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ReadMe (YC W15) Is Hiring a UI Engineer

Article URL: https://readme.com/careers#ui-engineer

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26141909

Points: 1

# Comments: 0

The post ReadMe (YC W15) Is Hiring a UI Engineer appeared first on ROI Credit Builders.

How Natural Language Processing Affects Digital Marketing

“Natural language processing” (NLP) sounds complicated, but its applications are simple. Chances are, you already use NLP dozens or even hundreds of times per day.

For example:

Global Natural Language Processing value

What exactly is natural language processing? What do you need to know about it? What impact does it have on digital marketing? Let’s find out.

What Is Natural Language Processing (NLP)?

Language is natural to humans, but the same can’t be said for computers. Understanding the context behind our words is a huge challenge for them. NLP is all about changing that.

Natural Language Processing is an area of artificial intelligence (AI) that leans on disciplines like computer science and computational linguistics to enable computers to interpret, comprehend, and manipulate the often arbitrary, ruleless world of human language. As such, its ultimate goal is to help computers make sense of the things we say in a way that adds value.

As I noted above, NLP has a ton of use cases, many completely embedded in our everyday life. For instance:

  • Translation tools like Google Translate use it to produce translations between languages that make sense, rather than just a literal word-for-word translation
  • Word processors (think Microsoft Word and Google Docs) use it to assess the grammatical accuracy of written text
  • Call centers use interactive voice response applications to respond to certain customer requests

It’s also the driving force behind search engines like Google becoming “smarter.” While keywords are still highly valuable, search behavior is becoming more complex because we expect search engines to understand what we mean. Consider the following search:

natural language processing google search

As humans, we understand the searcher is Brazilian and wants to know if they need a visa to visit the US.

Previously, Google struggled to discern the true meaning, so it served an unhelpful result for US citizens visiting Brazil. However, advances in NLP now allow it to understand the importance of the common word “to” in this query, thereby enabling it to provide a more relevant result.

NLP vs. AI vs. Machine Learning

To a non-computer scientist, NLP sounds a lot like machine learning and AI. In reality, all three are closely intertwined, but subtly different. To understand their relationship, you need to understand a third term: deep learning.

  • Artificial intelligence encompasses anything we do to make machines smarter, whether that’s a software application, a smart fridge, or a car.
  • Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence covering anything to do with systems learning for themselves, free of human intervention.
  • Deep learning is a subset of machine learning, applied specifically to large data sets.
Natural language processing vs AI vs machine learning

Where does natural language processing fit in? Well, it’s a part of AI, but it also overlaps with both machine learning and deep learning.

The Evolution of Natural Language Processing

While it sounds hyper-modern, natural language processing has existed in one form or another for several decades, although it’s come a long way since the early days.

The History of Natural Language Processing

  • Started in the 1950s as machine translation, when linguist Leon Dostert of Georgetown University used an IBM 701 computer to translate Russian to English.
  • The Soviet Union soon launched its own competing machine translation project to translate English into Russian. By 1964, the USSR had become the world leader in machine translation.
  • In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum programmed the first chatbot, named Eliza. It was only capable of holding very limited conversations, mostly based on reordering the user’s input to form questions.
  • Whereas these early examples of NLP were held back by the need to develop complex sets of handwritten rules and parameters, in the late 1980s the field was revolutionized by early forms of machine learning.

How it Is Now: The Effects of NLP on Digital Marketing

Marketing has always been about context; getting into the heads of our audience to understand what they are (and aren’t) telling us. It helps us answer questions like:

  • What persuaded them to click our ad?
  • What made them bounce off the landing page?
  • What made them add to cart, then abandon?

NLP gives us more context by helping us understand not just the exact words being used, but what they mean. That makes it hugely applicable to marketing. For instance, voice search is wholly dependent on NLP, as it uses complex algorithms to understand a user’s commands and discern the most helpful response.

How to Use Natural Language Processing in Marketing

By now, you’ve probably started to understand just how useful NLP is to marketers, but in reality, the use cases are likely more substantial than you’ve imagined! Here are some of the most relevant and fascinating.

Understanding Customer Sentiment

Whether you’re a household name or a tiny startup, you need to know when people are speaking about you online and what they’re saying.

NLP software helps by analyzing social posts, reviews, and user-generated content related to your brand. Hootsuite’s sentiment analysis tool, which analyzes the language used in brand mentions on social media, is a super simple example of how this looks in practice:

Hootsuite sentiment analysis natural language processing

There are many more complex, dedicated tools that use natural language processing to monitor sentiment across digital channels, from social media and review sites to blogs and forums. Examples include:

  • MonkeyLearn
  • Lexalytics
  • Brandwatch 
  • Social Searcher 
  • Aylien
  • Social Mention
  • Critical Mention

Sentiment analysis tools are powered by one of the following three types of algorithms:

  • Rule-based: These use a set of manually determined rules to automatically predict the sentiment of a given social mention, review, blog post, etc.
  • Automatic: Automatic algorithms rely solely on machine learning techniques to understand user sentiment.
  • Hybrid: These systems combine both of the above approaches, often producing more accurate results.

Building Chatbots for Customer Service and Lead Gen

Why do people use chatbots? Well, as this study shows, there are a bunch of reasons. They’ve become a key customer service tool and an invaluable part of the buying process, helping people find quick answers before connecting to a real human for more in-depth discussion.

natural language processing chat bot uses

Natural language processing is the technology that powers chatbots. Without it, they’d be limited to extremely simple interactions. Sure, it’s normally pretty clear that you’re speaking to a bot rather than a person, but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for users. In fact, 54 percent would always choose a chatbot over a human if doing so would get them an answer 10 minutes faster.

Identifying Trends with Natural Language Processing

You’ve probably used a news aggregator or RSS feed before to find regular information about a specific brand, product, or topic area.  Well, NLP takes things a lot further by finding that information, then summarizing all the key points in just a split second. That’s invaluable if you’re trying to identify the next big trend in your market.

Scaling Content Creation

Artificial intelligence is capable of writing fiction and plausible news stories, so it’s no surprise that it’s also capable of much simpler content creation tasks.

I’m not saying you should turn your whole content marketing strategy over to robots. For now, at least, you’re best leaving anything more creative in the hands of humans.

What about content creation at scale though? Say you’ve got a huge e-commerce site with thousands of products; creating descriptions for all those individual pages would be a copywriter’s worst nightmare!

That’s where AI-driven content, underscored by natural language processing, becomes invaluable. Indeed, e-commerce giant Alibaba has already introduced an AI copywriter capable of handling all that labor-intensive writing. Clothing brands like Dickies and Esprit use it to create Chinese-language product descriptions.

Leveraging NPL for Voice Assistants

About a quarter of US adults own a smart speaker.

While we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to realizing the marketing potential of these devices, there have been a few standout examples. Amazon Echo users were given the chance to explore the dystopian setting of the TV show Westworld, while Netflix promoted the second series of Stranger Things by allowing Google Home users to “chat” with the character Dustin.

Of course, as I’ve already discussed, none of that would be possible without natural language processing to translate speech into text, semantically match that text with the device’s knowledge base, then provide a helpful answer.

NLP Marketing Case Study: Tenable Doubles Conversion Rates

While the phrase “natural language processing” might be new to a lot of us, the technology itself has been around for a long time. So it’s no surprise that brands are already using it to deliver impressive results.

One great example is the cybersecurity company Tenable. It was facing two big problems with its sales process:

  • Leads were taking too long to reach a sales development representative (SDR)
  • SDRs faced a bottleneck in engaging with leads outside office hours, or at points in the day when they were busy or away from their desks

“If you’re not following up with them, there’s a good chance that a person’s going to say ‘I don’t even remember filling out that form,’ or, ‘I don’t even remember going to your website,’” noted Matt Mullin, Tenable’s Senior Director of Global Marketing Operations and Technology.

By implementing a business development strategy that placed smart chatbots front and center on its website, the brand saw a 30% upturn in the quality and length of conversations with prospects, while conversion rates doubled.

Uses for Natural Language Processing Besides Marketing

NLP didn’t start as a marketing solution, and its use cases extend way beyond marketing. Here’s just a handful of other uses for the technology:

Detecting Coronavirus

That’s right: NLP isn’t just about marketing, it’s been helping us fight the pandemic. Alibaba Group’s R&D institute, the DAMO Academy, built an NLP-based system capable of using chest scans and deep data to diagnose Covid-19 infections in just 20 seconds, with 96% accuracy.

Identifying & Analyzing Competitors

Every business uses some degree of competitor analysis to inform strategic direction. However, in an increasingly globalized world, it’s not always obvious who your biggest rivals are.

You might think you’re competing with the brand down the road, when in reality your customers are being poached by a company on the other side of the planet.

Again, NLP has a solution. Tools like Zirra (and many others) are capable of automatically mapping the competitor landscape, creating a list of companies ranked by how closely related they are to your brand.

Assessing Creditworthiness

Lenders use credit scoring to understand whether an individual or business is a safe bet for a loan or some other form of borrowing.

However, that’s not always possible in emerging markets, where key records may not be as readily available.

Now, brands like Lenddo are using natural language processing to make lending decisions based on non-traditional data sources that encompass an applicant’s entire digital footprint, from their browsing habits and social media usage to e-commerce transactions and even psychometric profiling.

Hiring Talent

For years, recruiters and HR teams have been using technology to scan resumes and cover letters for certain keywords.

NLP is a logical extension of this. Rather than fixating on specific phrases, it’s capable of analyzing and extracting the information that’s most relevant to the specific role.

That allows employers to automate the lengthy process of sifting through CVs, safe in the knowledge that those who make it through will be up to the task.

Conclusion

Natural language processing certainly sounds advanced, but it’s based on the old-fashioned marketing principle of understanding our customers better.

Rather than directly asking your audience what they think about your brand or product, what challenges they’re facing, or what their goals are, NLP helps you to discern their feelings, motivations, and opinions from the words they use.

NLP is another step toward removing the guesswork from our marketing decisions, enabling us to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right messaging.

How are you planning to use national language processing in your marketing strategy?

The post How Natural Language Processing Affects Digital Marketing appeared first on Neil Patel.

Recession Crowdfunding Terms You Should Know, Unveiled

Even during COVID-19, you can still get financing via crowdfunding. But you should know these recession crowdfunding terms.

Do You Know These Recession Crowdfunding Terms?

Crowdfunding can seem to be a bit of a mystery. Why are people willing to part with their cash in this particular manner? There are a lot of recession crowdfunding terms thrown around all the time and they can sometimes get confusing. So consider this your primer on some basic crowdfunding terminology.

Because even if you do not think you will use this method of fundraising, you will probably encounter it all the same.

But before going any further, does crowdfunding ever actually, you know, work?

Crowdfunding Success, in a Nutshell

For some companies which crowdfund, the rewards are great. According to Crowdfunding Blog, the single most successful crowdfunding campaign was for the Pebble Time Smartwatch. And that was as of November of 2018. But before you run out and buy one, note that they are now a  part of FitBit.

As in, they went out of business in July of 2018. And this is a business which raised over $20 million in 2015. That is no typo. And in point of fact, Pebble holds three of the top six spots in the biggest crowdfunding successes of all time. Together, these three crowdfunding campaigns took in a staggering $43.39 million. This is about $8 million more than the town of Huntington, New York (population 203,264) budgeted for highways in 2018.

Hence there is one thing that should be clear to all. Runaway crowdfunding success is no guarantee whatsoever of actual success.

But now it is time to get to the recession crowdfunding terms themselves.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Project

A project is what you are asking for money for. Projects can take a few months or even years. The more complex your project, then (usually) the longer it will take. The person starting the project is generally called the project runner or the project creator.

Projects can be for goods or for services.

What frustrates you the most about funding your business in a recession? Tell us in the comments.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Donors

The people who donate to the project are called donors. Or sometimes they are referred to as contributors or backers.

On rare occasions, they may even be called investors. However, such a word connotes a far different relationship. Many crowdfunding platforms shy away from such a term. And this is for good reason. It is because investors and investments may come under the purview of the SEC. The Securities and Exchange Commission exists in order to protect investors. This is in ways not current available to donors 0r other contributors to the success of businesses.

Hence, unless the crowdfunding platform is specifically for investing in companies, more like angel investing, you are not too terribly likely to see the investor.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Campaign

The act of requesting money on a crowdfunding platform is called a campaign. This is the soup to nuts of crowdfunding. So it covers everything from the first pitch to the final collection or perk distribution.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Donor Levels

In general, donor levels refer to the amount of rewards which are on offer for a particular size donation. Note: I will get to rewards in a moment. Your donor levels might look something like this:

  • $10 fountain pen (100 available)
  • $20 includes $10 level plus a tee shirt (50 available)
  • $50 includes $20 level plus a framed picture (30 available)
  • $100 includes $50 level plus dinner with the project runner (10 available)
  • $500 includes all other perk levels plus a new car (2 available)

Donor levels are limited by your imagination and your capacity for handling complexity. After all, five separate donor levels mean you are keeping five separate lists. If you are well-organized, then this is possible. But it is not easy. Five separate donor levels are plenty, particularly for people running their first campaigns.

Truthfully, you will be a far happier person if you cut the number of donor levels to no more than three.

Of course, time and budget should be considerations for anyone. But that is not just the case for crowdfunding.

What frustrates you the most about funding your business in a recession? Tell us in the comments.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Rewards (Also Known as Perks)

One basic about crowdfunding for creative projects is that you will need to provide incentives for your donors to open up their wallet. Crowdfunding to help someone with their medical expenses is a different animal. So let us get back to crowdfunding for business funds.

This is where perks come in.

Your rewards can be nearly anything. But it can quite literally pay to have them relate directly to your project.

For example, if you are crowdfunding to get enough money to back your new smart phone invention, then your rewards probably should not be your grandmother’s blueberry muffin recipe. And this is no matter how wonderful it may be. Instead, you could base your rewards around your invention. So this could be everything from offering a case to an extra battery or charger. Or you might even offer an app which only your donors can download.

A Word to the Wise about Rewards

Recession Crowdfunding Terms Credit Suite

Rewards are a very real part of crowdfunding and they can often be a part which project creators do not take into consideration. Sometimes, we think a product will go to market in, say, a year. But circumstances change, and now one year turns into two. So be it – this sort of thing happens all the time.

But it is an issue if your perks are dependent on your product going out the door. So if you need to fulfill perk promises to 10,000 people, you will likely find you need to do one of any of these things:

  • Delay your product launch
  • Hire someone to do fulfillment for you
  • Offer alternative perks (if you can)

Reneging is not an option, and it can get you on the wrong end of a lawsuit if you are not careful.

A fourth option is delaying perk fulfillment. Not every donor will go for that.

A For-Instance on Perk Level Complexity

Sending out so many perks is a major task. It can take months to get everything out the door.

Why does it take so long? Consider the degree of complexity. Let’s go with an easy number: 100. So let’s say you have 10 separate perk levels and they each have 10 slots. Once an eleventh person wants a certain perk level, they just plain can’t have it, as it’s gone. Are you with me so far?

Your ten separate perk styles may be of differing weights. So this means they will have different shipping costs. If any of your 100 donors are outside of the United States, then you will have to pay more to ship to them as well. Plus of course you have to make sure all of the addresses are complete and correct.

It becomes even more complex when your perks do not fit into such neat little buckets. This is where you have, say, eight perks. And you might have anywhere from 12 to 1,000 people who are supposed to be getting them. Plus some people may have donated twice and are waiting for two separate perks. Or maybe even more.

See how ugly and difficult this can get – fast?

What frustrates you the most about funding your business in a recession? Tell us in the comments.

Getting Around This Problem

The easiest way to get around these issues is to offer intangible perks. In our smart phone example, the exclusive app would fit the bill nicely. Your best bet is to make the intangible perk good for the largest number of donors possible.

Hence if your lowest level is $10, and you have 100 of those slots, then you could just give 100 people a download code. This is a lot faster than figuring out postage for all of those donors. Plus, with an intangible perk, technically the number of perks is effectively infinite. But scarcity gets people interested, so you might not want to make the downloads never-ending.

For the more tangible perks, leave them for far smaller groups, such as the 25 people who are at your two top donor levels. Mailing to 25 people is far easier than it is to mail to 10,000 people. And this is so even if the mailings are difficult.

But I Don’t Have Intangible Perks!

No? Then what do you call a coupon sent in email? See, there are ways to offer intangible perks even when the entire business operation is very, very tangible. Coupons have been around, seemingly, forever. People will gladly print them off or carry them in their smartphones for scanning.

Or there can be discount codes, which are virtually the same thing, except with no designing of a coupon to be cut out or scanned. Amazon, for example, gives these out all the time. And the vast majority of backers will know exactly how to use them.

Important Recession Crowdfunding Terms: Takeaways

There is, of course, more to recession crowdfunding terms than this. But these should at the very least get you started. And as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section of this blog post.

In Part 2, we will talk about types of crowdfunding and types of platforms. There’s more to this unique form of financing than just recession crowdfunding terms.

The post Recession Crowdfunding Terms You Should Know, Unveiled appeared first on Credit Suite.

Best Options for Salon Financing in A COVID-19 World

As many businesses are beginning to look at reopening, salon owners are facing a particularly unique predicament.  Merchant cash advances have long been a salon financing standard, but without credit card sales coming in and no guarantee of when they can open up, that funding source is no longer a viable option for many. 

Best Salon Financing Options

There are other options of course, but which ones work best for salon financing?  Is a term loan best?  Would credit cards work better?  How about a line of credit?  Of course, the answer depends on a number of factors. Take a look at these options, consider your own situation, and see which one will work best for you.

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

Salon Financing: Credit Line Hybrid

One unique option is the credit line hybrid. It is easier to get than a lot of salon financing options, and you can typically get more money than with other options. It’s basically revolving, unsecured financing.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  

Do You Qualify? 

It’s not as hard as you may think to qualify.  First, your personal credit score should be at least 685.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Furthermore, in the past 6 months you should have less than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  

If that seems daunting, don’t worry.  If you do not meet all of the requirements, you can take on a credit partner that does.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding. 

What are the Benefits? 

salon funding Credit SuiteThere are many benefits to using this for salon financing.  First, it is unsecured.  That means you don’t have to have any collateral to put up.  Next, the funding is “no-doc.”  That means you do not have to provide any bank statements or financials either.  

Better yet, typical approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Often you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months.  This allows you to put that savings back into your business. 

The process is pretty fast.  This is especially true if you have a qualified expert to walk you through it.  One other benefit is that the approval of multiple credit cards creates competition. This makes it easier, and even likely,, that you can get interest rates lowered and limits raised every few months. 

Funding Flexibility

In addition to these fabulous benefits, a credit line hybrid is an especially flexible form of funding.    Funds are available as needed and when needed for a variety of things, including but not limited to: 

  1. Paying off higher interest debt.  This could allow you to lower monthly payments and increase credit score. Imagine using a 0% interest credit line to pay off a number of high interest credit cards.  You could literally save yourself hundreds of dollars a month that can then be put back into your business. 
  2. Bridging a cash gap caused by slow collections or seasonal issues. You could never have to worry or stress about large invoices being paid slowly, or slow business in the off season, ever again.
  3. Covering bills during a global pandemic. COVID-19 turned the whole economy on its head.  No one knows if or when it will happen again.  Funds from a credit line hybrid can help you stay above water without waiting for or just hoping you can get government relief.
  4. Taking advantage of promotional pricing. Think about the next time your best seller goes on sale with the wholesale company, you can buy as much as you want at the promotional price because you have the funds.  
  5. Growing and expanding your business by adding equipment, adding on to your building, or even opening a new location. 
  6. Funding updates and repairs. Don’t let things slide any longer because you can’t pay for it.  Get the repairs you need, do the updates that need doing, and watch your business thrive. 
  7. Save it for a rainy day.  Leave it alone until you need it.  No one can see into the future.  It never hurts to have a safety net.

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

Online Lenders

Online lenders tend to work well for salon financing.  Your credit score doesn’t have to be quite as high as it does with traditional banks, and the funds can be in your bank account much more quickly. There are tons out there, but some work better for salons than others.  Here are two examples that are generally favorable for salons. 

OnDeck 

Obtaining financing from OnDeck is fast and simple. First, apply online.  Then, receive your decision once application processing is complete. If approved, your loan funds will go directly to your bank account. The minimum loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $500,000.

Just like any other online lender, they do have certain requirements to qualify for a loan.  For example, a personal credit score of 600 or more.  Also, you must be in business for at least three years. Annual revenue must be at or exceed $100,000. In addition, there can be no bankruptcy on file in the past 2 years and no unresolved liens or judgements.

Kabbage 

Kabbage is a well known online lender offering a small business line of credit that can help businesses accomplish business goals. The minimum loan amount is $500 and the maximum is $250,000. They require you to be in business for at least one year.  Also, you must have $50,000 or more in annual revenue.  They will accept $4,200 or more in monthly revenue over the most recent three-month period to meet income requirement as well.

Kabbage is a go-to if you need cash quickly. Their non-traditional approach puts less weight on your credit score.  This means they may work well for borrowers that still have some work to do in that department.

Credit Cards

Just like online lenders, some credit cards work better for salons than others.  There are dozens out there.  It takes some research to determine which ones may work best for your salon financing needs.  Here are a couple that tend to work well to help get you started. 

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Check out the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It has no yearly fee and there is a 0% introductory APR for the initial twelve months. After that, the APR is a variable 14.74 to 20.74%.

Get double Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases.  These include office supplies or client dinners.  This applies to the first $50,000 spent annually. Get 1 point per dollar afterwards.  You’ll need great credit to qualify. 

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Consider the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business. It has no yearly fee, but there is also no introductory APR offer. The regular APR is a variable 24.49%. You can earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase for your company. There is no minimum redemption requirement either.

This card is within reach if you have fair credit, but beware of the APR. Still, if you can pay on schedule, and completely, then it’s a great deal.

SBA Funding

We all know the emergency SBA funding in response to COVID-19 has been a debacle, but their regular loan programs are still available.  Some of them can work well for salon financing. 

7(a) Loans

This is the Small Business Administration’s most popular loan program. One reason is, it offers federally funded term loans up to $5 million. In addition, the funds can be used for expansion, purchasing equipment, working capital and more. 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.  Also, there is a required down payment of at least 10% for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. Lastly, the minimum time in business is 2 years. In the case of startups, business experience equivalent to two years will do the trick.

Funds are available for a wide variety of projects, from working capital to refinancing debt.  You can even buy a new business or real estate.

504 Loans 

These loans are available up to $5 million and can buy machinery, facilities, or land. For the most part, they are for expansion. Private sector lenders or nonprofits process and disburse these loans. They especially work well for commercial real estate purchases.

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

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

Microloans 

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

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

SBA Express Loans 

These loans max out at $350,000.  Moreover, they have a maximum interest rate of 11.50%. Terms range from 5 to 25 years.  In contrast to the others, the SBA guarantee is less, at 50%. To qualify, your credit score must be above 680.  Also, you must have a debt to service ratio of 1.1 or higher. If the loan is greater than $25,000, collateral may be necessary depending on the lender.

The turnaround for express loans is much faster.  In fact, SBA takes 36 hours or less to give a decision. Not only that, but the necessary paperwork for application is less also.  This makes express loans a great option for working capital, among other things, if you qualify.

A Quick Note on Equipment Financing

If you need to buy equipment for your salon, like chairs, tools, or sinks, any of these options will work.  However, it’s possible that specific equipment financing options may work even better.  These are small busienss loans in which the lender lends a portion of the quoted cost for the equipment you wish to purchase. 

Equipment loans are different because the asset you are purchasing is the security for the loan.  This makes equipment loans easier for those who do not have great credit or for borrowers that want to reduce their guarantee.

Is Your Salon Fundable? 

One of the best ways to ensure you can get salon financing when needed is to work on the fundability of your salon.  This includes a lot more than credit score.  It has to do with how your business is set up, how all of your personal and business records line up, and what information is available to lenders about your business from various sources.  It’s wise to do an analysis of fundability to ensure that your ducks are in a row.

In the meantime, it’s easy to make sure your business is set up to be fundable.  Consider the following: 

  • Do you have a separate business phone number and address?  This is necessary to fundability and business credit. 
  • Do you use an EIN to apply for business credit rather than your personal SSN?  You can get one for free at IRS.gov if you don’t already have one. 
  • Is your business incorporated?  It’s non-negotiable.  You must be incorporated to build fundability and business credit. 
  • Do you have a separate business bank account?  That’s necessary as well, for a number of reasons, including building fundability and business credit. 
  • Make sure you have all the licenses required to operate your business at all levels. 

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but it is a great start and you can work on it now.  

Salon Financing is Out There, You Just Have to Know What You are Looking For

The truth is, these post COVID-19 times are hard for everyone, and salon financing may look different during hard economic times.   It is available, but you have to know which type of funding will work best for you.  Often a term loan isn’t an option, and even more often it isn’t the best option.  A credit line hybrid works well for almost anyone, and it comes with the bonus of potentially helping to build business credit. 

In the end, the answer depends on what you qualify for and what works best for your specific situation.  Research is key, and increasing your fundability always helps.

The post Best Options for Salon Financing in A COVID-19 World appeared first on Credit Suite.

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