StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Why Your Business Needs An Online Bank Account

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleOnline banking has become increasingly popular over the years with many people choosing to manage their finances online. This is because there are many benefits to online banking such as easy access to your finances, online transfers and much more. Surprisingly, many businesses still don’t use online banking, making their lives a lot harder. If you run a business but don’t yet have an online bank account, you should keep reading to find out why you should make the change.

It Is Easier To Manage

When you run a business, you often have to take some time to look through your finances. When you have a lot of paper bank statements in front of you, cheques and all sorts of other materials, it is a lot easier for things to get lost. This is why you should think about opening a BB&T online bank account if you want to be able to manage your business finances a lot more easily. BB&T have a range of checking and saving accounts for businesses that come with a lot of account extras which you should take advantage of. These include online banking and customizable checks.

Faster Payment Of Bills

There’s nothing worse than paying a bill and finding out that the cheque never made it to the company in the post. This can often mean that late charges are added on and there are usually other consequences. If you want to be able to pay your bills in a faster and much more efficient way, you should think about opening up an online bank account for your business.

Save Time

How much time do you spend going to the bank each week or sending one of your staff members there? When you have an online bank account, you’ll rarely need to go to your local bank branch and so you’ll save yourself some more time. This will give you a lot more time to focus on the other important parts of your business and you won’t need to make sure that you get to the bank before it closes.

Get Paid Faster

As a business owner, you often need to make sure that all of your clients have paid you within the time frame needed to ensure that your business is profiting. If it takes a lot longer for your clients to pay you, you might find that this can have a negative impact on your figures. Make sure to get yourself an online bank account if you want your clients to be able to pay you a lot faster. You will love seeing the money enter your bank account almost immediately and you’ll be able to ensure that everything is paid on time.

Get Started Now

In this day and age, there really is no reason for you not to be using an online bank account for your business. There are so many advantages of doing this and if you are still visiting your bank branch a few times a week then you are wasting valuable business time. Think about finding the best online bank account for your business and you’ll love the perks.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

How to Avoid a Business Bankruptcy

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleThe number of small businesses filing for bankruptcy increases every year, and while bankruptcies don’t always lead to the full closure of the company, in a lot of cases they do. If your dream business is currently on the verge of bankruptcy, don’t panic. There are some steps you can take that may help you to turn things around. Try to think as positively as you can and put the following steps into action.

1. Look at the Figures

The first thing you need to do is work out how much you need to make each month to survive. This includes both the money you need to actually live, and the money you need to repay your creditors. Add 20% to this figure to give yourself a cushion. Finally, add in the costs of running your business. This includes everything from your bills to your payroll to the cost of inventory. With this information at hand, you need to work out how much your business is earning each month. If you are facing bankruptcy, it’s likely you have a deficit between the two numbers. The next steps are going to focus on decreasing costs and increasing profit to give you enough to cover everything you need to pay.

2. Cut Costs

Okay this sounds simple, but there is sure to be some ways that you can lower your expenses to meet your spending goals. Consider getting rid of your traditional phone plan and switching to VoIP, look into cheaper packaging options, and look into obtaining new quotes for any services you receive that aren’t under contract. The aim here is to look for redundant costs that your business can do without and either eliminate them entirely or reduce the amount you are spending.

3. Renegotiate with Your Creditors

Phone your creditors and let them know you are considering bankruptcy. The majority will be happy to come up with a payment plan that works for you so long as it means they will still receive what they are owed (with bankruptcy there is no guarantee they will be paid). Some may be willing to waive the interest, while others will extend the terms of your debt so that you have longer to repay it. You could also file a consumer proposal with your creditors if you don’t want to speak to them directly.

4. Look at Short Term Cashflow Options

We’re not necessarily suggesting that you take out loans to cover your cash flow. Instead, speak to your vendors and ask them for more lenient payment terms. If they can extend their terms, you will free up more cash in the short term. Another option is to ask your clients to pay you quicker. You could offer them a small percentage off their invoice if they are willing to pay faster. Both of these options will provide a boost in the short term.

Sometimes filing for bankruptcy is the only option. However, it is worth giving the above a try first if it could mean saving your business.

StrategyDriven Leadership Inspirations Quote

Leadership Inspirations – Finding a Way

StrategyDriven Leadership Inspirations Quote“We will either find a way, or make one.”

Hannibal (247 – 183 B.C.)
Carthaginian general, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

7 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Cloud Solution

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleCloud technology is expanding rapidly because of its many benefits. However, not all cloud solution providers are the same. Yet there are many cloud service providers offering themselves as the solution to your business’ needs. The question for many is what they should use as deciding factors when searching for a cloud solution. Here are seven things you should consider when choosing a cloud solution.

Your Core Needs

Before you start shopping for a SaaS service or cloud service provider, determine what your core needs are. What infrastructure and software do you need to keep your business going and remain profitable? Does it integrate with other applications, including those you consider crucial? There’s no point in shopping SaaS service providers that don’t have what you absolutely must have to keep going. Extras are just that, extra.

Support Versus Your Needs

Look at the level of support the service provider needs relative to what the cloud service offers. If you need 24/7/365 support to meet the expectations of your consumers, you can’t afford to hire a cloud service that limits support to office hours. The problem is amplified by relying on a service provider in another country that limits support to office hours that don’t line up with yours. Don’t let them tell you that their online documentation is good enough, though you should give preference to a SaaS provider with good documentation on everything from how to use the service to troubleshooting issues that may arise. Ask how they handle upgrades and whether or not you have input on when and how these are done.

We would like to warn you that an organization that promises excellent support during outages may be a warning sign in and of itself. The provider should guarantee 99.9% uptime at a minimum. Anything less than this level of uptime indicates trouble.

Trust

The trust factor is a major factor when you’re deciding which cloud solution to use. You are, after all, going to keep all of your user data and probably the data critical to your business’ operations on their servers. If you going to be posting medical data that needs to be protected in accordance with HIPAA standards or financial data that requires an extra layer of protection, make certain the service provider meets the industry standards for such. How are they protecting your data? If the vendor doesn’t use their own data center and cloud technology, what does their service provider do to protect your data?

Value

Price cannot and should not be your overall deciding criteria. After all, the cheapest service may lack the memory space or support that you need. You’ll also pay for the services you use, such as the number of users accessing the site and the number of transactions processed. Cloud service providers tend to charge based on “tiers” or levels of service. You can learn more about cloud storage tiers and their prices here. When you’re shopping for a cloud service provider, determine your needs now and in the near future. Then compare the overall value of each provider’s package. You might want to pay a little more per month for an automatic backup of your data that is easily restored if there is a problem. If maintenance and support are included at a higher tier and you expect to hit that volume of transactions soon, it may be worth paying for the higher tier now and locking in the rates.

Reviews

A business may have an excellent service plan at an affordable price and say they meet industry standards. The experience of their customers may prove otherwise. You can find this out by checking their reviews. Reading reviews on a variety of sites, not just the business’ chosen testimonials posted on their website, allow you to really know if they respond to tech support calls in a timely manner. You’ll learn if they actually meet the terms of their Service Level Agreement or if you have to have an SLA in order to get that fast turnaround on a memory space increase or restoration. Reviews may be the only way to learn about data loss from mistakes by the service provider.

Go ahead and ask for references, so that you can ask their current customers about what they think of the cloud service provider.

Usability

You want to know what it is like to use the software as a service hosted on the cloud. How hard is it to log in? What do they offer in terms of software relative to what you’re familiar using? How fast can you log in? How quickly do the apps respond? You can ask these questions, or you can ask for a fully functional trial period to test drive the cloud service yourself. Make sure you know what service level they’re providing before you commit to another tier in a contract, so you don’t pay for something slower than the service you loved when you tried it out.

Something else to check is how well the cloud service provider supports usability across devices and operating systems. Can you check your email on their server using your smartphone? Does it work with all the various laptops and personal computers in use around the firm? Will it work with the next generation of tablets you want to use?

An Exit Strategy

An often overlooked factor is how easy it is to move the data if that becomes necessary. If they use proprietary data, it may be hard to move your data somewhere else, whether you want to change service provider or your service provider goes out of business. Incompatible data formats or unusual software applications could also create problems if you backup data with a different service provider simply to benefit from redundancy. Find out how well they support the export of data, regardless of the reason why.

Conclusion

Take these factors into account, and you should be able to find a cloud service provider who meets or exceeds your needs without breaking your budget. And you’ll be able to be confident you’ve made the right decision.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

4 Ways to Improve Your Internet Marketing

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleFor any small business, having an effective strategy to market the business well is important. Any company that doesn’t use the internet in a productive way is going to find their peers overtaking them and getting well ahead within a few short years. It’s necessary for every company to ‘up their game’ with internet marketing.

Here are four ways to help improve how your business is being marketed online.

Video Intros to Capture Attention

Video introductions are all the rage with YouTube, Vimeo, vlogging and commercial videos. It gives a chance for the presenter or company to provide a standardized beginning to every clip. For YouTube creators, using a standard intro lets viewer know that they’re on the correct channel and primes them for what to expect next. It creates a sense of anticipation of an entertaining or informative video and extends the average viewing time which helps videos rank higher in the YouTube and Vimeo search engines, respectively.

For businesses, they can also benefit from creating an introduction using software to complete the task. Having the software to hand makes it much easier and faster to change the introduction to update it as needed. A branding change or a new sister brand are easily accommodated with video intro software designed to make that fast and uncomplicated to complete. You can read more here about the features and options available with the IntroBrand Logo maker software.

Outreach to Higher Quality Websites

When starting out with a website, it’s likely that the site didn’t have much trust or ranking and found it difficult to reach out to industry sites. Making contact directly was often more successful. Using LinkedIn, attending expos on related topics and pursing other business connections having already met tends to work well.

You’re no longer doing a cold approach via email which is how many internet marketers on behalf of small businesses attempt to make contact. Because everyone is doing this, it tends to fall flat. The SkyScraper technique is a well-worn approach, but that’s why it’s increasingly become less effective as time has gone on; everyone is copying the same idea and inboxes are flooded with email.
To interest business owners and bloggers with what you have to say, it helps if you already have something of value to offer their customers or readers. If you have a blog on your site, what’s the writing quality like? Does it capture the reader’s attention or does it fall flat? If you’re making contact to eventually get a guest post published and score that all-important backlink, then your existing content is your advertisement to what they’ll receive. Putting your best foot forward in this regard is vital if you’re to attraction high-traffic, respected websites in related niches/industries.

Answer Questions Online to Demonstrate Authority

Another effective way to improve on the marketing side is to demonstrate authority in your industry or niche by answering questions. This can be done in the frequently asked questions section on your website, but you should also be interested in reaching people who don’t know your brand yet.

Answering questions on a site like Quora.com is useful because once a question is added, multiple answers are posted by different people. Visitors of the site vote on which answer was the most helpful or factually accurate. When you’re in a position to answer relevant questions factually and in an easily digestible manner, it gives you a leg up over your competitors who may not have even thought to do so. And even if they’re not directly competing with you but are impressed with your answers, this may encourage them to ask you to write a guest post on their site.

What do you do if you don’t write well or feel that you don’t have the time to do so? Jot down some bullet-points about how you would like the answer written out and then hire a writer on a per assignment basis to provide a written answer. Then, once an account is created and verified on Quora, the reply can be posted. This gets around any quality and time constraint concerns.

Develop a Popular YouTube Channel

If you’re working with a company and they make use of video intros for their corporate training videos, that’s great. However, they can do so much more with video content. An active YouTube channel is an effective way to attract interest from viewers, demonstrate knowledge, and drive traffic from YouTube to your website. This can be for email opt-ins to your newsletter or to promote a related product line.

A larger following doesn’t grow overnight but when you post on relevant topics that have searchers’ interest on YouTube, the videos and channel will start to show up more often in search results and get more views as a result.

Looking at the YouTube Analytics provides insight into total views per month, average viewing time and other useful data points. However, other software add-ons like vidIQ Vision or TubeBuddy, and a website like SocialBlade provide greater insight into popular search terms used to reach related video channels that compete with your site. By creating similar content that answers searchers’ questions better and includes keywords that match their search query, your video marketing content can rank higher sooner as well.

Concluding Thoughts

As the competition heats up for the increasingly fleeting attention span of their target market, all companies must do what they can to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing budget. Getting a high ROI is critical here.

Smart tools that provide analytics offer clues as to what is working for competitors to avoid reinventing the wheel. Similarly, building brand reputation online (and diligently protecting it) are necessary pieces of the internet marketing puzzle for companies that wish to get ahead while protecting what they already have.

A single misstep can cause more damage than a wide-reaching plan to expand your online presence by posting to social media channels more often or publishing excellent content. Strike the right balance to ensure mistakes aren’t made while forging ahead.