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New comment by chaigh in "Ask HN: Who is hiring? (February 2021)"

Legalist, Inc. (fintech) | First product hire | Full-time | Remote (US based) | Full-time

Legalist is hiring its first product hire (product lead). We’re looking for somebody who is comfortable wearing many hats; has a data science/data analysis background; and who wants to help build products that support Legalist, a multi-hundred million dollar fintech startup, across a number of esoteric investment strategies. An interest in law and/or finance is preferred, and a curiosity and interest in working creatively with data is essential.

This is a US-based remote team, and post-covid it will continue to be remote.

Link: https://boards.greenhouse.io/legalist/jobs/4000419004

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How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces

It’s likely that social media marketing plays a vital part in your brand strategy. If that’s the case, you’re probably always on the lookout for new platforms and product features that enable you to interact with and engage your audience in different ways. This means you should know about Twitter Spaces.

Hot on the heels of launching Fleets, Twitter announced the initial rollout of Spaces, a new social experience built around audio-only chat rooms. It’s currently in the private beta phase, but it’s already clear that Spaces could offer numerous benefits to brands when it’s more widely available.

Here’s my take on Twitter’s latest feature.

What Is Twitter Spaces?

If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of social media, you’ve likely heard of a buzzworthy platform called Clubhouse, an ultra-exclusive, invite-only, audio-based social app that’s been a big hit with A-listers and Silicon Valley leaders alike.

Users have described it as akin to a live-action, free-flowing podcast where you can jump in and out of different rooms, listening to or joining in with conversations on a vast range of topics.

Spaces is effectively Twitter’s take on Clubhouse, except that it’ll (eventually) be available to everyone, not just a select few.

screen shot of tweet behind the twitter spaces feature

However, whereas Clubhouse has drawn criticism for its light approach to moderation, which makes it a potential breeding ground for online harassment, Twitter has made Spaces big on inclusivity. Its vision is to replicate the “magic feeling” of a “bomb dinner party,” where you don’t know all the guests, but everyone feels comfortable at the table.

At the time of writing, Twitter Spaces is still in the beta testing phase, with only a couple hundred users onboard, predominantly from groups prone to experiencing harassment and trolling. However, the initial reception has certainly been positive.

screenshot of a room in twitter spaces

How Does Twitter Spaces Work?

Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of Twitter Spaces.

Only those in the beta testing group can create Spaces, but anyone on iOS can join one. Twitter promises to expand the list of people who can create Spaces over time. When you get access, you’ll be able to start Spaces in two ways:

  • By long-pressing the Compose button, and then tapping the Spaces icon on the far left
  • Or by tapping your profile image in Fleets, scrolling to the far right, and tapping Spaces

While there’s no ceiling on the number of listeners to any given Space, the number of speakers is limited to 10. However, Twitter prefaces this with the words “for now,” which suggests it may increase the capacity for speakers down the line.

The host of a Space can determine who’s allowed to join with speaking privileges by choosing from:

  • Everyone
  • People you follow
  • Only people you specifically invite to speak (invites are sent as direct messages)

Once a Space is up and running, the host has the power to remove, report, and block participants, and they’re also the only person who’s able to end a session.

Now, more on that bit about removing, reporting, and blocking. In an ideal world, Twitter Spaces would be self-policing, with trolls immediately kicked out and reported for infringements, but that’s not the case here.

Twitter says it’ll retain copies of all Spaces for 30 days after they end, giving its team the chance to review the session for violations of the Twitter rules. If they find any violations, they’ll increase the timespan to 90 days to allow people to appeal if they believe a mistake has been made.

For as long as Twitter retains any given Space, the host can download a copy of the full session data. They also have the option to download a transcript of the session, as long as they enable transcriptions.

While it’s still early days, the Twitter Spaces team has also unveiled a handful of other features that are in testing, including:

  • Hand gesture-style reactions
  • Live transcriptions, although Twitter says it’s working with a “very early version” of this feature
  • Sharing tweets in Spaces

How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces

Now you know what Twitter Spaces is, and you understand a bit about how it works. How can brands use this new feature to take their Twitter marketing to the next level?

These are my early impressions; I’d like to qualify them by noting that more use cases may become apparent once Spaces leaves the beta phase and gets rolled out more widely.

Gain Audience Feedback

Audience feedback is super valuable. It helps us iron out creases in our products, road test new ideas, and measure consumer sentiment toward our brands.

Traditionally, gathering feedback was all about running focus groups, but those in-person sessions take a lot of time to organize and, by design, only reach a tiny proportion of your audience.

As a result, brands have increasingly moved toward online customer surveys, often through tools like Google Forms. Surveys help you reach a much wider audience and make it easier to gather quantitative data that you can track over time.

However, surveys aren’t perfect, either. In particular, they lack the face-to-face, human touch that makes focus groups so effective. It’s easy to miss the nuance behind an answer when it’s typed into a form rather than delivered as part of a two-way conversation.

Twitter Spaces could be the perfect balance between the two:

  • They’re digital, so you can reach many people without dragging them to a physical location.
  • They allow for real back-and-forth conversation, which helps you get much richer, more nuanced feedback.

What’s more, because Spaces are part of Twitter, you can use social listening to track down the ideal people for your digital feedback sessions. Monitor Twitter for mentions of your brand, products, competitors, and other relevant keywords, and send invites to the most relevant, engaged users.

Roll Out New Features or Products to Followers

When it comes to gaining general audience feedback, it’s helpful to look beyond your existing customer base. This can help you understand how non-customers perceive you versus your competition.

However, when you’re planning new features or products, it makes sense to stay closer to home because the most valuable feedback to help guide those decisions will come from the people who use your product day in, day out.

Again, Twitter Spaces can assist you here, provided you have a decent social following. Set up a Space, add your followers, and then ask for their feedback. It’s faster and easier than sending out a survey, and it allows you to leverage your existing audience on Twitter.

Host Discussions on Trending Topics in Your Industry

Panel discussions offer a double win for brands:

  • They position you as a thought leader with your finger on the pulse of your industry. Why does this matter? Research from Edelman found that thought leadership strengthens your reputation and positively impacts request-for-proposal invitations, wins, pricing, and post-sale cross-selling.
  • They allow you to invite potential prospects to join your panel, giving you a chance to network with them, demonstrate your expertise, and nurture your relationship.

Additionally, Twitter Spaces could be an excellent substitute for in-person panel talks because it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to invite a group of people to a Space than to a physical event.

Because the host has complete control over who joins a session and who’s allowed to speak, and they have the ability to kick people out if they’re not playing by the rules, Twitter Spaces could be ideal for discussing trending topics in an environment that’s free from abuse and trolling.

Interact With Followers in Real Time

Once upon a time, brand communication was pretty much a one-way street. You’d launch a new campaign, sit back, and hope your audience laps it up.

That’s not the case anymore. Today, people expect genuine, two-way interactions with brands. Not only that, but 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect those interactions to happen in real-time.

That sort of live engagement just isn’t achievable through most platforms, but Twitter Spaces makes it possible. Your audience can tune into your live discussions, react, and potentially even get involved in the conversation (as long as they’re selected as a speaker).

However, it goes way beyond just engaging your existing audience.

Because people in your Space are allowed to invite other participants, you can encourage your followers to share it with their followers, thereby getting you in front of a much wider audience.

Conclusion

With Spaces, Twitter appears to have retained many of the elements that made Clubhouse such a hit while addressing the harassment concerns. That makes it a safe and palatable space for brands to build and nurture a highly engaged Twitter following.

Any platform, tactic, or tool that helps marketers break down the barriers between brands and audiences is worthy of attention, so I’m looking forward to learning more about Twitter Spaces when the private beta ends and it gets a full launch.

Do you want help with your social media strategy? Contact us!

What do you think about Twitter Spaces? Perhaps you’re part of the beta trial and have hands-on experience, or maybe you’re just excited to try it out yourself. Either way, let me know in the comments!

The post How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces appeared first on Neil Patel.

Best Website Monitoring Services

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

Website monitoring helps you identify your site’s performance problems in real-time. Most of these services capture webpage availability, average web page load time, and web page functionality, among other performance indicators. 

Did you know a 2017 Google study showed that just one second of delay in page loading can reduce your page views by 11% and bring down the conversion rate by 7%? 

Additionally, 53% of visitors are likely to leave the page if it takes more than three seconds to load. Consider also that the Google algorithm ranks websites by load speed, among other metrics. We haven’t even gotten to the impact an unavailable webpage has on your business. 

In this day and age, website monitoring is all but mandatory if you wish to remain competitive. 

We have picked out the seven best website monitoring services to get your site up and running and staying healthy. 

The Top 7 Options For Website Monitoring

  1. UptimeRobot — Best Free Website Monitoring Service
  2. Pingdom — Best For Small And Medium Businesses
  3. AppDynamics — Best For WebApps
  4. Site24x7 — Best For Multiple Websites And Apps
  5. Monitis — Best For Custom Monitoring Plans
  6. LogicMonitor —  Best For Service Providers
  7. Uptrends — Best For Internal Server Monitoring

How To Choose The Best Website Monitoring Service For You 

Even a seasoned webmaster would have a problem picking out the best website monitoring services without help. There are currently more than 150 services available, so choosing the best one takes a keen eye for detail. 

The secret to making the all-important decisions lies in the services’ features. Features will instantly tell you whether the service is good, mediocre, or terrible. Here are the most important things to consider when comparing website monitoring services. 

Uptime Monitoring 

The most basic function of a website monitoring service is to tell you whether your website is working properly. If your website is down, you can’t make sales, and you could quickly lose customers to the competition. The service should check the website at regular intervals and report back the status. 

The most common checks include HTTP(S), DNS, SSL, and domain expiry checks, ensuring that essential infrastructure is performing as it should.  Additional protocols to consider may include SIP, TCP, FTP, PING, and UDP. 

Some services run these checks from different servers worldwide to ensure that your global audience can access your site. Additionally, monitoring schedules may vary from once every four hours to once every minute or less. 

Ideally, you want uptime of 99.9%, so this monitoring is crucial for keeping your hosting service accountable. 

Average Web Page Load Time 

Once you know that your webpage is working and available, you need to find out how it performs. Full-page load monitoring primarily checks how long your web pages take to load.  Some services also report back the cause of any problem found.  

A good website monitoring service should keep records of the average loading time of each page. Some let you set a maximum load time and alert you when pages take too long to load according to your criteria. 

You may also want a monitoring tool that specifically targets content. This feature ensures that page outputs, words, or phrases critical to your conversion funnel are loading correctly. 

Load Testing 

Your website may be performing optimally until it is overloaded. Special events like Black Friday sales or the holiday season come to mind. Load testing or web stress testing puts a load on the website to see how it works under pressure. For example, the tool may apply a load of 3000 users for 20 minutes to see if your site remains stable. 

Reports & Analytics 

Regular reports and analytics help you to keep a record of your website’s performance over time. It helps if the information makes sense, so your DevOps, executives, or other people who have access to the data know what to do with it. 

Consider also public reporting. Website visitors can get simple reports displayed on the web page or a dedicated status page. This option can drastically reduce unnecessary calls to customer support.  

The Different Types of Website Monitoring Services

There are two main types of website monitoring. These are Synthetic Monitoring and Real User Monitoring (RUM). Many services offer both types, so this is an option well worth looking into. Let’s look more into what synthetic and real user monitoring are and what they mean for you.

Synthetic Monitoring 

Website monitoring services rely heavily on synthetic monitoring. Also known as “active monitoring,” this process simulates real users. The test first determines frontend performance variables such as browser, device, geography, and/or networks. Agents then simulate real users and collect data. This process identifies issues before the end-user ever encounters them. 

Synthetic tests capture all the fundamentals of a monitoring system. The tests check and provide feedback about uptime on critical service and API endpoints. 

Additionally, synthetic monitoring checks interactive aspects of your website, including links and buttons, to ensure that everything works as it should. This is crucial if you want to preempt problems with broken links or mislabeled features before your users encounter them. 

Synthetic monitoring can also help determine the source of the issue (such as internet service providers or third-party), the problem’s extent, and possible solutions. 

Real User Monitoring 

Real user monitoring (RUM) gathers information from real website users. Also called “passive monitoring,” the system collects data from users. As such, RUM can capture complex combinations of data, including geographic location, performance measurements, type of web browser, type of device, and the operating system of users. 

The site owner places JavaScript tags to the site’s page headers to implement RUM. From here, the script collects data from users across various performance metrics and reports back to the RUM interface. 

Real user monitoring helps optimize the customer experience while reporting on issues in real-time. Site owners can also track the performance of new deployments and track site experience across geographies, devices, and web browsers. 

#1 – UptimeRobot – Best Free Website Monitoring Service 

UptimeRobot offers a free plan if you aren’t yet ready to spend money on a monitoring service. This option is excellent for a blog or if you are just starting in e-commerce. The service has more than 800,000 clients, including GoDaddy, Expedia, and IBM. 

You get all the necessary monitoring features with the free plan, including HTTP(S) monitoring, ping monitoring, port monitoring, and response time monitoring. You also get 50 monitors with five-minute checks. 

Additionally, the free plan offers two months of log retention and one status page. 

You can upgrade to the Pro plan for $15 per month to get more advanced features in addition to the ones you get with the free plan. Some of the additional functions include: 

  • Voice calls and SMS alerts
  • 24-month log retention
  • One-minute checks 
  • Cron job monitoring
  • Keyword monitoring
  • Maintenance windows 
  • SSL certificate expiry monitoring
  • Advanced notification settings
  • Unlimited status pages

There is also an Enterprise plan for custom check intervals and several monitors. 

UptimeRobot offers reliable website monitoring tools and will easily scale with your business as it grows. The service has monitoring locations in the USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Canada, and Japan. 

 #2 – Pingdom – Best Website Monitoring Service For Small And Medium Businesses  

Pingdom by SolarWinds is a powerful website monitoring service for small to medium-sized businesses. The service is also suitable for startups, digital marketers, and even DevOps. 

The service gives you a choice of synthetic or real user monitoring to provide you with a comprehensive view of what’s going on with your website. You can also combine the capabilities of both monitoring options with their Enterprise plan. 

Pingdom’s synthetic monitoring checks for uptime from over 100 locations, provides page speed analysis, and monitors important transactions, including shopping cart, checkout, user login, new user registration, and search, among others. 

RUM monitoring with Pingdom gives you detailed insights into how real users experience your website across different browsers, devices, and geographic locations. 

The service also monitors your mobile site every 60 seconds (same for desktop) and performs the same checks on your mobile sites to help you deliver a standard experience across devices. 

Pingdom also has a powerful HTTP-based, RESTful API for people who like to customize and automate synthetic monitoring interactions. Developers can also write their own applications or scripts depending on their specific needs. 

Pingdom integrates with plenty of third-party services, including Webhooks, Slack, and VictorOps, to further optimize reporting, incident management, alerts, and dashboard. 

Additional features include:

  • Sharable reports
  • Color-coded chart bars
  • Web analytics tool
  • Bounce rate checker 
  • SSL certificate monitoring and alerting
  • Cloud performance monitoring 
  • Joomla monitoring
  • Server uptime monitoring 
  • Website uptime history

You can try out Pingdom’s 14-day free trial for access to all the features. Paid plans start at $10 per month, which is very affordable for smaller businesses. 

#3 – AppDynamics – Best Software Monitoring Service For WebApps 

Web applications have complex and diverse interactive elements that are not always easy to monitor. While some website monitoring services watch apps, you really need a service that caters primarily to this market. 

AppDynamics is an application performance management solution. It supports everyday application environments, including Java, Node.js, C/C++ (Beta), and PHP. Additionally, AppDynamics covers more complex platforms and solutions, including WebMethods, TIBCO, JMS, and queuing technologies. 

The service does real-time transaction monitoring across crucial metrics, including response time, slow rate, error rate, load, and stalls. It also eliminates blind spots in your applications by automatically mapping the relationships between the various tiers and services. 

AppDynamics automatically detects anomalies and provides rapid root-cause diagnostics. The tool also captures important debug data to speed up the software debugging process. They also offer an in-depth diagnosis, allowing you to identify the problem down to the offending line of code. 

Additional features include:

  • End-user monitoring
  • Application performance monitoring 
  • Infrastructure monitoring
  • Network monitoring
  • Business performance monitoring

AppDynamics has three pricing plans, and you have to contact the provider to get the actual price. The Pro plan also supports complex multi-cloud topologies mapping and visualizing, creating alerting policies and health rules, and key performance metrics.

The Advanced and Peak plans offer additional capabilities depending on what you need. This service is ideal for industries like retail, media and entertainment, healthcare, and insurance. You can check out the free trial or schedule a demo before you decide if it’s for you. 

#4 – Site24x7 – Best Website Monitoring Service For Multiple Websites And Apps

Monitoring a single website is hard enough, but Site24x7 makes it easy to keep an eye on up to 500 websites at once. This service is all-inclusive and will monitor the website, cloud, server, application, and network. 

Site24x7 has a single log that collects, consolidates, analyzes, and stores data where you can easily view and troubleshoot problems. They use synthetic and real user monitoring in each package, so you always get the best of both worlds. 

The Starter plan costs $9 per month and monitors up to 10 websites and servers from more than 110 monitoring locations globally. All plans support HTTP(S), DNS, SSL/TSL, FTP, REST APIs, URLs, SMTP server, SOAP web service, and more.  

You can also manually select the monitoring location from multiple addresses across North America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Site24x7 supports Ruby, Java, PHP, .NET, Node.js, and mobile platforms for apps. The tool also monitors Windows, Linux, Docker, VMware, FreeBSD, GCP, and Azure for servers.

Additional features include:

  • Mobile access
  • Root cause analysis
  • Hosted status pages
  • SLA management
  • Alerts and reports
  • Support for managed service providers

Site 24×7 plans and pricing is as follows:

  • Starter: $9 per month
  • Pro: $35 per month
  • Classic: $89 per month
  • Enterprise: $225 per month 

If you’re looking for an adaptable and flexible service for multiple websites and applications, Site24x7 is a great option.

#5 – Monitis – Best Website Monitoring Service For Custom Monitoring Plans 

If you believe that you should only pay for what you use, Monitis is the website monitoring service for you. Some of Monitis’s clients include SIEMENS and the University of Cambridge. 

With Monitis, you choose only the features you want, and then the service will create a customized price and plan to suit your needs. This is the perfect arrangement for users who know exactly what they want from a website monitoring service, down to the specific features. 

The service checks your website every 60 seconds from more than 30 server locations in North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, and Africa. 

This is also an all-inclusive monitoring tool. You can monitor websites, servers, networks, and applications. For website monitoring, Monitis checks uptime, full page load, and transactions. The service supports Windows and Linux for server monitoring and will check CPU, network, memory, and bandwidth, among other aspects.

Monitis also has a powerful API to customize your experience further. You also get SDKs for all popular languages, including Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, Perl, and C #. 

Additional features include:

  • Real user monitoring 
  • Graph view 
  • Device monitoring
  • Asset tracking
  • Backup
  • Patching
  • Comprehensive reporting 
  • Webpage content check
  • Instant alerts
  • Screen capturing 
  • Diagnostic 
  • Funnel visualization

Montis has a good selection of alerts integrations, including Slack, VictorOps, OpsGenie, Jira, and PagerDuty, among others. 

You can try out the 15-day trial before making a final decision. 

#6 – LogicMonitor – Best Website Monitoring Tool For Service Providers 

If you are a service provider, your website monitoring requirements will naturally be different from those of your clients. LogicMonitor has products that explicitly cater to this market, so you won’t have to rely on the same cookie-cutter tools as the shops you serve. 

This is another all-inclusive monitoring tool that monitors your websites, networks, servers, cloud, and IT infrastructure. LogicMonitor allows you to view your entire hybrid infrastructure from one place. You can observe several infrastructure metrics, including cloud and container resources, networks and networking gear, websites, SaaS services, IoT devices, and more. 

LogicMonitor also has all the website monitoring features you would need, including ping checks, web checks, rapid deployment, and customizable alert thresholds.  

Additional features include:

  • 2000+ integrations 
  • Intelligent alerting 
  • Topology mapping
  • Forecasting
  • Encrypted data
  • Visualizations
  • AIOps early warning system
  • SaaS deployment
  • Log analysis
  • Remote monitoring 

LogicMonitor also offers remote and on-site training for seamless implementation. They do not post their prices online, but you can tour the platform and call for a customized quote from their website.

#7 – Uptrends – Best Website Monitoring Service For Internal Server Monitoring 

Sometimes the problem is on your side of the firewall. For site owners who don’t want to take any chances, Uptrends has robust internal monitoring systems. 

The service checks your internal servers and network devices to make sure that everything is up to par. Setting up is as easy as executing an installation file on the servers. The agent works seamlessly with your firewall, and there is no need to create special rules. 

The tool supports popular protocols and devices, including Windows, HTTP, Ping, SNMP, and Connect.

Uptrends also allows you to customize your dashboard for internal server monitoring to give you control over how data is presented. Once you create your custom dashboard, you can save it as your homepage. 

Web monitoring with Uptrends is equally robust. The service has more than 220 monitoring locations worldwide that check uptime, performance, and multi-step transactions. Uptrends uses synthetic monitoring and offers interactive charts, public status pages, bandwidth throttling, and error snapshots. 

This service is all-encompassing and includes additional essential capabilities like:

  • Web application monitoring
  • API monitoring
  • Multi-browser monitoring 
  • External server monitoring 

If you are not yet ready to purchase, Uptrends has a free plan. Here, you get access to plenty of free tools, including free website monitoring, global uptime, website speed test, DSN report, traceroute, uptime and SLA calculator, and ping test. However, you can only choose one feature at a time to try out rather than a single free package with all the tools. 

Paid plans include:

  • Starter: $12.02 per month
  • Premium: $34.52 per month
  • Professional: $168.27 per month
  • Business: $28.79 per month
  • Enterprise: $52.08 per month 

You can also try a free trial for the business plan for 30 days here.

Summary 

If the only advantage you get from a website monitoring service is enhanced customer retention, then your efforts will have been worth it. These services offer an array of additional benefits, including optimized website performance, strengthened security, data retention, and much more. 

The best advice for choosing a website monitoring service is to figure out precisely what you want the tool to do. From here, you can compare the services’ features with your needs to narrow down the best options. Also, try to go for industry-specific services such as the ones we have outlined in this review. You can never go too wrong with these strategies. 

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Aid For Starting A New Small Business

Aid For Starting A New Small Business Beginning a brand-new little company comes with lots of threats included. It is not simple to begin a company little or big. You have to network Networking ways that you are broadening your network of services as well as close friends that might finish up assisting you in …

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Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards

Have you ever wondered about the pros and cons of American Express business credit cards? Well, wonder no longer. And in particular, if your personal credit is particularly good to excellent, then the pros and cons of American Express business credit cards turns into just the pros. 

Great personal credit scores will always help you. And it is no more apparent than when looking at business credit card offers from American Express. 

Let’s Look at the Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards

We researched the pros and cons of American Express business credit cards for you. So, here are our selections.

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

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

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

Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards and Benefits

Benefits can differ. So, make sure to pick the benefit you would like from this selection of alternatives. Note: a lot of the pros and cons of American Express business credit cards come in the form of the personal credit scores you will need in order to qualify. 

If you have fantastic personal credit, then a lot of the cons go away completely.

Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards with a 0% Introductory APR – Pay Zero!

These first selections are a pair of great choices for regular, everyday expenses. In particular, if you do not travel too often, these could be perfect cards for you. Your only choice would be cash versus points.

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Have a look at the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It has no annual fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the initial year. Afterwards, the APR is a variable 14.74 to 20.74%.

The Pros

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

The Cons

You will need great to superb credit to qualify.

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

Pros and Cons of American Express Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines. Get credit cards even in a recession!

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

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

The Pros

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

It has no yearly fee. There is a 0% introductory APR for the first twelve months. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 to 20.74%.

The Cons

You will need great to excellent credit scores to qualify.

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

Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards with Flexible Financing Credit Cards – Check Out This Great Choice!

If you can pay the minimum early every month, then this next card could be the ideal choice for you. But the annual fee is rather high, after the first year’s introductory $0 fee. 

The Plum Card® from American Express

Check out the Plum Card® from American Express. It has an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year. After that, pay $250 each year.

The Pros

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

The Cons

You will need excellent to exceptional credit scores to qualify. And that annual fee is rather high.

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

Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards for Lavish Travel Points

Hotel Credit Card

If you spend a lot of time on the road, this could be a good card for you. The annual fee could be better – and it could be a lot worse, too. 

The points and rewards are particularly good. But the price of a second free night in a calendar year? It is far higher than the value of any room at Marriott Bonvoy, anywhere around the world.

If you make a lot of purchases on this card, then it can be worthwhile, and the annual fee can be justifiable. And since you can get multiplied points for everyday activities like eating out and filling your tank, you may be able to make the minimum spend for the really good rewards. 

But that means using this particular credit card practically to the exclusion of all others. 

Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Have a look at the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ Card from American Express. It has a yearly fee of $125. There is no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 17.24 to 26.24%. 

The Pros: Points

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

Get double points on all other eligible purchases.

The Pros: Rewards

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

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

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

The Cons

You will need good to exceptional credit scores to get this card.

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

Pros and Cons of American Express Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines. Get credit cards even in a recession!

Airline Credit Card

The main positives for this credit card are the great perks for travel. If you travel a lot, and you buy your airline tickets with this card, then you can probably make the minimum spend for the first three months. 

But the negatives far, far outweigh the positive aspects of this credit card. The annual fee is about what you could pay for three or four other American Express business credit cards. And the points boost will not kick in until you have spent enough to buy a house in Little Rock, Arkansas.

And even if you can make it to the exorbitant spend levels this card demands; the perks are not as generous as they could be.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

Have a look at the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card. Nowhere are the pros and cons of American Express business credit cards more apparent than here.

The Pros

The best way to use this card is if you travel for business a great deal. Then, and only then, it may be the card for you. Get up to 100,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles. You can get 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in your first three months. Also, earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your initial anniversary of card membership.

Get triple miles on Delta purchases. And get 1.5 times the miles on eligible purchases the rest of the year after you spend $150,000 in a calendar year. Get a companion certificate annually upon renewal. And you get one Global Entry ($100) statement credit every 4 years. Or you can get one TSA Pre ® ($85) statement credit every 4.5 years for an application, free.

The Cons

It has a $550 annual fee! There is no introductory APR offer. Rather, the regular APR is a variable 17.24 to 26.24%.

You will need good to outstanding credit to qualify.

Find it here: https://creditcard.americanexpress.com/d/delta/

Pros and Cons of American Express Credit Suite

Establish business credit fast with our research-backed guide to 12 business credit cards and lines. Get credit cards even in a recession!

Your Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards

Your own pros and cons of American Express business credit cards will depend upon your credit report and scores.

Just you can pick which features you want and need. So, ensure to do your homework. What is outstanding for you could be devastating for another person.

In particular, be sure to value these cards’ annual fees versus the required spends to get the best perks. If you cannot make the minimums, then why are you paying for these credit cards?

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

The post Pros and Cons of American Express Business Credit Cards appeared first on Credit Suite.

10 Books For Entrepreneurs To Make Your Business Successful

From smart business strategies to helpful stress-management, reading and continuous education are highly effective habits of the most successful entrepreneurs. Bill Gates is reading 50 each year, and Elon Musk spent 10 hours a day …

The post 10 Books For Entrepreneurs To Make Your Business Successful appeared first on Paper.li blog.

Equifax Business Credit and Overall Fundability

Business credit is just one of many factors that affects the fundability of your business.  Your Equifax business credit score, your D&B business credit score, your Experian business credit score, and any other agency your lender may pull a credit score from all have a huge impact on your ability to get funding for your business. 

They might use reports from any of these agencies or a combination.  Since you can’t know which reports they will look at, you have to understand each one.  You need to know what information it gives them and where that information comes from. It is important to understand Equifax business credit. 

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring

How Equifax Business Credit Can Affect the Overall Fundability of Your Business

In order to build and maintain strong fundability, you need to understand everything you can about the reports from each of the big three credit reporting agencies, and what they tell lenders about your business.

Equifax Business Credit Reports

Equifax collects information similar to Dun and Bradstreet, including data from the following sources. 

  • information from public records
  •  financial data from the business
  •  payment history from creditors
  • Credit utilization is also a factor, which accounts for how much credit you are using versus the amount of credit you have available to use.

The information is used to calculate various scores, including the business credit risk score and the business failure score. The first measures how likely it is that a business will become 90 days or more delinquent on bills over the next year.  It ranges from 101 to 992.  

The second, ranges from 1,000 to 1610.  Likewise, it predicts how likely it is that the business will file for bankruptcy over the next 12-month period.  A lower score indicates higher risk. 

They also calculate what they call the business payment index.  This is the Equifax version of the Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX.  It even runs on the same scale of 0 to 100.  It’s an indicator of payment history over the past year. In contrast to the PAYDEX however, you must  reach a score of 90 or higher for it to be a good score.  

In addition, Equifax offers business identity reports to confirm a company actually exists. It verifies details such as the company’s tax ID, number of employees, and yearly sales. 

Equifax does not allow business owners to request a file be opened for their own company.  They decide themselves when to start a credit file on a specific company. 

Financial and trade data are combined, and they add in utility and telephone payment data.  Public records are also a source of information.  

Equifax Business credit scores include: 

The Small Business Credit Risk Score for Suppliers

It is scored on a scale of 1 to 100, with 90+ indicating that a business has paid its obligations as agreed.  An 80 to 89 means they are 1 to 30 days past due, 60 to 79 indicates they are 31-60 days overdue, 40 to 59 is 61 to 90 days past the payment date.  It  just goes down from there. 

Business Failure Risk Score

This score indicates the chance of a company paying its bills late on the following scale: 

  • 497 – 816: 25% or less chance of payment being overdue
  • 452 – 496: 26 – 50% chance of payment going overdue
  • 415 – 451: 51 – 74% chance of delinquent payments
  • 101 – 414: 75 – 100% chance of delinquent payments

Public Records Report

The purpose of this report is to list bankruptcies, judgments, and liens along with the amount, date of the most recent filing, and how they were satisfied. 

Credit Usage Report

This a pie chart that shows your company’s credit usage.  It gives a visual of what percent of your available credit you are using. That is known as your credit utilization ratio, and it has a pretty big impact on your overall credit score.

Credit Report Summary

The summary report shows the number of your business’s credit accounts, as well as the date each one became active. It also lists any amounts past due, along with your most severe status of the past 24 months. 

The highest amount of credit extended, the median balance, and the average open balance are included as well. 

Additionally, the report lists recent activity such as number of new accounts opened recently, delinquent accounts, number of updated accounts, and inquiries. 

Financial Account Highlights

This report shows details for the past 36 months, including credit accounts and leases. It lists the status, open and close date, original and current credit limits, and any past due amount for each.  In addition, the payment amount and frequency for each account, as well as whether or not it is secured are also noted.

Does Equifax Business Credit Really Matter? 

Yes, all business credit matters! Why do you need separate business credit? Here’s why. According to Inc.com, small business owners who understand their business credit scores are 41% more likely to get approval when they apply for a business loan. You can’t understand it if you don’t have it. Right? 

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring

Also, if the unthinkable happens and your personal credit tanks, you need to be able to continue to run and grow your business. If your business credit is strong, you can still do that no matter what is happening with your personal credit. 

It’s true, a new business will not have any business credit.  However, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Building business credit is important, so that when the time comes, you can keep your personal credit separate and finance business growth using your business credit. 

How Can I Improve my Equifax Business Credit? 

What if your Equifax business credit isn’t so great?  Here are some simple things you can do to boost it. 

Add New Trade Lines

Don’t pay for them. There is no proof that buying tradelines actually helps.  If you do things the right way, it happens for free and it for sure works. There are a few ways to get it done. 

First, you can ask the vendors you already work with about starting a credit relationship.  Ask if they will extend you credit based on the merits of the business relationship. Then, ask if they will report the payments.  Even if you only get one or two reporting, your credit score will increase with every on-time payment recorded. 

Next, you can ask utilities, telephone companies, and internet companies to report the payments you already make to them on a regular basis. They don’t have to do it, but there is no harm in asking and it is an easy way to get more accounts reporting without actually opening new accounts.

Lastly, if you have a poor credit score, you can work with starter vendors in the vendor credit tier.  These are retailers that sell things you use everyday in your business anyway.  Often, they will extend net terms on invoices without a credit check and report your payment to the credit agencies.  

Ask to Delete Paid off Collections

Did you know that if you have an account that goes to collections, it will stay on your credit report even after you pay it off?  That’s right. The negative hit stays on your report even if you pay off the account in full. However, you can ask that they remove it. 

Ensure All Information is Correct and Up to Date

Take the initiative to notify credit agencies of changes in address, phone number, email addresses, etc.  In addition, monitor your business credit reports so you can dispute any mistakes.  

Update the details if there are errors or the information is incomplete. Do this for Equifax here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business. 

Ask for An Increase to Your Credit Limit 

Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of debt you have in relation to the amount of credit you have available to you. If you are using a ton of your available credit, your ratio will be high, and vice versa.  When people ask themselves how to increase business credit, they often realize this. The next step, for most, is to add accounts to increase the amount of credit available. 

However, this isn’t always the best option because the average age of all reporting accounts affects your credit score as well.  If you are adding new accounts, that average age decreases, which negatively affects your account.  

Another option, which works much better, is to ask your current accounts to raise your credit limit.  This way, you have more available credit, decrease your credit utilization ratio, and leave your average age of accounts unaffected. 

Make Payments on Time!

The number one way to increase Equifax business credit is to make consistent, on-time payments.  Here’s a bonus tip too. If you find that you need to stop carrying so many balances and have the means to pay a little extra on minimums, pick the balance with the highest interest rate and put all of your extra onto that balance.  

Once it is paid off, take the total payment amount and pay that amount extra on the balance with the next highest interest rate.  This will create a sort of snowball effect. As you see your balances getting paid down, you will see your business credit score increase. You’ll save money on interest also, since you are paying off the highest interest rate balance first. 

Monitor Your Business Credit Regularly

It’s important to monitor your Equifax business credit to know which accounts are reporting, which are not, and to catch any mistakes that may pop up.  Because you will catch mistakes faster, this could help you build business credit faster. 

You can purchase reports directly from Equifax.  Unfortunately, you can’t get a Equifax business credit report like you can a personal credit report. 

The only real way to get a free copy of your credit report is if you are denied a loan based on your business credit.  Of course, this is not a fun way to see your business credit reports for free. After denial, you will receive a letter in the mail from the agency that provided the lender with your report.  You will have the opportunity to request a free copy of the report that the lender saw, so that you can see why the result was denial. You have 90 days to submit your request. Note that if your lender did not use Equifax, you will not be getting a copy of your Equifax report.

Other than being denied for a business loan, here are a few other hacks to get you at least a sneak peek  of your business credit. 

Nav

Nav is a service that will let you see a summary of your credit reports from all three of the major credit reporting agencies.  However, these are only summaries, not full reports. Generally, that means you can see your score, and maybe the accounts you have listed.  While this will help you see where you stand, it will not suffice for the purpose of correcting mistakes or even to show you what you need to do to improve your score. You do have the option to pay for more information though.

Credit.net

Credit.net does not offer ongoing free business credit reports.  However, you can get a free trial. There is no credit card requirement either.  After you pull the report, you have 30 days to check it out. This means at least once you can get a totally free look at your report, because there is no fear of missing a cancelation deadline and having to pay anyway. 

Scorely 

This is a lesser known credit reporting agency that will let you see your credit report for free before you pay for an ongoing subscription.  Unlike Nav or Credit.net, they are actually calculating their own score similar to the big 3 (Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet.) They strive to be totally transparent and to make their reports easy to understand. Seeing your Scorely report will give you an idea of where you stand, but it will not help you know exactly what your Equifax business credit report says. 

Keep your business protected with our professional business credit monitoring

Your Equifax Business Credit Can Have a Huge Impact on FundabilityEquifax Biz Credit Report Credit Suite

Really, all business credit definitely has a huge impact on fundability.  I mean, in truth your scores from all of the big three should be similar because they are pulling information from the same general sources.  They will likely not be exact however, and there is no way to know which one a lender may pull. 

That is why it is important to understand each one and how they impact fundability.  Remember though, there are lots of factors that affect fundability. Even if your business credit score is stellar, you could still run into issues.  You need to take the whole picture into account. 

The post Equifax Business Credit and Overall Fundability appeared first on Credit Suite.

I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest

It’s been more than a year since I launched the “new”
Ubersuggest.

And over the last 12 months, I have made a lot of progress.

Just as a quick recap: Ubersuggest went from a basic keyword research tool to now containing backlink data, rank tracking, content ideas, site audit reports, and many more features.

If you haven’t played with Ubersuggest in the past few months, give it a try. Type in a URL or a keyword and click around.

The reason I am asking you to give it a try is that I need your help to determine what I should develop next so I can help you improve your traffic and rankings even more.

But before we get into that, let me first tell you what I am releasing in the next few months.

Upcoming features

So, let’s break it down by section as I am making a lot of
small changes that should not only improve the data, but also the usability of
the product.

Funny enough, there will be changes to every section of the
tool.

Keyword research

Over the next month, the keyword overview is going to change in which I will start to tell you demographic data. You’ll see what percentage of the searches are done by males or females as well as the average age range of a searcher.

You’ll also see what portion of the clicks for any given keyword go to SEO results, ads, or result in no clicks.

I am also going to break searches down by mobile versus
desktop.

More accurate data

Another big change that is happening, and this one won’t be
visual, is all of the data will become much more accurate.

From traffic estimations for a domain, to even keywords,
you’ll start seeing a more accurate database.

For example, when I look at all of the keywords
neilpatel.com ranks for, a lot of them are junk keywords that don’t drive much
traffic.

Sure, the report still provides value as a lot of the keywords are good and can provide good SEO insights, but with more accurate data it should make your job easier.

New backlinking data

Another feature that I am excited about is the new backlink charts.

I’m adding historical link data over time as well as a
snapshot of daily new and lost links.

In addition to that, you’ll start seeing more data on anchor text or link distribution.

Alerts

A huge problem with Ubersuggest is that you have to continually come back to get value. In the next month or so, you will start seeing email alerts that will tell you what’s happening with your site and what you should fix.

The overall purpose is for you to not have to come to
Ubersuggest to figure out what you need to fix.

Usability fixes

The biggest problem with Ubersuggest is people don’t know
what to do with the data or how to improve their rankings.

This will be fixed in the upcoming months.

From an education center and demos to tutorials and more, we are creating a guided path so you can see better gains in your search traffic.

Alright, so now that you know what I am working on, I now need your help to figure out what I should do next.

Where do you want me to take Ubersuggest?

I have a few options for you, but I am not sure what you
want me to do with the tool.

Sure, I know you want more free features and I will do that,
but what’s going to provide you with the biggest gains?

Here are some options…

  1. Automated SEO – would you like me to focus my efforts on automating your SEO? All you would have to do is add a javascript to your site like Google Analytics and it would automate 40 to 50% of your SEO tasks. It would even adjust your code for you automatically no matter what CMS you use. Again, it would ONLY automate 50% or so of your tasks, I can’t automate all 100%… yet.
  2. Ad management – do you want an easy to use ad management system? From Facebook and Google to even smaller sites like Quora, there are tons of ad opportunities. I could create an easy to use system that helps you find all of the ad opportunities and optimize/manage them for you in an automated way.
  3. Free email marketing – I know there are tools like Mailchimp that are great, but what if I made it so you can send an unlimited amount of emails to an unlimited number of contacts for free?
  4. Chrome extension – what if I took extensions out there from tools like Moz, Ahrefs, Keywords Everywhere, and SEMrush and combined the best features and made it free?
  5. Or do you have any better ideas? I am open to anything.

Conclusion

I can take Ubersuggest in many different directions. There isn’t really a right or wrong approach and, wherever I take it, I will make sure that the product is still really easy to use.

The question is, what do you want me to focus on first?

That’s all that matters in the grand scheme of things because I am building this for you.

So, if you can, leave a comment below letting me know where you want me to take Ubersuggest. It can be one of the options above, or if you have a better idea, I am open to that as well.

The post I Need Your Help With Ubersuggest appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Set Up a New Business in North Dakota

Starting a Business in North Dakota

Have you been wondering: how do I start a business in North Dakota? And more importantly, can I do so no matter what the economic conditions are? Can I start a new business in North Dakota during a recession?

New Business in North Dakota: Pros and Cons

North Dakota is in the top twenty states to start a new business in, per a 2016 article by Business Insider. The state has the highest opportunity share of new business owners in the country.

A somewhat high density of startup companies is also positive.  North Dakota also has the nation’s second highest per capita GDP at $66,507.

But the state also has the second lowest percentage of available employees.

The energy boom has created 15,000 jobs in the state over the last decade. This is in addition to 9,400 in North Dakota business resource and financial services. Also, the state’s construction employment is up 29% since 2002.

Dizzying New Heights

In 2019, Dollar Sprout vaulted North Dakota up to the number four state for starting a new business. Keep in mind; their methods differ from those of Business Insider.

Why the terrific new ranking? North Dakota has the best 10-year survival rate for all businesses in the country. Unemployment is exceptionally low, and the cost of living goes easy on anyone’s wallet.

New Business in North Dakota: Initiatives

North Dakota cut individual income tax rates by 18% and also corporate taxes by nearly 20%. This came to about $900 million in tax relief over just four years.

The state also created the Small Business Technology Investment Program. This is a $1 million fund providing grants of up to $50,000 matched 2:1 with an angel fund investment.

North Dakota Exports

Exports grew nearly 250% between 2000 and 2009. Compare this to 35% nationwide. The state intends to increase funding for the Trade Office by roughly $490,000. This is to better market North Dakota products and services to the world.

These funds are meant to acquire services in shipping logistics. They are also meant to help North Dakota businesses handle the complexities of a global economy.

The governor’s office has also recommended a North Dakota business resource. This is in the form of state assistance to qualified business owners looking for capital formation.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – North Dakota Top Industries

 

Per the 2010 – 2020 North Dakota Economic Development Strategic Plan, the biggest growth industries in North Dakota are professional and technical services and management. The state is also known for its agriculture and oil and gas production.

Also, as in virtually all states, health care and social assistance are also large employment sectors.

Smart business owners can find new opportunities. Work with bigger industries in the state. Offer goods or services such as trucking for any industry. More ideas are data and other computer support such as programming. Yet more ideas are the development and distribution of safety equipment.

Here is how to start business in North Dakota.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – North Dakota New Business Secretary of State Requirements

Register a Business Name

Register a business name on the official North Dakota government website.

Business Permits and Licenses

The New Business Registration website of North Dakota also has licensing information.

Local Permits and Licenses

Check with your local municipality, city or county office or website. See if there may be any local licensing or permit requirements.

For example, in Fargo, go to the Starting a Business page on the city of Fargo website.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Business Registration

Business Registration: the easiest way is by using the State of North Dakota New Business Registration website.

Tax Registration

Find all needed guidelines, information and forms with the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner. The “For Businesses” page is useful.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Virtual Offices

Alliance does not offer North Dakota virtual business offices.

But Regus offers North Dakota virtual business office space in Fargo. Business owners in Bismarck or Grand Forks, and in other parts of the state, should try local business owners. Or ask computer user groups for help.

Other options may be to look for virtual business office space in nearby states. They are Minnesota, Montana, and also South Dakota.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Establish Business Credit

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

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

The Benefits

Because business credit is independent from individual, it helps to secure an entrepreneur’s personal assets, in case of legal action or business bankruptcy.

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

Another advantage is that even startups can do this. Going to a bank for a business loan can be a formula for frustration. But building small business credit, when done correctly, is a plan for success.

Individual credit scores are dependent on payments but also various other elements like credit usage percentages.

But for small business credit, the scores truly only hinge on whether a business pays its debts on a timely basis.

Start a New Business in North Dakota Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

The Process

Establishing company credit is a process, and it does not occur without effort. A business must proactively work to establish business credit.

However, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much more rapid than establishing individual credit scores.

Vendors are a big aspect of this process.

Performing the steps out of order will result in repetitive rejections. Nobody can start at the top with small business credit. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Small Business Fundability

A business needs to be fundable to lending institutions and merchants.

For that reason, a business will need a professional-looking website and e-mail address. And it needs to have website hosting from a merchant such as GoDaddy.

And also, business telephone and fax numbers should have a listing on 411.com.

Also, the business telephone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the equivalent).

A business will also need a bank account dedicated strictly to it, and it needs to have all of the licenses essential for operating.

Start a New Business in North Dakota Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Working with the IRS

Visit the IRS web site and obtain an EIN for the small business. They’re free. Pick a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc.

A business can start off as a sole proprietor. But they will most likely want to change to a variety of corporation or an LLC.

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

A business entity will matter when it involves tax obligations and liability in the event of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the business owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. Nobody else is responsible.

Sole Proprietors Take Note

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

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the small business name. Therefore, you can end up being personally accountable for all company financial obligations.

Also, according to the Internal Revenue Service, with this arrangement there is a 1 in 7 chance of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 possibility for corporations! Steer clear of confusion and considerably reduce the chances of an IRS audit at the same time.

Kicking Off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Start at the D&B website and obtain a cost-free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a small business into their system, to produce a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s sites for the company. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.

This way, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.

Vendor Credit Tier

First you need to build trade lines that report. This is also called the vendor credit tier. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin to acquire credit in the retail and cash credit tiers.

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

But first off, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you starter credit when you have none now. Terms are in most cases Net 30, instead of revolving.

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

Details

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

To start your business credit profile properly, you need to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. Once that’s done, you can then make use of the credit.

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

Vendor Credit Tier – It Helps

Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are vendors that will grant an approval with very little effort. You also want them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

You want 5 to 8 of these to move onto the next step, which is the retail credit tier. But you may need to apply more than once to these vendors. So, this is to prove you are trustworthy and will pay timely.

Retail Credit Tier

Once there are 5 to 8 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then progress to the retail credit tier. These are service providers like Office Depot and Staples.

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

One such example is Lowe’s. They report to D&B, Equifax and Business Experian. They need to see a D-U-N-S and a PAYDEX score of 78 or more.

Fleet Credit Tier

Are there 8 to 10 accounts reporting? Then move to the fleet credit tier. These are companies like BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to fix, and maintain vehicles. Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make certain to apply using the business’s EIN.

One such example is Shell. They report to D&B and Business Experian. They need to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or higher and a 411 company telephone listing.

Shell may say they want a certain amount of time in business or revenue. But if you already have sufficient vendor accounts, that won’t be necessary. And you can still get an approval.

North Dakota Startup Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Cash Credit Tier

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

One example is the Fuelman MasterCard. They report to D&B and Equifax Business. They want to see a PAYDEX Score of 78 or more. And they also want you to have 10 trade lines reporting on your D&B report.

Plus, they want to see a $10,000 high credit limit reporting on your D&B report (other account reporting).

In addition, they want you to have an established small business.

These are service providers such as Walmart and Dell, and also Home Depot, BP, and Racetrac. These are usually MasterCard credit cards. If you have 14 trade accounts reporting, then these are doable.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make sure it is being reported and deal with any mistakes as soon as possible. Get in the practice of checking credit reports and digging into the specifics, and not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for only $24/month. See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.

Update Your Records

Update the information if there are mistakes or the data is incomplete.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – Fix Your Business Credit

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

Disputes

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

Fixing credit report errors also means you precisely spell out any charges you contest. Make your dispute letter as understandable as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.

Start a New Business in North Dakota – A Word about Business Credit Building

Always use credit responsibly! Never borrow more than what you can pay off. Monitor balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying punctually and in full will do more to raise business credit scores than nearly anything else.

Growing small business credit pays. Good business credit scores help a business get loans. Your credit issuer knows the company can pay its financial obligations. They understand the small business is authentic.

The small business’s EIN links to high scores and credit issuers won’t feel the need to ask for a personal guarantee.

Business credit is an asset which can help your company in years to come.

Learn more here and get started toward opening a new business in North Dakota.

Want to start a new business someplace else in America? Then check out our handy guide to starting a business in any state in the country.

 

The post How to Set Up a New Business in North Dakota appeared first on Credit Suite.

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