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New comment by artif4ct in "Ask HN: Who is hiring? (March 2021)"

Refinable | Europe (Remote), Hong Kong | Full-time | https://refinable.co Are you passionate about art and blockchain? Do you also feel that NFT’s are the future? We are looking for an experienced blockchain developer to join a team that will grow to 4 engineers. Are you also excited about dealing with complex digital problems in …

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From Set Up to Business Start Up Loans: What You Need to Know About Starting a Business

If you are thinking about starting a business, there is a lot you need to know. Our business experts can walk you through the entire process to ensure you have the fundability you need to succeed. From how to set up your business as a fundable entity to making sure you have what lenders are looking for when it comes to approving start up business loans, here is what you need to know. 

How to Get Start Up Business Loans and Other Funding

If your business isn’t fundable, you will not get startup business loans, plain and simple. Of course, if you are a start up you aren’t going to have a ton or revenue or business credit history.  So, what can you do to ensure you have a fundable business that can get the money needed to get up and running? 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

The Set Up, and Why it Matters

Fundability starts in the very beginning.  How you set your business up can make or break your ability to get business start up loans.  Here’s why. Lenders want to see that your business is a stand alone entity, fundable on its own apart from you as the owner. It lends credibility to your business as one that is strong and able to survive on its own merits.

start up loans Credit SuiteTo start this process, you need to make sure your business has its own name and contact information. Do not use your own phone numberaddress, or email address. You also need to apply for an EIN. It’s free on the IRS website. This is an identifying number for your business that’s similar to an SSN for an individual.

After that, it is vital that you incorporate. Choose whichever options works best for your budget and liability needs, S-corp, LLC, or corporation.  But, you must do it. It makes all the difference when applying for business start up loans. 

Then, you need to have a separate, dedicated business bank account. It further lends credibility to your business as one that is legit, and there are a number of other benefits that will serve your business well in the future.  For now, just know it is preferred by lenders. 

Business Plan

If your business is properly set up, you will need a business plan. Most business loan applications have a place where you can just fill in the blanks for this part, but that is not what you want to do. You need a professional, well put together business plan that shows you know what you are doing with the money you are asking for. 

You can find templates online, including at SBA.gov.  However, it’s even better if you can hire a professional business plan writer. You will also likely have to hire other professionals to help you complete each part of the business plan. 

For example, you will need a marketing specialist to help you with the market research and an accountant to help with the forecast and other financial sections. The better your business plan presentation is, the better off you will be. 

Business Start Up Loans and Other Funding

Ok, so now for the nuts and bolts. You cannot start a business without money. If your business is properly set up and you have a solid, professional business plan, you have given yourself a great start. It’s time to find the money. 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Business Start Up Loans

There are a few different options when it comes to business start up loans. Traditional loans are the most common and typically the first on the list with new business owners. It’s just what everyone knows. If you want to start a business you go to the bank and get a loan.  That works for a lot of people. 

Generally these are all secured loans. That means you put up collateral. However, if you have fabulous personal credit, you might be able to get an unsecured business start up loan. The thing is, you may not want to. You are almost always going to get better rates and terms if you use collateral. 

SBA Loans

For most, SBA loans are going to be the way to go.  These are business loans that have a government guarantee. Because of this, lenders are able to offer them to business owners with lower credit scores than they would otherwise, and the interest rates tend to be better as well. 

Credit Line Hybrid

This is a great option for those needing business start up loans for a number of reasons. First, if security is an issue, this is totally unsecured business financing. You do not put up any collateral, and you can get up to $150,000. It is also no-doc financing, meaning you do not have to provide banks statements or financials of any kind. 

All you need is to have a personal credit score of at least 680 and meet a few other requirements. However, if you do not meet those requirements, you can take on a credit partner that does. You can use the credit of a friend or family member to apply for the credit line hybrid, and the payments will still report to your business credit report, thus building your business credit score. 

Investors and Crowdfunding

Even though business start up loans are where most new business owners head first for funding, they are far from being the only way.  Of course corporate investors are an option. Similar to a business plan, you need a pitch. Angel investors are an option as well. While debt free and effective, neither of these are particularly easy to come by. 

 Another option when it comes to looking for investors is Crowdfunding. It’s not a huge success rate, but there are some businesses that are able to get all they need from this form of funding. You’ll never know if you don’t try. 

Help Through the Weeds

The biggest issue when it comes to business start up loans, and really any other part of starting a business, is getting through the weeds. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out what you need to do to qualify for the funding you need, and then figure out what funding will actually work best for you. A business credit expert is vital to this process. While it is possible to do it alone, it is well worth any expense to get things done not only faster, but the right way to ensure nothing is missed. 

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Business Start Up Loans: Fundability Matters

The truth is, fundability matters regardless of the type of start up funding you use. The reason is, you are likely going to need to access funding of some type throughout the life of your business. If your business is not fundable, you will not be able to get it. So, the best option is to work with a business credit expert now, to get you on the path to fundability while helping you find business start up loans and other types of start up funding to get you up and running. Building fundability and business credit takes knowledge and intentionality. Don’t try to do it alone. You don’t have to. 

The post From Set Up to Business Start Up Loans: What You Need to Know About Starting a Business appeared first on Credit Suite.

5 Ways to Get a Business Loan to Buy a Business

Getting a loan to buy and existing business is a somewhat different animal than getting a regular business loan.  There are plenty of options, but it can take some careful consideration and research to figure out which option will work best for you.  What’s your best option for a business loan to buy a business? 

How to Get a Business Loan to Buy a Business Regardless of Credit

It’s also important to know that, even if your credit isn’t the best, you can still get a business loan to buy a business.  It may not be the traditional term loan you probably expect, but you can most likely still get the fund you need. Sometimes, it takes combining a couple of options to get the best funding for your specific needs. 

Business Loan to Buy a Business: Traditional Loans

Traditional loans are a decent first stop when you are trying to figure out how to get a loan to buy a business. If you have good personal credit, you’ll have no problem here.  Furthermore, if your credit is good, you will get the best interest rates and loan terms from a traditional loan. 

business loan to buy a business Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Collateral-based Loans

These are loans that are secured by some asset that you own.  Rates are lower, and your personal credit doesn’t have as much of an impact. The bank is taking on less risk due to the fact they can take possession of the asset if you default.  The business you are purchasing can be used as collateral for the loan. However, there are other, outside of the box options, that you can use if needed.  We’ll talk about this more later. 

Guarantor Loans

Here’s another idea if you do not have or want to use assets as security for a loan, but your personal credit score isn’t quite up to par. Ask a friend or family member who has these kinds of assets or a good credit score. They may let you leverage their asset in exchange for a percent of your business. They usually want less of a percent of your company than a venture capitalist would.  

If you are going to get help from friends and family to buy a business, asking them to sign on as a guarantor may be a better option than borrowing from them directly.  That can cause a lot of drama. 

SBA Loans

Qualified borrowers may be eligible for SBA loans.  These are loans guaranteed by the federal government. Yet, funds are distributed through banks. The application process is more involved. However, interest rates are often better.  Typically, minimum credit score requirements are lower than what banks would offer without the government guarantee as well. 

7(a) Loans 

This program offers federally funded term loans up to $5 million. 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. In the case of startups, business experience equivalent to two years will suffice. 

504 Loans

These loans are also available up to $5 million.  Terms range from 10 to 20 years. Funding can take from 30 to 90 days. They require a minimum credit score of 680.  The asset you are financing is the collateral for the loan. In addition, there is a down payment requirement of 10%.  This can increase to 15% for a new business. 

There is also a 2 years in business requirement, or management must have equivalent experience if the business is a startup.

business loan to buy a business Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Business Loan to Buy a Business: Alternative Lenders

Alternative lenders are lenders that are not traditional banks or credit unions.  These are typically private or peer-to-peer lenders that operate online, though not all operate online. They work better than banks for some because they will usually use other information besides credit score.  As a result, they will often approve loans to borrowers with a lower minimum credit score if they meet other criteria. 

These other criteria could include annual revenue, time in business, average balance in business bank account, and more. 

One popular online lender that works well for funding to buy a business is Lending Club. You can get a quote in less than 5 minutes, and funds are available in as little as 48 hours if approved. There are no prepayment penalties. Loans go up to $300,000 and you need a minimum credit score of 620.  Of course, details like this change frequently, so be sure to check with any lender directly for the most up-to-date information on rates and fees. 

Lending Club is only one option. There are many out there, but you have to be careful.  There are some great lenders, but there are also some predatory lenders in this industry. It can be hard to tell the difference. To ensure you are working with a reputable lender, consider working with a business credit expert. They can help you find the best lender with the best products for your needs. They can also help you figure out what you can improve to get the best rates and terms possible.  This may include building business credit, or improving fundability some other way. 

Business Loan to Buy a Business: Rollover for Business Startups

This is a form of collateralized business loan to buy a business that uses your existing 401(k) or IRA.  This program uses IRS proven strategies. You will pay no tax penalties, and you still earn interest on your 401(k). Rates are low, and this option usually has a quick closing and funding process as well. 

Credit Suite offers excellent options for this type of 401(k) financing.  You can get up to  100% of current retirement

account value that’s “rollable” from a previous employer.  Terms can be up to 5 years, and rates as low as 5.25% (Prime + 2) + $1995 rolled in lender fee. 

There are no credit requirements. If bad credit is blocking you from getting the funding you need to buy a business, this is your chance. 

For the retirement account to qualify, you must no longer be contributing, no longer be employed by the issuing company, and you must have a minimum of $35,000 in the account. Typically all that is required is a copy of the retirement account statement. 

Business Loan to Buy a Business: Seller Financing

If you have trouble getting all the funding you need to purchase a business,  you may be able to get help from the seller. Some sellers are willing to help buyers by bridging the gap with seller financing. Sometimes a seller will sell a business solely on seller financing.  

Typically in these transactions, you pay at least one-third of the sale price up front. Then, the buyer makes payments for the rest directly to the seller, plus interest.  Sometimes, a bank may be willing to lend this lesser amount, the amount of the down payment only, when they will not lend the entire selling price.  

The reason for this is twofold. First, the lower amount means less risk for the bank.  However, banks also see that if a seller is willing to finance, then they have faith that the business will continue to produce a profit into the future.  This is seen as a positive. 

business loan to buy a business Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Using the Credit Line Hybrid to Help Fund a Business Purchase

That said, here is another option to get funding to buy a business.  The Credit Line Hybrid offers no-doc, unsecured business financing.  You can get  up to $150,000.  In some circumstances,  interest rates can be as low 0% for a limited amount of time. This can be used as some or all of the down payment required for an SBA loan or  seller financing.  The interest rate could be substantially lower than using a bank loan.  Furthermore, you can take on a credit partner.  This is helpful  if you do not meet the 680 minimum credit score or some of the other requirements.   Even better, the Credit Line Hybrid reports to the business credit reporting agencies. That means you build business credit and fund your business purchase at the same time. A business credit expert can walk you through the process

Business Loan to Buy a Business: Heloc and HEL

Borrowers who have a minimum credit score of at least 620 and at least 20% equity in their home can usually get a home equity  loan (HEL) or home equity line of credit (HELOC). You can use funds from this type of loan to buy a business, but your house will be on the line.  If you have the option of 401(k) financing or seller financing combined with the Credit Line Hybrid, that may be better.  

You Can Get a Business Loan to Buy a Business Even With Bad Credit

If  you  have great credit you probably are not worried about how to get a business loan to buy a business. However, if your credit is less than desirable, you have probably been wondering how you could ever make it work.  The fact is, there are options, and Credit Suite can help.

The post 5 Ways to Get a Business Loan to Buy a Business appeared first on Credit Suite.

What Are Google Customer Reviews?

With the competition becoming fiercer every day, e-commerce businesses need to pull all the stops to ensure they continue beating the competition.

One simple yet powerful marketing tool you can use to your advantage is the Google Customer Reviews feature.

Research shows that 70 percent of people trust online reviews more than they trust advertisements. That’s why getting as many reviews as possible from your customers can be one of the best things you can do for your business.

Google has made that easy with Google Customer Reviews.

Let’s dive right in and see what these reviews are all about.

An Overview of Google Customer Reviews

Google Customer Reviews is a service that allows businesses to collect reviews on their website. To participate in Google Customer Reviews, you must have a Google Merchant account.

Google does most of the heavy lifting by helping collect customer feedback for you. To do that, Google sends your customers an email asking if they want to provide feedback on their experience with your brand. Customers who choose to participate then receive a short survey form to fill out.

The reviews and ratings that customers provide in the surveys can be displayed on your website and other marketing platforms. They also help determine seller ratings that Google gives to merchants, including the average star rating and the number of ratings. The higher the rating, the more trusted the merchant is.

A replacement of the retired Trusted Stores program, Google Customer Reviews is an excellent way to prove to prospects that they can trust you to deliver on your promises.

Why Are Google Customer Reviews Important?

If you’re wondering whether you should even bother with the Google Customer Reviews program, let me quickly give you three important reasons why you should.

Help Build Social Proof

One of the essential ingredients to running and growing a successful e-commerce business is to gain your customers’ trust.

That’s what Google Customer Reviews helps you do.

The customer reviews you gather are great for building social proof you can use to gain the trust of new customers. Social proof simply means evidence that other people trust you to provide them with a positive shopping experience. It makes other customers feel comfortable shopping with you. As a result, this positively impacts your conversion rates.

Participating in Google Customer Reviews allows you to build social proof and add a badge with the Google brand on your website, helping drive conversions.

Help Build a Better Brand and Products

Besides helping you win your customers’ trust, Google Customer Reviews is also an excellent way of getting feedback from your customers. You can use this feedback to improve your product and service delivery. As a result, you can build a better brand and create buyer journeys that your customers will love.

Boosts Your Local SEO

Want to boost your local SEO? Then leverage Google Customer Reviews.

Search engines, particularly Google, want to serve up the most relevant businesses in local search queries. To do so, they consider what your brand does.

Most importantly, they value the opinions left by people who have had a first-hand experience with you.

That’s where Google Customer Reviews come in. They help search engines know which businesses to recommend to users. Google rewards brands with better reviews by ranking them higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Google Customer Reviews also helps users decide which brands to do business with. To get a fair share of the business, you’ll need to have more positive reviews than your competitors.

Ignoring Google Customer Reviews could deprive you of the opportunity to give your business and marketing more mileage. That’s especially true as studies show that 87 percent of people read online reviews when researching local businesses.

How Does Google Customer Reviews Work?

How does this program work? Thankfully, it’s much simpler than Trusted Stores. All it takes for you to get a customer review are three simple steps:

1. Google Asks Your Customers to Opt-In

When a customer buys something from you, Google sends them an email around the day they’re expected to receive their purchase. The purpose of the email is to ask the customer to opt-in to receive a survey about their experience shopping on your site.

2. Customers Take the Survey

Customers who opt-in are then directed to a survey consisting of a star rating system (from one to five). There’s also space for additional comments if customers wish to provide more information about their shopping experience.

Example of a Google Customer Reviews survey being filled.

3. Google Aggregates the Reviews and Data

Once the survey information is submitted, Google aggregates it to form star ratings for your business. These are displayed on your website and in organic and paid search results.

While Google Customer Reviews is a Google initiative, it benefits you as a merchant.

Try as much as possible to encourage your customers to participate. This way, you get more reviews, and more reviews mean a better seller rating (Google’s average rating for your store).

That, in turn, will encourage more people to shop from your business.

What Can You Do With Your Reviews?

You’ve managed to collect some reviews using the Google Customer Reviews program. What’s next?

Well, this is where the fun begins, as you can use these reviews for many things. Here are just a few ideas:

Incorporate Them in Your Business Listings

Your reputation is one of your most valuable business assets. What better way to show customers that you’re a reputable business than by showing them what other customers say about you?

Include your reviews in all business listings of your business across the web to build customer confidence.

Display Them on Your Website

One of the first things you can do with your reviews is to display them on your website. Doing so helps earn your customers’ trust. It also lets customers see that you’re transparent, a value that 81 percent of customers look for in brands.

Use Them on Social Media

We all know social media can be a very powerful marketing tool. When you run your social media marketing campaigns, you can leverage your reviews by incorporating them into your posts or ads.

You can use your reviews on any marketing platform and with any marketing strategy. The whole point is to demonstrate to potential customers that your business is reputable and is known for delivering good customer experiences.

So, if you feel your marketing message could benefit from a review or two, pull one up from your Google Customer Reviews.

How Is Google Customer Reviews Different From Google Product Ratings?

Another Google program you can participate in is the Google Product Ratings program.

Participating in Google Product Ratings allows you to collect customer reviews on the products you sell. Like customer reviews, the product reviews’ results are aggregated and can be used across other marketing platforms like Google Search and Shopping Ads.

Example of Google Product Ratings, which is similar to Google Customer Reviews. These are meant to rate how satisfied a customer is with a product.

The main difference is that product ratings are not a reflection of your business. Instead, they reflect how satisfied customers are with the product.

As you’ve already seen, customer reviews are a rating of your customers’ overall experience with your brand. This can take into account the product (and its ratings), shipping, and customer service, among many other factors.

To put it simply, product ratings help other customers pick quality products, while customer reviews help other customers choose reputable sellers.

Product ratings and customer reviews are two different programs. However, you can edit your Google Customer Reviews code snippet to include certain products, so your customers can rate them in the same survey.

What to Do When You Get Negative Google Customer Reviews

Negative reviews are inevitable in business. There will always be a customer or two who are not satisfied with their experience with your brand. Legitimate or not, these negative comments can impact your business.

What do you do when you get a negative Google customer review?

First of all, don’t ignore the review. While you must respond to all reviews posted, negative reviews must be handled with extra care. That means:

Respond Quickly

Don’t let a negative review sit unanswered for a long time. Doing so results in everyone who reads the review either believing it or drawing a conclusion. Both can be harmful to your business.

Before you rush to respond, however, make sure to assess the feedback your customer has left. Use it to come up with a positive and helpful response.

Respond Carefully

When you respond, make sure to personalize the response by mentioning their name and the product they purchased.

It’s also crucial that you don’t turn a negative review into a debate or finger-pointing battle. Instead, thank the reviewer for taking the time to offer their feedback.

Also, make sure to apologize for the negative experience. By accepting the blame, your customers will see there’s an empathetic human behind your brand.

Move the Conversation Offline

Another vital step to dealing with a negative review is to ask the reviewer to get in touch with your customer support department. Moving the conversation from the Google Customer Reviews platform can help you take care of the customer’s gripe in a better environment.

It also shows prospective customers that you care about providing the best experience.

Do it well, and they may end up changing their review and leaving a good one. What customers really want is to know that you care about them.

If you can go out of your way to provide a good customer experience (CX), the chances of them becoming loyal to your brand increase.

Offer a Solution

When a customer leaves a negative review, it’s a sign they’re not happy about an aspect of their experience with your brand. Besides just leaving your response, you should offer a solution to rectify the situation. Offering a solution also shows that you truly empathize with the customer.

The way you respond to negative reviews can either make or break your brand. If you do it well, you can reduce customer churn. You can also increase the chances of your customers leaving glowing reviews and becoming your brand ambassadors.

Conclusion

Google Customer Reviews is a great way to boost your brand’s credibility and visibility.

As an e-commerce business, reviews are the lifeblood of your business. Yes, even the negative ones, as you can leverage them to show your brand’s human side.

Take advantage of Google Customer Reviews and give your customers a voice. Doing so will let your customers know that you value them and can also help boost conversions.

What’s your experience with Google Customer Reviews?

The post What Are Google Customer Reviews? appeared first on Neil Patel.

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