When you decide to outsource online business marketing, you are making a smart decision to get resources you currently don’t have to do a job that needs doing. Too many companies that do not have marketing expertise just don’t do much marketing. The result is stunted business growth and in many cases, loss of market share — especially if your industry has competition that does do marketing quite well. Finding ways to outsource online marketing can help you ensure your website gets traffic and the right traffic can translate to profits.By outsourcing your business marketing needs to a professional, you free up your company’s resources to allow you to continue to do what you do well. Marketing activities can bring in new business and help you maximise the potential for future sales with existing customers as well. Marketing doesn’t just help you grow but helps you sustain changes in the market place. But before you outsource your marketing to just anyone, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t make critical judgement errors that could cost you money and do more harm than good.Types of TrafficWhat sorts of traffic is a marketing company promising to bring you? Not all web-based traffic is equal. A skilled marketing company knows how to attract the type of traffic that is most likely to buy from you. They will do research to figure out how to appeal to your target demographic. The wrong marketing consultant may help you get generic traffic but will that do much good? Probably not.Black Hat MarketingSome marketers promise to get you great results with your website by making tweaks and changes. But if they are using “black hat” techniques, the results will be very short lived and could result in your site being blacklisted with search engines. Search engines have rules and guidelines that they look at when ranking websites and sending traffic and any attempt to “game” the system can have dire consequences. When looking at which marketing company and which marketing approach to take, be sure that the company you are dealing with is not using anything considered, by search engines, to be unethical.Too AggressiveWhilst aggression is necessary in business, being too aggressive with online marketing could result in problems. Privacy laws need to be followed and the wrong approach with potential customers will turn them “off” and leave your company looking like a run-of-the-mill spammer. Be cautious that your marketer follows ethical guidelines with respect to customer contact, mailing lists, and general marketing practises.Campaigns that are too aggressive in nature could also mean trouble for your business. You need to be able to cope with increasing volumes and a skilled consultant can help you reach targeted growth objectives that are at a manageable level. Too much / too soon and you could fail miserably with new customers and old customers as well.A specialised outsourced business marketing company or consultant will know how to handle marketing at a pace and level that will be comfortable for you and for your customers and that will help you reach your business goals without jeopardising your reputation or any inroads you have already made with your online audience.
Do you use Key Performance Metrics to run your business? One of the truisms I’ve come to believe wholeheartedly is that no business owner is good at every aspect of owning and operating a business.To be a little clearer, the skills to own and operate a business are many and varied. What tends to attract a business owner to operate their own business is a self belief that they can do one or two aspects of running a business very well and either hire the skills they lack or learn these with time.I have also firmly come to believe that too many business owners do not understand well enough how their business is performing and more importantly, what they could do to make this task easier for them.By law, every year a business must submit a tax return to the IRS to state how the business performed. Most business owners outsource this task to a professional such as a CPA or Enrolled Agent. Some choose to create and file their own tax return which is perfectly fine as long as it is done correctly; especially if at some point they want to sell the business. It will almost be impossible to sell a business if the tax returns are not accurate as a bank will not consider lending against the business to the buyer/borrower and the buyer will not take the risk of buying the business if they are not comfortable with the quality of the tax returns of the business.What’s important, though, which I see many business owners missing, is that the financial data of the business provides a gold mine of information. Tucked in the Profit and Loss or Income Statement is critical information about the gross sales, the gross profit, the net profit or net income before taxes and taxes to pay the government to arrive at the net income. However, this document often has other documents that collect and manage the data that rolls into the Profit and Loss and this is where the gold mine exists.With a little initial time and effort, a business owner can have their book-keeper isolate what I call Key Performance Metrics or KPM’s and have these provided on a weekly or monthly basis to allow the business owner to know the direction the business is traveling and what, if any, adjustments they need to make. The KPM’s will vary with each business and generally fall into specific buckets. Some examples include the total number of calls, the total number of calls to place orders, the total number of calls to cancel orders.The KPM vary with each business but they only reveal themselves by looking for them and then paying attention to them. There is a great expression – if you cannot measure it you cannot manage it.And so that’s my challenge to you. What are your KPM’s? You don’t have time to collect this data? If you don’t have time then delegate it to someone you trust and just as importantly, put aside a specific date and time each week or month to go over it. The numbers don’t lie and will tell you more about your business in the quickest time possible to provide your greatest return on time to manage and run your business.
To secure a small business loan for your company how important is accepting Credit/Debit Cards?The ability to secure “Working Capital” when we need it is one of the greatest challenges facing business owners today! Getting cash advances or cash in advance for businesses is becoming more difficult even for businesses with long-term banking relationships.Is there any additional benefit to the issue of accepting credit cards as payment for your good/services when it comes to small business loans and funding?Credit cards, just about everybody today uses them and those who don’t (because of less than perfect credit) will usually have a debit card. In other words, more people today use “plastic” instead of “paper money or checks” than ever before. So what does this mean to you, the merchant? It means as far as you doing business – there is literally no option except that you HAVE to accept credit cards as payment, whether you like it or not.In most small businesses “plastic” accounts for as much as 75% of their business so if they did not take credit cards they probably would not stay in business long. While true that many entrepreneurs and business owners don’t like the processing fees associated with taking credit cards, they really don’t have a choice. In fact there are petitions in Congress to regulate or stop the overcharges associated with Interchange fees, also known as “swipe fees”. Even with that, businesses still must take credit cards as payment.The fact is credit card processing is essential for all businesses for a number of reasons. For instance:The ease of use and simplicity for customers makes it advisable for all companies to accept credit and debit cards. When there is a dispute that could result from a lost or misplaced check then that issue can be resolved with the credit card statement or through the credit card issuer.Payment processing by credit cards is faster and easier. There is no delay and the business providing products/services receives the payment instantly.Paying for goods/services when placing orders by phones involves ease for the customer and additional business for the merchants without the need for face-to-face transaction or being present to give cash or checks. Business can and is being transacted globally and can be conducted by the consumer from anywhere in the world.Processing can be provided via a virtual terminal for the credit card payments to be made enabling companies operating via the Internet to receive payments from customers around the world instantly.But for small business loans there is one tremendous benefit when it comes to financing business growth for companies that have accepted credit cards. And that brings us to the topic of this article: How important is accepting Credit/Debit Cards to securing a small business loan for your business?For many small business owners the first few years in business are usually the most difficult. Most owners have poured their savings, maybe even mortgaged their home to fund the business often having to rob Peter-to-pay-Paul and credit ratings take a hit, so banks are not willing to lend to businesses in the first 2-3 years. So to get a cash advance or business line of credit where does a “growing” business turn for short-term “working capital”?For small business owners that accept credit cards as payment here is good news. Merchant Cash Advance, Credit Card Receivable Financing or Business Cash Advance is a great and readily available resource.The growing increase in credit card use has spurned a segment of the financial and lending industry that funds businesses based on their “Credit Card Sales History”. For Cash Advances and cash in advance or cash in advance for business, there are solutions. Not unlike, “Accounts Receivable Financing” of “Purchase Order Financing” small businesses that accept credit cards can benefit from “CREDIT CARD RECEIVABLE FINANCING”, which is a loan against future Visa/MC sales or another form of funding that has been used for a longer period of time called Merchant Cash Advance (or Business Cash Advance or Cash Advances). The business only needs:To have been in business at least 1 year (No start-ups)Has a minimum FICO score of 540Has accepted Visa/MC for the past 6 monthsHas processed as least $3000 per month for the past 6 monthsHas at least 1 year remaining on their current business lease or owns the propertyHas no open liens, foreclosures or bankruptcies (Liens with payment plans are OK)The great thing for small business owners is based on their monthly credit card sales average they can be pre-approved in 24-48 hours and have funds wired into their business bank account in as little as 5 days.
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