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Best HR Software

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He went from billionaire to broke and living in a small apartment. As he planned

He went from billionaire to broke and living in a small apartment. As he planned

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Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity During a Recession Cycle

Creative Recession Cycle Funding For New Businesses

As an entrepreneur, raising money for your new startup business can seem hard to execute. You’ve probably seen dozens of competition funds out there, so you have chances to secure funding. Ultimately, you want funding for your startup to come from investors. But getting investors can be impossible for a new startup. Recession cycle funding for startups can happen.

Using your equity might seem like the best idea to fund your business as you wait for investors to come. Most new startup business owners, fall prey to taking out the equity to fund the business before the revenue starts rolling in. You don’t have to take out equity to fund your startup. It’s not necessary. The success of your business solely comes from decisions you make as the business owner.

Here are some ways to creatively make money for your new startup without taking out of your equity.

Recession Era Funding

The number of United States financial institutions as well as thrifts has been decreasing progressively for a quarter of a century. This is from consolidation in the marketplace along with deregulation in the 1990s, decreasing barriers to interstate banking. See: https://www.fundera.com/blog/happened-americas-small-businesses-financial-crisis-six-years-start-crisis-look-back-10-charts

Assets focused in ever‐larger financial institutions is problematic for small business proprietors. Big banks are a lot less likely to make small loans. Economic recessions mean banks become extra mindful with lending. The good news is, business credit does not depend on financial institutions.

Recession Cycle Funding: Crowdfunding

Use Kickstarter. There’s a method to the madness in using Kickstart to fund your startup. First, do your research before pitching your idea to Kickstarter. Find out if there’s another project they have approved like your startup. So if they deny your idea, refer to similar projects they have approved. And when you ask for money from Kickstarter, be realistic and ask for money to help you survive for a few months. Don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and family asking them to help fund your start up.

Recession Cycle Funding: Bootstrap

Put your Money in First. When you first start out, tap into your own saving accounts, home equity, retirement accounts, etc. This might seem a bit risky, but you should invest in your own startup venture before you expect other investors to put money into it. Most investors will want to see the owners of the business have invested some of their own cash in the business to show confidence.

But there can be some issues with bootstrapping your business.

Still, here are some ways to bootstrap to build more financial resources.  

Share and Save on Services and Equipment

Share office services and equipment. You’ll probably need to get a co-work space where you can share the office space and equipment with other business owners. This will help you cut the cost of renting an office space and paying the high monthly rent.

Use the computers and servers you have. Don’t go out and buy new equipment when you start your startup. Use the computers, software, and desks, etc., you already have. Don’t spend extra money renting new equipment.

Recession Cycle Funding: Grants

Pursue non-dilutive capital. Look for government grants to get more money for your startup. Cities and states have grant programs offering low-interest rates on loans. Having access to these resources give startups the ability to qualify for large sums of money.

Recession Cycle Funding: Startup Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards can be a great way to get a startup off the ground.

We looked at a number of business credit cards, and did the research for you. So here are our picks.

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

You can get a lot more money with business credit. And you can still have personal credit cards at stores. So you would now have an added card at the same stores for your company.

You don’t need collateral, cash flow, or financials to get business credit. This is still true during a recession cycle.

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

Dependable Credit Cards for Fair to Poor Credit, Not Calling for a Personal Guarantee

Brex Card for Startups

Look into the Brex Card for Startups. It has no annual fee.

You will not need to provide your Social Security number to apply. And you will not need to supply a personal guarantee. They will take your EIN.

Nonetheless, they do not accept every industry.

Likewise, there are some industries they will not work with, as well as others where they want added documentation. For a list, go here: https://brex.com/legal/prohibited_activities/.

To determine creditworthiness, Brex checks a business’s cash balance, spending patterns, and investors.

You can get 7x points on rideshare. Get 4x on Brex Travel. Also, get triple points on restaurants. And get double points on recurring software payments. Get 1x points on everything else.

You can have poor credit scores (even a 300 FICO) to qualify.

Find it here: https://brex.com/lp/startups-higher-limits/

Secure Business Credit Cards for Fair Credit

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Take a look at the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business. It has no yearly 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 company, without any minimum to redeem.

While this card is within reach if you have fair credit scores, beware of the APR. But if you can pay on schedule, and in full, then it’s a bargain.

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

Recession Cycle

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

Exceptional Business Credit Cards with No Yearly Fee

No Yearly Fee/Flat Rate Cash Back

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Check out the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card. Past no yearly fee, get an introductory 0% APR for the first one year. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

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

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

Recession Cycle

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

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

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

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

Get double Membership Rewards® points on everyday company purchases like office supplies or client dinners for the first $50,000 spent annually. Get 1 point per dollar afterwards.

You will need great to outstanding credit scores to qualify.

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

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Also have 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. But its rewards are in cash instead of points.

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

It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first one year. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 – 20.74%.

You will need good to excellent credit scores to qualify.

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

Terrific Cards for Cash Back

Flat-Rate Rewards

Capital One ® Spark® Cash for Business

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

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

You will need great to excellent credit scores to qualify.

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

Flat-Rate Rewards and No Yearly 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 12 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 minimal spend requirement.

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

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

Bonus Categories

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

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

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

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

You will need superb credit 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

Take a look at the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards MasterCard® credit card. Get an 0% introductory APR for the first 9 billing cycles of the account. Afterwards, 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 gasoline 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 initial $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year. After that get 1% after, with no limits.

You will need outstanding credit scores to qualify.

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

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

The Plum Card® from American Express

Check out the Plum Card® from American Express. It has an introductory yearly fee of $0 for the first year. Afterwards, pay $250 per year.

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

You will need good to exceptional credit scores to qualify.

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

Unbeatable Cards for Jackpot Rewards That Never Expire

Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Have 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. Also earn a one-time $200 cash bonus when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rewards never expire.

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

You will need good to outstanding credit to qualify.

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

Recession Cycle

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

The Recession Cycle Funding for You

Your absolute best business credit cards hinge on your credit history and scores.

Only you can pick which features you want and need. So be sure to do your homework. What is outstanding for you could be catastrophic for somebody else.

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

Recession Cycle Funding: Takeaways

Raising money during a recession cycle might feel a little overwhelming. It takes time to build up funds to start a new business. But you don’t have to feel you have to use your equity to fund your new business. There are so many other ways you can find money to help your business grow. Don’t get focused on making quick money. Think about the long-term growth of your company, and how your decisions today will affect its finances in the future. Develop a plan to find money from different resources before using company equity. And yes, you can even do this during a recession cycle.

The post Six Ways to Creatively Fund a Startup Without Using Equity During a Recession Cycle appeared first on Credit Suite.

Best Business Phone Systems

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

Phone communication plays a critical role in today’s business landscape. Practically every business, regardless of size or industry, needs to have a business phone system.

This statement holds true for freelancers and single-member LLCs to Fortune 500 enterprises with thousands of employees across multiple locations. 

There’s just one problem—finding the best option for your business. With hundreds, if not thousands, of choices to consider, narrowing down the top pick for your business can feel like a daunting task.

Fortunately, I’ve handled all the heavy lifting for you. After spending countless hours researching and testing different business phone systems, I’ve picked the top six that I can recommend with conviction.  

The Top 6 Options For Business Phone Systems

  1. Ooma
  2. Freshcaller
  3. Dialpad
  4. RingCentral
  5. Line2
  6. Intermedia Unite

How to Choose the Best Business Phone System For You

Before we get into the specifics of reviewing each business phone system, you need to understand the methodology behind my research. There are certain feature sets and considerations that must be evaluated as you’re shopping around for different plans. 

Keep these factors in mind as you continue through this guide and read my reviews. 

Deployment Method

Generally speaking, there are two main ways to deploy a phone system for your business—cloud or on-premises. Historically speaking, most business phone systems have been on-site. However, cloud systems and VoIP technology have been growing in popularity.

If you don’t want your phone system tied to physical landlines, offices, and specific devices, then cloud deployment is definitely your best option. But if you prefer a more traditional phone line, then on-premises will work just fine for your situation.

Physical Phone Systems

Do you need to purchase physical hardware for your phone system?

Again, if you’re looking for a traditional office phone that’s sitting on a specific desk with a hardwire connection, then you’ll need to buy those phones. In this scenario, it’s usually in your best interest to buy hardware directly from the phone system provider. Hardware is rarely packaged into your plan, so keep that in mind as you’re shopping around. Actual phones, headsets, etc. will cost extra.

The beauty of cloud phone systems is that you can make and receive calls from anywhere. You and your staff can leverage your existing devices for this (laptops, desktops, smartphones, etc.).

Not only will this make your business phone system easily accessible, but it’s also more cost-effective. 

User Size and Scalability

How many people will be using your business phone system? 

Is it just you? Is it 5-10 people? 500? 5,000? The answer to this question will definitely have an impact on your decision. Certain systems are designed for individuals, while others are made for small teams and small businesses. Alternatively, there are business phone systems designed for huge organizations with thousands of users across multiple locations. 

Primary Communication Needs

There are plenty of general-purpose business phone systems. But some are designed with specific use cases in mind.

For example, there are business phone systems for customer support centers, outbound sales, and inbound phone orders. There are even solutions built for internal communication, such as conference calling and video chat.

So determine your primary communication need, then start your search from there.

Plan Features

Lots of business phone systems try to improve their market position by giving you lots of “extras” and features included free in your plan. But these are kind of useless if you’re never actually going to use them.

I’m referring to things like visual voicemail, hold music, automated answering, call forwarding, call attendants, texting, etc. The list goes on and on. These features are either provided all-inclusive with your plan or get offered at tiered pricing levels. 

My recommendation is this—don’t pay extra for features you didn’t know existed five minutes ago. Stick to the features you know you’ll use. If you get a few bonus ones, that’s great. But don’t fall victim to great marketing by these providers.  

Phone Numbers

Do you want to keep your existing phone number? Are you looking for an 800 number? Vanity number? Toll-free numbers?

Some of you will be looking for all of these; others just want a single line for basic use. Most business phone systems will offer a wide range of different phone number options. But the pricing and offerings vary from provider to provider. 

Just know that you might have to pay extra for things like toll-free calling and international phone numbers. 

The Different Types of Business Phone Systems

Business phone systems aren’t really a one-size-fits-all product. Most people don’t realize it, but there are actually several different types of phone systems out there. I’ll explain each one in greater detail below to give you a better understanding as you’re shopping around and evaluating plans. 

VoIP Phone Systems

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP for short) has quickly become one of the most popular types of phone systems for business users. As the name implies, the system is based on an IP connection. Rather than setting up complicated wires and landlines, a VoIP system just uses the same Internet connection that your organization already has. 

VoIP systems are generally cost-effective and easy to set up. However, they rely on a strong Internet connection. So if you have spotty service, this won’t really work for your business.

Analog Phone Systems

Analog systems use POTS—plain old telephone service. 

Think of a traditional landline phone system. That’s an analog service. It uses copper lines and connections between your system and carrier. As a result, analog phones have exceptional call quality and reliability. 

However, analog phones lack the features associated with newer types of phone systems. They’ll still offer basic phone features (hold, mute, call waiting, speaker, speed dial, redial, etc.), but you won’t get too much more. Overall, analog technology is pretty dated.

PBX Phone Systems

PBX stands for “private branch exchange.” This is also referred to as a digital phone system.

It’s common for PBX systems to have an extensive feature list with lots of applications. These solutions are great for businesses that want to customize their phone system with various add-ons and upgrades. 

Hybrid Phone Systems

Hybrid phones offer digital and IP functionality. These solutions have been growing in popularity because of their versatility. 

Most business owners that purchase a digital phone system lean towards hybrid options. This will give them the opportunity to expand and scale in the future using IP protocols. It’s also common for hybrid systems to include features like fax and email integrations.

To ensure high-quality voice, the hybrid phone system must have a strong network connection. The quality is limited to the type of phone service that’s delivering it. A robust Internet connection is the best way to ensure call quality.

Cloud Phone Systems

The terms “cloud” and “hosted” are often used interchangeably in the world of business phone services. With a cloud system, you likely won’t need any on-site hardware (aside from your existing routers and data switches).

It’s easy for anyone to manage a cloud phone system, including your staff. All of the customization and management can be handled directly from a simple interface offered by your system provider. 

The communication on a cloud phone system relies on a third-party data center (from the company you purchased from) and a stable Internet connection. 

#1 – Ooma Review — Best Phone Systems For Small Businesses

Ooma offers VoIP phone systems specifically designed for small businesses. The system is easy to set up, and you can make calls from anywhere using the Ooma mobile app or desktop computer app.

You can completely customize your Ooma phone system based on factors like how many employees need a phone, fax connection, conference calling, physical hardware, and more.

Here’s what I like the most about Ooma’s business phone system:

  • Get the system up and running in less than 15 minutes
  • Keep your existing number or pick a new one
  • Easy to set up a 1-800 or toll-free phone number
  • Features like call recording, virtual extensions, overhead paging, and more
  • Create “ring groups” (like sales or customer service)

Ooma’s phone system starts at $19.95 per user per month. There are no contracts or hidden fees. You can even get a new phone number for free.

#2 – Freshcaller Review — The Best Business Phone System For Contact Centers

Freshcaller is a bit unique compared to other business phone systems on the market today. This solution is designed specifically for customer support teams.

There are no hardware or download requirements to run Freshcaller. As a cloud-based PBX system, your customer service reps can access the software from anywhere.

40,000+ businesses worldwide trust Freshcaller. If their reputation isn’t enough to convince you, here’s a quick overview of the top features:

  • Ability to port your numbers or purchase new numbers from 90+ countries
  • Advanced inbound call routing capabilities
  • Supervisor controls for conversation monitoring, call queues, and more
  • Easy to use for remote customer service teams
  • Smart escalations, call transfers, agent notes, and conferences
  • Use AI voice bots to engage with your customers

While Freshcaller is definitely geared towards support teams, the phone service could double as a solution for sales representatives as well. 

Local phone numbers start at $1 per month, and incoming calls start at $0.016 per minute. You can try Freshcaller free for 21 days. 

#3 – Dialpad Review — Best Business Phone System For Remote Teams

Dialpad is another modern business phone solution. This provider leverages cloud technology and VoIP for their phone systems.

Plans start at $15 per user per month, and you can try it free for 14 days.

Dialpad has carved out a niche in the remote work space. A quick visit to their website, and you’ll see #WorkFromAnywhere plastered in big letters on the homepage. 

These are some of the reasons why I recommend Dialpad:

  • Easy to deploy, add users, and change numbers in real-time
  • Seamless integrations with tools like Zendesk, Salesforce, G Suite, and more
  • SMS, MMS, and group chat business messaging
  • Create smart call routing paths to the right sales rep, agent, or operator
  • Tools for sales, contact centers, and conference calling

More than 70,000 organizations across the globe use Dialpad. So you know that it’s a trustworthy and reliable business phone system. 

#4 – RingCentral Review — The Best Business Phone System For Larger Organizations

RingCentral has quickly become one of the most popular service providers in the business communications space. They have a wide range of solutions based on company size, industry, and business needs. 

You can use RingCentral for cloud phone systems, video conferencing, remote customer service, contact centers, global expansion, and more.

Used by 400,000+ businesses in nearly every category you can imagine, RingCentral is an industry leader in this space. 

Popularity aside, these are some of the other reasons why I like RingCentral so much:

  • Deploy new users and start scaling in minutes
  • Auto-receptionist, shared lines, and extensions to ensure you never miss a call
  • High-quality audio
  • Ability to switch live calls between mobile and desktop with just one click
  • Automated visual voicemails
  • Set up local phone numbers from 200+ area codes
  • Robust admin portal for dynamic call routing, usage monitoring, and quality control
  • 24/7 customer service from RingCentral’s friendly team of experts

Overall, RingCentral’s extensive feature set is definitely designed for larger teams. They do have plans for small businesses, but most smaller teams don’t need these extra features.

RingCentral starts at $19.99 per user per month. Try before you buy with a 15-day free trial.

#5 – Line2 Review — Best For Individuals and Small Teams

Line2 is exactly what it sounds like. This business phone system makes it easy for anyone to add a second line to their existing phone. 

Your new business phone number can easily be managed directly from the Line2 mobile app.

The entire process is as simple as 1, 2, 3—sign up, choose a number, and download the app. That’s it! Now you’ll be able to make and receive business calls from your smartphone without giving away your personal phone number.

Other features worth mentioning include:

  • In addition to smartphones, Line2 works on Macs, PCs, and tablets
  • You can continue to add multiple lines as you scale your business
  • It’s easy to deploy with no hardware or IT requirements
  • Line2 is always coming out with new calling and messaging features

Overall, the concept behind Line2 is pretty straightforward. It’s perfect for individual users, freelancers, and small business owners. 

Plans start at just $9.95 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.  

#6 – Intermedia Unite Review — The Best All-in-One Business Communication Platform

Intermedia Unite is more than just a PBX business phone system. You’ll also get tools for video conferencing, live chat, file management, and screen sharing. 

All of these features are bundled into a fully integrated unified communication and collaboration platform.

If you’re just looking for a basic business phone system, this option probably isn’t for you. But for businesses seeking an all-in-one solution, I can’t really name a better option than Intermedia Unite.

  • Auto attendant for connecting customers with the right person
  • Wide range of integrations for building efficient interactions
  • The system works from the Intermedia Unite mobile app and desktop app
  • Phone support on pre-configured desk phone devices
  • Award-winning customer service, 24/7
  • Admins benefit from custom management tools and actionable analytics

Intermedia Unite pricing starts at $27.99 per month per user. It’s a bargain, considering all of the features you’re getting in this package.

Summary

To say you have lots of options to consider for a business phone system would be a drastic understatement. But by using this guide, you’ll be equipped to make the right decision based on your needs. 

In a market that’s saturated with phone systems for businesses, I really only like the six options reviewed above. 

So start your search there, and use the buying guide outlined earlier in my guide. This will steer you in the right direction. 

The post Best Business Phone Systems appeared first on Neil Patel.

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