receive equipment financing for some smaller items as well, but you’ll need to contact these companies to see where the perfect fit for you and your business needs are.

2)   SBA Loans

The issue of SBA Loans can seem complicated, but they’re one of the best options out there for someone trying to start up on their own.

An SBA loan is typically handled by a lender who are usually banks that aren’t the big bad ones you think of when you see banking commercials on TV. SBA stands for the Small Business Administration which is the government agency helping to back these loans.  What that means for you is that you get some great terms – repayment can last a long time with interest rates that would probably be lower than normal.

On the flip side, it can be hard to qualify for an SBA loan. Do your homework and you could be looking at an awesome set up for your business.

3)   Invoice Financing

Finally, we come to invoice financing. This is a great option for those who need cash and have orders on file ready to go. If cash flow is a problem or you need to buy anything to get orders completed, these companies will help you get moving so that you can make the money you deserve for doing so well in the sales arena.

Conclusion

These three methods can put you ahead of the competition and really get your factory business moving. You always need to do your homework and see what path will work best for you; but please do not believe that you can’t get the funding you need, the options should definitely be there.

5 Most Lucrative Work from Home Jobs

In a 2017 report, it was revealed that 5.2% of Americans now work from home. The United States census confirms that eight million people now work this way in comparison to the 5% who worked from home in 2016 and the 3.3% who worked from home in 2000.

Internet connectivity, technology and a growing call for better work hours and setups are helping this number to rise. As more employees work from home as a way to make themselves more productive and spend more time with their families, analysts expect the figures to rise more.

If you’re looking to take on a work from home job, then it’s important to know that some jobs are more lucrative than others. However, you can get started with no skills and just a few pieces of technology.

What Do You Need to Work from Home?

Unless you have somehow managed to find a work from home job where your boss communicates with you via carrier pigeon, you will need a fast Internet connection. You’ll also need a laptop that can multitask and supports work software such as Slack, Skype, and Dropbox as these are all used by many companies to send files and to talk to the team.

If your laptop is years old and you need a new one, you can find a replacement for a good price, so that you don’t spend more money than you’re going to make. There are some great deals on refurbished laptops with Apple MacBooks becoming much more affordable when you buy one second hand. From the refurbished MacBook range, the MacBook Air 11 inch would be a good budget choice as it is powerful enough to handle business software and is lightweight so you can use it to work where you want. Read this for more information about refurbished laptop prices and which retailers have the best deals.

What Skills Do You Need?

If you have been trained (or have knowledge) of things like programming, software design, graphic design, finance, and science, then you could get a work from home salary of above $100,000. However, you can still make more than $50,000 a year without any of these skills.

For most work from home jobs, what you need are people skills. If you can communicate well, work quickly, and you’re willing to learn then you will be able to take on a work from home position. Many employers offer training once you have got the position so not having much experience in the industry doesn’t mean you can’t do well at the job.

Marketing

Marketing is a popular work from home job because it allows you to be creative. If you can come up with slogans, have ideas for posters or have posted a few popular tweets or Facebook posts, then you will probably do well in the marketing industry.

Most industries have a need for some sort of marketing and it’s best to choose an industry that you know or purchase many products from. By choosing an industry you know, you will probably have seen many ads and marketing of that industry and can use that to be successful in your job.

Selling Products

Salespeople don’t have the most positive reputation. When people think of salespeople, they think of door to door sales people who try to sell them products that they don’t want. While that still happens today, your work from home job probably won’t be anything like that.

Now, there are jobs that allow you to sell products from your home. There are different jobs for this, one may be selling your own product on an online store, or listing someone else’s products on online stores, finding people to sell someone else’s products to, or collecting information about how a business can increase their sales.

Assistant

Some people are just very good at organizing their schedules and have spreadsheets, reminders, and calendars all telling them what’s on their to-do list and when their next meeting is. Other people are so busy that they don’t have the time to set this organization system up and these are the people who will want to employ you.

If you have great organizational skills then you can make some money as a work from home assistant. You can be the person who takes the calls, plans the meetings, and gives them reminders about where they have to be. It’s not a glamorous job and you may become as busy as your boss, but it can pay well and it allows you to work from home.

Customer Support

Data in this infographic published by NewVoiceMedia revealed that US companies lose an estimated $41 billion each year because of bad customer service. Customers who aren’t happy with the way that they have been treated will go to a competitor and many may tell their friends not to do business with that brand.

If you have good people skills and want to do your best to help solve people’s problems, then you could join a customer support team. Customer support is one of the most important roles in a company and businesses are always looking for talented and driven people to join the team. Many customer support jobs are work from home jobs too.

Transcription

When an interview, podcast or video has been recorded, it’s someone’s job to transcribe it. They have to turn that audio into written content that can be turned into blog posts, subtitles, press releases and more so that it can be published online. Transcription can be a difficult task which is why companies are happy to pay other people to do it.

Scribie’s big list of tips explains that you will need to have the right equipment (such as some high quality headphones) and because of how long it can take to transcribe something, you will want to be comfortable too. Job boards have many transcription jobs available though you can also contact companies with podcasts and that publish interviews on their blog to see if they have anything available.

To work from home, you don’t need to get a job and then try to talk your boss into letting you work away from the office some days in the week. There are positions made for people who want to work from home and you can find these by looking online.

 

Smooth Runnings – 5 Ways to Use Technology to Increase Business Efficiency

A major benefit of the fast, constant advancement of modern technology is that improving your business can be as simple as a software upgrade! If you are not quite sure where or how to start, here are five ways you can use technology to optimize your business processes.

1. Upgrade Your Freight Technology

If tracking and managing your logistics means building your own spreadsheets, dealing with multiple carriers and having more than one go-to contact, you are in for a delight with how much time, stress and energy upgrading your logistics will save you. By using the best shipping software you can streamline all your logistics and supply chain management to a single browser window.

2. Accessible, Interactive Rostering

Rostering is nobody’s favorite job to do but by using a more interactive, digital system, it doesn’t have to be such a drag. Choose a reputable online rostering system that allows your staff to input their own changes in availability, shift-swapping arrangements, and applications for leave. Using such a system will allow you to easily and intuitively organize your final roster. You may need one session to introduce the new system to your staff, but once it’s implemented you will cut down on a mountain of needless back-and-forth communication and can even integrate it with your timesheet and payroll systems.

3. Digital Accounting Software

When it comes to your bookkeeping, save yourself a lot of time and money while improving the level of accuracy you’re capable of by using digital accounting software for your business. With the right program, you can ensure that all your business transactions, sales, and expenses are recorded and can then be used for invoicing, statements and tax management. You don’t need a whole team of bookkeepers to keep up with your cash flow, just the latest software and your accountant’s phone number for advice.

4. Custom Design Templates

This tip is an oldie but a goodie. If you are writing all your emails, letters, presentations, contracts, paperwork or any other form of communication from scratch, then let this serve as your overdue reminder notice.

There are many template options available for affordable rates and oftentimes, for free. Save time and enhance your professional image with a custom business template for your regular email communications and letters, you’ll only need to change variables like names or dates. Even if you are writing something more specific, with a ready-made design template, you can have your logo, dates, and signature set so you only need to focus on the words.

5. Cloud Computing

Aside from reducing the amount of hardware you have in your office, backing up your data and files via cloud computing allows you peace of mind and can boost productivity and collaboration in your business. With data encryption to keep your information safe and accessibility requiring only an internet connection, this is the perfect solution for enabling remote employees to work most efficiently.

Not only are the setup costs for cloud services considerably cost-effective, but you will also reduce your business’ ongoing IT costs as system updates are usually all that’s needed for maintenance.

It may all seem overwhelming at first but you will quickly come around once you experience how user-friendly these new technologies are. After all, they are aimed at simplifying the way we work. Now that we’ve covered some of the most effective technology upgrades for businesses, it’s your turn to make the calls and implement them.

How Much Should You Borrow When Taking Out A Business Loan?

Some people look at debt as a bad thing however there are not many companies (including the largest organisations) that do not have some level of debt. Getting into a level of debt and investing this in growth could be more beneficial in the long-term. Commercial real estate lending is an option that a lot of people consider. However, if you are going down this path, how much should you actually borrow and under what terms?

Company Growth

Sometimes people take extra cash just for the fact that that they want to invest it in something where they will see a level of growth. Some people have good concepts and ideas in this respect, however, in order to turn this into something meaningful they then need to justify why this money will be well spent. If this is spent on things that just consume debt, then you could then find yourself in the same situation very quickly where the money is repaid, and you still don’t have the level of growth you were looking for. In order to get commercial real estate loans, they will want to see this level of detail in some type of plan  This should be pretty detailed to show that the lender is not at risk of not receiving the repayments back. How much you then borrow for company growth needs to be defined in this plan in totality.

Debt Issues

If you are struggling with debt in the company or you have invoices that you just cannot pay, then the option of a short term loan may be what you need.  If, however by taking this loan you have no real plans in how you will eliminate the debt and not look for more, you could struggle to get the loan you need. Justification is always looked at from lenders. The amount that you request may include refinancing the debt you have (potentially moving it all together and onto a lower interest rate) or it could be to pay some of this but having more up your sleeve for a rainy day. The general guidance is that companies should have 3 times their normal monthly income saved away to ensure that if something drastic happens they still have funds sitting away to cover normal payments and salary.

What Will The Lender Give Me?

Lenders are sometimes keen to give away money as if they know it is low-risk then they will get a much better interest rate from the repayments than by putting it in a normal bank account. Don’t be caught up in the enthusiasm to take out more money than is needed as remember that you are paying interest on this. People look at this money as their own, but the mindset needs to be that this is not money that is theirs to waste and something that will need to be paid back.

Think carefully about how much you need to borrow when taking out a business loan.

Business Loans: 10 Questions to Ask Beforehand

If you own a small business, it’s essential to understand your alternative sources of finance when it fails to raise enough funds. Many business owners opt for business loans as a way of boosting their business finance.

Entrepreneurs borrow business loans for various purposes. One of the main reasons for borrowing funds is to take care of the unforeseen expenses (emergencies). Potential entrepreneurs also take out small business loans to get capital for starting businesses.

Before taking out a business loan, there are several questions that you should ask your lender or yourself. Asking questions is an effective way of evaluating various loan options to find the most suitable one.

Questions You Should Ask

1.      Why Do I Have to Borrow Extra Funds?

When taking out a business loan, it’s vital to understand why you need the money. That will give you a sense of clarity regarding your financial needs. For instance, the loan purpose can help you determine if your needs are long-term or short-term.

Business loans with a long-term repayment plan have low monthly payments. Short-term business loans, on the other hand, have higher monthly payments. However, the total cost of a long-term business loan is more than that of a short-term loan.

2.      Can I use a Business Loan for My Personal Use?

When borrowing funds, you have to explain to the lender why you need the loan. Business loans are used to finance business activities. But what if you end up with extra cash? Should you spend it on your personal needs, or return it to your lender as part of payment?

Some lenders don’t restrict you from using loans to take care of other financial needs so long as you make payments on time. However, some loans have a specific purpose. They include home loans, business loans, auto loans, and student loans.

3.      How Much Money Should I Borrow?

The amount of funds you should borrow depends on your business financial needs and the loan purpose. You ought to take out enough business loan that will increase returns on your investment. However, you should not borrow more than what your business need.

Knowing the amount to borrow can also help you to identify the right lender to approach. That is because different lenders offer varying loan ranges. For instance, if you need a business loan worth $500,000, you should borrow from the bank.

If you want a smaller business loan amount, you can borrow from lenders who specialize in such loans. Unlike banks, such lenders offer small business loans of up to $50,000. An example is an online business loan lender.

4.      What Do I Need to Qualify for a Business Loan?

When reviewing your loan application, lenders look at various factors to determine if you are eligible for a business loan. Such factors include your business revenue, personal or business credit score, financial history, financial reputation, and collateral.

You must have a good credit score to qualify for large amounts of money and better loan terms. If you’re using your business credit score, it has to be 75 or more (out of 100). Your business must be generating enough revenue to repay the loan on time.

5.      Can I Qualify for a Business Loan with a Bad Credit Score?

While a credit check is an essential part of the underwriting process, it may not contribute to the final decision. Some lenders offer small business loans to people with bad credit. However, it is difficult to get a loan with a traditional bank if you have a poor credit score.

6.      How Much Collateral Should I Use?

When taking out a business loan, you must provide collateral. The value of the property you use as collateral depends on the amount of money you are borrowing. It has to be worth the business loan because it acts as the security.

For instance, if your business is borrowing $40,000 for marketing and advertising, the cash value of the property you use as collateral should be at least $40,000. If you fail to pay off the debt, the lender will seize the property and sell it to recover the money.

7.      What is the Interest Rate of the Business Loan?

Before setting out for a business loan, you should compare the interest rates of several lenders to find the most favorable one. You don’t have to do that manually because there are many comparison tools here that can help you analyze difference financing options.

Besides interest rates, you should also consider the total cost of the business loan. One of the best ways of comparing the overall expenses is by calculating the annual percentage rate of every lender. That should even include all the loan upfront fees.

8.      What Payment Schedule Would Suit Me?

Different business loan lenders offer various repayment plans ranging from daily, weekly to monthly payments. While monthly payment is the most popular plan, most lenders have adopted the daily and weekly schedule to reduce debt burden at end-month.

If you choose the daily or weekly repayment plan, you must ensure that your business has a consistent flow of cash throughout the entire month. The payment plan is unsuitable for companies that depend on the monthly inflow of money.

9.      How Long Will It Take to Process a Business Loan?

Today, most lenders process business loans within a few days or weeks. However, some lenders like traditional banks have a lengthier underwriting procedure that may contribute to late approval and disbursement of funds.

With an understanding that borrowers need quick funding, online lenders offer loan approvals within 24 hours. You can also get the cash within two days after approval.

10. Must I Have a Business Plan to Get a Business Loan?

Most lenders that offer business loans require evidence showing that you’ll use the money for a business. A business plan is one of the documents that can serve as proof, especially when starting up a business.

If you have an existing business, some lenders may ask you to provide a summary of its nature. If you are planning to expand the company with the loan, you may have to issue an expansion plan.

Bottom Line

Since lenders consider numerous factors before giving out business loans, it is essential to research such elements before taking out a loan. That will help you avoid additional costs that you didn’t expect. Remember to compare various loan options to find that which will suit your business needs.

Corporate Class – 5 Secrets to Polishing Your Company’s Image

The way in which people perceive your business can play a significant part in how prominent and successful it is. You can’t put your branding on a shack and call it a multi-million-dollar corporation. Nor can you bowl down a children’s orphanage then call yourself a corporation that cares about “the little guy.”

Everything you do in the public eye is all for the sake of polishing your company’s image. If it has been some time since you pulled out the branding Brasso, then it might be time to check these points below and see if you’re doing everything you can for your company image:

Don’t Skimp on Your Head Office

How the general public views you can mean everything, which is why you should always take great care in the selection of a commercial property to house your venture. When the time comes to lease or buy a new premise, ensure it’s one that falls in line with your company direction and values. For example, if you are all about “leading the way” or “shaping the future” then your head office needs to reflect that. It should also offer the perception that your corporation is at the pointy end of success.

Invest in Your Marketing & Advertising

If you want your current and future customers to remember who you are and continue using your services, then you need a reasonably big marketing and advertising budget. You then need to use the correct avenues to get your company in the public eye.

Facebook and other social media platforms tend to be the most popular at the moment, but more traditional methods such as newspaper and radio still have their place in the modern world. What’s more, email marketing campaigns are making a comeback. If you are considering social media to advertise look at various facebook ad design companies that know what they are doing.

Better Branding

If you’re trying to polish your company image, consider whether a brand refresher could be in the pipeline. Depending on the years you have been in business for, your current logo and slogan may no longer be relevant to the masses.

However, it’s important to put a lot of time into any branding changes to avoid making a dreadful to mistake. What’s more, you will need to spend a significant sum of money advertising any branding changes to ensure your customers know you’re the same company.

The Feel-Good Factor

A lot of people choose to shop or do business with corporations based on their moral values or who they support. If you want to appear favorable in your customers’ eyes, then look at sponsoring or supporting a good cause. While there are several things worth considering to avoid impacting your bottom line, being socially responsible or charitable can do wonders for your company’s image.

The Best in Press

Polishing your company image can be as effortless as hiring an excellent PR manager or agency for your firm. Such a person or team can be a valuable asset as they have contacts in the media who can show you off in public in the best light. They can cover special things you are doing in the community, display you in the public eye, and even help with marketing stunts and events that lift your brand and image.

Whether you’re trying to rejuvenate your business, change public perception, or dust off the cobwebs and inject life into your brand, then you will quickly discover there are several ways to go about it. Hire the experts, invest in quality commercial property, and play on the feel-good factor to show social responsibility. Once you put all these steps in place, your company image will be sparkling clean in no time.

Boss Costs – 5 Simple Changes Small Business Owners Can Make to Save Money in 2019

Running a small business is hard; most of your competition is already well established, you’ve probably had to go into debt to cover your start up costs and managing employees is a constant reminder of why the saying “not my circus, not my monkeys” exists. While we can’t help you with staffing or the competition, we can give you some pointers on how to save money in your business this year:

Location

We’re constantly being told that location is everything in business. However, in the internet age, your product or service might not require customers to come directly to you, meaning you can keep your office pretty much anywhere. This gives you a distinct advantage, as you can either house your company in an area where rent is cheaper or capitalise on the extras offered by a serviced office. While it may seem counterproductive to have someone else manage your office for you, it can, in fact, be an easy cost saving measure as it means you won’t have to worry about expenses such as reception staff and cleaning.

Utilize Technology

How a business uses technology is arguable one of the most important factors regarding whether they will succeed or fail. Depending on your current knowledge of what’s available you may need to undergo training but once you’re across the available software and platforms for your industry, technology can really give your business a boost.

Firstly, the more you can automate, the fewer task your staff are required to perform. Not only does this allow you to reduce headcount but it also allows those who you choose to employ to be more productive. Advanced unified communications technology can also benefit you in a myriad of ways, as can electronic payment systems and cloud-based freight management software among others so it is highly advisable to look into what will work well for your business and implement it.

Go Green

An environmentally friendly workplace will help save your back pocket as well as the planet.

Going paperless will save you a surprisingly large chunk of cash, as will utilising energy saving products throughout your office. While this is mainly because a more energy efficient office means lower usage and therefore less associated costs, there may also be a scheme in your area which offers incentives for businesses to look after the planet.

Keep Receipts

Unless you’re on top of every single business account and expense, you’re probably missing out on numerous tax refunds. You should always aim to keep track of all outgoings wherever possible. If you’re struggling to keep up, then a small business accountant or bookkeeper will be able to assist you. If the IRS ever comes knocking, and trust us, it’s definitely a when not an if, it’s going to be a lot easier to deal with if you have accurate, well maintained, records.

Cost saving measures can be applied to almost any situation but this doesn’t always mean that they should be. While the tips outlined in this article can be safely implemented into pretty much any business, you should always look into what kind of impact any large decision will have on your operations.

Review your books and see where you are spending unnecessary funds. Saving money could be as simple as holding less catered meetings but if you’re really struggling you should never be ashamed to seek counsel from a financial advisor, if so many businesses didn’t need help they wouldn’t exist.