July, 2020

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Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns: How to Push Your Recession Crowdfunding to the Top

The COVID-19 pandemic and the likely resulting recession has most small business owners scrambling for ways to fund their business.  First, be sure you take advantage of all that is offered by the Federal government and your state government, including the Paycheck Protection Plan, or PPP.

How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign in a Recession

Crowdfunding in a recession may or may not work.  It will be harder to run a successful campaign for sure.  In the best of times, crowdfunding can be hit or miss, so it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize it can be worse during a recession.  We can show you how to help yours become one of the top recession crowdfunding campaigns so you can stay afloat during hard economic times.

To become one of the top recession crowdfunding campaigns, you first need to understand what makes any crowdfunding campaign successful.  That’s what we are attempting to help you to do here.  We have found taken a look at some of history’s most successful campaign, and dissected them to figure out what the secret was to their success.

Of course, in a recession people generally have less disposable income.  You can still run top recession crowdfunding campaigns, but it may be harder. The formula holds however. The characteristics of a top campaign remain the same, recession or not.

In both, a healthy dose of luck is needed.  That’s the element that is outside of anyone’s control.  So focus on what you can control.  The first step is understanding exactly what crowdfunding is.

Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns: What is Crowdfunding?

It’s actually pretty cool. Crowdfunding sites allow you to pitch your business to thousands of micro investors. Anyone who wants a piece of the action can buy a piece of the proverbial pie.

Investors pledge amounts on a broad spectrum depending on the campaign and the platform in use. They may give $5, $80, $150, or even over $500. Generally speaking, investors can pitch in however much they like.

Though not always necessary, most entrepreneurs offer rewards to investors for their generosity. Typically, this comes in the form of the product the business will be selling. Different levels of giving result in different rewards. For example, a $50 gift may get you product A, while a $100 gift will get you an upgraded version of product A.

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Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

Where Do You Start to Launch Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns?

There are many crowdfunding sites, but the most popular are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. While the platforms are similar, there are some very large differences. The most obvious is the timing in which you receive the funds from investors.

With Kickstarter, you have to reach your preset goal before you can receive the funds. If you set a goal to raise $12,000, investments have to reach that amount before you get your hands on any of the money.

Indiegogo, on the other hand, lets you choose if you want to receive funds as they come in or wait until you reach your goal. In addition, they have the option for InDemand, which lets you continue to raise funds after your initial campaign is over, without technically starting a new campaign.

Indiegogo also has a flexible funding option for those who may need it.

Each have warranted amazing results for many entrepreneurs. To make the choice for yourself, you need to evaluate who your audience is, and which platform will best reach them.

How Successful Can A Crowdfunding Campaign Really Be?

It can be quite successful actually. While it certainly isn’t the norm, these top campaigns far exceeded their fundraising goals.

Pebble Smart Watch

Pebble actually has several of the top 10 campaigns ever on Kickstarter. Their 2nd campaign is the highest funded campaign to date, reaching over $20,000,000. That’s not too shabby for a goal of only $500,000. They blew it out of the water!

Are they still successful? Well, yeah, but not in the way you may think. They actually sold to FitBit. I call that success, but they no longer exist as their own company.

FlowHive

This one is not one that most would expect to explode onto the scene the way it did. The FlowHive Indiegogo campaign definitely generated some major buzz. The idea was to find a way to get the honey from bees without harming the bees.

Traditionally, hives are simply broken open to obtain the honey. This process can kill the bees. FlowHive developed a fake hive of sorts, made from reusable plastic. Bees make honey in it, and the honey flows through a spout out into the world. The bees are safe and fresh honey is ours for the taking.

Apparently, beekeeping is a growing interest. This campaign raised $14,000,000. Though they won’t disclose exact numbers, the bees at the top claim they are still buzzing along nicely.

CoolestCooler

The CoolestCooler was a Kickstarter campaign that came in at over $13.000,000 raised. The cooler boasted bluetooth and a blender among other super cool gadgets. Investors received a cooler for their donation toward the cause.

This one did run into some trouble when it wasn’t able to deliver investment rewards as quickly as promised, and there was actually a lawsuit. In the end, everything worked out and everyone got their rewards.

The cool gang at CoolestCooler says they are glad to put that behind them and get back to work. You can still buy one today, and it is definitely cool.

Kingdom Death Monster 1.5

Yeah, you read that right. What do you say to that? Well, apparently a lot of people said yes. They said yes to the tune of $12,000,000 on Kickstarter.

It’s a board game, if you are wondering. It did take a while to get the ball rolling, but investors finally got their copy. After production stopped resale values went upwards of $1,000. A later campaign promising updated material did just as well. Seems like a lot people love horror games.

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Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

BauBox Travel Jacket

This jacket was set to be hot with 10 different go-go gadget like design elements like a drink holder and a neck pillow. They raised over $11,000,000 across 2 campaigns. While it had a bumpy start, including the jacket being available on retail sites before investors even got theirs, it is still selling today.

What Makes a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?

There is never a guarantee, but there are a few things that most campaigns that reach epic status have in common. These things don’t guarantee success, but they can usually help you get over any bumps in the road if you also have a great business idea and everything else in place.

Without further ado, here are our best tips for how to become one of the top recession crowdfunding campaigns:

Research

You can’t go in blind.  You have got to know what you are getting into. This is a risk, and research is your protection.  It’s like you are jumping out of a plane, and research is your parachute.

Make sure you can meet demand. Know your market. Find out how much you actually need before you set your goal. Many a well-meaning entrepreneur has kicked off a campaign only to find the demand isn’t there or their goal fell short of what they actually needed to get started.

Show Them Something Real

If you are selling a product, have a sample to show investors. This is key to becoming one of the top recession crowdfunding campaigns. People are much more likely to jump onboard if they can actually see the ship. This one is so important that Kickstarter actually requires you to have a prototype to show investors.

Crowdfunding Platforms are not One Size Fits All

Once you know who your target audience is, you can decide if you would be best served by Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or some other, lesser known yet equally successful platform. If your audience doesn’t frequent the platform you are on, it won’t matter how great your idea or product is. They will never see it.

Do Not Be Afraid to Offer Incentives

But be sure you can deliver. Be fearless. Don’t hold back. I mean, don’t give away the company either, but if someone one is going to help you get started, they deserve something pretty epic for their trouble. Don’t you think?  Go beyond a thank you note and be generous with what you offer as a reward for their support.

Goal Setting is Vital

Setting attainable goals is absolutely necessary to becoming one of the top recession crowdfunding campaigns. Make sure you crunch the numbers with actual facts before you set a fundraising goal.  Be

certain you have production facilities on the line that can meet the timeline goals. Never set random goals with no clue what it will take to reach them or if they are even realistic to reach.

Be Extra with Marketing Materials

You can’t just throw something together. Videos need to be professionally edited. Social media needs to be specifically geared toward your audience. This means you, of course, need to know your audience well.  Are they preppy?  Cheesy?  Hippy?  Play to what they love.

All marketing has to be relatable to your core audience.

Does Being One of the Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns Guarantee Success?

No, it doesn’t. If you don’t have the other pieces of the puzzle in place, it doesn’t matter how much you raise, you won’t be able to make a go of it. Meeting your crowdfunding goals certainly helps however.

Just be sure you can meet expectations. If you make promises to investors, keep them. Get your arms around how long it will take to deliver and don’t promise anything any sooner than you can actually handle, taking the recession into account.

If there are problems, address them like a professional. Communication with investors goes a long way.

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Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

Have a Back Up Plan

Now, what if you do everything right and it still isn’t enough? This is where having solid business credit comes in. If you need to bridge the gap between your crowdfunding funds and capital needs, a good old-fashioned working capital loan or even business credit cards can get you there.

How to Get Business Credit

Start working on your business credit in conjunction with your crowdfunding campaign, if you haven’t already.  It is never too early.  The first steps are the easiest.  You need to get separate contact information for your business.  This includes an address and a phone number that are not your own.  It also means getting a separate business bank account and using it for all business-related transactions.

Make certain your phone number is toll free, and list it along with your business address under the business name in the directories.

You also need a professional business website and dedicated email address.  The email address should have the same URL as the website.  Do not use a free service such as Yahoo or Gmail.

In addition to these simple things, there are a few other steps that will help further separate your business from yourself.  These include formally incorporating, obtaining an EIN, and applying for a DUNS number.

When it comes to incorporating, you can choose from a corporation, an S-corp, or a limited liability corporation.  They vary in cost and the amount of liability protection they offer, but they all serve the purpose of separating your business so you can build business credit equally.

You can obtain an EIN for free on the IRS website, and the DUNS number is free through the Dun & Bradstreet website.

What’s Next?

Work with starter vendors in the vendor credit tier.  These are vendors that will offer net 30 invoice terms without a credit check, and then they will report your payments to the credit agencies.  If you have laid the groundwork by establishing your business as separate from yourself and getting the necessary identifying numbers, you will now be well on your way to building business credit.

Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns are Possible

They really are, but they are not always enough.  Follow these tips and you may meet all your crowdfunding goals.  Start building business credit now though, so that if it isn’t enough, you will have something to fall back on.  Funding a business is never easy, and a recession makes it even harder.  Still, it is possible if you know where to start and where to go.

 

The post Top Recession Crowdfunding Campaigns: How to Push Your Recession Crowdfunding to the Top appeared first on Credit Suite.

Get Better Financing with Funding Circle Reviews

Looking for Funding Circle reviews? We took a look at this alternative lender to see if the information we had on them is still true. Welcome to Funding Circle reviews.

Funding Circle is one of several lending companies in the online space. They have loaned over $11.7 billion, with over 4.9 million loans under management. They work as a peer to peer lender.

In the US, Funding Circle leads the Marketplace Lending Association, along with LendingClub, Prosper, and Sofi.

Funding Circle Reviews: Background

Funding Circle is online here: www.fundingcircle.com/us/. Their physical addresses are in San Francisco, Denver, London, and Berlin. You can call them here: (855) 385-5356. Their contact page is here: www.fundingcircle.com/us/about/contact/. They have been in business since 2010.

Funding Circle Reviews: Their Borrower’s Bill of Rights

Funding Circle has a business borrowers’ Bill of Rights, here: www.fundingcircle.com/us/business-borrower-bill-of-rights/

It says:

  1. The Right to Transparent Pricing and Terms 

You have a right to see the cost and terms of any financing you are offered in writing and in a form that is clearcomplete, and easy to compare with other options, so that you can make the best decision for your business.

  1. The Right to Non-Abusive Products 

You have a right to loan products that will not trap you in expensive cycles of re-borrowing. Lenders’ profitability should come from your success, not from your failure to repay the loan according to its original terms.

Borrower’s Bill of Rights Continued

  1. The Right to Responsible Underwriting 

You have a right to work with lenders who will set you up for success, not failure. High loss rates should not be accepted by lenders simply as a cost of business to be passed on to you in the form of high rates or fees.

  1. The Right to Inclusive Credit Access 

You have a right to fair and equal treatment when seeking a loan.

  1. The Right to Fair Collection Practices 

If you are unable to repay a loan, you have a right to be treated fairly and respectfully throughout the collections process. Collections on defaulted loans should not be used by lenders as a primary source of repayment.

Funding Circle Reviews: SBA 7(a) Loans

At Funding Circle, you can borrow anywhere from $20,000 to $5 million from the SBA. Loan terms run for up to 10 years. Pay an interest rate of prime +2.75%. as of the writing of this blog post, that is 6%.

There are no prepayment penalties. 

Fees

Funding Circle will charge a one-time origination fee on each loan they fund. This amount ranges from 3.49% to 6.99% of the approved loan amount.

Funding Circle Reviews: Qualifying for an SBA 7(a) Loan with Funding Circle

Small businesses which meet the below criteria are eligible to apply for an SBA 7(a) loan:

  • In business for more than 3 years
  • At least $500,000 in annual revenue
  • No federal tax liens
  • 680 FICO for personal Guarantor
  • Positive book value (assets > liabilities)

Qualified Industries

Because these are SBA loans, Funding Circle must conform to the SBA’s requirements when it comes to industries. Therefore, they cannot lend to these industries:

  • Speculative real estate
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Weapons manufacturers
  • Gambling businesses
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Pornography

Funding Circle Reviews: COVID-19 Relief

As a part of working with the Small Business Administration, Funding Circle offers their COVID-19 relief, in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Funding Circle Reviews Credit Suite

What frustrates you the most about funding your business during a recession? Check out how our guide can help.

Funding Circle Reviews: More Information

Apply online, and a personal account manager will reach out to you within one hour. They will ask about your business and request and collect documentation. They will decide on your loan in as little as 24 hours. 

If you accept a loan offer, you can get funding in as little as one business day. You can return for more funding in as little as six months.

If your monthly payment is more than 10 days late, they may charge a late fee of up to 5% of each missed payment amount. The late fee will be payable immediately and is in addition to the missed payment.

They will place your loan into default if you miss three or more consecutive payments, four out of six monthly payments or do not comply with your loan agreement.

Funding Circle Reviews: Advantages

So the advantages include no prepayment penalty. There are also relatively fast decisions and funding. In addition, the Borrowers’ Bill of Rights is encouraging. The maximum rates you could pay are within reason.

Funding Circle Reviews: Disadvantages

So what are Funding Circle’s disadvantages? It should be obvious: fees, fees, and more fees. They are for origination, missing payments, and also for insufficient funds. 

An Alternative to Funding Circle

Of course one great alternative to Funding Circle is to build business credit. But how do you do that? Fortunately, we have the method right here. And we’re more than happy to let you in on the secret.

Corporate credit is credit in a small business’s name. It doesn’t connect to a business owner’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the only employee of the business. Accordingly, an entrepreneur’s business and personal credit scores can be quite different.

The Advantages

Because small business credit is separate from individual, it helps to protect a small business owner’s personal assets, in the event of legal action or business insolvency. Also, with two separate credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two different cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles buying power.

Another benefit is that even startups can do this. Visiting a bank for a business loan can be a formula for disappointment. But building business credit, when done the right way, is a plan for success.

Individual credit scores rely on payments but also other components like credit usage percentages. But for company credit, the scores actually only hinge on whether a company pays its bills in a timely manner.

The Process

Growing small business credit is a process, and it does not happen automatically. A corporation must proactively work to establish corporate credit. Having said that, it can be accomplished readily and quickly, and it is much more efficient than establishing individual credit scores. Merchants are a big part of this process.

Performing the steps out of order will cause repetitive denials. No one can start at the top with company credit. For instance, you can’t start with store or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a denial 100% of the time.

Company Fundability

A business needs to be fundable to loan providers and vendors. For this reason, a business will need a professional-looking website and e-mail address, with website hosting bought from a supplier like GoDaddy. And company phone and fax numbers need to have a listing on ListYourself.net.

In addition the business telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the like).

A corporation will also need a bank account devoted strictly to it, and it must have all of the licenses necessary for running. These licenses all must be in the specific, correct name of the company, with the same company address and telephone numbers. Bear in mind that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.

Funding Circle Reviews Credit Suite

What frustrates you the most about funding your business during a recession? Check out how our guide can help.

Working with the Internal Revenue Service

Visit the IRS website and acquire an EIN for the small business. They’re totally free. Choose a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc. A business can start off as a sole proprietor but will probably want to change to a kind of corporation or partnership to decrease risk and maximize tax benefits.

A business entity will matter when it concerns tax obligations and liability in the event of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the entrepreneur is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. Nobody else is responsible.

If you operate a business as a sole proprietor at least file for a DBA (‘doing business as’) status. If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the corporate name. Hence, you can find yourself being personally responsible for all small business debts.

In addition, per the Internal Revenue Service, with this structure there is a 1 in 7 possibility of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 possibility for corporations! Avoid confusion and significantly decrease the odds of an IRS audit at the same time.

Note: any DBA filing should be a steppingstone to incorporating, which is best for building business credit.

Starting Off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Begin at the D&B web site and obtain a free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a business in their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the corporation. You can do this at https://www.creditsuite.com/reports/. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process. By doing this, Experian and Equifax will have activity to report on.

Trade Lines

First you must establish trade lines that report. This is also called vendor accounts. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin getting revolving store and cash credit.

These varieties of accounts have the tendency to be for the things bought all the time, like shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But first of all, what is trade credit? These trade lines are creditors who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are often Net 30, versus revolving.

Hence if you get approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you will need to pay that money back in a set term, such as within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

Details

Net 30 accounts must be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid in full within 60 days. Compared to with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you made use of.

To launch your business credit profile properly, you need to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. Once that’s done, you can then make use of the credit.

Then pay back what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are vendors that will grant an approval with minimal effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

You want 3 of these to move onto the next step, which is revolving store credit. 

Accounts That Don’t Report

Non-Reporting trade accounts can also be helpful. While you do want trade accounts to report to at least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can yet be of some worth. You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. And credit accounts of any sort ought to help you to better even out business expenses, thus making financial planning simpler. These are providers like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.

Revolving Store Credit

Once there are 3 more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, move onto revolving store credit. These are businesses which include Office Depot and Staples.

Use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Are there more accounts reporting? Then move to fleet credit. These are companies such as BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to repair and maintain vehicles. Make certain to apply using the small business’s EIN.

Cash Credit

Have you been sensibly managing the credit you’ve up to this point? Then move onto more universal cash credit. These tend to be MasterCard credit cards. Keep your SSN off these applications; use your EIN instead.

If you have more trade accounts reporting, then these are in reach.

Funding Circle Reviews Credit Suite

What frustrates you the most about funding your business during a recession? Check out how our guide can help.

Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and deal with any mistakes ASAP. Get in the habit of checking credit reports and digging into the specifics, and not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less. Update the relevant information if there are errors or the data is incomplete.

Disputing Errors

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to challenge any mistakes in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be corrected. But the CRAs usually want you to dispute in a particular way.

Disputing credit report errors typically means you send a paper letter with copies of any evidence of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the original copies. Always send copies and retain the original copies.

Disputing credit report errors also means you precisely spell out any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.

A Word about Building Business Credit

Always use credit smartly! Never borrow beyond what you can pay off. Track balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying off punctually and in full will do more to elevate business credit scores than almost anything else.

Growing business credit pays off. Excellent business credit scores help a business get loans. Your creditor knows the business can pay its financial obligations. They recognize the small business is for real. The small business’s EIN attaches to high scores, and creditors won’t feel the need to require a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your small business for years to come.

Funding Circle Reviews: Takeaways

Fees are high at Funding Circle, but at least they’re being transparent about them. Plus, there is no prepayment penalty – but there are late fees. Hence Funding Circle is best for companies which do not need to borrow much and can pay it all back not only on time, but early. Borrowers which need more time to pay a loan back would probably do better elsewhere.

Finally, read the fine print and do the math. Therefore, go over details carefully. And decide if this option will be good for you and your company. In addition, consider alternative financing options beyond lending. This includes building business credit, to best get the money you need. Funding Circle reviews should be just the beginning.

The post Get Better Financing with Funding Circle Reviews appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Find Your Target Audience

When I first started out in marketing, I thought traffic was everything.

I wanted to be as big as companies like HubSpot. Just look at the image above and you’ll see how many visitors they are getting.

They generate 29.61 million visitors a month from 11.74 million people. And those visitors produce roughly 10 billion dollars of market cap.

Now, let’s look at NeilPatel.com. Can you guess how many visitors I’m getting each month?

I’m generating roughly 8.717 million visitors a month from 3.616 million people.

When you look at it from a unique visitor perspective, HubSpot is getting 3.24 times more unique visitors than me.

So, in theory, I should be worth roughly 3 times less than them, right? Well, technically I’m not even worth 1/10th of them. Not even close.

Why is that? It’s because I didn’t go after the right target audience, while HubSpot did.

And today, I want you to avoid making this massive mistake that I made. Because marketing is tough, so why would you start off by going after the wrong people?

It will just cause you to waste years and tons of money like it did with me.

Defining your target audience is the first and most essential step towards success for any company or business, especially if you are just getting started.

So before we dive into things, let me first break down what you are about to learn in this article:

  • What is a Target Audience?
  • The Difference Between Target Audience and Persona
  • The Importance of Selecting Your Target Audience Correctly
  • How to Define your Target Audience: 6 Questions to Help You
  • Creating Customized Content for Your Audience

Let’s get started!

What is a target audience?

A target audience is a share of consumers that companies or businesses direct their marketing actions to drive awareness of their products or services.

I know that is a tongue twister, so let me simplify it a bit more…

The intention here is to target a market with whom you will communicate with. A group of people with the same level of education, goals, interests, problems, etc. that will need the product or service you are selling.

Basically, you want to target people who will buy your stuff.

If you target people who don’t want to buy your stuff, you might get more traffic to your site… but it won’t do much for you. And you’ll be pulling out your hair trying to figure out why none of your visitors are buying from you.

Now before we dive into the details on finding your target audience, let’s first go over “personas” because many people confuse them with a target audience and if you do, you’ll just end up wasting time.

The difference between a target audience and a persona

You already know the definition, so I won’t bore you with that again.

The most commonly used data to define the target audience of a company are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education background
  • Purchasing power
  • Social class
  • Location
  • Consumption habits

Examples of a target audience: Women, 20-30 years old, living in Los Angeles, with a bachelor’s degree, monthly income of $4,000 – $6,000, and passionate about fashion and decor.

If you start a company without knowing your exact target audience, you could end up like me instead of HubSpot… we wouldn’t want that now. 😉

And here is another example. Let’s say you have a business that sells educational toys. So your target audience might be children, mothers, education specialists, or teachers.

Or you have a motorcycle business. Your audience will definitely not be people younger than 18, right?

There is no point in trying to reach everyone in order to increase your chances of sales and profit. It will actually cost you more and decrease your profit margins in the long run.

Now let’s go over “personas”…

Persona

In marketing, personas are profiles of buyers that would be your ideal customers.

Personas are fictional characters with characteristics of your real customers. They’re developed based on target audience research and may help you direct your marketing actions better.

A persona is a person that may be interested in what you have to offer since they’re very connected to your brand and you must make an effort to make them a client and retain them.

A persona involves much deeper and more detailed research than the target audience since it includes:

  • Personal characteristics
  • Purchasing power
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Engagement in social networks
  • Professional information

Persona example: Mariana, 22, blogger. Lives in Miami, Florida. Has a journalism degree. Has a blog and posts makeup tutorials and tips about fashion and decor. She always follows fashion events in the area and participates in meetings with other people in the fashion niche. As a digital influencer, she cares a lot about what people see on her social network profiles. Likes to practice indoor activities and go to the gym in her free time.

If I had to define the main difference between persona and target audience, I’d say that the target audience considers the whole, in a more general way, while the persona has a more specific form.

And if you want help creating personas for business, check out this article about creating the perfect persona. But for now, let’s focus on finding your right target audience.

The importance of choosing your target audience correctly

The big mistake I made was that I didn’t figure out my target audience when I first started. I just created content and started marketing to anyone who wanted traffic.

But that is a bit too vague because not everyone who wants more traffic is a good fit for my ad agency.

They could just want to be famous on Instagram or YouTube, which is a lot of people, but that doesn’t help me generate more income.

Funny enough, there are more people who are interested in getting Instagram followers than people who want to learn about SEO.

But once you know your target audience, it’s easier to find and perform keyword research. For example, I know that I shouldn’t waste too much time writing articles about Instagram or Twitch even though the search volume is high.

It will just cause me to get irrelevant traffic and waste my time/money.

And that’s the key… especially when it comes to things like SEO or paid ads. The moment you know your target audience, you can perform keyword research correctly and find opportunities that don’t just drive traffic, but more importantly, drive revenue.

Now let’s figure out your target audience.

How to define your target audience: 6 questions to help you

Figuring out your target audience isn’t rocket science. It just comes down to a few simple questions.

6 actually, to be exact.

Go through each of the questions below and you’ll know the exact audience you are targeting.

1. Who are they?

When thinking about who might be your target audience, you must consider who are the people who identify with your brand.

One way to find out is to monitor who follows, likes, shares, and comments on your posts on social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.

If someone is willing to engage with you, then chances are they are your target.

But in many cases, your ideal audience may not always be on the social web. They might be inactive on social media but buy from your company frequently or sign up for your services.

Even those who bought from you only once must be considered a part of your target audience, as someone who bought once might buy again.

There is no point in making a great effort to sell if you don’t make a similar effort to keep the customers you have already gained.

Customers like to feel special, and that is why the post-sales process is so important. Your relationship with the customer must remain even after the purchase is completed.

2. What are their greatest difficulties, problems, or desires?

What is cool, interesting, and good for you might not be for the customer.

You can’t think only of yourself when it’s time to define the difficulties, problems, and desires of your target audience. You must put yourself in their shoes.

Don’t make offers based on what you think. Make them according to research grounded in data, previous experiences, and analysis of your potential customers’ behavior.

Understand the greatest difficulties your audience faces to try to help solve them.

3. Where do they find the information they need daily?

Everyone needs information.

Every day you are surrounded by tons of information on the channels that you follow, but when you need it the most, where do you go to find that information?

Identify the communication channels most appropriate to your target audience and try to talk to them using a specific language from their universe.

For example, I know my target audience will either read marketing blogs or spend a lot of time on social sites like YouTube and LinkedIn consuming information.

4. What is the benefit of your product?

Everyone wants solutions for their problems and to make their lives easier. This is a collective desire and it’s no different for your target audience.

Think a little about your product and the problem of your target audience. What benefits does your product or service offer? What can it do to solve those problems? What is the main value offer?

With so much competition, you must try to find your competitive advantage in your niche and always try to improve your product, offering something extra that others do not.

5. What draws their attention negatively?

Being optimistic helps a lot, but thinking about the negatives can also help, especially when we talk about target audiences.

Better than considering what your audience wants, you can consider what it definitely doesn’t want, what it considers negative, and what it avoids.

With this powerful information in hand, you may have more chances to captivate your potential customers.

Avoiding what they consider negative is the first step to gain their approval. After that, you only need to apply other strategies to do efficient marketing.

6. Who do they trust?

Trust is everything to your target audience. No one purchases a product or service from a company they don’t know or trust.

This is why reviews on Amazon are read and so important for sellers. They know it builds trust… it’s also helped Amazon become a trillion-dollar company.

Even though this is the last question to define target audiences, it is one of the most important ones.

This is why the reputation of your company is so important. Taking care of the relationship with your customers is essential as they will spread information about your brand on the internet and to their friends and family.

If you get good reviews, have positive comments, and garner a great reputation, this will be the base for potential customers to feel motivated to buy from you.

Creating customized content for your audience

Now that you know your audience, let’s get to the fun stuff. Let’s create content for them.

Everyone creates content, right? Just look at Google if you don’t believe me.

You just have to put a keyword on Google and you will see thousands if not millions of results for each keyword.

When you research “best earbuds” on Google, this is what you see:

Content Customized for your Audience 1

First, there are options of products from Google Shopping, with ads and prices for different earphones for various audiences, needs, and tastes.

Next, there is a list of sites and blogs with information about different types of earphones and comparisons:

Content Customized for your Audience 2

There is no shortage of content about this subject or any other that you can search for. Anyone can create and publish text with no barriers.

The question is how you can make this content more personalized and attractive for your consumer.

Everyone produces content. Millions of publications are posted every day.

The secret though is to create content that targets your ideal customer and no one else. Generic content may produce more traffic, but it will also produce fewer sales.

To find what your target audience is searching for, you can use Ubersuggest. Just type in a keyword related to your audience.

target audience ubersuggest 1

From there, on the left-hand navigation, click on “keyword ideas.” You’ll then be taken to a report that looks like the one below.

Content Customized for your Audience 2

You now have topics to choose from. Not all of them will be a good fit but some will.

I recommend that you go after the long-tail terms, such as “best earbuds for running” (assuming your target audience is active). The more generic terms like “best earbuds” will drive traffic and a few sales, but it won’t convert as well as more specific terms.

The same goes if you are doing keyword research for the service industry or even the B2B space.

Types of content to create

Once you have a list of keywords you want to target, you might be confused as to what type of content you should be creating.

You’ll want to create content based on your funnel. In essence, you want to cover each step of the funnel.

target audience sales funnel

The top of the funnel involves content created for visitors and leads, that is, people that might access your site, blog, or social networks by chance.

When thinking about the top of the funnel, the idea is to create materials with more general subjects, with clear and easily accessible language.

It could be educational content, including clarifications or curiosities about your product or service or something somehow related to your industry.

The middle of the funnel is when the conversions happen. In other words, in this stage, the person who has a problem and the intention to solve it considers the purchase of your product or service.

It’s the middle of the road, but it is not the sale itself, because it’s still only about ideas. It’s in the middle of the funnel that you get closer to your target audience and generate more identification.

Next: bottom of the funnel content. This content focuses more on your product or service.

Here you can introduce details about functions, benefits, and other direct information about your product or service.

It is far more likely to convert here as this particular audience has practically decided to buy already and you are only going to give them a final push.

Conclusion

I’m hoping this article saves you from making the big mistake I made.

But knowing your target audience isn’t enough, though. It doesn’t guarantee success. You still need to create and market your content. That’s why I covered keyword research in this article as well.

Once you create content, you may also want to check out these guides as they will help you attract the right people to your site:

So have you figured out your target audience yet?

The post How to Find Your Target Audience appeared first on Neil Patel.

Get the Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards

Get the best business cash back credit cards here! Pick from our wide selection and get what you and your business need.

Where are the Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards?

We researched the best business cash back credit cards – and more – for you. So, here are our selections.

Per the SBA, company credit card limits are a massive 10 – 100 times that of personal credit cards!

This shows you can get a great deal more funds with company credit cards. And it likewise reveals you can have personal credit cards at shops. So, you would now have an additional card at the same shops for your company.

And you will not need collateral, cash flow, or financials to get business credit.

The Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards: Benefits

Benefits can vary. So, make sure to pick the benefit you would like from this selection of alternatives.

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards for Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One ® Spark® Cash for Business 

Check out the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. It has an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year. Afterwards, this card costs $95 each year. There is no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 18.49%.

You can get a $500 one-time cash bonus after spending $4,000 in the initial three months from account opening. Get unlimited 2% cash back. Redeem at any time without minimums.

You will need good to exceptional credit to qualify.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-cash/

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards for Flat-Rate Rewards and No Yearly Fee

Discover it® Business Card

Take a look at the Discover it® Business Card. It has no annual fee. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months. Then the regular APR is a variable 14.49 – 22.49%.

Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no category restrictions or bonuses. They double the 1.5% Cashback Match™ at the end of the first year. There is no minimal spend requirement.

You can download transactions| conveniently to Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel. Note: you will need great to exceptional credit scores to receive this card.

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/business/

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards for Bonus Categories

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Take a look at the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial year. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%. You can get a $500 one-time cash bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

You can earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year.

Get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no restriction to the amount you can get.

You will need exceptional credit to receive this card.

Find it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/cash?iCELL=61GF

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards with Boosted Cash Back Categories

Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard® credit card

Take a look at the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard® credit card. Get an 0% introductory APR for the first 9 billing cycles of the account. After that, the APR is 13.74% – 23.74% variable. There is no annual fee. You can get a $300 statement credit offer.

Get 3% cash back in the category of your choice. So these are gasoline stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services. Get 2% cash back on dining. So this is for the initial $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year. Then get 1% after, with no limits.

You will need exceptional credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://promo.bankofamerica.com/smallbusinesscards2/ 

Secure Company Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Check out the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business. It has no annual fee. There is no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 24.49%. You can get unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your company, without minimum to redeem.

While this card is within reach if you have average credit, beware of the APR. However if you can pay promptly, and in full, then it’s a good deal.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-classic/

Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

Exceptional Company Credit Cards with No Yearly Fee

No Yearly Fee/Flat Rate Cash Back

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Have a look at the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card. Beyond no annual fee, get an introductory 0% APR for the initial twelve months. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

You can get unlimited 1.5% Cash Back rewards on every purchase made for your company. And get $500 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 in the initial 3 months from account opening. You can redeem your rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. You will need outstanding credit scores to qualify for this card.

Find it here: https://creditcards.chase.com/business-credit-cards/ink/unlimited 

Small Business Credit Cards with a 0% Introductory APR – Pay Zero!

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Take a look at the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It has no annual fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial 12 months. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

Get double Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases like office supplies or client suppers for the initial $50,000 spent each year. Get 1 point per dollar afterwards.

You will need great to exceptional credit to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/bluebusinessplus-credit-card/ 

 American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Also check out the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card. Keep in mind: the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card is identical to the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. However its rewards are in cash rather than points.

Get 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year. After that get 1%.

It has no annual fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial 12 months. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

You will need good to excellent credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/business-bluecash-credit-card/ 

Flexible Financing Credit Cards – Take A Look at Your Options!

The Plum Card® from American Express

Have a look at the Plum Card® from American Express. It has an initial yearly fee of $0 for the first year. After that, pay $250 each year.

Get a 1.5% early pay discount cash back bonus when you pay within 10 days. You can take up to 60 days to pay without interest when you pay the minimum due by the payment due date.

You will need great to superb credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/the-plum-card-business-charge-card/ 

Irresistible Cards for Jackpot Rewards That Never Expire

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Take a look at the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It has no yearly fee. You can get 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There is no limit on the cash back you can get. And get a one-time $200 cash bonus as soon as you spend $3,000 on purchases in the initial three months. Rewards never expire.

Pay a 0% introductory APR for 9 months. Then pay 14.49% – 22.49% variable APR afterwards.

You will need good to outstanding credit scores to qualify.

Find it here: https://www.capitalone.com/small-business/credit-cards/spark-cash-select/

Best Biz Cash Back Credit Cards Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines.

The Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards for You

Your outright best business cash back credit cards hinge on your credit history and ratings.

Only you can pick which features you want and need. So, make certain to do your research. What is exceptional for you could be catastrophic for another person.

And, as always, ensure to develop credit in the advised order for the best, fastest benefits.

The post Get the Best Business Cash Back Credit Cards appeared first on Credit Suite.

Survival of the Fittest: The Essential Guide to Establish Business Credit in a Recession

It may seem that trying to establish business credit in a recession is too little too late. It is definitely better to have strong business credit before a recession hits.  However, if you are in the middle of hard economic times and trying to figure out how to survive and even thrive, all is not necessarily lost.  

Also, business credit is a huge part of fundability.  Strong fundability will benefit your business not only now, but long after the recession is over.  

Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Survival Skills and Tips to Ensure You are Make it Off of Recession Island Alive

Becoming a business owner during a recession can feel much like being dropped into an episode of a survival reality show.  Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and the illusion becomes even closer to reality. Everyone is struggling to hang on. The competition is fierce.  You can only hope you will not be voted off. If you do not already have strong business credit in place, you may think the situation is hopeless.  Yet, it is possible to establish business credit in a recession. It just may take a little more patience and creativity. Truly, nothing breeds creativity like hard times.

Whether you need it immediately or not, it is vitally important to have separate credit for your business.  This is regardless of your current situation. The need is even more pressing during a recession. 

The first step to establishing business credit in a recession is to set up your business as a separate entity from yourself.  Even if you have stellar personal credit, you do not want it tied up with your business. The reverse is true as well. 

If your personal credit goes south due to recession issues, you do not want your business to suffer.  On the flip side, if your business struggles, you want your personal credit protected as much as possible.  

Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

Why Establish Business Credit in a Recession?

If you have found yourself on recession island without business credit, you may wonder how it could possibly help to establish it now.  Here’s the thing. No business credit is the same as bad business credit. There is no time like the present. If you do it right, establishing and building business credit during a recession can only help you.  

Business credit can help you access funding to get you through the hard times.  If you need to cover a cash gap brought on by slow-paying customers, business credit can open up options for that.  If you want to purchase inventory in bulk to take advantage of special pricing, business credit can help with that as well.  

These are just two examples of how having strong business credit during a recession can help your business survive.  It’s best to have a strong credit score in place before a recession hits. However, if you do not, you can establish business credit in a recession with these tips.

Separate from the Pack: Get Incorporated

While alliances are often formed on survival reality shows, the truth remains that you cannot trust anyone but yourself.  This is especially true in the beginning. Your business needs to stand on its own. 

The first step to separating your business from yourself and your personal credit is to incorporate.   While easiest done on the front end when you first start your business, it is never too late.

 You have a few options.

  • C Corp– This is the most definitive separation, but it is also the most complicated and expensive.  Before choosing this option, be certain there are reasons other than establishing business credit that it needs to be done.  If it isn’t necessary for some other reason, there are other, less complicated, and less costly options. 
  • S Corp– This option basically offers the same separation as the C Corp, but taxes are paid at the personal level, rather than requiring the business to be taxed as well, resulting in double taxation.  It is also cheaper than incorporating as a C Corp. If you aren’t required to file as a C corp, this is a good alternative. 
  • LLC– forming a Limited Liability Corporation results in less liability, thus the name, and offers enough separation to serve the purpose of establishing business credit.  If you are not required to be a C Corp or S Corp, this is the easiest and most cost-effective way to create the separation of business and personal credit needed. 

Throw off Your Old Self: Get Rid of the SSN

Apply for an EIN and stop using your Social Security Number as the identifying number for your business.  Your SSN is tied to you, personally. It is virtually guaranteed that anything connected to it credit-wise will end up on your personal credit reports.  

In fact, if you follow the other steps for establishing business credit and skip this one, it could end up on both reports.  You don’t want that. 

The process for applying for an EIN is easy.  The IRS has an online form. As soon as all the information is verified you receive your number.  Typically, this happens almost immediately. 

Separate but Equal: Do Not Mingle Personal and Business Finances

Do not buy into the falsehood that you can run your business expenses through the same bank account as your personal expenses.  When you want to establish business credit in a recession or at any other time, your business needs its own account. Separate finances are vital to separate credit.  

You have to separate expenses for tax purposes anyway.  Having a separate business banking account will only make it easier. 

Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

Know Who You Report To: Get a Free DUNS Number

Dun and Bradstreet is the most widely used business credit reporting agency.  They issue each business on file a 9-digit D-U-N-S number.  The application is easy and free.  Once you have that number, you will be even closer to establishing credit for your business separate from your own. 

Be Easily Accessible: Set Up Separate Business Contact Information

Your business needs its own phone number.  It should be an 800 number or from some other toll-free exchange.  This way, when you apply for credit, you can enter contact information that is separate from your personal information.  When information is reported to agencies, sometimes the phone number is an identifying factor. If you and your business share a number, that just decreases the level of separation. 

The same is true for a separate business address, email address, and website.  Your business address should not be the same as your home address.  The business email address should contain the website URL. Do not use a free service such as Yahoo or Gmail. 

Make sure your website is professionally presented and put together.  A poorly put together website or broken links can do more damage than you may imagine.

Be sure you get your business phone number and address listed in the directories under the business name. 

Form Preliminary Alliances: Start with the Vendor Credit 

After you separate your business from yourself, it is time for the next step to establish business credit in a recession.  Do business with starter vendors that will extend invoices with net30 terms. Then, when you pay, they will report the payment to the business credit reporting agencies.  As a bonus, if you are finding yourself short on necessities due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these vendors may have what you need. Toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning products are all available through some starter vendors. 

Typically, these vendors issue net terms without regard to either your personal or business credit score.  This makes them the perfect way to begin building your business credit score. While there are a lot of these types of vendors out there, some are better to start with than others.  

You want to start with those that offer products you will use in the daily course of business.  They also need to have minimal requirements for net30 terms. Though they do not check credit, some do have minimum time in business or annual revenue requirements.  Others only require that you make a few initial purchases before they will extend net terms.

Three of the most common starter vendors that work great at the beginning of the process include: 

  • Quill– offers office and cleaning supplies
  • Uline– sells packing supplies
  • Grainger– supplies for working outside including tools

Keep Building: Apply for Business Credit Cards 

Continuing to build business credit is the next step after you establish business credit in a recession.  Once you have your name, EIN, separate contact information, and 5 to 7 starter vendors reporting to the credit agencies, you can apply for credit from certain retailers. This step includes specific stores that issue credit to be used only in their stores or on their website.

Shoot for the highest limit, lowest interest, and most rewards options possible.  Perks like cash back and travel points can pay off. 

If you only qualify for a $200 limit and a higher-end interest rate, in the beginning, that is fine.  You may not be able to get the best rate with a business that has a shorter credit history. This is especially true during a recession. However,  if you pay consistently and on time, things should change quickly. 

After you have several store accounts reporting, you can apply for fleet cards.  These include cards from companies such as Shell and Fuelman that you can only use to pay for gasoline and automobile repairs. 

Once you have several accounts reporting from all three of these types of cards, you can apply for credit that isn’t restricted by retailer or purchase type.  These include well-known credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard that offer higher limits, lower rates, and better rewards. 

Look for Friends in Unlikely Places: Open Talks with Your Utility ProvidersEstablish Business Credit in a Recession Credit Suite

Sometimes utility companies are willing to report payments to credit agencies.  However, you almost always have to ask. The worst they can do is refuse. If they do, no harm no foul.  If they agree, you will only establish your business credit faster. 

Remember, if you are having trouble making utility payments right now due to reduced income related to coronavirus, you should probably wait to do this.  Instead, talk to the utilities about what options they are offering in these circumstances. Some are not counting missed payments against customers for a couple of months.  You have to discuss this with them however, do not assume anything. 

Talk to them all, including telephone, electric, gas, and even internet.  Before you do this, be certain that all of these utilities are in your company name under your separate business contact information. 

Handle Your Business: Make Payments on Time

Of course, the most important part of establishing business credit is making on-time payments.  If this doesn’t happen, then you will not like the credit you establish. It’s equally important whether you are trying to establish business credit in a recession or in a strong economic climate.  Admittedly, it can be much harder during a recession, especially one induced by a global pandemic. Be sure you take advantage of all the resources available to help you stay current. 

Planning is an important part of this.  Do not overspend, and try not to use credit that you cannot pay back in a timely manner. It doesn’t have to be paid off all at once.  You need to make payments to build credit, but be sure you can actually make the payments.

Hit the jackpot and weather any recession with our best webinar and its trustworthy list of seven vendors who can help you build business credit.

You Can Establish Business Credit in a Recession

If you follow these steps, it is possible to establish business credit in a recession.  For new businesses, it can fall into place easily in the normal course of creating a business.  If you have been around a while, it may require some backtracking. A recession may mean it takes longer, but it is more than doable if you follow the steps and trust the process. 

The post Survival of the Fittest: The Essential Guide to Establish Business Credit in a Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Successfully Reinvent Your Career & Personal Growth During and Post-Pandemic

With unemployment rates soaring in the US, the fallout from the pandemic has left many families struggling with the question: What do we do next? Both moms and dads lie awake at night, wondering what …

The post How to Successfully Reinvent Your Career & Personal Growth During and Post-Pandemic appeared first on Paper.li blog.

Fight Back: Get an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession

The COVID-19 pandemic has quite literally turned the economy on its head.  Businesses are suffering, and recession is imminent.  Not only that, but aside from the influx of federal funds to the SBA, banks are not going to keep lending so freely for much longer. The time to get funding to help your business survive the recession is now.  Still, is it even possible to get an unsecured business line of credit in a recession?

Everything You Need to Know Before You Apply for an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession

Even during a recession, it is almost impossible to run a business without financing.  At some point you will need a large supply of cash that you do not have. Even if you do have sizeable cash reserves, it is typically not a good idea to deplete them all at once.  A line of credit can be a huge help, because the credit line is revolving. This means you do not have to continually apply for it. It is just there to use as needed. The problem is, small business lending drastically decreases during a recession.   How do businesses survive then? How can you get an unsecured business line of credit in a recession?

Before You Learn How, Learn Why

Before the how, know the why.  An unsecured business line of credit in a recession can help you make repairs, cover a cash gap, or just take advantage of an awesome wholesale promotion without reapplying for credit. You are likely not going to have all the cash on hand.  This is especially during a recession.

Even if you do, a business line of credit is a great way to build business credit and manage cash flow.  If you use it properly. The question then becomes not “if” you need business financing, but rather “what type” of business financing do you need.

The options are many. Which one is best for your business will depend on multiple factors. There are both unsecured and secured lines of credit, term loans, various types of invoice lending, credit cards and more.  During hard economic times, some financing options are more available than others. The greatest cutbacks on lending are in the larger banks. Typically, traditional term loans are squeezed the hardest.

Therefore, finding an unsecured line of credit in a recession isn’t impossible.  It may not be as easy to come by as during an economic boom, but it is possible. You are likely to have better luck at the smaller banks.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

The Fine Print

Under each lending option there are sub options for specific types of borrowers, specific borrower needs, secured, unsecured, and even options with cash back and other rewards.

The best way to make a decision is to learn as much as you can about each one.  Do this before you need financing. Then when the time comes, you already know what you need.

The unsecured line of credit is one option that is often misunderstood. It can be difficult to determine why you would choose this option over a secured line of credit or a term loan, and if you do, what are the benefits?

Why Choose a Line of Credit?

The best way to explain this is to line up the unsecured line of credit head to head with the most commonly used other options.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs. Term Loans

Besides the fact that it is much harder to get a term loan during a recession, the answer here is pretty straight forward. If you need cash occasionally for various reasons, a line of credit is your best bet.  If you have a large, specific purchase or project, then a term loan could work better depending on a number of variables.

Consider the following scenarios:

One company is beginning to see cash gaps due to a lag in customer payments.  The recession is hitting everyone hard, and while no one has completely stopped paying, the average time receivables stay on the books has increased. In this situation, a line of credit is the best option. You will have the financing to use from month to month.  Also, you can take only what you need, and pay it back once the invoices are paid.

The next company needs to add another truck to its fleet to handle the shipping for increased orders.  This kind of growth is fortunate given the recession, but they need to finance the truck. In this situation, a term loan would be best.  It may be difficult to find given the slow economy, but the smaller banks may just come through.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs. a Business Credit Card

A credit card is very similar to a line of credit. Most often the glaring difference is the use of a card, though some business lines of credit offer a card for access in addition to checks.  Similar to how some credit cards offer checks for access as well as a card.

Another difference is that sometimes you can use your lending institution’s online banking option to make direct transfers from a line of credit to a checking account, if the accounts are at the same institution. Also, if you need cash, there is no cash withdrawal fee usually with a line of credit. Credit card cash advance fees can expensive.

Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than business lines of credit also, though unsecured lines of credit in a recession can have very high interest rates as well.

What if You Could Have Both? Credit Line Hybrid

What if there were an option that allowed you to have an even better interest rate than a secured loan, and yet get the money faster and easier than any type of traditional funding.  What if you could get business funding similar to an unsecured business line of credit without having to supply any bank statements or check stubs? Imagine that you could get funding in a few days rather than weeks without supplying any collateral or documents? This is exactly what the credit line hybrid allows you to do.

What is a Credit Line Hybrid?

A credit line hybrid is basically revolving, unsecured financing.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.

What are the Qualifications?

How hard is it to qualify?  Not as hard as you may think.  You do need good personal credit.  That is, your personal credit score should be at least 685.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months, you should have less than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit.

If you do not meet all of the requirements, all is not lost. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business. If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs Secured Line of Credit

Now that you can see the benefit of using a line of credit over other financing options in certain situations, you need to know when and why to choose an unsecured line of credit.

The fact is, an unsecured line of credit in a recession, or in times of a strong economy, is harder to get. It typically has the higher interest rate of the two as well.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

This is due to increased risk to the lender. A secured business line of credit has collateral. If you don’t pay, the lender can still use the collateral to recover some if not all of the loss.

Some business owners either do not have collateral to offer, or they have no interest in tying up their assets with financing. In these cases, they may be able to get line of credit without security.

An unsecured line of credit in a recession typically has strict approval guidelines and qualifications. Due to the increased credit risk, it will likely have higher interest rates and less favorable repayment terms as well.

Where Can You Find an Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession?

As a general rule, the same places you could any other time.  Not all lenders offer this as a product, but there are options available at many traditional and alternative type lenders. Which one you go with depends, again, on your specific situation.  During an economic downturn, alternative lenders may be your best bet.

Traditional lenders offer the lowest interest rates, but their repayment terms may be less flexible. They will also have qualifications that are harder to meet and a longer approval process. In addition, it can take several days after approval to have access to the funds.

An alternative lender will usually have easier to meet qualifications and more flexible repayment terms, but the interest rates are much higher. The approval process is much faster though, and usually takes place all online.  In some cases, you can have access to funds in as little as 24 hours.

Application Preparation

The items you need to apply for an unsecured line of credit in a recession are the same as what you would need for any other time. It will vary from lender to lender, but a general list includes:

· Bank statements

· Financial statements

· Tax returns

Some lenders will check your business credit score, and sometimes even your personal credit score as well. A score of 620 is usually the minimum requirement for approval, but some alternative lenders do not require a minimum score.  Some traditional lenders may require a higher score for an unsecured business line of credit in a recession than it would otherwise.

They are looking for minimum annual revenue as well.  Traditional banks are more likely to grant approval at $180,000 or more of revenue annually.  Alternative lenders usually have a lower threshold.

Basically, lenders want to see how long you have been in business and what your annual revenue is, thought exactly what they need to see to grant approval varies from lender to lender.

Examples of Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession Options Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession Credit Suite2from Real Lenders

Seeing exactly what types of products are currently available from real lenders can be helpful in understanding the difference between what traditional and alternative lenders offer.  Please note that lenders change product offerings and terms at their leisure, and then a change in economic client with trigger a change. Therefore, there is no guarantee these products have not been adjusted since this writing.

Traditional Lenders

Bank of America

There is currently an unsecured line of credit product available from Bank of American that ranges from $10,000 to $100,000. There is a $50 origination fee if approved. The origination fee is a limited time offer.  It is usually $150.

A business must have been in business for two years and have a minimum of $100,000 in annual revenue to qualify.

Alternative Lenders

Fundbox

The unsecured line of credit offered by Fundbox goes up to $100,000. You will also have to have a business bank account. 

The interest rate will increase based on annual revenue and time in business.

OnDeck

OnDeck offers an unsecured business line of credit of up to $100,000.  You repay it weekly for up to 6 months.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

Blue Vine

This one ranges from $5,000 to $250,000.  The repayment term is from 6 to 12 months.

StreetShares

With repayment terms from 3 to 36 months, this is a good option if you qualify. Amounts start at $5,000 and range up to $150,000. They also offer some specialty products with lower interest rates.

An Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession Is a Viable Option

Even if the recession has caused lenders to cut back, an unsecured line of credit in a recession could be an option.  It is way better than a term loan during a recession for a number of reasons. The first is that you can control payments.  

A term loan requires a set payment each month, while a line of credit requires you only to make payments on the amount you use.  If you only use what you need, you will very likely come out with a lower monthly payment.

If you don’t have collateral or do not want to tie up your assets with financing, an unsecured line of credit is an option. The repayment only on what you use may cost less than an unsecured term loan despite the higher interest due to being unsecured.

The bottom line is that an unsecured business line of credit can be more costly than a secured line of credit, but less costly than a term loan. While they are easier to get if you have been in business longer, have higher annual revenue, and have a great credit score, they are not impossible to get without these things. If you are not sure how much you need, or the need could vary, and you do not want to tie up assets or do not have assets to offer as security, then an unsecured business line of credit could be for you.

The post Fight Back: Get an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

Startup Crowdfunding: Top Tips to Make it Work

Startup crowdfunding is an awesome way to start a business for a few reasons. The top reason is likely the hope of starting a business without any debt.  It rarely works out that way, but there have been a few lucky ducks that have blown goals out of the water and been able to use crowdfunding to totally fund their startup.

Try These Hot Tips to Make Startup Crowdfunding Work for You

The problem comes in when you are not one of those lucky ducks.  Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try startup crowdfunding.  It just meant that you need to have a plan, execute it, and have a backup plan in case it doesn’t work out exactly like you hope.  

What is Startup Crowdfunding? 

Crowdfunding sites allow you to pitch your business to thousands of micro investors. Anyone who wants can donate, if you will, to the cause.

Investors pledge amounts on a broad spectrum depending on the campaign and the platform in use. They may give $80, they may give $150, or they may give over $500. It might just be $5, but any amount helps.

Though not always necessary, most entrepreneurs offer rewards to investors for their generosity. Most often, this comes in the form of the product the business will be selling. Different levels of giving  result in different rewards. For example, a $50 gift may get your product A, and a $100 gift will get you an upgraded version of product A.

Startup Crowdfunding Credit Suite

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.

Set Your Goal

This is not something that should be taken lightly. If you set your goal low, it won’t matter if you meet it or not.  You still won’t have enough. If you set it too high, you may not get your money at all. That’s because some platforms will not release your funds until you meet your goal.  There is a fine line you have to walk, and balance is necessary. 

If you aren’t great with numbers, find someone who is to do some professional projections of how much you actually need to start your business. 

Choose Your Platform

There are a few different startup crowdfunding platforms out there.  Some are more popular than others. The key is to find the one with the audience that best fits your business. 

Kickstarter

They are the largest crowdfunding platform. They have over 14 million backers and over 130,000 funded projects. Campaigns are for products and services such as:

  • Publishing
  • The arts and film
  • Comics and illustration
  • Design and tech

A prototype is necessary. Projects cannot be for charity, although nonprofits can use Kickstarter. Equity cannot be offered as an incentive.

Taboo projects and perks include anything to do with:

  • Contests and raffles
  • Cures and medicines
  • Credit services
  • Live animals
  • Alcohol
  • Weapons

There is a 5% fee on all funds which creators collect. Stripe, their payments processor, will also apply payment processing fees, which are roughly 3-5%. Campaigns that don’t make it don’t pay a fee. There are also fees of 3% + $0.20 per pledge. Pledges under $10 have to pay a discounted micropledge fee of 5% + $0.05 per pledge.

Indiegogo

Indiegogo has over 9 million backers. Their minimum goal amount is $500. They charge 5% platform fees and 3% + 30¢ third-party credit card fees. Fees are deducted from the amount raised, not the goal. As a result, if you raise more than your goal, you will pay more in fees. They do not accept PayPal.

Indiegogo is notable because they offer both fixed and flexible funding. This means, if you don’t hit your goal and you chose the flexible funding option, you can at least hold onto what you have. It’s actually  the opposite of how crowdfunding normally works.

You cannot change your fundraising structure once the campaign starts. They recommend fixed funding if you need a minimum amount for your project. In addition,  regular communications with donors is recommended if you choose fixed funding.

RocketHub

RocketHub is more for entrepreneurs who want venture capital. They give you an ELEQUITY Funding Room. This is where you can pitch your idea and see if it stimulates any interest from donors.

The platform is specifically for business owners working on projects in these categories: 

  • Art
  • Business
  • Science
  • Social

If you reach your fundraising goal, you will pay a fee of 4%. In addition, you’ll pay a 4% credit card handling fee. But if you do not reach your goal, that fee jumps up to 8% plus the credit card handling fee. Of course, that means RocketHub is best for companies that are more confident they will make their goals.

Startup Crowdfunding Credit Suite

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.

CircleUp

CircleUp is only for businesses. Their aim is to help emerging brands and companies raise capital to grow. However, companies must apply and show revenue of at least $1 million to get a listing on the site. Still, they will sometimes make exceptions.

Due to its more thorough process, CircleUp can be good for entrepreneurs who already have a somewhat established business. These are business owners who want both funding and guidance in order to take their businesses to the next level.

If your business gets approval for listing on CircleUp, the fee percentage comes from the total amount you raise. 

CircleUp says (in its FAQ): “Our commission is intended to be generally consistent with what companies pay to investment bankers in the offline world for similar size fundraising rounds.”

GoFundMe

We can’t leave this one out because it is so well known.  Truly, it’s probably not the best choice out there.

In general, GoFundMe is for individuals. Therefore, you might conceivably use it at the very beginning for startup crowdfunding. You will need to meet your fundraising goal in order to collect. The service charges 5% as a platform fee outside the United States. But there are no specific platform fees in America. Yet, there are payment processing charges of between 2 and 5%.

GoFundMe is often for personal causes, like people looking to cover their medical bills. Hence it may not be best for business funding. In addition, considering the large numbers of people who use GoFundMe for personal expenses, a business plea might get lost in the shuffle.

Work your Campaign

You’ve heard the adage “Plan to work and work your plan,” right? Well, it fits here perfectly.  You have to have a campaign plan. Videos are popular but not necessary. Whatever ace you have up your sleeve, it has to make people want to support your business. They need to get excited.  

Remember, your campaign has to match the personality of your audience.  Does your main market fit in a certain generation? Maybe they are mostly 80s babies. Market to that with popular music and catch phrases from that era.  

Are they an audience that loves campy, cheesy spoofs?  Use that to your advantage!  Specifically right now, if your business is going to help those affected by the pandemic, or the resulting economic downturn, play to that in your campaign!

Set Up Incentives

Of course, no one really ever wants to give something for nothing.  Those who are excited about your business are going to be more likely to show their excitement monetarily if you offer great incentives. 

Physical incentives are a pain in the neck. However, people love them and they will stand out. Plus, if a perk is used frequently, it will help to keep your company relevant.

Still, you also have to ship anything physical that you promise. You may be an American company, but that doesn’t mean all of your investors will be in the United States. International shipping is costly, even for small items. Therefore, if you offer physical perks, be clear about whether you will allow international donor addresses. 

Yet, even if everything has to be shipped in the US, you are still left with a database of names and addresses, and some of them might have misprints or be incomplete.

Also, most campaigns offer more than one option. Then you have to remember what each person wanted.  What if it is lost or damaged in the mail? These are all reasons to consider digital incentives. For example, for a house flipping campaign you could record video footage about home design or repair. For a long-haul trucking company, you could offer PDFs with personal recommendations on what to see and do in certain cities you service. A nail salon could send digital coupons for a free month of manicure touch ups.

The options are endless, especially when you consider all the possibilities for digital gift cards.

Have a Backup Plan 

Regardless of how awesome your campaign is and how fabulous your incentives are, you need a backup plan.  Tons of great businesses fail to reach their crowdfunding goal each year. Even if you follow all of these tips, that is still a possibility. Especially in this time of economic uncertainty, you need a backup plan. 

If startup crowdfunding doesn’t work out, or only partially works out, your next step will likely be a business loan.  There are a few options, but for startup business loans, you are likely going to be choosing between only a couple.  

Traditional Term Loans

These are the loans that you go to the bank to get.  As a business, your business credit score can help you get some types of funding even if your personal score isn’t awesome.  That isn’t necessarily the case with this type of funding however. 

With a traditional lender term loan, you are almost always going to have to give a personal guarantee.  This means they will check your personal credit.  If your personal credit score isn’t in order, you will likely not get approval.

What kind of personal credit score do you need to have in order to qualify for a traditional term loan? If you have at least a 750 you are in pretty good shape. Sometimes you can get approval with a score of 700+, but the terms will not be as favorable. 

If you have really great business credit, your lender might be more inclined to be a little more flexible. However, your personal credit score will still weigh heavily on the terms and interest rate. 

Of all of the loan types, this is the hardest to get. It is usually worth the trouble though if possible, because it typically offers the best rates and terms. 

SBA Loans

 These are traditional bank loans, but they have a guarantee from the federal government. The Small Business Administration, or SBA, works with lenders to offer small businesses funding solutions that they may not be able to get otherwise for a number of reasons. Because of the government guarantee, lenders are able to relax a little on certain requirements. 

In fact, it is possible to get an SBA microloan with a personal credit score between 620 and 640. These are very small loans, up to $50,000.  They may require personal collateral as well. 

The trade-off with SBA loans is that the application progress is lengthy. There is a ton of red tape connected with these types of loans. 

Startup Crowdfunding Credit Suite

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans.

Bonus Tip: Go Ahead and Build Fundability While Working On Your Startup Crowdfunding Campaign

Here’s a bonus for you.  Startup crowdfunding is just one of many business funding options.  The truth is, you are almost certainly going to need to use another option at some point.  While your startup crowdfunding campaign is going, regardless of how successful it seems to be, work on fundability.  This is the ability of your business to get funding.  Even if you meet your goal, you are likely to need financing at some point in the future.  By starting the work to make your business fundable, you help ensure you can get the financing your need to run and grow your business far into the future. 

Startup Crowdfunding:  It May Not Work, But These Tips Will Increase Your Chances

Startup crowdfunding is a legit option. However, it is impossible to tell if it will work or not.  There are some things to do to increase the probability of a successful campaign. Still, it is best to know your options in case it doesn’t work. In the meantime, work on building fundability so that whatever type of funding you end up needing, you’ll be more likely to get it.

The post Startup Crowdfunding: Top Tips to Make it Work appeared first on Credit Suite.

5 Big Benefits of Blogging and How to Write One

Blogging is a tremendously helpful tool when it comes to building your digital presence, your personal brand, and starting a new business. 77% of internet users read blogs regularly. It involves a bit more work …

The post 5 Big Benefits of Blogging and How to Write One appeared first on Paper.li blog.

Ubersuggest Chrome Extension 2.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool

Please note: Once you install the extension, all you have to do is go to Google and perform a search. That is where you’ll see data.

I promised that I would release a new version of the Ubersuggest Chrome Extension today, and now it’s out.

You can go here to install it.

If you are wondering what’s new… well, let’s just say the changes have made keyword research much better and a lot easier. And on top of that, later in this post, I’ll even give you a sneak peek at the new changes that we are making to the extension that will be released within 30 days.

So, what’s new?

Who says keyword research should be limited to Google?

What most people don’t know is that YouTube is the second most popular search engine and has been exploding.

On top of that, Amazon is the largest e-commerce site in the world and SEOs are doing Amazon SEO and Amazon ads… so why not have access to keyword research there, too?

Now, when you go to YouTube and perform a search you’ll see data on suggested keywords as you perform a search.

And if you want more details on any given keyword you searched for, just click “view all” next to the search bar and you’ll see something like this:

It breaks down search volume over the last 12 months as well as shows you if a keyword has any seasonal trends.

You can also see how competitive a keyword is to rank for, its cost per click data, how many people even click on any of the listings, and even the age range of the people who search for that term.

Also, what’s interesting is that you can see data on whether a keyword is searched more on mobile or desktop devices and the breakdown. This is important because mobile searches tend to not convert as well… so ideally you want to go after keywords that have more desktop searches when possible.

Now on the right side of any YouTube search listings page, you will also see more keyword suggestions.

It’s pretty similar to what the extension already shows on Google… this is more so our version for YouTube.

But with Amazon, we didn’t want to impact your user experience too much, so we decided to provide keyword data in the most unobtrusive way possible…

Anytime you perform a search on Amazon, you’ll see keyword data on the suggestions.

So now anytime you want to do keyword research for social media or e-commerce, you can easily do so with the Ubersuggest Chrome extension.

But wait, there is more…

There is also one other important change made to the extension that you may have already noticed if you use Google on a regular basis.

When you search on Google, there is now traffic estimations under each URL.

This traffic estimation is for organic search traffic and it is done on a domain level. Eventually, we will tweak it to be page-based and even show you the other keywords each page ranks for… but for now, we are providing you with organic traffic estimates for each domain.

And if you are more of a visual person, in the right-hand sidebar you can also see the traffic estimation for any result in the top 10.

So if you want to know traffic data in addition to keyword suggestions when you perform a Google search, make sure you install the Ubersuggest Chrome Extension.

But the best is still to come…

My goal is to make major releases to Ubersuggest every month if possible… every other month if all doesn’t go as planned.

The next big one is introducing competitor analysis features within the extension.

Right now if you click on the “Ubersuggest” logo within your Chrome browser you see something like this:

Now, that’s not really useful.

So, within the next 30 days when you click on the “Ubersuggest” logo within Chrome, I am thinking of showing something like this:

For any domain you’ll be able to see the following metrics:

  1. Domain metrics – you’ll see a quick overview of each domain. From the number of organic keywords a site ranks for to their estimated organic traffic, domain score, and even number of backlinks.
  2. Historical traffic – you’ll see an organic traffic chart of the last 6 months to any given site.
  3. Top pages by country – want to know the most popular pages on your competitor’s site? This table will show you just that.
  4. Top keywords by country – you’ll also be able to see the most popular keywords that drive traffic to that site.

Conclusion

If you already have the Ubersuggest Chrome extension installed, you may need to reinstall it because we now show you data on YouTube and Amazon. That means you’ll have to grant Ubersuggest permission to show you data on those two sites.

If you don’t have the extension installed, you can do so by going here.

Let me know what you think about the new extension, the upcoming releases, and if you want me to add any other features. 🙂

The post Ubersuggest Chrome Extension 2.0: The Ultimate Keyword Research Tool appeared first on Neil Patel.

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