Friday, January 15th, 2021

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‘Trump impeachment sets precedent against free speech’

The decision forms a guide that can be used against civil rights activists, warns Alan Dershowitz.

The post ‘Trump impeachment sets precedent against free speech’ appeared first on Buy It At A Bargain – Deals And Reviews.

Is an SBA Startup Loan Right for You?

Whether you are thinking of starting a business in recession chaos or during economic Shangri-La, an SBA startup loan could be just what you need to get up and going.

All You Need to Know About Getting an SBA Startup Loan, and Other Options for Right Now

The Small Business Administration is in the news big time right now in relation to COVID-19 relief for businesses.  However, if you are looking to start a business, their SBA startup loan programs are still available.

SBA Startup Loans: Why SBA Loans?

SBA loans are small-business loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.  The loans are issued by participating lenders, mostly banks. The  guarantee can go up to 85% of a loan of $150,000 or less, and loans that are more than $150,000 they will guarantee up to 75%.

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans, even during a recession.

Who Qualifies for an SBA Startup Loan?

To be eligible for SBA Loans, you must meet certain qualifications. These include:

  • Your business must be for profit.
  • Your business must be inside the US.
  • Business owners must invest equity.
  • You must have exhausted all other financing options.
  • Your business must qualify as a small business.
  • Your business must be in an eligible industry.

Repaying an SBA Startup Loan

One perk of an SBA loan is that you get more time to pay it back than you would otherwise. According to the SBA, the terms depend on how you intend to use the funds.

For example, working capital loans, or funds you intend to use for daily operation, have a repayment term of seven years. However, funds for new equipment purchase have a term of 10 years, and real estate loan terms extend even longer to 25 years. Of course, the longer the term the lower the interest, which means lower regular payments.

How to Apply for an SBA Startup Loan

One of the downsides to SBA government loans is that they have a lengthy and somewhat complicated application process. There is a lot of red tape involved, but understandably so considering it is the federal government and they are guaranteeing a huge chunk of the loan.

Get Your Eggs in a Row

The first thing you have to do is gather the information you will need. This includes:

  • The SBA borrower loan information form
  • Statement of personal history
  • Personal financial statement
  • Personal income tax returns for the previous 3 years
  • Tax returns for the business for the previous 3 years
  • Business certificate or license
  • Business lease
  • Loan application history

This list, along with links to forms and templates, is available at SBA.gov. Once you have this information, you can start looking for a lender.

There may be more requirements based on your specific lender and what they deem necessary for your individual case. However, this is a general list to get you started.

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans, even during a recession.

Find an SBA Partner Lender

There is more than one way to go about this. The first way is to contact your SBA district office. You can find contact information through the website. Another option is to use the SBA lender match option on the website.

All you have to do is enter some basic information about your business and how you plan to use the funds.  The tool then matches you with a list of potential lenders that could meet your needs.

Which Program Works Best for an SBA Startup Loan

Not all SBA loan programs work for startups.  These are your best options.

SBA Startup Loan: 7(a) Loans

This is a cornerstone program for the SBA.   It offers federally funded term loans of up to $5 million. Funds can be used for expansion, purchasing equipment, and  working capital in addition to startup. Banks, credit unions, and other specialized institutions in partnership with the SBA process these loans and disburse the funds.

The minimum credit score to qualify is 680.  There is also a required down payment of at least 10% for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. The minimum time in business is 2 years. If you are a startup, business experience equivalent to two years will serve this purpose.

SBA Startup Loan: 504 Loans

SBA loan Credit SuiteThese loans are also available up to $5 million.  Funds can be used to purchase machinery, facilities, or land. They are generally used for expansion.  Private sector lenders or nonprofits process and disburse funds. They work well for commercial real estate purchases especially.

Terms for 504 Loans range from 10 to 20 years, and funding can take from 30 to 90 days. They require a minimum credit score of 680.  Collateral is the asset the funds are financing. There is also a down payment requirement of 10%, which can increase to 15% for a new business.

There is also a requirement you be in business at least 2 years, or that management has equivalent experience if the business is a startup.

SBA Startup Loan: Microloans

Microloans are available in amounts up to $50,000. They work for starting a business purchasing equipment, buying inventory, or for working capital. Community based non-profits administer microloan programs as intermediaries, with financing coming directly from the Small Business Administration.

Interest rates on these loans are 7.75% to 8% above the lender’s cost to fund, and the terms go up to 6 years. They can take upwards of 90 days to fund. The minimum credit score is 640, and the collateral and down payment requirements vary by lender.

What If an SBA Startup Loan will Not Work?

What if, for some reason, an SBA startup loan will not work.  Maybe you need collateral and do not have it? Perhaps you would rather not deal with down payment requirements.  What if you need more funding? Here are some other options.

Alternative loans

These are loans that come through private lenders rather than banks.  Most  of these lenders operate online.  The process is fast and simple. Typically, borrowers fill out an application online.  Generally, they receive approval in as little as a few hours.  Once approved, funds are often in the borrower’s account in as little as a day or two.

This fast, easy process makes these alternative loans attractive for business funding.

Is There a Catch to Alternative Small Business Loans?

If these alternative loans are so fast and easy, why even bother with traditional loans or even an SBA startup loan?  There has to be some catch, right?.  The catch is, interest rates and terms are considerably less favorable than those you may get with a traditional lender.

That’s because, in an effort to extend credit to those that do not qualify with a bank, alternative lenders have to be a little more relaxed with their eligibility requirements. As a result, they are taking on significantly more risk with their loans.  To make up for this, they increase interest rates and loan terms to balance things out.

How do I Choose the Right Alternative Loan for Me?

Once you know you are in a position to need alternative small business loans, you can start looking for the right one for your situation. How do you do this?  The key is to research, research, research.  Extensive research is absolutely necessary to ensure you find the best fit for your business.

While many of them function the same with similar requirements, there are some vastly different and innovative platforms for these types of loans as well.  Read all the reviews, but don’t forget to look at the actual lender websites too.  Only you know your specific situation. Your credit score, how long you have been in business, and how much debt you can handle is information that you have at your disposal to help you make an informed decision..

How to Start Finding the Right Alternative Small Business Loans

Start by determining your eligibility factors.  You may not be able to anticipate what every single lender will require.  However, there are a few things that most lenders will want to know before approving a loan.  Things such as credit score, annual revenue, and length of time in business are pretty common.

If you know your score and what your annual revenue is before you begin looking for alternative small business loans, you will be able to weed out the ones you do not qualify for from the beginning. There are so many that you will definitely see the need to do this.

Find out why so many companies use our proven methods to get business loans, even during a recession.

Credit Line Hybrid

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

What is a Credit Line Hybrid?

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

What are the Qualifications?

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

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

What are the Benefits of a Credit Line Hybrid?

There are many benefits to using a credit line hybrid.  First, it is unsecured, meaning you do not have to have any collateral to put up.  Next, the funding is “no-doc.”  This means you do not have to provide any bank statements or financials.

Not only that, but typically approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Additionally, often you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months, allowing you to put that savings back into your business.

The process is pretty fast, especially with a qualified expert to walk you through it.  One other benefit is this.  With the approval for multiple credit cards, competition is created.  This makes it easier, and likely even if you handle the credit responsibly, that you can get interest rates lowered and limits raised every few months.

Make Sure You’re Eligible for SBA Startup Loans and All Other Financing Options

The key to ensuring you can get the funding you need for your business when you need it is to make sure your business is fundable.  Most people think of credit score when they think of fundability, but there is so much more to it than that. Fundability is made of many pieces, and they all have to be in place for things to work the way you need them too.  If your fundability is in order, getting an SBA startup loan, or any other kind of loan, will likely never be a problem.

The post Is an SBA Startup Loan Right for You? appeared first on Credit Suite.

401(k) Plan Financing

What is 401(k) Plan Financing?

You already know that your retirement funds are an asset. But did you know that you can use them right now? Do you have a 401(k) or an IRA or stocks? Did you know that you can tap that source of funding now? And you can do so without losing interest. You will not get in trouble tax-wise, either. Yes, it is possible to get 401(k) plan financing for your small business.

401(k) plan financing is not a loan. You will not have to pay an early withdrawal fee. And you will not have to pay a tax penalty.

You will put the money back, by contributing, just like you do with any 401(k) program. This means you will not lose your retirement funds.

What are Some of the Details of 401(k) Plan Financing? 

Our 401(k) plan financing offers a powerful and flexible way for new or existing businesses and franchises to leverage assets that are currently in a 401(k) plan or IRA. Or these are assets which are tied up in stocks. In as little as 3 weeks you can invest a portion of your retirement funds into your business. This gives you more control over the performance of your retirement plan assets. And it gives you the working capital you need for business growth.

Is the IRS Happy with 401(k) Plan Financing?

Absolutely! This is a 401(k) Rollover for Working Capital program. It is also known as a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS), as the IRS calls it.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

What Are the Tax Implications of 401(k) Plan Financing? 

Per the IRS, a ROBS qualified plan is a separate entity with its own set of requirements. The plan, through its company stock investments, rather than the individual, owns the trade or business. Therefore some filing exceptions for individuals, may not apply to such a plan. As always, it is going to be best to check with an expert.

What are the Specifics? 

This type of financing is not a loan against, your 401(k), so there is no interest to pay. It does not use the 401(k) or stocks as collateral. Instead, this is simply a movement or change of custodian.

How Do You Qualify? 401k Plan Funding Credit Suite

401(k) financing is quite easy to qualify for. You will not need financials or good credit to get approval. To qualify for 401(k) financing, all the lender will require is a copy of your two most recent 401(k) statements.

If your 401(k) has a value of more than $35,000 you can get approval. This is even with severely challenged personal credit. You can receive whichever percent of your 401(k) is “rollable” as financing.  In many cases, you can secure a low-interest credit line or loan for 100% of your current 401(k) value.

Keep in Mind…

The 401(k) you use cannot be from a business where you are currently working. So it will have to be from older employment. You cannot be currently contributing to it. Your 401(k) must have at least $35,000 in it.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

What if a Business Owner Has Credit Issues Now? 

Our 401(k) financing program is perfect for business owners with credit issues. Because lenders are not looking for, nor do they require good credit to qualify. Approval can happen regardless of personal credit quality. You can get approval even if you have recent derogatory items and major collections on your credit report. This is one of the best and easiest business financing programs in existence. You can qualify for and get really good terms even if you have severe personal credit problems.

How Soon Can You Get 401(k) Funding? 

The only documents the lender wants to see are your 401(k) statements. The last full statement should be one of them. After the lender reviews your 401(k) statements, you can receive your initial approval and funding in 3 weeks or less. You can get a working capital credit line to use for whatever purposes you want.

What are the Benefits? 

You can get 24-hour preapproval. And you pay no penalties for the roll-over. It is just an easy 401(k) review for approval. Plus you pay no application fees.

You can get approval with poor credit. Go from application to funding in 3 weeks or less. This form of financing reports to the business credit reporting agencies. Therefore you can build business credit while you pay back your 401(k) financing!

Set up a 401(k) plan in your company, and then invest your 401(k) in it. Your company becomes cash rich, and debt-free.

You will work with a CPA. They will help you roll over a non-contributing and qualifying account. This allows for cash out of half, or $50,000, whichever is lower.

If applicable, the CPA you work with will structure a self-directing IRA for the remaining funds. You will get a 5 year management and consulting service for your corporation.

What are the Terms? 

The terms are 5 years, and the cost is 1%. You will pay $4995 for a lender fee for the 401(k) option. So this includes 5 years’ worth of management and consulting.

But is it Legal? 

Absolutely! Under ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), the burden of building retirement assets has undergone a shift from the employer to the employee. As a result, you can be younger than 59 ½, and you will not have to pay an early withdrawal fee.

401(k) financing is an excellent opportunity to invest in yourself. By using 401(k) plan financing, you are investing in a company you control. Its fortunes are in your hands. Your employees can use the new 401(k) plan, too. So you can help them take care of their own retirements.

With 401(k) financing, you will be able to enjoy the success of your small business today. And you will be able to enjoy it again in the future when you retire.

Demolish your funding problems with 27 killer ways to get cash for your business. Get money even during the worst of a recession.

Why is 401(k) Financing Better than a Distribution? 

Unless you are 59 ½ years old, you will be paying an early withdrawal penalty. Yes, you would be paying to use your own money. So, you never want to get a distribution!

Why is 401(k) Financing Better than a Loan from Your 401(k)? 

But if your plan allows for loans, the IRS will only let you borrow up to 50%, up to $50,000, before you have to start paying taxes.

Of course with a loan, that means you would be paying interest. Again, you would be paying to use your own money. Plus, not every 401(k) plan so much as allows for loans.

So the bottom line is that 401(k) financing is a unique program. This program allows you to tap into your existing retirement account, with no penalties or taxable distributions. You can use those funds for business. This financing option avoids loans, banks, or credit checks.

401(k) Plan Financing: Takeaways

Investing your 401(k) or IRA money or stocks in your business can be a smart way to fund a company. You pay no interest and create a retirement plan in your business at the same time. This setup is perfectly legal and the IRS definitely allows it. We can help you use your 401(k) to fund your business. Just ask us how.

The post 401(k) Plan Financing appeared first on Credit Suite.

New comment by mahyarr in "Ask HN: Who is hiring? (January 2021)"

OpenPhone | Front-end, Back-end, and Mobile Software Engineers | San Francisco & Remote (only US/CA)

https://openphone.co

We are a well funded startup with a very strong engineering and product culture going after a legacy space with an innovative product and ambitious goals. We are growing very fast and if you join now, you will have an outsized impact on the future.

We also offer very competitive salaries and benefits. Apply here: https://jobs.lever.co/openphone

The post New comment by mahyarr in "Ask HN: Who is hiring? (January 2021)" appeared first on ROI Credit Builders.

How to Utilize Google Cache Websites

When you think about Google cache, what comes to mind? That thing you clear out when our computer is running slow? Cache can actually be a useful SEO tool to catch a glimpse of what Google wants you to do.

In this guide, we’ll go through some of the best ways to use Google cache to track competitors and help you potentially rise in the SERPs.

What Is Google Cache?

Google cached pages are HTML backups of the content on a page taken at a certain point in time. This information is stored on a server and can be retrieved later for various purposes.

Periodically, Google crawls sites and takes snapshots of the site at that point. They’ll index so they can refer back later to see what has changed since then.

Google also provides the date and time of that snapshot.

If you’re dealing with underperforming pages or concerns over indexing, or if you’re wondering how often Google is crawling your site, Google cache might be the answer to your problems.

The Three Views for Cached Websites

There are three viewing options for cached sites:

  1. Full version
  2. Text-only version
  3. Source code

Each version is important for different reasons.

The full version of a cached page will provide an exact snapshot of the site when Google passed through. It’ll show the ads, banners, font customization, etc. It’s a replica of the site, with all of the design elements.

Text-only is what Googlebot sees when it crawls the site. It doesn’t see the images, banners, and graphics; all it reads is the text.

This is important for one primary reason: sometimes high-ranking content gets hidden behind media, making it harder for the bot to crawl your site. For this reason, Google uses text-only cache when crawling sites.

If you are looking to obtain useful information from Google cache, you can use both of these views for different purposes.

The full version is essential for seeing updates made to sites. You can look at a competitor’s website that might be outranking you for specific keywords, and you can see what changes they made to their site over time. This applies to media and graphics.

With the text-only version, you can’t do that.

You can use the text-only cache to see what changes were made to the content itself without having to worry about formatting, photos, and videos. This provides a simpler way to look at the text alone, so you don’t miss anything.

To view the page source, right-click and select it from the menu or press CTRL+U on Windows.

This brings up the raw code for the page completely unformatted. Even if you can’t read website code, you might still have a use for this from a marketing and SEO standpoint by understanding what the different tags mean.

How to View Google Cached Pages

If you want to use Google cache to view page versions, there are a few ways you can do this: manually, or with extensions and tools to help you.

We’ll start with the most basic method.

Google Search

Do a Google search for whatever page you want to view. In this case, we’re searching for neilpatel.com.

how to view google cache in search results

If you look at the URL for the first result, neilpatel.com, you’ll see a small downward-facing arrow to the right of it. Click that, and a menu will appear with a single option: “Cached.”

Click that link to see a cached version of the page. You’ll see a banner at the top with the date and time the snapshot was taken and a link to access the current page.

view of google cache on NP

Another simple method is to type “cache:URL” in the search bar. If you type “cache:neilpatel.com,” it will bring you to the same page we see above.

If you click text-only in the banner at the top, it will eliminate all media, color, graphics, and formatting, and you’ll have a basic snapshot of all the text and links on the site at that time.

Google Cache Checker

Another method for viewing cached pages is the Google Cache Checker. A few different tools are available, but the one I’ve found most accurate and simple is through Small SEO Tools.

google cache checker tool

Here you’ll be able to enter up to five domains, and it will provide you with a cache URL and a link you can click to access the cached version of the page.

This method is nearly as simple as using Google, and has the added benefit of letting you do five URLs at once.

Wayback Machine

Archive.org provides a more in-depth picture of a website’s history, and also offers a Chrome extension of its Wayback Machine. Using the Google search method or Google Cache Checker only lets you check the most recent version.

In some cases, the page you want information on was just cached the day before, so you probably wouldn’t get much data out of that.

Wayback Machine provides a ton of information about how many times a site was cached, and they even break it down each day.

wayback machine google cache exa example.

You can click any date and find every single page update that has been made for years. This is a powerful tool that you could use to find small page changes that possibly resulted in increased traffic or ranking.

4 Reasons to Use Google’s Cached Website Feature

You might be wondering, “Why would I want to view old versions of webpages? Isn’t this just for Google to crawl sites, index them, and find errors?”

Well, that’s true, but there’s much more to it than that. There are several uses for Google cache searches, and some can be pretty powerful.

View Changes to Competitors’ Sites

This ninja strategy is a great way to get an idea of what your competitor is doing differently.

Let’s say you’ve been competing for a super challenging keyword for months with a competitor site in the same niche. Thankfully, you’ve been outranking them now for four months straight.

Out of nowhere, they take the number one spot with snippets, and you can’t understand what happened. You didn’t make any changes to your site, there haven’t been any big updates, and everything seems the same for the most part.

What could you do in this situation?

You could use Google cache to see what changes they made.

Check out how many updates they made, what specific changes they made, and compare it to what the page looked like before. You just might find those updates are the reason they’re outranking you.

Check How Frequently Your Site Is Indexed

When Google determines your site is relevant and authoritative based on the keywords you’re using and what audience you’re targeting, Googlebot will index your site more often.

You can use Google cache to see how often they’re indexing your site, and that can help determine if your content is on-par with your target audience and relevant, according to Google.

If you find your site was crawled yesterday, and it updates in a day or two, you could guess the page has high relevance because Google isn’t letting outdated pages sit around.

Google also updates pages that input new content regularly more frequently. If you have a blog you contribute to regularly, Google will start to understand your cadence and will crawl and update the site more frequently.

All of these factors combined could have a positive impact on your rankings.

Use Google Cache to Diagnose Content Errors

If you’re looking at a Google cache of your website, and you’re not thrilled with how frequently they’re indexing your site, you might want to look at your content.

Check out the text-only view and see if there are any errors, fluff, keyword stuffing, or any other no-no’s in the SEO world.

Being able to see older versions of your webpages can help you determine what steps you need to take to make positive changes.

For example, if you updated your site three months ago, and it resulted in a steep climb in the rankings, you might want to make some of those same changes to other pages on your site. With Google cache, you can see what those changes were so you can implement them elsewhere.

See What Information Google Caches

Another great idea is to find competitor sites that are getting cached most often and mimic the same actions on your site. If you notice a top-ranking competitor uploads a small weekly feature to their site, you might want to consider doing the same.

Ideally, you want to model everything the most frequently indexed sites are doing because Google believes their pages are most relevant to the audience, and that same audience applies to your business.

If you can do what they’re doing, Google might think your website also meets the needs of the audience, and you may have a higher chance of increasing in the SERPs.

Limitations of Google Cache

It’s true that everything in SEO has a caveat. Nothing is ever perfect, and we should always take what we see with a grain of salt. While it’s is a great way to get an idea of what your competitors are doing right, it’s not exactly what “Google” sees.

No matter what you do, you’ll never see what Google sees, and we can only try to get as close as possible.

For example, Google uses a web rendering service that uses an outdated version of Chrome, which doesn’t support many of its features.

Rendering exactly what Google sees is impossible without using the same version of the browser they’re using.

The cached pages could also be inaccurate because Google doesn’t always refresh the version each time they index it. Sometimes you might see the same version for weeks or months while small changes are made each time.

It would be easier to implement changes on your site if you could see them on a rolling basis instead of all at once, but that isn’t the case with Google.

Keep in mind a lot of sites use mobile-first indexing, and that can cause error pages. While this isn’t the only reason you would receive an error message, a site change may cause the cache to register improperly.

Finally, sometimes Google doesn’t cache a page at all. Although they index all pages, they don’t cache all of them, so you may never see any changes made to your site or someone else’s. This could lead you to believe Google isn’t even indexing your site.

The moral of the story is, don’t make drastic changes to your site as a result of what you see or learn from the cache. You can use it as a tool for research and guide page improvements, but it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all.

Conclusion

If this information seems insignificant, we have various other ways to help you increase in the rankings and get more traffic.

Don’t stress too much about this. It’s a great way to see what changes your competitors are making and whether Google thinks your content is relevant, but you don’t have to rely too heavily on it.

There are many ways to increase ranking — this is simply a back pocket strategy for a rainy day.

Have you used Google cache to improve your site? What did you learn from it?

The post How to Utilize Google Cache Websites appeared first on Neil Patel.

How Corporate Branding Translates Into Actual Sales

When you hear the phrase corporate branding, you might think of industry titans—car companies, ubiquitous hotel chains, and fast food arches.  

Despite this association, corporate branding applies to businesses of all sizes, not just the giants with unlimited marketing budgets.

To better understand the role corporate branding plays, I’ve broken down the impact of corporate branding to help you know how it can drive your business forward, no matter how big or small your business is.  

What Is Corporate Branding and Why Is It Important?

Think of your favorite brand (or one you interact with regularly.) What comes to mind? Do you think of their tagline? The logo? The color palette? The chosen ambassador?

These assets, among many others, are what make up corporate branding. Corporate branding is the outward projection of a brand’s mission and culture in colors, logo, tone, and design.

A successful corporate brand encompasses an organization’s goals, mission, and ideology and appears across all mediums (website, packaging, copy, ads, etc.) to ensure visual consistency.

A strong corporate branding strategy focuses on a wide range of assets, from details as small font and color options and as large as building structure and slogan.

This element might seem too complicated to enact at your organization, but corporate branding is vital to all businesses, from small local businesses to massive ecommerce brands.

Emotions play a large role in marketing, and when a consumer relates to your brand’s values, they build an emotional connection with your brand. These emotional connections increase customer loyalty, not to mention profits and word-of-mouth advertising.

How Corporate Branding Increases Sales

Companies with robust corporate branding strategies attract and maintain new customers, increase community interest, and improve overall marketing strategy.

Companies with strong brand affiliation offer a 31% higher shareholder return than their contemporaries.

In addition to increasing shareholder return, corporate branding fosters employee engagement and encourages 3x faster profit growth than an organization without a strong branding strategy.

While this might feel unattainable to small businesses without huge marketing budgets, the truth is, your organization can increase growth through a strong corporate branding strategy.

Here are five ways corporate branding can change how your potential consumers view your brand—and drive profits.  

Corporate Branding Conveys Brand Personality

Brand personality refers to the personification of your company’s mission. This personality is conveyed through the style, voice, and tone you use in your business’ communication.  

Just like we tend to judge people based on first impressions, your brand’s personality impacts how consumers perceive your organization from the start.

When building your brand’s personality, include language and sentiments that ring true to your mission and resonate with prospective customers.

A strong brand personality will help:

  • Distinguish you from competitors
  • Increase immediate recognition
  • Build an emotional connection

Corporate Branding Improves Customer Relationships

Building a strong customer relationship isn’t just good business; it costs less, too. The average company spends five times more to attract new customers rather than focusing on keeping more of the customers they already have.

Like any relationship, the bond between you and your customer needs to be nurtured to grow.

With a corporate branding strategy, interactions with prospective consumers become a comfortable exchange. By including your organization’s voice and mission in all of your content and customer experience, you establish a shared relationship with your customer.

These two strategies can help your further nurture that connection:

  • Share success stories: Everyone likes to feel like they belong, so sharing user-generated success stories is an excellent way to encourage consumers to engage with your brand. The beauty of user-generated content is in its creation. Since it’s not coming directly from your business, it feels more trustworthy and intimate, helping to foster a sense of community.
  • Personalize communication: Personalized marketing can increase customer engagement. Using first names and other pertinent information can further the bond between buyer and seller, making the relationship feel more organic rather than sales-based.  

Corporate Branding Sets Your Brand Apart

The internet is home to roughly 3.17 billion active social media users. The majority of companies are well aware of this statistic and harness an average of five social mediums to connect with those users.

This fact means the average consumer sees hundreds of advertisements daily.

To help your business be heard and seen online, you need to be one of many scrolled-past advertisements—you need to stand out.

Corporate branding can help you share your brand’s story. That story serves as a hook to draw your audience in and make you more than a company, but a community they can relate to.

Corporate Branding Boosts Customer Loyalty

The Pareto Principle says 80% of revenue originates from 20% of your existing consumer base. That percentage quantifies just how important it is to ensure customers are loyal and return to your business again and again.

After you’ve worked to foster strong customer relationships, you want to ensure those relationships last.

By growing your corporate branding strategy and incorporating it into new mediums and platforms, you ensure your message is reaching and resonating with your current base.

Consider offering a loyalty deal to your most valuable consumers to further build loyalty.

When people feel valued, they are much more likely to purchase from the company providing value. Nearly 60% of loyal customers make more purchases with their preferred companies, so building and establishing trust and loyalty can impact your bottom line.

Building a Corporate Brand

Building a brand is a long, ongoing process, but there are seven simple steps you can enact today to begin your journey to a memorable brand.

Get to Know Your Intended Audience and Your Competitors

Before wedding yourself to any decisions about your brand, get to know both your ideal customers and direct competitors. You can learn more about the shape of the market by:

  • Conducting a web search of your product
  • Exploring social media accounts followed by your target audience
  • Speaking with individuals in your target audience to learn what products they are purchasing

Use a tool like Ubersuggest to explore what your competitors are doing. Look at the colors, phrasing, and images they use to connect with their audience and consider if similar branding aligns with your mission. (Just make sure your branding is original!)

Create a Mission Statement

A mission statement is a summary of your company’s goals and values. Your mission is the driving force behind your brand and is vital to align your audience with your business.

When creating your mission statement, ask these questions:  

  • What’s the purpose of providing our services and products?
  • What do we aim to change in our consumers’ lives?
  • Why is this change significant?
  • What drives us?

Use the answers to craft a statement that outlines who your audience is, what your brand contributes, and what makes your product or service different.

Identify Your Brand Personality

Brand personality helps customers connect with your brand and build customer confidence.  When choosing what you want to embody, use these questions to get started:

  • Who would be the spokesperson for the brand?
  • Which adjectives are connected to the brand?
  • What is your brand’s value proposition?

After you’ve established a value proposition, use it to create a positioning statement that clearly outlines your target market and how you want your brand to be perceived.

Write a Slogan (or Write a Bunch of Slogans!)

A slogan is a short, catchy phrase associated with your organization that shares your product or service’s driving benefit. Ideally, your slogan should become completely synonymous with your brand, like McDonald’s “I’m lovin it!” jingle.

However, creating a catchy slogan can be challenging—you have a lot to say in very few words. Here are six tips to help you create a catchy slogan that encapsulates your brand’s essence.

  1. Short and to the point:  Most slogans are curt (think: ‘Just Do It’ or ‘America runs on Dunkin’’). You know what the essence of your organization is, so make sure you convey it to your consumer concisely.
  2. Remember your target consumers: Whether you’re a local brand shipping nationally or a company going global, be sure to keep your consumer in mind. A slogan that may delight New Jersey residents may have the opposite effect on those on the West Coast.
  3. Draw on what differentiates you: Build on what makes your business stand out from your competitors by highlighting your value proposition.
  4. Consistency is key: Corporate branding is all about consistency. This tenet applies to your slogan, as well. Ensure your slogan represents your brand’s personality and serves as a verbal and visual manifestation of your ideals.
  5. Ensure a long shelf life: You don’t want to come to the unfortunate realization your slogan has lost its relevance after just a year or two. Consider the longevity of your slogan and how it can persist even in a fast-changing industry.
  6. Be sure your slogan can stand alone: If a new customer encounters your logo, they should know what your organization offers and what your brand does. By ensuring your slogan can stand alone, you eliminate confusion about your brand’s identity.

Select the Visual Manifestation of Your Brand

Colors and typography guide how your audience views your brand, so you want to make sure you choose the right one. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing your brand’s colors:

corporate branding color emotion guide
  • Choose typography that makes sense for your brand and audience.
  • Create a brand style guide to ensure consistency across platforms and mediums.  

Design Your Logo  

Your logo is the face of your company, so it should represent your brand’s personality and be memorable enough to be recognized anywhere.

The good news is, you don’t have to drop thousands of dollars; there are plenty of free tools to help you create a professional logo.

As you design your logo, ask yourself these questions:

  • What best represents the organization?
  • Do you want to include a tagline in your logo?
  • Do you prefer a text-based logo or an image-based logo or a hybrid?

Put Your Corporate Branding to Work

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort identifying your target consumers, developing your story and personality, and determining the right font and colors for your brand.

It’s time to put all of those pieces together and deploy your corporate branding strategy. Keep in mind a corporate brand should be incorporated everywhere.

Don’t forget to include your branding strategy in your:

  • Email signature
  • Social media presence
  • Videos
  • Physical items, like corporate swag
  • Office design (if applicable)

Using your corporate brand everywhere your customers interact with your brand ensures consistency, which builds trust and increases engagement.

Conclusion

Building a brand story and creating a corporate branding strategy for your business is no small task—but it can increase trust, encourage engagement, and drive profits.

As you craft your corporate brand, keep your customer and your mission statement at the center to ensure your branding resonates and connects with your ideal customer.

What is the most effective corporate branding strategy you’ve used?

The post How Corporate Branding Translates Into Actual Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.

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