August, 2020

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These Inspiring Entrepreneurs Are Crushing It On Instagram

We all have an entrepreneur inside of us. All it takes is daily inspiration and motivation to unleash it. Most especially, from those who have exciting success stories and are clearly passionate about what they …

The post These Inspiring Entrepreneurs Are Crushing It On Instagram appeared first on Paper.li blog.

How Being Fundable Helps You Get the Best Business Loans

Everyone wants the best of the best, and it should be no different when it comes to business loans.  However, you may need to change your thinking about what actually makes the best business loans the best. 

Build Fundability So You Can Get the Best Business Loans

For example, do great terms make a loan one of the best?  Could it be low rates? These things are awesome. However, the best business loans are the loans you can get.  Of course, you can look at the cream of the crop. Still, if you cannot access them, they will not do you any good.  You need to know what the best business loans are that you can access. Furthermore, you need to know how to gain access to those that are even better.  

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

What Makes a Loan One of the Best? 

Fortunately, U.S. News helps us out by outlining the best business loans in various categories. When compiling their list, they consider such factors as product availability, terms, and service ratings. 

Best Business Loans for Borrowers with FICO Credit Scores as Low As 530

BlueVine takes the prize in this category. The minimum loan amount available from them is $5,000 and the maximum is $100,000. Annual revenue must be $120,000 or more and the borrower must be in business for at least 6 months. Personal credit score has to be at least 600. It is also important to know that BlueVine does not offer a line of credit in all states. 

They report to Experian.  They are one of the few invoice factoring companies that will report to any business credit bureau.  This helps build business credit and in turn, fundability.

Best Business Loans for Up to Five Year Loan Terms

The winner in this category is Funding Circle.  Honestly, if you’re looking for a low APR, then this is your go-to.  They have fixed rate term loans and require a credit score of 620 or above.  There is no minimum revenue requirement, but they do require you to be in business for at least 2 years.  

Best Business Loans With No Collateral Required

OnDeck offers lines of credit and term loans with fixed interest rates.  You can get up to $500,000 with a term loan.  The minimum FICO they require is 600. In addition, you must have $100,000 minimum annual revenue and be in business for at least one year.  

Best Small Business Loans for Up to $1 Million 

With a large selection of financing products that includes term loans, Rapid Finance can be a great option for larger amounts.  In addition to term loans, they offer bridge loans, healthcare cash advances, and lines of credit.  Terms are from three to six months. Amounts range from $5,000 to $1,000,000. Unfortunately, they do not make their minimum credit score readily available on their website.  However, you can use their quote tool to get an idea of what you qualify for. 

Best Business Loans for Borrowers In Business for 6 Months or More

StreetShares offers invoice financing, term loans, and lines of credit.  The number of years in business requirement is one.  They require less minimum annual revenue than the others at only $25,000.  The minimum credit score is 600.  

The key with each of these loans is, your ability to get them is dependent on the fundability of your business.  

What is Fundability? 

Fundability is, in short, the ability to get funding.  It is the complete picture of your business and personal financing and your ability to repay debt. If you think of fundability as a puzzle, there are hundreds of pieces that come together to complete it.  The problem is, a lot of business owners cannot see the complete picture because they are unaware of what additional pieces may be floating around out there.  

Also, unlike a puzzle, the pieces are not all the same size.  Some are very large, while others are smaller. If your large pieces are in great shape, the smaller ones may not matter so much. If, however, your large pieces, like credit history, are not so great, the smaller pieces can make a much bigger difference in your ability to get the best business loans. 

What Makes Up Fundability?

What are these puzzle pieces and how can you make sure they are in the best possible shape?  Hold on to your hats. Some of these may surprise you.

Contact Information

That’s right.  Even something as small as your contact information can affect the fundability of your business.  Your business needs to have its own phone number, fax number, and address.  

EIN

An EIN is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally.  You can get one for free from the IRS.

Incorporation

Incorporating your business as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation is necessary to fundability.  It lends credence to your business as one that is legitimate. It also offers some protection from liability. 

Business Bank Account

You have to open a separate, dedicated business bank account.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, it will help you keep track of business finances.  Also, it will help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. 

Additionally, there are several types of funding you cannot get without a business bank account.  Many lenders and credit cards want to see one with a minimum average balance.  Also, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. As a result, you cannot take credit card payments.  Studies show consumers tend to spend more when they can pay by credit card.

Licenses

For a business to be legitimate and fundable it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run.  If it doesn’t, warning signals are going to go off all over the place.  Do the research you need to do to ensure you have all of the licenses necessary to legitimately run your business at the federal, state, and local levels. 

Website

Your business website, or lack thereof, can affect your ability to get funding. In fact, these days, if you don’t have an online presence you may as well not even exist.  Still, a poorly put together website can be even worse.  Truly, it is the first impression you make on most. If it appears to be unprofessional, it will not look good to consumers or potential lenders. 

Spend the time and money necessary to ensure your website is professionally designed and works well.  Pay for hosting too. Don’t use a free hosting service.  Similarly, your business needs a dedicated business email address.  Make sure it has the same URL as your Website. Don’t use a free service such as Yahoo or Gmail.

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

Business Credit Reports

Much like your consumer credit report does for the individual, business credit reports detail the credit history of your business.  Basically, they are a tool to help lenders determine how credit worthy your business is.  

Where do business credit reports come from?  There are a lot of different places, but the main ones are Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and FICO SBSS.  You have no way of knowing which one your lender will choose.  So, you need to make sure all of these reports are up to date and accurate. 

Other Business Data Agencies 

In addition to the business credit reporting agencies that directly calculate and issue credit reports, there are other business data agencies that affect those reports indirectly.  Two examples of this are LexisNexis and The Small Business Finance Exchange. These two agencies gather data from a variety of sources, including public records.  This means they could even have access to information relating to automobile accidents and liens. While you may not be able to access or change the data these agencies have on your business, you can ensure that any new information they receive is positive.  Enough positive information can help counteract any negative information from the past. 

Identification Numbers Best Biz Loans Credit Suite

In addition to the EIN, there are identifying numbers that go along with your business credit reports.  You need to be aware that these numbers exist.  Some of them are assigned by the agency, like the Experian BIN.  One, however, you have to apply for. It is absolutely necessary that you do. 

Dun & Bradstreet is the largest and most commonly used business credit reporting agency.  Every credit file in their database has a D-U-N-S number.  To get a D-U-N-S number, you have to apply for one through the D&B website

Business Credit History

Your credit history is the crux of your credit score, which is a huge factor in the fundability of your business.  

It includes a number of things like: 

  • How many accounts are reporting payments?
  • How long have you had each account? 
  • What type of accounts are they?
  • How much credit are you using on each account versus how much is available?
  • Are you making your payments on these accounts consistently on-time?

The more accounts you have reporting on-time payments, the stronger your credit score will be. 

Business Information

On the surface, it seems obvious that all of your business information should be the same across the board everywhere you use it.  However, when you start changing things up like adding a business phone number and address or incorporating, you may find that some things slip through the cracks. 

This is a problem because a ton of loan applications are turned down each year due to fraud concerns simply because things do not match up.  Maybe your business licenses have your personal address but now you have a business address.  You have to change it. Perhaps some of your credit accounts have a slightly different name or a different phone number listed than what is on your loan application. Do your insurances all have the correct information?  

The key to this piece of the business fundability puzzle is to monitor your reports frequently.   

Financial Statements

First, there is the obvious. Both your personal and business tax returns need to be in order.  Not only that, but you need to be paying your taxes, both business and personal.  

Business Financials

It is best to have an accounting professional prepare regular financial statements for your business. Having an accountant’s name on financial statements lends credence to the legitimacy of your business. If you can’t afford this monthly or quarterly, at least have professional statements prepared annually. Then, they are ready whenever you need to apply for a loan. 

Personal Financials

Often tax returns for the previous three years will suffice.  Get a tax professional to prepare them.   This is the bare minimum you will need.  Other information lenders may ask for include check stubs and bank statements, among other things. 

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

Bureaus

There are several other agencies that hold information related to your personal finances that you need to know about.  Everyone knows about FICO.  Your personal FICO score needs to be as strong as possible. It really can affect business fundability and almost all traditional lenders will look at personal credit in addition to business credit. 

In addition to FICO reporting personal credit, you have ChexSystems.  In the simplest terms, this keeps up with bad check activity and makes a difference when it comes to your bank score.  If you have too many bad checks, you will not be able to open a bank account.  That will cause serious fundability issues. 

For this point, everything comes into play.  Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Do you have a bankruptcy or short sell on your record?  How about liens or UCC filings? All of this can and will play into the fundability of your business. 

Personal Credit History

Your personal credit score from Experian, Equifax, and Transunion all make a difference.  You have to have your personal credit in order because it will definitely affect the fundability of your business.  If it isn’t great right now, get to work on it.  The number one way to get a strong personal credit score or improve a weak one is to make payments consistently on time. 

Also, make sure you monitor your personal credit regularly to ensure mistakes are corrected and that there are no fraudulent accounts being reported. 

Even the Application Process Matters

Often this part isn’t even considered by those looking for the best business loans.  For example, consider the timing of your application.  Is your business currently fundable?  If not, do some work first to increase fundability.  

Then, are your business name, business address, and ownership status all verifiable.  Lenders will check into it.  Also, make sure you choose the right lending product for your business and your needs. Do you need a traditional loan or a line of credit?  Would a working capital loan or expansion loan work best for your needs?  Choosing the right product to apply for can make all the difference. 

Increase Fundability to Get the Best Business Loans

How do you get the best business loans?  You need to know how to find the best business loans for your specific business needs.  Make sure your fundability is as strong as possible. Pay bills on time, work on building business credit, and make sure to dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s. Do these things, and most all business loans will be yours for the taking. 

The post How Being Fundable Helps You Get the Best Business Loans appeared first on Credit Suite.

Get to Know Experian Commercial

What is Experian Commercial all about? What are details about its most important scores? Check out the details on this major business credit reporting agency. Plus, find out how to improve your business credit scores with Experian. And learn how to monitor your scores for 90% less than it would cost at that business CRA. Understanding and improving your business credit scores is more important than ever in a recession. With Experian, there is a lot you can do to keep your scores high.

So in particular, Experian reports on both business and personal credit. In fact, they blend the two. And this is virtually always what happens with startup ventures. Therefore, by keeping your personal credit scores high, you can directly influence your business credit scores.

Business Credit and Experian Commercial

Let’s look at business credit, even in a recession. Business credit is credit which is in a business’s name. So it is not tied to the owner’s creditworthiness. Instead, business credit scores mainly depend on how well a company can pay its bills. Hence, consumer and business credit scores can vary dramatically. So this is true for Experian as well.

Consider the main credit reporting agencies. There are three large business credit reporting agencies. So they are Dun & Bradstreet; Equifax; and Experian. There is also a FICO SBSS business score. But let’s concentrate on Experian Commercial today. Knowledge is power. And at no time is that more important than during a recession.

What Sort of Data Does Experian Commercial Use?

Experian, like the other business credit reporting bureaus, focuses on providing quality data and analytics. They offer this info to businesses to help them better assess risk. They have a massive consumer and commercial database. So they manage it to help businesses get the best and most up to date info. Experian extracts significant extra value with this data. So they do so by applying their own proprietary analytics and software.

Experian uses both consumer and business credit information to gauge risk. 

“By combining personal and commercial credit information in one report, Experian provides a complete picture of the creditworthiness of small businesses”

See: experian.ae/en/credit-services/index.

Experian PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN). And it is also in a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Experian Commercial Credit Suite

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring. Save money even during a recession.

Experian Commercial: The Experian Intelliscore Plus℠ Score

Now let’s look at Experian’s Intelliscore Plus business credit score. For Intelliscore Plus, business credit scores range from 0 to 100. So 0 represents a high risk and 100 represents a low risk. The 0 to 100 part is a percentile score. It shows the percentage of businesses scoring higher or lower than the business under review.

Intelliscore Plus is widely used. Many large financial institutions around the world use it. So do more than half of the top 25 property and casualty insurers. And so  do most major telecommunications and utility firms. Industry leaders in transportation, manufacturing, and technology also use Intelliscore Plus as their main risk indicating model.

Intelliscore Plus has more than 800 aggregates or factors. These affect business credit scores. There are scores on the millions of businesses in the Experian database. It is a percentile score.

What does Intelliscore Plus measure? It is a highly predictive score. It provides a detailed and accurate reflection of a business’s risk. Intelliscore Plus blends commercial data with the consumer data for the business owner or guarantor.

The Intelliscore Plus℠ Analytical Approach

Check out various Intelliscore Plus analytical approaches. Intelliscore Plus uses three separate analytical approaches to provide risk insights for small businesses.

The Emerging Market Model

The first analytical approach is business data including an emerging market model. That one is designed for microbusinesses.

The Blended Model

The second analytical approach is a blended one. This model incorporates business and consumer credit information on the owner or guarantor. Experian uses a cascading approach when combining the differing data sources.

The Consumer Data Only Model

So this third analytical approach is a consumer data only model. It is for startups because they have no business history.

For more information on these three analytical approaches, see: experian.com/content/dam/marketing/na/assets/bis/business-information/brochures/intelliscore-plus-v2-product-sheet.pdf

Get to Know the Data in an Intelliscore Plus℠ Report

So, which data is in an Intelliscore Plus report? The report contains key information like business address, how long a business has been in Experian’s database, etc. It also has legal filings and collections that may impact business performance. There is a summary of the number of trades, amount of credit extended, etc. And there is a summary of the owner or guarantor’s consumer credit account performance. This includes bank cards, revolving, auto lease, and real estate accounts.

More Data Details

More data includes business credit information like the number of days beyond terms. There’s also the Intelliscore Plus score and the business’s risk class. The report also has owner account information and derogatory information like collections, etc.

For more information on Intelliscore Plus reports, see: bci2experian.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2013-06-Enhanced-Risk-Assessment.pdf

Experian Commercial Credit Suite

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring. Save money even during a recession.

Experian Commercial: The Experian Financial Stability Risk Score

Check out the Experian Financial Stability Risk Score (FSR). The FSR predicts the potential of a business going bankrupt or defaulting on its obligations. The score identifies the highest risk businesses by making use of payment and public records. These records include severely delinquent payments of 61 or more and 91 or more days. They also include high utilization of credit lines; tax liens; judgments; collection accounts; industry risk; and short time in business, etc.

The Financial Stability Risk Score shows a 1 to 100 percentile score, plus a 1 to 5 risk class. The risk class puts businesses into risk categories. So the highest risk is in the lowest 10% of accounts.

For more information on the Financial Stability Risk Score, see: experian.com/content/dam/marketing/na/assets/bis/business-information/brochures/financial-stability-risk-score-ps.pdf

What if you have a score of 66 to 100? And you have a risk class of 1? Then it means there is a low risk of default or bankruptcy. But what if you have a score of 1 – 3? And you have a risk class of 5? Then it means there is a high risk of default or bankruptcy.

Experian Commercial: Derogatory Data

So, how long does derogatory data stay in Experian’s database? Trade data stays on your report for 36 months. So does bank, government, and leasing data. Uniform Commercial Code filings stay on your report for 5 years. So note: Uniform Commercial Code filings are in support of loans.

Judgments, collections, and tax liens all stay on your report for 6 years and 9 months. And bankruptcies stay on your report for 9 years and 9 months.

For more information on derogatory data in Experian Commercial reports, see: experian.com/small-business/how-long-credit-report

Experian Commercial: Improving Your Company’s Experian Reports

To improve your credit terms, you should be looking at improving your company’s Experian reports. Also make sure vendors are reporting your payments. The more vendors which report a positive credit history to the credit reporting agencies, the better. Because then the higher your business credit rating will be. And this is not just the case with Experian.

So improving your scores is pretty straightforward. Always pay your bills early or on time and pay them in full. Try to maintain a balance at about 20 to 30% of your limits or less. Do not close positive accounts. And try to avoid derogatory report entries like tax liens.

This advice works just as well for personal credit as for business credit. Because Experian reports on both – and blends them – doing the same good things for both types of credit is helpful. Because it will help you even more.

Experian Commercial Credit Suite

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring. Save money even during a recession.

Experian Commercial: Business Credit Monitoring

To improve your Experian business credit scores, you should be looking into Experian business credit monitoring. Experian offers monitoring services. So these prices are current as of June 2020. Business Credit Advantage costs $189 per year. You can monitor business credit for one year. And you’ll get alerts of changes. 

Business Credit Score Pro costs $249 per month. So it gives you access to multiple business credit reports. And Profile Plus costs $49.95 for a single report. So a Credit Score Report costs $39.95. With that one, you will get a credit summary report with a score. Or you can monitor your business credit with us for 90% less.

Experian Commercial: Takeaways

So Experian gathers diverse data to attempt to understand risk. And Experian works to predict a business’s chance of going delinquent on payments or bankrupt. They combine business and personal credit info for business owners or guarantors. This provides a more detailed picture of risk.

But derogatory data will stay on your Experian business credit reports for years. You can improve your Experian Commercial report by acting to better manage your finances.

And as you improve your personal credit scores with Experian, that will directly affect your business credit scores. Responsible financial stewardship is not just a good idea; it will likely save you money! So with better scores come better rates. Plus, you will have more choices. You will not have to settle for the one and only loan or credit card you can get.

Monitoring your business credit reports with Experian will also help you improve your reports. We offer competitively priced monitoring of your Experian business credit reports.

The post Get to Know Experian Commercial appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Choose The Right SEO Agency

Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO agencies out there. 

And each one of them is good for something. 

Thus, your question shouldn’t be, how do I find the right SEO agency, but how do I choose an SEO agency that’s right for me?

I’m glad you made it here, as I’ll guide you through how to avoid choosing an SEO agency that’s right for something not relevant to growing your business. 

Deal? 

Well, then, keep reading. 

First things first, why do you need an SEO agency?

Know Your Goals and Desired Outcomes

Imagine you hurriedly booked a last-minute flight from New York to meet some business partners. Thankfully, the airplane you boarded flew fast with no delays. 

And you land safely at the airport.

On arrival, the announcer congratulates you for a safe journey and welcomes you to Beverly Hills in Texas. Meanwhile, your intended destination was Beverly Hills in California. 

You’ll regret the waste of your time, right?

Hiring SEO agencies is like boarding that airplane – each one could be great at flying your site’s organic ranking somewhere. Your first job before you start flying, therefore, is to ensure you choose and are on the right plane. 

Thus, to choose and onboard an SEO agency that’s right for you, you must:

  • Know your business destination (your goals), and 
  • What you want to achieve when you get there (your desired outcomes).

In SEO, where you’re going requires a different airplane (or agency). The main ones being: 

  • SEO-optimized content marketing
  • Voice SEO
  • Link building,
  • Local SEO, and 
  • eCommerce SEO

And for outcomes? 

You may need to:

  • Rank your entire website or specific keywords higher
  • Get more qualified traffic and leads, or
  • Drive sales directly from organic search. 

Your target business goals and outcomes determine what SEO strategies and tactics you’ll need. 

And because no SEO agency is a one-size-fits-all for all strategies, industry verticals, and company sizes, knowing these basics lays the foundation for who you’ll partner with. 

Let’s take some hypothetical examples. 

Example #1 

Pretend that your goal is to show up on Google’s 1st page when certain people use certain words to search for certain information relevant to your business. 

And the outcome? 

You want to attract this set of people, educate them with engaging content, and pull them into your sales funnels. 

In this case, you’ll need an agency with expertise in SEO-optimized content marketing. And you’ll need one with proven results in helping other companies achieve similar results: 

Example #2

Okay, let’s assume you have freelancers creating excellent content pieces for your site. But you realize Google isn’t ranking them for your target keywords. 

Instead, when people search, content pieces below the quality of what you’re creating keep showing up on the top pages while yours languishes on Google’s 17th page. 

This situation indicates your competitors probably have higher domain authorities or more backlinks pointing to their website and high-ranking content pieces. 

In this case, to increase your website’s domain authority, get relevant links pointing to your content, and boost ranking, you’ll need an SEO agency with expertise in link-building

As you saw in both examples above, it’s easier to know what type of SEO agency is worth considering when you’re definite about your goals and outcomes. 

Taking this first step to look at yourself in the mirror and know exactly what you need streamlines the selection process. 

It also ensures you only shortlist agencies with expertise and experience driving other businesses to your intended destination. 

But, it doesn’t end there. 

Even with only a few dozen agencies to consider, choosing one that’s right for you still demands you look out for characteristics that prove they walk the talk.

Doing this further helps you vet and choose an SEO agency that’s perfect for you.

6 Characteristics That Make a Great SEO Agency

Regardless of the specific SEO needs you have, you’ll still find dozens, if not hundreds of agencies, vying for your business. 

The search engine optimization service providers’ industry is valued over $65 billion

Thus, expect anyone with a laptop and internet access to make wild claims of being an SEO agency, as they yearn for a slice of the industry’s billions. 

There are characteristics great SEO agencies possess. And you’ll find these traits in all the best SEO companies.

I’ll list the fundamental ones below. 

Use them to vet an SEO agency from the list you shortlist before choosing to work with any.  

1. A Defined Process to Execute SEO Strategies

Excellent SEO execution follows a battle-tested process. 

As an SEO agency gains experience working with numerous clients, they outline their winning process to give potential customers a peek into how they deliver results. 

Thus, each company with practical SEO experience has its own process. And this makes it a characteristic of SEO agencies with proven results. 

For example, at Neil Patel Digital, our process follows eight unique steps: 

2. A Diverse Team of Specialists

The next characteristic to look out for before choosing an SEO agency is the team to put their process and recommendations to work. 

A lot of thought goes into SEO execution. 

From strategic ideation and leadership to account management and execution specialists, ask for the team who’ll work with you to achieve your goals. 

Again, experienced SEO agencies are proud to make their team public: 

3. An Impressive Client Portfolio

Results-generating SEO strategies are hard to manage from ideation to execution, but they also take time and commitment. 

Thus, as exceptional SEO agencies work with clients to achieve results, displaying their clientele has become a common characteristic. 

Doing this does two things. 

It shows you they’re experienced. And it helps your decision to choose, using the type of companies they’ve worked with as a benchmark: 

4. Real Customer Testimonials

If an SEO agency helped increase your website traffic, leading to more sales, you’d be open to giving them a testimonial, right?

In the same vein, when choosing an SEO agency, scan their website for what past customers say about them. 

A common characteristic you’ll find with the best SEO agencies is the proud display of what happy customers say about their service: 

5. Industry-specific Thought Leadership

Exceptional SEO agencies are always on the forefront of the latest trends, especially how it impacts rankings, traffic, and business in general. 

In most cases, you’ll find a top executive of the company sharing insights via blogs, social media, and research papers, which makes them maintain thought-leadership.

So, before you hire an SEO agency, check if they’re up to date and share recent trends about the SEO industry that help you keep pace with the market: 

6. A Crisp-clear Company Culture

An SEO company may have the unique expertise you seek and all the characteristics listed above. Yet, their company culture may not fit with yours.

The truth is, exceptional SEO agencies don’t take on toxic clients; neither would you like to work with people whose values you don’t agree with.  

To avoid this, top SEO companies have the characteristic of displaying their company culture, so potential customers can decide if working with them aligns with their culture:

How to Work With an SEO Agency

Most SEO agencies work as an extension of your in-house marketing team. 

Thus, there are steps to working with an SEO agency that’s right for you. These steps are essential, as they ensure your collaboration with them is successful.  

Let’s explore the major ones.

1. Prepare your in-house, front-facing team

Before you work with an SEO agency, get relevant teams in your company on the same page. Let them know why your company needs to hire SEO professionals and how working with them will impact your business. 

Also, select those who’ll work directly with the SEO agency to drive the results you seek. The people you choose would help to bridge the communication gap between your company and the agency.

Doing this ensures that there’s always someone to keep the SEO agency in sync with your company culture, goals for working with them, expectations, and timeline. 

2. Discovery session

Working with an SEO agency could be to rank higher for target keywords, generate more traffic, drive sales, or all three. 

But, no business case and needs are precisely the same. And SEO strategies that worked for company A may not work for yours. 

Thus, take the time to share everything about your business as it concerns SEO with an agency you choose to work with. Doing this helps them develop custom strategies and plans unique to achieving your goals. 

Exceptional SEO companies allow you to share this information with them via a discovery session

3. Research and Recommendations

After you share your business situation, needs, and goals with an SEO company, be on the lookout for what they do next. 

Top SEO agencies don’t jump into sending you quotes and invoices. 

They delve into research, using what you shared with them to gain the right context about your business situation. Doing this brings them on the same page with your company, target audience, business goals, and competition.

After this research, they usually share recommendations of what needs to be done to get maximum results. They can send this recommendation via a report sent over email or talk you through it over a phone call.

4. Contract with Deliverables

After your discovery call and follow-up conversations, expect to receive a contract with deliverables from an SEO agency, if working with you looks like a good fit.

It’s best to share this contract with relevant members on your team, especially those working directly with the agency. Ensure to go down to the nitty-gritty of the contract’s terms and conditions. 

Also, share it with your legal department to avoid signing an agreement that hurts or binds your company in the future. 

5. Onboarding, Project Scoping, and Management

To work with you, an SEO company would request access to some of your digital assets. 

Depending on your work scope, such access could include your website or blog passwords, your analytics tools login codes, selected in-house staff, etc. 

To kickstart a working relationship with your company, SEO agencies usually take you through a detailed onboarding process. 

So, you should expect one. 

Over this onboarding session, the scope of your project, delivery timelines, communication channels, and an understanding of how both parties manage your project is defined and communicated. 

How to Find The Right SEO Agency For You

So far, I’ve outlined the characteristics of exceptional SEO agencies and walked you through some fundamentals steps to working with one. 

But, as I established at the beginning of this guide, you don’t just need the right SEO agency, you need an SEO agency that’s right for you. 

How do you find one?

To help you, we put together a list of companies that we believe to be the best in the business.

Also, we skipped SEO agencies who can’t even rank their site organically. Finally, we looked away from digital marketing generalists who do everything under the sun for a quick buck.

The result?

What follows is our vetted list of the five best SEO companies of 2020 by the types of projects they’re exceptional at working on.

The 5 Top SEO Agencies

1. Neil Patel Digital – Best For SEO-optimized Content Marketing

At Neil Patel Digital, we’re great at SEO-optimized content marketing.

Our team of highly experienced SEO experts and content marketers brings decades of hands-on experience to the table. We believe brands can influence how their customers think through the creation of distribution of thoughtful, engaging content. 

And we put this belief to work by partnering with forward-thinking companies to develop SEO-focused content, performance-based digital marketing strategies and programs that get the attention it deserves. 

When you work with us, you’ll deliver content the right types of content to your target audience at the right time:

2. Voice SEO – Best For Voice Search

Voice SEO started as a small team of SEO experts. Initially, they focused on using their SEO skills to help businesses like them to grow online. 

Through dedication and close observation of the ever-changing SEO industry, Voice SEO realized the growing use of devices such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Echo, to query search engines. 

Seeing that 50% of all online searches in 2020 would be voice-based, a statistic in the upward trend, Voice SEO followed the highest standards in SEO to narrow its focus on helping companies with voice search engine optimization: 

3. ReachLocal- Best For Local SEO

When it comes to executing best-in-class local SEO strategies, ReachLocal needs no introduction. 

This SEO agency is responsible for generating over 201 million local leads for more than 19,000 clients across the globe. 

Not only are they the go-to company for practical and strategic local SEO executions, but ReachLocal’s experience also spans over 15 years, and they have offices in five continents:

4. FATJOE – Best For Backlinks Acquisition

FATJOE comes highly recommended for acquiring backlinks for SEO. Turn to this SEO agency if you need help generating high-value backlinks. 

And you can do this with the assurance that even other SEO agencies rely on them for the same. 

FATJOE was founded in 2012. Today, they’ve grown to become one of the world’s biggest outsourced link building agencies, and they serve more than 5,000 clients:

5. OuterBox – Best For eCommerce SEO

OuterBox is our pick for eCommerce SEO

They’re an SEO and performance marketing company focused on helping eCommerce brands drive growth through search strategy, design, and conversion rate optimization. 

Irrespective of which eCommerce platform your business is built on—Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Drupal, or others; OuterBox’s eCommerce search engine optimization strategies and tactics are effective and reliable: 

Conclusion: Be Patient with Your Chosen SEO Agency

Choosing and partnering with an SEO agency, even one that’s perfect for you, isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. 

It takes time before you’ll start seeing results. 

However, it is worth the wait because once things kick-off, SEO is like a flywheel that gets better by the day and works like a vicious cycle

So be patient. 

Only ensure you choose an SEO agency that’s right for you. And most notably, one with a diverse team of experienced experts who breathe SEO:

The post How to Choose The Right SEO Agency appeared first on Neil Patel.

Get the Skinny with Our Behalf Recession Funding Review

What Can Behalf Recession Funding Do for Your Business?

Behalf is an online lending company, among several other lending companies online. They offer purchase financing, and also have a virtual MasterCard in order to facilitate financing your purchases. We look at the specifics and drill down into the details of Behalf recession funding.

As of 8/24/2020 Behalf no longer reports. For more information on how to find accounts that report give us a call at 877-600-2487.

Behalf Recession Funding: Background

Behalf is located online here: https://www.behalf.com/.

Their physical address is:

126 5th Avenue

New York, New York 10011.

Behalf keeps their headquarters in New York City with offices in Tel Aviv. You can call them at: (877) 943-9962. Their contact page is here: https://www.behalf.com/help-center/. They have been in business since their founding in 2012. Behalf is backed by venture capital funds from Viola Growth, Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, MissionOG, Victory Park, and Vintage.

Behalf Recession Funding: Purchase Financing

Behalf’s fees are based on the terms offered to customers. Their fees rise as the number of days to pay rise, with an apparent cap at 3%. This lender offers products to both merchants and their business customers. For business customers, you select the amount to finance, the amount of time to pay it back, and whether you will pay on a monthly or a weekly basis.

Since the end of 2017, all funding from Behalf is through FinWise, a Utah-chartered bank which is located in Sandy, Utah.

This online lender will make a hard inquiry on your personal credit when you first apply for financing.

There is a maximum line size of $50,000. It can extend this in instant purchase capacity to any business customer. Their minimum transaction size is $300. Plus there is no upper limit on individual purchase transactions.

Behalf Recession Funding: Fees

Monthly fees start at 1%, and there is a fixed monthly rate. There are no origination fees and no maintenance fees. You can save 10% on finance fees by choosing a weekly plan.

Behalf Recession Funding: Advantages

Advantages to online lender Behalf include a fixed monthly rate to make your budgeting easier. In addition, there is a discounted rate option if you select weekly payments.

Behalf Recession Funding: Disadvantages

Disadvantages include higher fees if you give your clients longer payment terms. As a result, your company will be penalized for providing better payment terms to your customers.

An Alternative to Behalf Recession Funding – Building Business Credit

Small business credit is credit in a company’s name. It doesn’t connect to an owner’s personal credit, not even when the owner is a sole proprietor and the sole employee of the business.

As a result, a business owner’s business and personal credit scores can be very different.

The Benefits

Due to the fact that small business credit is separate from consumer, it helps to safeguard an entrepreneur’s personal assets, in the event of court action or business insolvency.

Also, with two separate credit scores, a business owner can get two separate cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles purchasing power.

Another benefit is that even start-ups can do this. Heading to a bank for a business loan can be a formula for frustration. But building company credit, when done properly, is a plan for success.

Consumer credit scores rely on payments but also various other considerations like credit utilization percentages.

But for business credit, the scores truly only depend on whether a company pays its invoices in a timely manner.

Behalf Recession Funding Review Credit Suite

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

The Process

Growing company credit is a process, and it does not occur automatically. A small business needs to proactively work to build company credit.

Having said that, it can be done easily and quickly, and it is much quicker than establishing personal credit scores.

Merchants are a big part of this process.

Undertaking the steps out of sequence will cause repetitive denials. Nobody can start at the top with business credit. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.

Company Fundability

A business has to be fundable to credit issuers and vendors.

Due to this fact, a small business will need a professional-looking website and email address. And it needs to have site hosting bought from a vendor like GoDaddy.

In addition, business phone and fax numbers should have a listing on ListYourself.net.

Additionally, the company phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).

A business will also need a bank account devoted purely to it, and it has to have all of the licenses essential for running.

Licenses

These licenses all must be in the particular, appropriate name of the small business. And they need to have the same small business address and telephone numbers.

So note, that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.

Working with the Internal Revenue Service

Visit the Internal Revenue Service website and acquire an EIN for the small business. They’re totally free. Select a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc.

A company can begin as a sole proprietor. But they will probably wish to change to a form of corporation or an LLC.

This is in order to limit risk. And it will maximize tax benefits.

A business entity will matter when it involves taxes and liability in case of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the entrepreneur is it when it comes to liability and taxes. Nobody else is responsible.

Sole Proprietors Take Note

If you operate a business as a sole proprietor, then at least be sure to file for a DBA. This is ‘doing business as’ status.

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the business name. Therefore, you can find yourself being directly accountable for all small business financial obligations.

Also, according to the Internal Revenue Service, using this arrangement there is a 1 in 7 possibility of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 possibility for corporations! Prevent confusion and noticeably lower the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit as well.

But keep in mind, any DBA filing should just be a steppingstone to incorporating.

Starting Off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Start at the D&B website and get a totally free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a company into 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 company. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for correctness and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.

By doing so, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.

Vendor Credit

First you need to establish trade lines that report. This is also known as vendor credit. 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 to get even more credit.

These sorts of accounts tend to be for the things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But to start with, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are frequently Net 30, instead of revolving.

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

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

Details

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

To kick off your business credit profile properly, you should get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. Once that’s done, you can then use the credit.

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

Vendor Credit  – It Helps

Not every vendor can help in the same way true starter credit can. These are merchants that will grant an approval with minimal effort. You also want 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 retail credit. But you may need to apply more than one time to these vendors. So, this is to confirm you are dependable and will pay punctually.

Retail Credit

Once there are 3 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then move to retail credit. These are service providers such as Office Depot and Staples.

Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Are there more accounts reporting? Then move onto fleet credit. These are companies like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to repair, and take care of vehicles. Just use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make certain to apply using the business’s EIN.

Cash Credit

Have you been sensibly managing the credit you’ve up to this point? Then move to more universal cash credit. These are companies such as Visa and MasterCard. Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

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

Monitor Your Business Credit

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

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less.

At Equifax, you can monitor your account at: www.equifax.com/business/business-credit-monitor-small-business.

Update Your Records

Update the data if there are errors or the relevant information is incomplete. At D&B, you can do this at: https://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/viewiUpdateHome.htm. For Experian, go here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp. And for Equifax, go here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business.

Fix Your Business Credit

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

Get your company’s PAYDEX report at: www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.

Disputes

Disputing credit report mistakes commonly means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any evidence of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the originals. Always send copies and keep the originals.

Fixing credit report inaccuracies also means you specifically itemize any charges you dispute. Make your dispute letter as understandable as possible. Be specific about the concerns with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you sent in your dispute.

Dispute your or your small business’s Equifax report by following the instructions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.

You can dispute mistakes on your or your small business’s Experian report by following the instructions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp.

And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service telephone number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.

A Word about Building Business Credit

Always use credit sensibly! Don’t borrow more than what you can pay back. Keep track of balances and deadlines for payments. Paying off in a timely manner and completely will do more to increase business credit scores than nearly anything else.

Growing company credit pays off. Great business credit scores help a business get loans. Your credit issuer knows the business can pay its debts. They understand the company is bona fide.

The company’s EIN attaches to high scores and lending institutions won’t feel the need to require a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your company for many years to come. Learn more here and get started toward building company credit.

Behalf Recession Funding Review Credit Suite

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

Behalf Recession Funding: Upshot

For companies just starting out, allowing for longer payment terms for customers can help to convert one-time customers into regulars. Because Behalf effectively penalizes a company for providing longer terms, this is a strike against using them if your company is a startup trying to build a reputation with your clients.

However, for a not so new company which can readily make payments, the discounted weekly payment plan (and rate) could be an attractive option, although companies with regular revenue and enough time in business tend to qualify for more traditional financing, including loans from the Small Business Administration.

And finally, as with every other lending program, whether online or offline, remember to read the fine print and do the math. Go over the details with a fine-toothed comb, and decide whether this option will be good for you and your company. In addition, consider alternative financing options that go beyond lending, including building business credit, in order to best decide how to get the money you need to help your business grow.

Maybe you won’t need Behalf recession funding after all.

 

 

The post Get the Skinny with Our Behalf Recession Funding Review appeared first on Credit Suite.

Best POS Systems

Some years ago, POS systems were a luxury reserved for only big enterprise businesses. 

Thankfully, not anymore. 

Today, there’s an abundance of options to go round for companies of all sizes. But, with too many options came a new challenge: Choosing the best POS system that’s right for your business is now an uphill battle. 

It’s why we created this guide to help you make a better and more effective decision. 

Our team has done the heavy lifting of reviewing dozens of POS systems in the market. We’ve also done the pricing, features, and critical support comparisons to determine what POS system is best for what. 

So, irrespective of your small business type – retail, restaurant, franchise, online store, etc., you’ll find the best POS system that’s right for your company below. 

The Top 5 POS Systems For Small Business Owners

  1. Square POS (our overall best)
  2. Shopify POS (best for ecommerce retail integrations)
  3. Vend POS (best for multiple fashion, sports, or homeware stores)
  4. Toast POS (best for restaurants and food businesses)
  5. ERPLY POS (best for small franchises)

How to Choose The Best POS System for Your Business

To choose a POS system, start by considering what your business needs are – accept payments, process sales, track inventory, CRM integration, manage employees, etc. 

What’s best for you depends on your needs.

In our analysis, we looked at everything from pricing, applicable features to the security of each system, and ease of use. Next, we picked the best POS system best suited for different small businesses with one to 50 outlets. 

We’re only recommending POS systems with hardware and software capabilities that will impact your business operations and help you maximize profit. 

And for this, key things you should look out for when choosing a POS system are: 

Pricing

Complete POS systems come with hardware, software, and payment processing. These are the ones we recommend because you won’t have to buy different parts. The cost for these all-inclusive POS systems is anywhere from $30 for basic plans to $150+ per month for advanced plans. Apart from this monthly cost, most charge fees upwards of 2% (plus some cents) per transaction. 

Most POS systems have customized plans if your annual sales volume exceeds $250,000 or if you have to install them on multiple locations. To take advantage of these discounts, contact the sales department before buying, as it could save you some money in the long run. 

Ease of Use

If you buy a POS system that’s difficult to use, it defeats the purpose of having one. Having said that, the easiest to use POS systems have intuitive designs and run on technology most people already use. These include iPads or Android tablet devices. 

Regardless, before you buy a POS system, sign up for a demo and take it for a test drive. This way, you can determine firsthand if it’s easy enough for you or your employees to use.  

Reporting

You’ll find all POS systems talk about their reporting capabilities. But, some are basic with limited customization and only a handful of reports. 

On the other hand, others come with tens of advanced and pre-configured reporting filters. The best POS systems offer real-time reports, and you can access them on the go through an app on your mobile device or a browser. 

Some core reporting capabilities to look out for are your sales, customers, inventory, and employees’ data. Ensure a POS system offers the reports you need to keep track of relevant business activities. 

Employee Management

On most POS systems, you can add employees and give them access to settings, essential sales information, or features. Again, it depends on what your needs are. 

Some POS systems allow you to assign role-based permissions to employees, while on others, you can customize different controls for specific employees. 

On advanced ones, you can monitor when employees clock in and out, track each employee’s sales, and manage tips. So, before you buy a POS system, decide what employee information you need to track.

Customer Management

The first question to ask is, what depth of customer information do I need? Or, what customer details do I need to deliver exceptional customer service? 

It’s best to start with those questions because POS systems offer varying levels of customer management capabilities. With some, you can capture basic info like email addresses to send email marketing campaigns

Others come with a suite of customer relationship management (CRM) features that allow you to create complete customer profiles, track purchase histories, collect contact information, append notes, etc. Choose a POS system that allows you to capture the depth of customer information you need. 

Inventory Management

Basic POS systems will only allow you to manage your catalog inventory. With advanced ones, you can track components, manage vendors, or purchase orders. 

It all depends on your needs, so decide if you need basic or advanced inventory management capabilities (and if the POS offers them) before you buy.

Add-ons/Integrations

Most POS systems offer add-ons and integrations, depending on the monthly plan you’re purchasing. On some, you can get these add-ons for an extra fee. Some popular add-ons are gift cards, loyalty programs, reservation systems, or advanced reports. 

For integrations, the best POS systems allow you to connect them with relevant business applications like email marketing, accounting, or payroll software. When choosing a POS system, take some time to decide if paying a higher monthly plan that gives you access to add-ons and integrations is more cost-effective than paying extra fees. And, of course, only make this decision after you’ve considered your business needs.  

The Different Types of POS Systems

POS apps, mobile POS systems, open-source systems, multichannel systems, touchscreen POS systems, self-serve POS systems, and cloud-based POS systems are the different types of POS systems. Among these types, there are various brands to choose from. 

In this guide, you’ll find reviews of cloud-based POS systems, as they’re the most flexible for small businesses and offer a full feature set. On cloud POS systems, transactions happen in-person at your various outlets, while payment processing occurs on the cloud. 

These systems connect with Wi-Fi networks, allowing your data from even multiple sales outlets to aggregate and sync automatically to the cloud. 

Thus, with cloud-based POS systems, you can access reports, real-time sales data, and other information generated from its use on the go. 

The best cloud-based POS systems for small businesses are what follows. 

1. Square POS Review – Our Overall Best Small Business POS System

Since our team started reviewing the best POS systems on the market, I’ve come across Square POS systems at multiple locations where I do my in-person shopping. 

And that’s for a reason. 

Among small businesses of all types, Square is fast becoming the overwhelming choice. This system’s software flexibility allows business owners to start using it to accept payments with their existing devices. 

With Square, you can turn the devices you currently use into a POS system in less than an hour. 

And you can do this without buying any hardware. But, if you need to purchase Square’s hardware, there’s still flexibility, as you have options to choose from: 

  • Square Terminal
  • Square Register
  • Square Reader for magstripe
  • Square Standup for chip & contactless
  • Square Reader for chip payments & contactless

If you run a location-based business like a boutique clothing store or coffee shop, Square’s register and standup terminal are the best options. The Square Reader of magstripe gives you the option of turning your phone into a POS system to accept payments on the go. 

Square’s POS system also handles credit card processing effortlessly. Thus, you don’t need third-party integrations to accept or process payments. 

Regardless of your business type, the versatility of Square POS system makes it the popular choice for most small businesses. Besides, Square’s pricing is straightforward and transparent. 

Square’s free iPad POS is free to use, only charging you 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. And this is your only cost, regardless of how many sales you process. For larger businesses, pricing starts at $60/month plus the transaction fee. 

There are no hidden charges whatsoever with Square. 

If your business processes over $250,000 per annum and your average order size exceeds $15, you can request a custom solution from Square. 

Other pros you get with the Square POS system are robust reporting, real-time analytics, and 24/7 customer support. You can also view, manage, update, and track your inventory with Square. 

With the Square POS system, you can create and manage your customers’ profiles more effectively from one dashboard. 

Square has a few cons. 

For non-card transactions, they charge 2.75% and some features needed by mid-sized businesses cost a little more. Finally, this system’s security protocols, which protect against fraudulent payments, place accounts on hold for large volume transactions. 

After reviewing dozens of the best POS systems, Square is our overall best today. 

Square comes highly recommended for small business owners of all types and even mid-sized and large businesses. 

2. Shopify POS Review – The Best For eCommerce Retail Integrations

Popularly known as an ecommerce company, Shopify also offers a retail POS system with excellent ecommerce integrations. 

If you already run a Shopify store or plan to expand your retail business online, Shopify’s POS system is a great option.  

With Shopify’s POS system, you get a branded online store and can sell through online channels, including eBay, Instagram, and Amazon. Whether in-store or across these online channels, the Shopify POS system lets you manage your sales in one place. 

It’s much easier that way, as you won’t need to invest in separate solutions.

Sales, employee, and inventory management are some of the core features you get with the Shopify POS system. In short, the system updates your in-store and online inventory in real-time. Added to this, it comes with exceptional sales analytics with the option to offer discount codes. 

Need to manage your business on the go? No problem. Shopify’s POS system comes with a mobile app.

The robust in-store and online integration available with the Shopify POS system gives your customers a seamless checkout experience. And the convenience to replace or return a purchased item in your local store.

The system comes as a free inclusion in your Shopify monthly plans, which starts at $29 $29/month for the basic plan. 

Unfortunately, this base plan doesn’t give you advanced reports and other needed features like in-store payments. You’ll need the $79/month plan to process in-store payments at 1-5 locations or the $299/month plan for up to eight locations. 

Per in-person transactions, charges are 2.7%, 2.5%, and 2.4% for the three plans, respectively. 

On all plans, you get a 14-day free trial and 24/7 live support via phone, email, or live chat. The system’s easy setup is another you’ll love about Shopify POS.

Shopify POS isn’t for you if you have dozens of in-store locations. Other cons include the system’s exclusive focus on ecommerce and retail and the extra charges you must pay if you’re not using Shopify’s payment processors.

However, if you’re already selling online with Shopify or want an easy setup for a few retail locations, Shopify POS is a no-brainer. 

We recommend Shopify POS if you want to launch a new ecommerce store or in the market for a new POS system. 

3. Vend POS Review – The Best For Multi Fashion, Sports, or Homeware Stores

You can personalize the Ven POS system to suit your unique needs. It’s also a perfect solution if you have multiple physical stores. 

Vend is among the best iPad POS systems currently on the market. You can also use it on your PC and Mac. Vend POS system offers data entry options, using mouse, touchscreen, or keyboard. 

It integrates seamlessly with a wide range of third-party applications, giving you access to loads of additional features. For instance, you can connect third-party payment processors offered by PayPal, Square POS, Shopify POS, and others. 

Vend’s ecommerce integrations make it super easy to sell across your physical store, mobile, and digital channels. Its robust sales analytics, inventory, and customer profiles management capabilities are excellent. Additionally, you can process split and contactless transactions and gift cards. 

Regardless of the platform you run Vend on, you get a cross-platform consistency that looks the same. However, the Vend POS system doesn’t come with any hardware, but it makes up for this with its software simplicity and extensive integration options. 

Pricing for Vend’s POS system starts at $99/month when paid annually for the Lite plan with a monthly turnover limit of $20,000. The Pro plan is $129/month if you pay yearly. 

All plans come with one register. If you want additional registers, it costs $49 per month. Large retailers can request an Enterprise plan, which comes with a dedicated account officer. 

Vend POS’s biggest con is its slow processing speed. Others are that you can only use Google Chrome to run this system, and it’s not suited for food trucks, bars, or restaurant businesses.

However, we recommend the Vend POS system if you have multiple retail outlets such as fashion boutiques, sports, homeware, or outdoor stores, or the likes and need a solution with extensive integration options. 

4. Toast POS Review — The Best For Restaurant and Food Businesses

The brains behind the Toast POS system built the platform with food and beverage vendors and their customers in mind. So, if you own a restaurant, bar, or food truck business, Toast POS has features tailored to your needs. 

The system’s integrated CRM software builds an inventory of your loyal customers. It also allows you to craft messages and run automatic promotions that keep customers happy so that you can score a backlog of customers returning to your food business.

Toast POS is one of the few systems with excellent Android capabilities. 

And this is more suited to restaurants due to the affordability and flexibility of the Android infrastructure, which has faster software updates than the iPad.

Whether you’re a full-service or quick-service food business, the Toast POS system works well for both. You even have options to customize the system for large food chains, pizzerias, or bars.

As a Toast user, you can access its community of like-minded business owners to get or share best practices in your industry.

Overall, Toast POS gives you a holistic restaurant management system, complete with back-office and front-end processes. It enhances staff productivity, improves customer service via its food-focused CRM features, which also comes with detailed analytics and sales reports.  

You can easily customize or split menu items and bills among your customers. Taking orders on the fly or sending alerts to customers when their orders are ready are some mouth-watering pros. This makes The Toast POS system a no-brainer for food businesses. 

Pricing for the Toast POS system starts at $69/month per terminal, with no trials. It’s hardware prices starts at $999, and there’s no financing option available. Toast POS has a flat processing fee, and there are no hidden fees.  

A drawback of the Toast POS system is that it is currently only available for Android users. But, this isn’t a problem, considering Android devices are cheaper than iPads. 

Toast POS system is the overwhelming recommendation if you own a food or restaurant of any kind. Its features are tailor-made for such businesses. 

5. ERPLY POS Review – The Best For Small Franchises

ERPLY POS system is the go-to platform if you own a franchise business. It runs well on Android and iPad tablets and is also accessible on other devices via a browser. 

ERPLY POS is one of the few cloud-hybrid systems that is hardware agnostic, and this makes it a favorite for small and large franchise retailers. This robust build allows you to centralize your inventory across stores and manage employees by giving them varying access to the platform. 

You get CRM tools and the ability to handle sensitive data with the ERPLY POS system. Besides this, you have other strong franchise-specific features like sales tracking, barcode scanners, and full-scale inventory management across all plans. 

Pricing for the ERPLY POS system starts at $39, but you don’t get inventory controls on this basic plan. If you want that, consider its higher-tier plans, which are upwards of $69. 

A known con of the ERPLY POS system is that it is tricky to master. Secondly, there’s limited customer support. 

However, ERPLY’s versatile interface and free trial, which allows you to take it for a spin, are strong reasons to consider this POS system. And if you own a franchise business, it comes highly recommended due to its features explicitly designed for such retailers.  

Conclusion

The best POS system is subjective. Different business types have different needs, and a POS system that works for one business may not work well for your own. 

It’s best to understand your business needs first. 

We reviewed dozens of the top POS systems on the market to identify the ones most suited for the different types of small businesses. 

We’ve provided you with the best POS for retail, food, ecommerce, franchise, and fashion retail businesses. We also highlighted our recommended overall best. 

You won’t regret choosing from any of the above options. 

The post Best POS Systems appeared first on Neil Patel.

The Best Web Hosting Services (In-Depth Review)

Looking for a hosting solution for your website?

You’re in luck because with today’s options, it has never been easier to keep your website online.

They take care of all the technical stuff and you get to enjoy casually updating your website for conversions.

And the best part is that most of them are very affordable which helps startups get a hold of their business quickly.

That’s why I put together a list of the best hosting services of 2020 for you.

So without further ado…

The Top 7 Options For Hosting Your Website in 2020:

  1. Dreamhost
  2. Bluehost
  3. HostGator
  4. WP Engine
  5. Hostinger
  6. InMotion
  7. Siteground 

How to Choose The Best Hosting Service For Your Website:

When it comes to the best web hosting services you have to look at various important factors.

If you jump in too quick you might get into something that’s not suitable for your business.

But don’t let any of that doubt creep into your mind. 

Instead, sit back and relax while we present to you all the factors that you need to be aware of before making a decision.

You can weigh the different web hosting services and decide which is the best solution for your specific business.

Hosting factor #1 – Uptime reliability: 

If your hosting is down, no one would be able to access your website.

And obviously you want your website running 24/7.

Luckily, in 2020 this is not a huge problem since most web hosting providers offer a ‘99.99% network uptime guarantee’.

That means that your website would go down very rarely.

And even when it does, you can contact your hosting service and you will get compensation.

Most of the time that would be in the form of hosting credits.

If you want to prepare for the worst, you can check out our Website Downtime Survival Guide.

One of the best practices to making sure everything runs smoothly even when you’re taking a break is to sign up for a tracking tool like uptime robot

If your hosting service crosses the line, this tool will notify you that you need to find a new webserver to host.

Hosting factor #2 – Speed is key:

Website loading speed is extremely crucial when it comes to SEO optimization in 2020.

That’s simply because if your pages load slowly, people will bounce out of your website and your ranking will fall down the drain.

You need a trustworthy host provider that can guarantee optimal website loading speed.

The thing is that you can’t know the exact loading speed before you try the hosting service yourself.

But you can always optimize your website loading speed using free tools and effective loading speed practices.

And the best news is that even if your budget is tight, you can still get a good loading speed.

But don’t expect anything spectacular for say $4/month.

Generally, the higher the price, the faster your pages will load.

Anyways, we will include our personal experience regarding loading speed for each of the options down below.

Hosting factor #3 – Customer service:

Good Customer Service will come in handy when something goes wrong.

Especially if you’re new to websites, you’re bound to make mistakes that may lead to your website being down for a while.

And the more time it’s out, the more it will cost you.

So a good support team will help you get the issues solved in no time.

Even if you made a major mistake that’s impossible to come back from…

Most support teams will have a full backup of your website so you can get back to a working version.

You always want your support team to have a live chat or a telephone you can call.

Email just doesn’t make the cut if you want to resolve the issue fast, which you should want, given that your website is down.

We made sure to include only website hosting services with strong communication skills.

The Different Types of Web Hosting Services:

In 2020 there are a lot of different types of web hosting services.

The most commonly used being:

Shared Hosting

This means your website will be stored on the same server as a bunch of other websites.

It is a cheap option for startup websites.

With the right one, you can have customizable options and average loading speed.

Don’t look at Shared Hosting as a long-term solution because Shared Hosting can not withstand high levels of traffic.

It’s definitely a good solution for people that just want to get their website up and running fast.

VPS Hosting

The Virtual Private Server (VPS) is definitely a better option than Shared Hosting.

Each website is hosted in its own virtual space which speeds up your loading speed and also allows you to get more traffic on your website.

This option is best if you’re planning to scale your website fast.

Yet again, it’s not a long-term option if you want to be one of the top websites in your industry.

Simply because it still has limitations when it comes to website traffic.

Dedicated Hosting

This is considered the most reliable and overall the best option out there.

You get a dedicated server just for your website with full control over everything.

But prepare yourself for a pricey alternative.

That option is mainly for the best of the best.

If you have plans to scale your traffic to enormously high levels, this is the only option for you.

But if you’re just starting out, we recommend one of the other 2 options.

Anyways, the web hosting services below give you the option to choose between different types of hosting services.

So just choose the one that fits your business and your budget best.

#1 – Dreamhost — Best option if you want quick and responsive website changes

Dreamhost has been a big player for the longest time now. 

Founded in 1996 it is one of the oldest hosting services available online.

Some people might think it must be outdated by now.

But that can’t be further from the truth.

Exactly because of their ability to adapt quickly to new trends they’re still considered one of the best in the business.

They don’t look at your website as just another website.

They know that your website is your own vision for the future.

“We Make Sure Your Purpose, Is Our Purpose”

And that’s not just words. Over 1.5 million websites host with Dreamhost.

You can expect great loading speed and friendly, helpful customer support on your side.

With incredibly adaptable services you can literally change your business in a matter of hours.

They know that things change as time passes.

Maybe you want to try out something new.

Maybe you’re certain that your current business model is outdated.

With their fascinating adaptable features, they will be your best friend when making major changes in your website.

#2 – Bluehost — Best for WordPress Hosting

If you’re looking to set up your website in less than a week, you’re probably considering WordPress.

After all, according to NetCraft, 35% of the Internet is powered by WordPress.

And it’s not a surprise. WordPress has been a leader in the industry for years now.

So if you’re looking for the best hosting option for your WordPress website, you can definitely trust Bluehost.

Their Pricing Options start from as low as $3.95/month and get up to $6.95/month.

Which is still not that expensive considering all the unlimited features they bring to the table.

Regarding website loading speed, as long as you don’t fill your WordPress site with plugins, you should be good.

And even if you make a crucial mistake or overload your website with different plugins, you’re in good hands.

Their Customer Support is extremely responsive. They have both an active telephone line and a live chat you can rely on at all times.

#3 – HostGator — The most affordable option for Startups

HostGator is one of the most preferred options when it comes to blogging.

They are perfect if you’re looking for the most affordable way to begin posting online.

Pricing options start from the jaw-dropping $2.75/month.

Once again, you can’t expect the best features for such a low price.

But it’s a great alternative for startups that want to get their website up and running.

And just like Bluehost, they have a responsive telephone line with a live chat you can access at any moment.

You can also find a giant database with common questions beginners have, together with professional opinions and solutions to those problems.

Everything is explained and demonstrated step-by-step and if you’re still not sure that you can do it on your own.

Just shoot them a message and start chatting with their professional customer support.

#4 – WP Engine — Best option if you know your limits

We’re getting to the more advanced options now.

With WP Engine you can customize and get the exact features you need.

Of course, their services are not as cheap as some of the others on the list.

But if you’re certain what are the exact characteristics you need in a website, then WP Engine got your back.

You just have to contact them and work out the best plan for your specific situation.

Of course, their experts are going to help you choose the correct option without pushing you to stuff you wouldn’t need.

It’s a great Hosting Service if you’re looking to scale big.

Don’t expect cheap services, but expect great quality and support on the way to your successful business.

#5 – Hostinger — Low-Cost Shared Hosting options for Startups

Hostinger is unique with it’s Shared Hosting Services.

Their prices literally start from $0.99/month. WOW.

Of course, you’ll be very limited with this option but it shows how much they are ready to do in order to satisfy their customers.

We personally recommend one of the higher tier options:

The good thing with Hostinger is that for as low as $3.99/month you can get unlimited access to everything.

With 24/7/365 support, you can expect professional assistance at any point.

For $3.99/month you get great loading speed and daily website backups.

That means even if you mess up badly, you always have access to previous versions of your website.

It is the best option if you’re searching specifically for a Shared Hosting Service that’s affordable and reliable.

#6 – InMotion — Best option for Scaling BIG

Are you positive that your website is going to dominate the online space?

If you’re 100% sure, then you should definitely take a closer look at InMotion.

Their VPS and Dedicated hosting services are far from cheap.

But with Premium prices come Premium services. We are talking fast loading speed and devoted customer support.

Obviously there’s also affordable WordPress Hosting and Shared Hosting options.

But if you’ve tried these before and now you’re looking for the next step.

InMotion is going to overdeliver on every promise.

Check out their plans and choose the one that fits your needs best.

#7 – Siteground — Best for WooCommerce Hosting

Do you want to sell your products online?

Then you’re probably in need of a good, reliable WooCommerce Hosting Service.

If that’s that case, then you should take a look at Siteground.

They have separated their pricing options depending on your scalability.

Most Hosting Services cut you here and there when it comes to cheaper options.

This is not the case here!

Siteground really wants to overdeliver, even if you choose their cheapest options.

Their Customer Service has a whopping 90% resolution at first contact.

That means that 90% of the time you’ll chat or speak with an expert in their team and resolve your issue in no time.

So if you’re looking for the best WooCommerce solution, Siteground is the hosting service for you.

Your Hosting Service Is Your Best Friend

Make sure you make a well-thought-out decision.

You’re most likely going to have a long-term relationship with the hosting service you choose.

So carefully look into every option that caught your eye today and choose the one that fits your needs best.

So, whether you choose one of my top recommendations or scout out your own, use the tips and best practices we talked about to make an educated decision… like the future of your business depends on it. 

Because it does!

Have you worked with any website hosting companies in the past? How did it go and did you get the results you hoped for?

The post The Best Web Hosting Services (In-Depth Review) appeared first on Neil Patel.

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession?

Do you know? How hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession?

It’s a brilliant question. How hard is it to establish business credit in a recession? Is business credit building impossible? Or is it just some nightmare? And what happens in an economic downturn?

I assure you it is not only possible, it is downright sure-fire. And business credit is all but recession-proof!

Business credit is credit in a business’s name. It doesn’t link to an owner’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the corporation. Because of this, an entrepreneur’s business and consumer credit scores can be very different.

The Advantages

Because business credit is distinct from individual, it helps to safeguard a business owner’s personal assets, in the event of court action or business insolvency. Also, with two separate credit scores, an entrepreneur can get two separate cards from the same merchant.

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 frustration. But building small business credit, when done right, is a plan for success.

Individual credit scores are dependent on payments but also additional considerations like credit usage percentages. But for small business credit, the scores actually merely depend on whether a corporation pays its invoices timely.

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: The Process

Establishing business credit is a process, and it does not occur automatically. A corporation will need to proactively work to build business credit. Nonetheless, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much swifter than developing individual credit scores.

Merchants are a big component of this process.

Doing the steps out of sequence will cause repetitive rejections. 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 rejection 100% of the time.

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Company Fundability

A business has to be authentic to lenders and vendors. As a result, a company will need a professional-looking website and email address, with website hosting from a company like GoDaddy. Additionally business phone and fax numbers need to have a listing on ListYourself.net.

At the same time the company telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the like).

A company will also need a bank account dedicated strictly to it, and it must have every one of the licenses essential for running. These licenses all must be in the accurate, accurate name of the company, with the same business address and phone numbers.

Keep in mind that this means not just state licenses, but potentially also city licenses.

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service

Visit the IRS web site and obtain an EIN for the small business. They’re free of charge. Select a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.

A small business can start off as a sole proprietor. But will most likely wish to switch to a form 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 owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. No one else is responsible.

If you run a company as a sole proprietor, then at least be sure to file for a DBA (‘doing business as’) status.

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the small business name. Therefore, you can find yourself being directly responsible for all company debts.

And also, per the IRS, with this structure there is a 1 in 7 probability of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 chance for corporations! Prevent confusion and drastically lower the odds of an Internal Revenue Service audit as well.

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Starting off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Begin at the D&B website and obtain a cost-free DUNS number. A DUNS number is how D&B gets a corporation into their system, to produce a PAYDEX score. If there is no DUNS number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the company. 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 something to report on.

Trade Lines

First you must build trade lines that report. This is also known as 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 start obtaining revolving store and cash credit.

These kinds 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 credit issuers who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are oftentimes Net 30, instead of 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, like within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

Details

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

To begin your business credit profile the right way, you should get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. As soon as that’s done, you can then make use of the credit.

Then repay 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 very little effort. You also want them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

And Continue…

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

1. Uline Shipping Supplies

Uline Shipping Supplies is a true starter vendor. Find them online at https://www.uline.com/. They offer shipping, packing, and industrial supplies, and they report to D&B and Experian.

You need to have a DUNS number. They will ask for 2 references and a bank reference. The initial few orders may need to be paid in advance to initially get approval for Net 30 terms. Also, you may need to buy some things you do not need.

2. Crown Office Supplies

Crown Office Supplies is another true starter vendor. Find them online at https://crownofficesupplies.com.

They sell a variety of office supplies and take helping clients seriously. They say, “just starting your business, or maybe have an existing business, but you have a question regarding office supplies… we are here to help!” And they report to Dun and Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.

There is a $99.00 yearly fee, though they do report that fee to the business credit reporting agencies. For other purchases to report, the purchase must be at least $30.00. Terms are Net 30.Fundability in a Recession Credit Suite

3. Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger Industrial Supply is also a true starter vendor. Find them online at https://www.grainger.com/. They sell safety equipment, plumbing supplies, and more, and they report to D&B. You will need a business license, EIN, and a DUNS number.

For less than $1000 credit limit they will approve virtually anybody with a business license.

Accounts That Don’t Report

Non-Reporting Trade Accounts can also be helpful. While you do want trade accounts to report to at the very 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.

Also credit accounts of any sort will help you to better even out business expenditures, consequently making financial planning simpler. These are companies like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.

Revolving Store Credit

Once there are 3 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs move to revolving store credit.

Use the corporation’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Are there more accounts reporting? Then progress to fleet credit. These are companies like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy, repair, and take care of vehicles. Make certain to apply using the business’s EIN.

Cash Credit

Have you been sensibly managing the credit you’ve gotten up to this point? Then move onto more universal cash credit. These are service providers such as Visa and MasterCard. Keep your SSN off these applications; use your EIN instead.

These are typically MasterCard credit cards. If you have more trade accounts reporting, then these are doable.

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and fix any inaccuracies ASAP. Get in the practice of checking credit reports. Dig into the specifics, 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 details is incomplete.

Disputing Mistakes

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

Disputing credit report inaccuracies usually means you send a paper letter with copies of any proof of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never mail the originals. Always send copies and retain the originals.

Disputing credit report inaccuracies also means you specifically detail any charges you challenge. 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 mailed in your dispute.

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: A Word about Business Credit Building

So always use credit sensibly! Don’t borrow beyond what you can pay off. Monitor balances and deadlines for payments. Paying on time and fully will do more to boost business credit scores than virtually anything else.

Establishing corporate credit pays. Good business credit scores help a company get loans. Your credit issuer knows the corporation can pay its financial obligations.

They know the corporation is authentic. And the business’s EIN connects to high scores, and credit issuers won’t feel the need to require a personal guarantee.

How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession: Takeaway

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

Obtaining merchant accounts for business credit means that you are on your way to getting good business credit.

These three should conveniently get you going. How hard is it to establish business credit in a recession? Pretty easy! So go out there and clobber it! Learn more here and get started toward establishing business credit.

The post How Hard is it to Establish Business Credit in a Recession? appeared first on Credit Suite.

How to Choose The Right PPC Agency

In 2017, PPC advertisers invested over $10 billion dollars

If you stacked that many $100 dollar bills on top of each other, you’d have a nearly seven-mile tall tower of money. So, that’s a TON of money. 

But year after year, global ad spend across every major PPC channel is growing even higher. 

Source: Statistica

And this explosive growth isn’t happening for no reason. 

It’s happening because PPC works. It’s the classic “spend money to make money” model. From social media to paid search, PPC is a smart way to see quick results. 

But that’s only true if you know what you’re doing. 

Which… is where an experienced PPC agency comes in. They spend countless hours experimenting and learning everything there is to know so you don’t have to. 

So if you’re looking to hire an agency to create and manage your PPC campaigns but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place. In this article, I cover:

  • What to look for in a PPC agency
  • How to work with them for maximum results
  • Steps to finding the right agency
  • My top five recommendations

Let’s dive in!

Know your goals and desired outcomes

PPC campaigns exist for a wide variety of reasons. And it’s crucial to have a clear picture of what you hope to achieve before you go through the process of finding the right PPC agency. 

Without this essential set of information, you’ll have a hard time making an educated decision. 

So before you get started, sit down with your team and set clear goals and expectations. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, but it’s good to understand this from the get-go. 

Your goals may include:

Right now, you need to set an overall goal for your next campaign. Understanding your expectations makes it easier to communicate what you’re after and ensures everyone’s on the same page. 

The idea is to reach a high-level agreement on why you want to hire a PPC agency. 

You should also consider the level of participation you want to have throughout the process. Do you want to be super hands-on, or are you hoping for someone to completely take over? 

Lastly, don’t worry about the finer details just yet. You can work through the specific metrics and KPIs you want to measure later when you actually sit down with your new PPC partner. 

7 characteristics that make a great PPC agency

Now you have a crystal clear picture of your goals, expectations, and level of participation. So it’s time to start talking about what characteristics to look for. 

Not all PPC agencies are equal. Some excel at specific advertising types, while others specialize in creating excellent customer experiences across every platform. 

One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but it ultimately depends on what you’re looking for. 

So use these characteristics as a baseline for creating a list of viable options. They’ll help you narrow your choices down to those PPC agencies that are worth every penny. 

From there, you can sit down with them before making a final decision. 

Let’s get started!

1. They value data, analytics, and results

PPC is an exciting form of digital marketing because you can directly tie revenue generated to ad spend. So data and analytics are crucial to the success of future campaigns. 

The best PPC agencies understand how to use numbers to strategize new ideas that improve your overall ROI. They use what they already know and what they learn about your target market to develop high-yield campaigns. 

Furthermore, they also understand the importance of collecting as much information as possible as well as sharing that data with you. 

If it’s not clear on their website, be sure to ask questions to help you gauge this before working together. You can ask things like:

  • What tools do you use to measure essential PPC metrics?
  • Will you actively share data and results with us?
  • Do I have independent access to analytics and reporting?
  • Is a full analytics report included with your offer? 
  • If so, what do you include in those reports?

2. Strategic partnerships and first-party data sources

The longer you’re in business, and the more campaigns you run, the more first-party data you gather about your specific audience and how they behave. 

But the best PPC agencies have an extensive database of their own first-party data as well. 

Furthermore, they know how to use it to predict your audience’s buying behavior based on similar industries and past clients. And they may also connect with first-party data sources to tap into their pool of information as well. 

Aside from data, smart agencies partner with leading search and social media platforms. Partners are the first to know about new changes and updates.

This means they’re ahead of the game when things change. 

Which… seems to happen by the second. So, these strategic partnerships give PPC agencies in-depth insight non-partners don’t have. 

Look for indications of this on their website or ask about it if you’re unsure. 

3. Knowledge of local search

82% of smartphone users turn to search engines to find businesses close to them. They use phrases like “near me” to decide where to eat lunch, go shopping, and find entertainment, among other things as well. 

Furthermore, 76% of those searches lead to an in-store visit on the same day. 

Source: Think With Google

So, local search isn’t something your business can afford to ignore if you want to drive foot traffic to a physical location. 

Whether you use your business to sell products or meet with clients, it’s crucial to show up in search results at the right time. 

Make sure to choose an agency with a strong knowledge of local search (both paid and organic). You may not be able to find this information on their website, so be sure to ask questions. 

During your first call, it may help to ask things like:

  • How do you approach local paid search objectives? 
  • Can you share any local PPC results you’ve produced for similar businesses? 
  • We want to reach our local community. Can you tell me a bit about how that works? 
  • How do you measure the success of location-based keywords?
  • Do you use bid modifiers for location-specific queries?

4. Strong mobile optimization capabilities

Mobile devices account for over half (53%) of clicks on search ads. The era of designing creatives and writing copy for desktop first… is over.

It’s more important than ever before for PPC ads to be easily accessible on devices of all sizes. 

And the world of mobile optimization is tricky, especially when combined with ever-changing search and social algorithms. So it’s crucial to hire a PPC agency that knows how to tackle this transition to on-the-go browsing. 

Some agencies may highlight this as a feature on their website, while others may not. So be sure to ask questions during your initial phone calls to ensure they know their stuff. 

To gauge this, you can ask things like:

  • Can you share any mobile-specific results for previous campaigns? 
  • What’re your thoughts on designing PPC ads for mobile rather than desktop?
  • Do you provide mobile-optimized copy and display ads, or suggestions to improve them?
  • Do you leverage bid modifiers for mobile devices?

5. They focus on the right PPC channels

Whether you’re interested in search, social, programmatic, shopping, or multi-channel PPC campaigns, it’s essential to find a PPC agency specializing in the platforms you want to use. 

There’s no right or wrong marketing channel. But it does depend on your end goal. 

Some agencies may only manage search campaigns while others may consult, design, and manage paid social media campaigns. No two campaigns are alike, nor are two PPC agencies. 

So first, you have to understand what you’re looking for. 

What channels are you considering? Do you need help with design or ad copy as well? Maybe you want a collaborative project, or perhaps you prefer entirely hands-off.

Decide what you need and expect from a PPC agency and use that to guide your decision. 

Be sure to sare your expectations and goals during your first meeting to ensure they’re a good fit. 

6. Impeccable keyword research

The quickest way to see a return on your investment is by targeting commercial-intent (transactional) keywords. People searching for things like “Buy iPhone X” or “best web hosting services” are ready to buy. 

But making more money isn’t the only goal behind PPC advertising. Maybe you want to grow your email list to add more leads into your sales funnel. Or raise brand awareness. Or drive traffic to help increase ad revenue. 

Regardless of the end goal, your PPC agency must understand your campaign’s purpose and help you choose appropriate keywords to target. 

This isn’t something you can usually find on their website. So you’ll have to do some digging. 

Here are some great questions to ask during your first call:

  • How do you decide what keywords to focus on?
  • What keyword research tools do you use?
  • Can you tell us about your keyword strategy for a similar business? 
  • What metrics do you use to decide if a keyword is performing well?

7. Well-versed in all things digital marketing

PPC advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. 

It’s usually a small piece of a broader digital marketing strategy

And the best PPC agencies know this and work to create effective campaigns and PPC strategies to support your high-level business goals. 

Sure, PPC requires strong keywords that target the right audiences. But it goes much further than that as well. 

Great agencies understand the big picture and oftentimes can help improve other pieces of your digital marketing system because they’re great marketers themselves. 

How to work with a PPC agency

Now you know what to look for in a PPC agency. 

But if you’ve never worked with one before, you may feel unsure of what to expect going into your new partnership. And there are several things you can do as a client to enhance the overall experience. 

Doing these things helps put both your business and your agency in a strong position for success. 

Set clear goals and communicate your expectations

We talked about this briefly at the beginning of this article, but I want to come back to it again because it’s so important. 

Your goals and expectations set the stage for the rest of your partnership. 

It’s critical to understand your goals and communicate them with your PPC agency. The best agencies use your goals and expectations to develop a strategic plan that works well for both of you. 

So if you’re hesitant or unsure of what you’re after, sit down with your team and revisit this. And make sure you know how to communicate what you want. 

Gather and share data from past campaigns

Any first-party data you have can significantly impact the outcome of future campaigns. 

Think back to previous partnerships or campaigns you’ve run and gather that information into a clean and easy-to-understand report. 

Then, share it with your agency. 

Hard data is the best way for them to learn more about your audience’s attributes and behaviors as well as what worked, what didn’t, and why. 

This way, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel or start their research from scratch. 

Choose one point of contact

To avoid confusion, choose one central point of contact for communications from your agency. This ensures there are no miscommunications or wasted time from several people managing that relationship. 

You can certainly have a team working on the project but limit communications to one person. 

It also helps simplify things for your agency as well. They always know who to talk to, and they don’t have to worry about waiting too long for your response. 

Be prepared for advice and suggestions

PPC agencies are excellent at what they do, so it’s essential to listen to their advice and suggestions. This could be advice on improving your home page for conversions or redesigning landing pages to increase sales. 

Perhaps it’s a suggestion to improve your ad copy or headline. 

Always remember they’re the experts, and you hired them for a reason — they know their stuff. So take the time to listen and keep an open mind throughout the process. 

Ask all the questions you need to ask

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. And there’s no such thing as too many questions, either. If you’re unsure or confused about anything, the best thing to do is ask. 

There’s nothing wrong with not knowing, but there is something wrong with not asking about it. 

This helps you learn, and it also helps clear up any confusion about the project. You can rest easy every day, understanding the hows and whys of your campaign. 

How to find the right PPC agency for you

There are hundreds (if not more) of PPC agencies to choose from. And choosing the right one is often the hardest part of getting started. 

But the best PPC agencies for you specialize in the types of campaigns you’re interested in. They should also have in-depth knowledge of your specific industry. These characteristics combined help pave the way for the best results. 

It may also help to make a list of your expectations and requirements before starting your search. 

From there, list the companies you’re considering. Be sure to include:

  • Their specialty areas
  • What makes them stand out to you
  • Why they seem like a good fit
  • Pricing if it’s available online
  • Any negatives about their business

Then you can use your requirements and expectations to cross off agencies that don’t match what you need. Lastly, schedule a call with the remaining agencies on your list. 

This is your chance to interview them just as much as it’s their chance to interview you. 

So ask all your questions and take notes throughout the meeting so you can come back to them when making a final decision. 

The 5 top PPC agencies

Now you know what to look for, what to expect, and how to decide. 

Here are my top PPC agency recommendations for different business types and sizes to kick off your search. 

1. Neil Patel Digital — Best multi-channel PPC company

At NPDigital, we leverage our first-party data and search partners to create multi-channel campaigns designed to meet potential customers wherever they hang out online. 

Furthermore, we focus on using data to design an excellent customer experience regardless of how and where they interact with your brand. 

And now more than ever, consumers are researching before they buy. 

We care about giving shoppers the content and information they need to make informed decisions, all while helping you conquer your PPC goals. 

From paid search and social media to Amazon and shopping ads, your PPC campaigns are in good hands. 

2. Loud Mouth Media — Best small agency in the UK

Hiring a partner close to your time zone can have a massive impact on the type of communication you have as well as how long it takes to get a response. 

If you’re in Europe or the UK, Loud Mouth Media is an excellent small PPC agency serving big clients like Volvo and BBC, as well as small businesses around the world. 

And there’s a reason Loud Mouth Media’s won the “Best Small PPC Agency” in the UK two years in a row — they’re phenomenal at what they do. 

With the data and results to back it up. 

Plus, they’re Google, Bing, and Facebook partners, so Loud Mouth Media is an excellent choice if you’re interested in those channels. 

3. Stryde — Best for eCommerce and B2C businesses

If you’re a B2C business or running an eCommerce store, Stryde is a superb choice because they specialize in eCommerce digital marketing for businesses of all sizes.

Furthermore, the B2B and B2C industries couldn’t’ be more different when it comes to PPC. 

And there’s no one better to strategize and manage your product-focused campaigns than an agency that solely works with eCommerce and B2C businesses. 

Plus, they have an extensive portfolio of case studies that prove they’re great at what they do. 

4. KlientBoost — Best for landing page design + management services

PPC ads drive traffic, and landing pages (typically) convert that traffic into revenue or leads.

So it’s no surprise that landing page design and optimization are crucial to successful PPC campaigns regardless of your industry and business type. 

If you don’t have an in-house designer or struggle with creating conversion-focused landing pages, KlientBoost is an excellent PPC partner for your business. 

Aside from PPC and social media management, they also specialize in designing new landing pages and optimizing existing ones to help you reach and exceed your PPC goals. 

Their in-house team of designers and developers is ready to help you craft excellent customer experiences from their first click to their last. 

5. Directive Consulting — Best for SaaS and B2B businesses

B2B businesses and SaaS tools face their own set of unique challenges when it comes to PPC campaigns. After all, you’re targeting other businesses… not individuals. 

So you need a PPC strategist and partner that understands how to overcome those challenges. 

Directive Consulting specializes in helping software companies conquer every marketing channel from paid search and shopping ads to SEO and CRO

Whether you’re looking solely for PPC or interested in an entire digital marketing plan from one of the top agencies around, Directive is a fantastic choice. Plus, they offer digital marketing education, and they have a pool of first-party SaaS data you can tap into. 

You + the right agency = reliable results

Choosing the best PPC agency for your business is just as important as crafting the perfect copy, designing eye-catching creatives, and publishing conversion-focused landing pages. 

There’s no doubt you have a powerful message and life-changing products for the right audience. Plus, you owe it to them to put it in front of them when they need it. 

The right PPC agency helps you do just that while helping you generate more leads, make more money, and get more eyes on your brand. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

The good news is that you now know what to look for throughout the process. So next time you’re looking for your dream PPC agency, use the tips, tricks, and characteristics we talked about. 

And remember: an excellent PPC partner and reliable results can make a world of difference for your business. You deserve it and your customers do too. 

What do you look for when hiring a PPC agency?

The post How to Choose The Right PPC Agency appeared first on Neil Patel.

Check Out the Best Discover Business Credit Card and More

Are you looking for a Discover business credit card?

The Very Best Discover Business Credit Card

We looked into lots of corporate credit cards for you, to find the best Discover business credit card. So, here are our choices.

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

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

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

Discover Business Credit Card Benefits

Benefits can vary. So, make certain to pick the benefit you would prefer from this choice of alternatives.

A Discover Business Credit Card and More Cards for Cash Back

Here is a great Discover business credit card and some similar cards from other providers, so you can make a reasonable comparison.

Flat-Rate Rewards and No Annual Cost

Discover it® Business Card

Check out the Discover it® Business Card. It has no annual fee. There is an introductory APR of 0% on purchases for twelve months. After that 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 minimum spend requirement.

You can download transactions| quickly to Quicken, QuickBooks, and Excel. Note: you will need good to outstanding credit scores to get this Discover business credit card.

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

Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One ® Spark® Cash for Business 

Have a look at the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. It has an introductory $0 annual fee for the first year. Afterwards, this card costs $95 annually. 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 with no minimums.

You will need good to superb credit to qualify.

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

Discover Business Credit Card Credit Suite

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

Bonus Categories

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Check out the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. 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 three months from account opening.

You can get 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on web, 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 limit to the amount you can earn.

You will need exceptional credit scores to get approval for this card.

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

Boosted Cash Back Categories

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

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

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

You will need superb credit to qualify.

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

An Alternative to a Discover Business Credit Card: Company Credit Cards with a 0% Introductory APR – Pay Zero!

These cards have another feature similar to the Discover business credit card rated above.

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Have 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 one year. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

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

You will need good to outstanding credit to qualify.

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

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Also take a look at the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card. Note: the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card is identical to the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. Yet its rewards are in cash rather than points.

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

It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first year. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%. So, the APR is comparable to that of the Discover business credit card.

You will need great to superb credit scores to qualify.

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

Here are a few more great business credit cards with different features which may also be of interest.

Secure Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit Scores

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Have a look at 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 earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your business, without any minimum to redeem.

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

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

Discover Business Credit Card Credit Suite

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

Outstanding Business Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

No Yearly Fee/Flat Rate Cash Back

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Take a look at the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card. Past no annual fee, get an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

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

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

Unbeatable 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 annual 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 after that.

You will need great to superb credit scores to qualify.

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

Small Business Credit Cards for Luxurious Travel Points: Alternatives to the Best Discover Business Credit Card

Flat-rate Travel Rewards

Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

Take a look at the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. It has an introductory yearly fee of $0 for the first year, which after that rises to $95. The regular APR is 18.49%, variable due to the prime rate. There is no introductory annual percentage rate. Pay no transfer fees. Late fees go up to $39.

This card is wonderful for travel if your expenditures don’t fall into standard bonus categories. You can get unlimited double miles on all purchases, without limits. Earn 5x miles on rental cars and hotels if you book via Capital One Travel.

Get an introductory bonus of 50,000 miles. That’s the same as $500 in travel. But you just get it if you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months from account opening. There is no foreign transaction fee. You will need a good to outstanding FICO rating to qualify.

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

Discover Business Credit Card Credit Suite

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

Bonus Travel Categories with a Sign-Up Offer

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

For a terrific sign-up offer and bonus categories, take a look at the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Pay a yearly fee of $95. Regular APR is 17.49 – 22.49%, variable. There is no introductory APR offer.

Get 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months after account opening. This works out to $1,250 towards travel rewards if you redeem with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Get three points per dollar of the initial $150,000 you spend with this card. So this is for purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable, and phone services. Plus it includes advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

You can get 25% more in travel redemption when you redeem for travel using Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will need a great to excellent FICO score to qualify.

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

No Annual Fee

Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World MasterCard® credit card

For no yearly fee while still getting travel rewards, check out this card from Bank of America. It has no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR for purchases during the initial 9 billing cycles. Afterwards, its regular APR is 13.74 – 23.74% variable.

You can earn 30,000 bonus points when you make a minimum of $3,000 in net purchases. So this is within 90 days of your account opening. You can redeem these points for a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases.

Get unlimited 1.5 points for each $1 you spend on all purchases, everywhere, every time. And this is no matter how much you spend.

Likewise get 3 points per every dollar spent when you reserve your travel (car, hotel, airline) with the Bank of America® Travel Center. There is no limit to the number of points you can earn and points don’t expire.

You will need outstanding credit scores to get this one (as in, 700s or better).

Find it here: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/credit-cards/products/travel-rewards-business-credit-card/

Hotel Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Take a look at the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Card from American Express. It has an annual fee of $125. There is no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 17.24 – 26.24%. You will need good to outstanding credit scores to get this card.

Points

You can get 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after using your card to make purchases of $3,000 in the first 3 months. Get 6x the points for qualified purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. You can get 4x the points at United States restaurants and filling stations. And you can get 4x the points on wireless telephone services bought straight from American providers and on American purchases for shipping.

Get double points on all other eligible purchases.

Rewards

Plus, you get a free night every year after your card anniversary. And you can get one more free night after you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.

You get Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status with your Card. Plus, spend $35,000 on qualified purchases in a calendar year and earn an upgrade to Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status through the end of the following calendar year.

Also, each calendar year you can get credit for 15 nights towards the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/bonvoy-business/

The Best Discover Business Credit Card for You

Your straight-out best Discover business credit card will depend upon your credit report and ratings.

Only you can select which features you want and need. So, ensure to do your research. What is exceptional for you could be devastating for another person.

And, as always, make sure to establish credit in the advised order for the best, fastest benefits.

The post Check Out the Best Discover Business Credit Card and More appeared first on Credit Suite.

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