Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

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How to Fund a Startup Business No Matter What

What do you need to know about how to fund a startup business? First, there is more than one way to do it!  It’s true. Regardless of what is happening around you, in most cases you can fund a startup business in some way.  It may very well take longer depending on your exact situation, but it is almost always possible. 

You Can Fund a Startup Business No Matter What is Going On

Fund a Startup Biz Credit SuiteThe thing is, virtually everyone assumes if they cannot get a business loan, they can’t fund a startup business.  That really isn’t true. There are all kinds of options for funding. Loans are only one of them. Furthermore, there are probably many more types of loans than you think. We put together a list of some of the most common, and less common, ways to fund a startup business in any situation. 

Fund a Startup Business: Traditional Loans

These are the loans that you go to the bank to get.  With a traditional loan, you are almost always going to have to give a personal guarantee.  This means they will check your personal credit.  If it’s not great, you are probably out of luck. That is where a lot of people stop, thinking they have hit a brick wall.

There are ways over that wall however.

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

Fund a Startup Business: SBA Loans

SBA loans are traditional bank loans.  However, they have a guarantee from the federal government. The Small Business Administration works with lenders to offer small businesses funding solutions that they may not be able to get based on their own credit history. Because of the government guarantee, lenders are able to be a little less strict on personal credit score requirements. 

The trade-off is that the application progress is lengthy. There is a ton of paperwork connected with SBA loans. 

Fund a Startup Business: Private Loans

Private business loans come from companies other than banks.  These companies are sometimes called alternative lenders.  Many have popped up in the past decade as entrepreneurship has become more common.  The need for a financing option from somewhere other than traditional banks has spurred this growth. 

There are a few benefits to using private business loans over traditional loans.  The first is that they often have more flexible credit score minimums.  They still rely on your personal credit. Yet, they will often accept a score much lower than what traditional lenders require. Another benefit is that they will sometimes report to the business credit reporting agencies.  That helps build or improve business credit. 

The tradeoff is that private business loans typically have higher interest rates and less favorable terms.  Still, the ability to get funding and the potential increase in business credit score can make it well worth the cost. 

Examples of Private Lenders

The thing about private lenders is, you almost always have a time in business requirement. However, it can be as low as one year, even 6 months in some cases.  

BlueVine

The minimum loan amount available from BlueVine 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. 

OnDeck

With OnDeck, applying for financing is quick and easy. Apply online, and you will receive your decision once application processing is complete. Loan funds will go directly to your bank account. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $500,000.

There is a personal credit score requirement of 600 or more.  Also, you must be in business for at least one year. There is an annual revenue requirement of at least $100,000 as well. In addition, there can be no bankruptcy on file in the past 2 years and no unresolved liens or judgements. 

Fund a Startup Business: Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites allow you to pitch your business to thousands of micro investors. Anyone who wants a piece of the action can buy in. 

Investors pledge amounts ranging from as low as $5 to as high as they want. They may give $5, $80, $150, or even over $500. As a general rule, they can give as much or as little as they want.

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

The two most common crowdfunding platforms are Indiegogo and Kickstarter. 

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

Fund a Startup Business: Angel Investors

These investors are usually only in for a one-time deal. Many choose to spread their risk out over many people and many businesses to be certain they get a safe return on their investment.

Angels tend to be a lot more informal than most types of funding. They can be people you know. Or they can be people you connect with through networking or other means. 

Angels are not covered by the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) standards for accredited investors. But a lot of them are accredited investors anyway. 

To become an accredited investor, an person has to have a minimal net worth of $1 million, and an annual income of $200,000.

There are a number of angels who aren’t millionaires. They could be friends or colleagues with home equity, or local professionals who are looking to invest. 

How Do You Find Angel Investors?

The best way to find these kinds of investors is to ask. You can also try an angel investors website or network. Try Gust, which used to be called Angel Soft. They keep a database of investors, companies, and programs. Startups can also search for business plan competitions and more.

Another option is to look at the biggest angel investor groups. Be aware, however, that these meetings are really only going to happen if you can get an introduction. 

According to Entrepreneur, in order from smallest to largest the top 10 Angel Investor groups are:

  1. New York Angels Inc.
  2. Alliance of Angels (Seattle)
  3. Pasadena Angels
  4. Hyde Park Angel Network (Chicago)
  5. Band of Angels (Menlo Park, CA)
  6. North Coast Angel Fund (Cleveland)
  7. Golden Seeds LLC (NYC)
  8. Investors’ Circle (San Francisco)
  9. Tech Coast Angels (Los Angeles) and
  10. Ohio Tech Angel Funds (Columbus, OH)

Focus and requirements may vary from group to group.  For example, some concentrate on local startups only. Do your research so you don’t waste yours and the angels’ time if it isn’t a good fit.

Fund a Startup Business While Keeping Your Day Job

Here’s an option that most don’t want to hear, but it is totally legitimate and sometimes, it’s just the best way.  If you do not have access to a ton of funds to launch a huge new business right away, consider keeping your day job and start your business small, as a side hustle. 

Not every business can start this way, but a lot can.  For example, a bakery or a cleaning business can easily start this way.  If you set up from the beginning to be fundable and build business credit, you can go even further.  More on that later. 

Fund a Startup Business: The Retirement Years

This is similar to keeping your day job in that you start small.  If you have retirement savings you could use that as loan security, or take a loan directly from retirement if your plan allows for that.  You can build your business slowly, a little at the time. While you’re doing so, you can work to build business credit and overall fundability 

Whatever You Do, Build Fundability from the Beginning

So, how do you do that?  How do you build fundability and business credit? The first thing you do is set up your business to be fundable.  When you do this, you will also be setting it up to be a separate entity from you as the owner, which is the first step in building separate business credit.  How do you build a fundable foundation? You need the following.

Contact Information Separate from the Owner

The first step in setting up a foundation of fundability is to ensure your business has its own phone number, fax number, and address.   That doesn’t mean you have to get a separate phone line, or even a separate location.  You can still run your business from your home or on your computer if that is what you want.  You don’t even have to have a fax machine.  

An EIN

The next thing you need to do is get an EIN for your business.  This is an identifying number for your business that works in a way similar to how your SSN works for you personally.  

Incorporate

You have to incorporate as an LLC, S-corp, or corporation. It gives credit to your business as one that is legitimate, and it separates your business from you as the owner.

Which option you choose does not matter as much for fundability as it does for your specific budget and liability protection need.  The best thing to do is discuss it with your attorney or a tax professional.  You are going to lose the time in business that you have.  When you incorporate, you become a new entity. Basically, you have to start over. You’ll also lose any positive payment history you may have.

This is why you have to incorporate as soon as possible.  Not only is it vital to fundability and for building business credit, but time in business is also important.  The longer you have been in business the more fundable you appear to be.  That starts on the date of incorporation, regardless of when you actually started doing business. 

Separate 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.  It will also help you keep them separate from personal finances for tax purposes. 

In addition, you cannot get a merchant account without a business account at a bank. That means, 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 it has to have all of the necessary licenses it needs to run.  If it doesn’t, red flags are going to fly up 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

These days, you do not exist if you do not have a website.  However, a poorly put together website can be even worse.  It’s the first impression you make on most, and if it appears to be unprofessional it will not bode well for you with lenders or customers. 

Fund a Startup: Build Business Credit 

Okay so, you need to know how to fund a startup, not how to set it up, right?  Here’s the thing. Once you have your business set up like this, you can start building business credit so that you have more options for funding your business.  

The main key to this is to use starter vendors that will issue net terms on your invoices and report those payments to the business credit reporting agencies.  Even if you are keeping your day job or starting small during retirement, you can use these vendors for the things you need in the everyday course of business. 

Things like office supplies, packaging, and even cleaning supplies can be purchased from such vendors on account using your business information.  As you get enough of these accounts reporting, you can apply for store credit, then fleet credit, and eventually, regular business credit cards that are not limited to specific types of purchases or specific stores.  Then, your business credit should be strong enough that you can qualify for a loan and launch your business on a bigger scale.

Check out our best webinar with its trustworthy list of seven vendors to help you build business credit.

Fund a Startup Business: There are More Ways than One

The truth is, there is more than one way to fund a startup business.  Depending on your specific situation, you will have to decide which option or combination of options will work best for you and your business.

The post How to Fund a Startup Business No Matter What appeared first on Credit Suite.

Ubersuggest 8.0: The Ultimate Competitor Analysis Tool

You may have noticed some small changes to Ubersuggest recently, but now it is time for another major release.

In the last few months, you have seen the application get faster, we are slowly (but surely) working on increasing data quality, and we have even made multiple updates to our Chrome Extension.

But today, we are announcing a new feature that will make finding lucrative keywords even easier.

So, what is it?

It’s a competitor analysis report!

An easier way to find keywords

I want you to head to Ubersuggest and type in the name of one of your competitors.

Ideally, you’ll add a popular one. The more popular the competitor the more keywords it will show you.

If you don’t know of a competitor, just perform a Google search for any keyword that you are trying to rank for and grab the top site.

Or you could just use “neilpatel.com” to see how it works.

At this point, you should see a report that looks something like this.

I want you to go to the sidebar and click on “competitors.”

From there you should see a report that looks something like this.

The top part of the report shows your main competitors in a graph.

You can easily see who is getting more traffic (keep in mind subdomains are counted as separate sites).

And, if you want, you can click on the “more domains” drop-down and unselect some of the competitors or even add more that may not be listed.

As you scroll down you’ll also see a long table.

In the table, you’ll see the competitor domain, the number of common keywords you rank for, keyword gaps (the keywords they rank for that you don’t rank for – this is your main opportunity), their estimated traffic, and the number of backlinks that you have.

So, let’s dive into the keywords.

Common keywords and keywords gap

Within the table you can drill down on the common keywords. All you have to do is click the “view all” button under that table column and you’ll see something like this.

It breaks down the common keywords that both you and your competition are ranking for.

This is useful because it shows you which keywords you are focusing on that they may also be focusing on.

When drilling down on this table, pay attention to volume, position, estimated visits, and CPC.

  • Volume tells you how many times a keyword is searched.
  • Position tells you where your competition is ranking on Google.
  • Estimated visits breaks down roughly how much traffic they get from that keyword.
  • CPC tells you how expensive a keyword is if you had to pay for it through advertising.

Generally, you want to make sure you rank higher than your competition for keywords with high volume and high CPC. Ideally, they need both. That way you know a keyword can not only drive traffic but also sales.

And my favorite part about this report is the keywords gap. This shows you the keywords that your competition ranks for that you don’t.

To see those keywords, you just have to click on “view all” and you’ll see a list.

Again, you’ll want to pay attention to the same metrics and you’ll want to look for keywords that have a high volume and high CPC.

It means those keywords drive traffic and typically drive conversions as well.

I highly recommend that you go through all of the keywords that each of your competitors rank for that you don’t.

Within the table just keep clicking the “next 10” button to keep seeing more keywords.

Or you can just click “export to CSV” if you want to download all of the keywords.

Now head to Ubersuggest and give it a try to find more keyword opportunities.

So, what’s next?

Well, hopefully you’ll start using the Competitors report because it will give you more keywords.

But over the next few months you’ll see some big changes that will make all of the reports more useful.

  • More accurate data – from traffic estimations to keyword volume, you’ll start seeing better estimations that are much closer to people’s actual traffic. Our new estimation formulas take much more data into account, so we are able to come up with better data for you.
  • More link data – over the next few months you’ll see a much more robust link dataset as we are working to expand our database. It will be much more comparable to competing products and the link data will be indexed much faster. So, when you build new links or lose new links, we will pick it up faster.
  • More accurate metrics – from domain authority to keyword difficulty scores, the data will also be more accurate on that end so you can make better-informed decisions.
  • Better filtering of keywords – within Ubersuggest and even other SEO tools, sometimes you see keyword recommendations that don’t make sense. We have new logic that is coming out soon that will remove most of these irrelevant keywords so you can focus your efforts going after terms that don’t just drive more traffic, but they also drive sales.

Conclusion

You’ll see big improvements in the accuracy of our data by the end of the year if not in January, worst-case scenario.

We are already starting to slowly roll out the changes over the next few weeks and it will continue until the end of January.

And after that we even have a few cool new features coming out that you haven’t seen on any competing tools yet, which will help you get more SEO traffic faster. 😉

So, what are you waiting for? Go give Ubersuggest a try.

What do you think about the new feature?

The post Ubersuggest 8.0: The Ultimate Competitor Analysis Tool appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Write PPC Ad Copy Using AI

It’s no secret: the world of PPC advertising is not for the faint-hearted. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up throwing money down the drain.

How can you increase the chances of the right people clicking on your ads? You need to learn how to write ad copy that converts.

Thankfully, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) are here to save the day. AI tools can help you write ad copy that produces results.

How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Your PPC Campaigns?

Just so we’re on the same page, let’s quickly look at a simple definition of AI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a multidisciplinary branch of science that includes machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), deep learning, and many other emerging technologies.

The main benefits of AI when it comes to creating compelling PPC ad copy include:

  • Unmatched data processing power
  • Ability to better “predict” click-through rates and quality scores
  • Identify bids that will get the most traffic
  • Saves you time managing campaigns

However, no matter how much data you have at your fingertips and how well you can identify lucrative bids, all that will be to no avail if your ad copy sucks.

AI can help you with that. I’ll show you how below.

6 Ways AI Can Help You Write Good PPC Ad Copy

Many tools can help you write ad copy. However, many AI-powered tools have one huge advantage: unlike their predecessors that relied on historical data, AI-powered tools give you real-time data. This process allows you to refine your copy to better suit the market situation when the content is created and published.

These are tips that will help optimize your ad copy, whether you’re advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook, or any other of the myriad platforms available.

Use AI for Audience Research

The very first thing you need to do before writing ad copy is to understand your target audience. The key to successful ad copy is to know not only who your target audience is, but also to know:

  • What they’re looking for
  • Why they’re looking for it

In short, understanding your audience will help you understand the intent behind your prospect’s search. Knowing this could help you write personalized ad copy that will resonate with your audience, eliciting a click through to your offer.

It will also help you create ads that are so targeted that only the right people will click on them. Additionally, it will help you write ad copy that addresses any objections your audience may have.

When you know how to write ad copy that speaks directly to your audience, you’ll likely enjoy a reduction in wasted clicks and an increase in your return on ad spend (ROAS).

How do you get to know your audience? This process is where AI shines best.

How to write PPC Ad Copy Using AI IBM Watson audience insight

AI-powered audience research tools like IBM’s Watson are great for helping you with predictive audiences. These consumers may not look anything alike but have some common threads that make them relevant targets for your PPC ads. By processing data from multiple sources, AI helps you understand the type of people you should target with your ads.

These insights help you significantly reduce the risk of ad waste, as your ad copy will be hyper-personalized, making it appealing to the right people. With ad spend steadily increasing across all industries, AI will help ensure that you get a good ROI from your campaigns.

Conduct Competitor Research Using AI

Before you put pen to paper, you must study the competitive environment.

You must conduct competitor research. This data will help you understand (among other things):

  • The type of ad copy that generates clicks
  • Ad formats that work best in your niche
  • Opportunities your competitors are missing that you can leverage

The data you get from your competitors’ ad campaigns is invaluable in helping you know how to write ad copy that will perform exceptionally well.

This process is where AI-powered competitor research tools like Adthena come to play.

how to write ad copy using the Adthena AI powered competitor analysis tool

By gaining insights into your competitors’ PPC activity and market shifts, you’ll be better armed to write compelling PPC ad copy.

The real-time data AI technologies provide may help you gain or keep a corner the market by ensuring you’re up-to-date with trends and news that affect your market audience. Real-time data is also essential when conducting competitor analysis, as any lag in time could result in the competition cornering the market.

Don’t delay to get on the AI bandwagon, especially when it comes to writing ad copy.

AI Can Help You Discover Keyword Opportunities

Everyone knows keywords are the foundation of every good PPC campaign. Unfortunately, with more businesses vying for the same target audience, relevant keyword opportunities are becoming harder to find.

AI can help.

With the competition for profitable keywords being uber-stiff, normal keyword research just doesn’t cut it anymore. You must leverage AI to help you uncover hidden keyword gems.  

This fact is especially true since keyword research for SEO and PPC is not the same. For PPC, your money rides or sinks on the keywords you use. That’s why you must find keywords that will give you a good return when you bid for them.

AI-powered tools like BrightEdge, for example, not only help you discover profitable keywords but are also able to give insight into the intent behind those keywords.

How to write ad copy using BrightEdges AI powered keyword intent tool

Because they offer real-time data, you are in a better position to write ad copy based on keyword opportunities as they arise. Of course, this will give you an edge over the competition, as your ads will have a better chance of being served to users while keeping your ad spend low.  

Headline Optimization Is Easy with AI

Saying that your headline is a critical part of your ad copy is an understatement. Its value can never be overstated because it’s your first chance to hook your customers.

If your headers are poorly crafted, users will just scroll past your ad. But if you write your headline well, it will stop them from scrolling so they look at the rest of your ad copy. AI can help you craft headlines that stop people in their tracks by helping you write headlines that result in much-coveted clicks.

A great example is Persado. The AI-powered copywriting tool helped Chase Bank increase the CTR on their ads by as much as 450%. How? By crafting headlines that resonate more with their target audience.

How to write ad copy using artificial intelligence

There are AI-powered tools that are designed to help you optimize your headers to elicit users to click on your ads.

The success of your ad campaigns rides on your headlines.

The next part users look at is the ad description.

Use AI to Nail Your Ad Description

Next to your headline, your ad description is the most crucial part of your ad copy. While the headline is the hook that grabs your prospect’s attention, your ad description is the sales pitch that gets them to click on your ad.

However, there’s a catch: you have a limited number of characters to use to convince your prospects to click-through to your offer. This means every character counts. It must help elicit a positive reaction from users. That’s why you must make sure you know how to write ad copy that drives clicks.

Fortunately, AI can help you write compelling ad copy.

With AI copywriting tools like Phrasee, you don’t have to guess what kind of copy works.

Discover how to write ad copy using Phrasees AI powered copywriting tool

Using machine learning and gathering data from different platforms, AI copywriting tools have “mastered” the art of writing great ad copy.

Using machine learning (ML), natural language generation (NLG), deep learning, and other technologies, AI-powered copywriting tools can help you create compelling ad copy that stands out from the crowd. AI takes into consideration many facets, such as language, semantics, sentence structure, and a whole lot more to help you create optimized ad copy at scale.

Another great AI-powered ad creation tool you can consider is CopyAI.

Use CopyAI to write PPC ad copy that converts

Copy AI is designed to take the grunt work out of brainstorming unique ad ideas. It will help you increase your ROAS by helping you come up with relevant audience-based copy that your customers won’t be able to resist. The deep learning platform that powers CopyAI can personalize your ad copy to suit any holiday, occasion, or campaign.

AI-powered copywriting tools are a great way to save time and money as they work faster and more efficiently. And at the end of the day, they’ll help you boost your bottom line.

Calls-to-Action: AI Can Help With That Too

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a tricky part of writing ad copy. That’s because your CTA is usually made up of 2-5 words to inspire people to take action.

While platforms like Google and Facebook give you some CTA options to choose from as you create your campaigns, it’s always better to create your own CTAs. After all, if you use the options generated by search engines and social media platforms, you won’t stand out from the competition.

Your CTA plays a crucial role in pushing your prospects across the finish line. As such, give it careful consideration. You may get every other element of your ad copy correct, but if your CTA is weak, your hard work will be in vain.

What makes for a strong clickable CTA? One word: personalization.

Different audiences respond differently to CTAs. That’s why you must pay special attention to the language your audience uses and try as much as possible to implement it in your CTAs. This is one area where audience research pays off because it helps you craft personalized CTAs. Studies show that personalized CTAs perform up to 202% better than generic ones.

Note: make sure to create a different CTA for each campaign. Don’t just regurgitate past CTAs, even if they worked well in previous campaigns.

Yes, it may be a lot of work if you do it manually. That’s why you shouldn’t do it manually; use AI instead.

Again, tools like Persado make creating impactful CTAs easier.

how to write ppc ad copy using Persado tool

Leveraging data such as sentiment analysis (or emotion AI), AI-powered tools help you create CTAs that tug at your prospects’ heartstrings. Of course, every marketer knows that it is easier to loosen your prospects’ purse strings if you can do that.

By leveraging AI in crafting your CTAs, you increase your ad copy’s chances of achieving its goal of boosting your bottom line.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to ignore AI as a digital marketer. It’s everywhere around us. From AI SEO to AI in website design, every facet of digital marketing is becoming more efficient thanks to artificial intelligence.

As a marketer, if you’re looking to know how to write ad copy that converts, you must lean heavily on AI-powered tools to help you. From the planning stage to deployment, AI can help you optimize every part of your PPC ad campaigns.

Though remember: without good ad copy, your ad spend will be wasted. How do you write good ad copy? By using AI.

Sure, AI may not be able to handle the creative side of writing ad copy completely alone. However, it does go a long way in helping you create ad copy that sells.

Are you ready to embrace the power of AI in your ad copy creation?

The post How to Write PPC Ad Copy Using AI appeared first on Neil Patel.

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