How To Make User Onboarding Simple And Easy

user-onboarding

Somewhere along the way, your business might notice a higher churn rate. User onboarding is an essential factor, when trying to be successful.

Even though there may be multiple causes driving such negative results, ultimately, it is because your users do not understand the benefits and features of the product or service you offer. 

This means that you did not implement a good onboarding strategy, which is the process through which you guide users to explore and learn how to use your product.

When you fail to start or improve such a strategy, you’ll face high abandon rates, followed by critical reviews and a bad reputation. In order to avoid this and help you along the way, we have listed in this article some of the best ways to make user onboarding simple and easy and the most relevant mistakes to avoid.

Let’s get right to the point. 

What is user onboarding?

User onboarding refers to the process of guiding new users to understand your product or service and make them discover its true value.

The onboarding process starts when a potential customer signs up for your product and continues through their first realization of how it benefits them.

 

 

Why is user onboarding important?

The onboarding process is extremely important since it allows your customers to understand how your product works and can benefit them. 

In the absence of such a process, and as a result not teaching your users how to properly use your product, you will see an increased rate of user abandonment, revenue churn, and negative reviews.

A good user onboarding, on the other hand, will allow you to enjoy the following relevant benefits.

Better customer satisfaction and engagement

The more consumers know about your product or service and its main features, the more likely they are to use it often, possibly daily.

In turn, you’ll experience an increase in customer satisfaction and engagement, which leads to better visibility and authority in your field.

Improved retention rate

The more consumers understand how to use your product, and the more benefits they see from using it, the less likely they are to abandon it. As a result, your retention rate will improve, contributing to higher sales and revenues.

Happier customers and brand loyalty

A consumer who is not capable of understanding the functionality and benefits of your product will be unsatisfied and go elsewhere.

On the other hand, if you let consumers know and appreciate your product, it will make them happy and satisfied, which will possibly lead to increased brand loyalty, giving your company a secure revenue stream for years to come.

7 ways to make user onboarding simple and easy

user-onboarding

Following are the seven best ways to make user onboarding simple and quick. 

  • Use a user onboarding tool

Implementing a user onboarding tool is clearly one of the best ways to simplify and ease the onboarding process.

If you know what is an onboarding tool, then you know how powerful it can be to help you teach your new users about your product while they’re using it for the first time.

As an example, you can target your flows based on user behavior and attributes to deliver a more relevant and timely onboarding experience.

Additionally, it will enable you to deploy a combination of full-product tutorials, modals, and less-intrusive tooltips and hotspots to get users engaged with your product and help them realize its value.

  • Welcome new customers with guides and tutorials

By educating users from the beginning, you’re more likely to convince them to stay and spend more time using your product or service. You can do this by creating guides and tutorial videos that you can send to your users after they sign up or subscribe, whether it is a free trial or a paid subscription.

In these guides and video tutorials, you should discuss the first steps and actions that beginners need to take in order to use your product correctly. Furthermore, they should provide an overview of all the features that your product offers.

  • Inform users about what to expect

The first thing you need to keep in mind when presenting your product and guiding your users through getting to know it is honesty. Making false promises or creating false expectations will make users lose trust in your product, your business, or your brand in general. 

Therefore, if you want to avoid this, make sure to always be honest about your product’s characteristics, and perhaps list all the pluses and minuses. 

Additionally, it is a good idea to indicate to whom this product will be most appropriate and to whom it will be less suitable.

  • Create product tours to point out the features

Even though guides and video tutorials can be helpful for users to learn about your product, it may be difficult for them to both learn and use your product at the same time.

This explains why creating product tours could be extremely useful. 

The tours tend to show users step-by-step how to perform some actions or achieve some results. 

Then they will be able to use it more easily. Meanwhile, you’ll offer a memorable and impressive experience that will create a positive first impression in your users’ minds. 

  • Interview and survey your users to find out why they’re using your product and what they expect

A regular survey and interview with users and customers will allow you to always improve your user onboarding strategy and make it simple and easy for users.

Perhaps you could ask why their company or profession needs your product or service, and what they hope to achieve by using it.

As a result, you can customize the onboarding process to be easier and simpler for different types of customers.

  • Gamify your user onboarding

In addition to product tours, gamifying the user onboarding experience can make the onboarding experience easier and simpler.

As an example, you might want to create highly immersive learning experiences through VR-based gamified learning environments or employ gaming elements, such as leaderboards, points tables, and badges, to motivate a competitive spirit among new hires.

As a result, you will be able to provide your users with a memorable and relevant experience that they will remember and recommend to others.

  • Reduce the number of steps in your onboarding

Even though you might be tempted to provide a detailed onboarding process, that could prove to be boring to your users, to the point where they will be discouraged from going through it thoroughly.

Without the onboarding process, they will not understand how to use and benefit from your product, so they will abandon it and leave.

To avoid this from happening, it would be a good idea to keep your onboarding process short and concise so as not to annoy users.

5 user onboarding mistakes to avoid

user-onboarding

Having learned what you need to do to make user onboarding easy and simple, it’s also a good idea to know what not to do.

We have outlined below five mistakes you should absolutely avoid during user onboarding.

  • Do not overpromise

When you are onboarding users, one of the first mistakes to avoid is making exaggerated or untrue promises about the features or results your product will provide.

Basically, once users use it, and see what you promised doesn’t correspond to reality, they will feel betrayed and will lose trust in your company.

Obviously, this will result in them leaving your product and never coming back.

Hence, do not overpromise, and describe your products in terms of their true benefits, without inventing.

  • Do not abandon users after they went through onboarding

The onboarding process is only the beginning of the customer journey. As a result, after onboarding users, you shouldn’t abandon them.

As customers become experts in using and benefiting from your product, the onboarding process should go over and over again.

It’s still a good idea to provide training and onboarding even if that happens, for example when you add new features that they’re unfamiliar with.

  • Not helping and supporting users the right way

User onboarding is more than just articles and videos. Your customers might actually need additional help in understanding your products and solving their doubts or issues.

If this occurs, you must be ready to provide additional assistance and support to users.

Only then can you ensure that your new hires are happy, and you can onboard them in the right way.

  • Not measuring your onboarding properly

By not measuring your onboarding, you will never know whether it is effective or not. Thus, you will not be able to know if you need to improve or change anything.

The best way to prevent such a situation is to measure regularly all of the metrics directly related to your onboarding process, such as retention rate, churn rate, engagement rate, and so on.

  • Do not onboard users like they’re customers

The onboarding process is geared towards new users who have no idea how your product works or all its features.

Thus, you should never make the mistake of treating your users like experienced customers.

When it comes to the user onboarding process, don’t take anything for granted, and make sure to include all the necessary steps and information, even if they seem very basic or elementary to you.

Conclusions on User Onboarding

As you may have gathered from reading this blog post, user onboarding is critical to the success of your product, service or business in general. We have listed some of the most effective ways to make user onboarding simple and easy, along with some of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Hopefully, you found it informative and helpful. 

If you want to read more, check out this article about generating an unlimited amount of leads for your business.

Author

Flavia Silipo is a skilled SEO copywriter and digital marketing specialist with over two years of experience. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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How to Plan and Host a Successful Lunch and Learn Event

lunch-and-learn

Lunch and learn events are presentations or training sessions that take place during lunchtime and where the employer picks up the food bill. Lunch and learns last about 30 to 45 minutes and represent an opportunity for employees to improve their skills and learn something new. If you’re thinking about hosting a lunch and learn event, the following 7 tips will help you put together a successful event. 

1. Schedule Your Lunch and Learn Event

Although lunch and learn events are casual and don’t need to be as structured as formal training sessions, that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to chance. You still need to plan the topic, presenter, attendees, materials, and the food in advance. 

In most organizations, lunch and learn events are conducted on a regular basis; for instance once a week or once a month. How often you will host such events depends entirely on you and your goals, but make sure that your lunch and learns utilize the attendees’ time wisely. Be sure that you are not constantly taking up their lunch periods and when you do, it is for a good reason.

2. Choose Relevant Topics

Once you have got a schedule in place, the next step is to determine what you are going to talk about. Lunch and learns can cover a variety of different topics, ranging from career-enhancing tips and financial health to personal goals and stress management.  

The best route is to ask your employees what topics they’d be interested in. You can solicit suggestions directly or by conducting an online survey. By choosing the right lunch and learn topics, you’ll make sure that your colleagues are eager to attend and that they will walk away with valuable insights from the event. 

3. Find Educated Presenters

Your presenter can make or break your lunch and learn event. If they are unrelatable or dull, attendees will quickly lose focus. For this reason, it is very important to find a person who understands the goals and needs of their audience. 

Very often, the best presenters come from within your organization because these people are familiar with the company’s operations, understand the challenges your employees are facing on a daily basis, and know how to motivate them.

4. Know the Number of Attendees

The first thing to decide is whether your event will be open or for targeted people. Be sure to send invitations on time and ask people to RSVP quickly so that you know how many of them will be attending and plan accordingly.

If you are also inviting remote employees, make sure to include the video conferencing link in the email invitation.

5. Choose a Suitable Venue 

lunch-and-learn

When choosing a venue for your lunch and learn event, opt for a space with eating facilities. You can host the event in the company’s café or canteen or choose an off-site venue such as some best restaurants in Hollywood. If you go off-site, be sure to find out if the place is noisy and whether it can accommodate your employees, and book it in advance. In addition, take into consideration whether you will need to set up tables and chairs, or if you will need space to move around. 

If you have remote employees, be sure that the venue is equipped to broadcast the event. At the very least, it should have reliable WiFi. 

6. Promote the Lunch and Learn Event

In order for your lunch and learn to be successful, you need to take some time to advertise it in advance and allow attendees to make scheduling plans. Promoting the event is a great way to get your employees excited about the event. Use sign-up sheets, email reminders, Slack notifications, company calendar updates, and posters to help keep the lunch and learn top of mind. 

7. Pay Attention to Food

Finally, be sure to pay special attention to the food and beverages. Ideally, the food you serve should be good enough to take an employee away from their own lunch period. Try to be creative with food choices and think beyond pizza. Consider options like sandwiches from the nearby deli, a make-your-own salad bar, or veggie lasagna from a local caterer to add to the message that this is not the same old lunch and learn.

If providing a full lunch meal for an entire team of employees is not financially possible, even free snacks can encourage people to come, especially if you have a great presenter and an attractive topic. 

Final Thoughts on Lunch and Learn Events

Even though lunch and learns can be an investment of both time and money, they are a great way to encourage a love of learning among your team members. The tips in this article will help you run a successful lunch and learn event without a lot of extra resources. 

 

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Most Effective Ways Healthcare Businesses Can Do Market Research

healthcare

Health market research is an essential step in your healthcare strategy if you seek to provide the ideal level of care for your patients. Especially after the start of the pandemic, it has become even more important than ever. 

Additionally, market research will help health care professionals better understand the behavior patterns and needs of their patients. Moreover, when you offer these types of services, you can expand your patient network and increase overall retention rates by personalizing services for them. 

Well, don’t go anywhere because, in this article, we will discuss the most effective ways to conduct healthcare market research

Let’s dive right in!

The most effective ways to conduct healthcare market research

 

Establish online focus groups

Focus groups are an excellent way to start sourcing high-quality data in the best way possible. 

You may ask how? 

Well, especially after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting people online has become mandatory in some cases. Additionally, there are many benefits to it, because you aren’t only saving money but also don’t have to risk yourself and your team catching a disease or the corona virus. 

This approach removes geographical limitations and eliminates the need to waste money on traveling and venue costs. As a result, it’s easy to communicate and eliminates excessive time consumption and unnecessary expenses. 

Removing geographical boundaries won’t only spread recruitment across the entire country; it’ll eliminate the limitation of only conducting medical services in your local area. Overall, it has much more potential to give you a larger representative sample. 

Online surveys

healthcare

Healthcare surveys for healthcare market research aren’t effective without any responses. You’ll also have to learn more about your audience and evaluate their feedback to improve your services. Here are a few tips you can do to create the right online surveys effectively:

  • Choose a target population: Choose one that matches your goals, and in case the target population is difficult to reach, you can try using software to help you find the proper survey takers that meet your criteria. 
  • Keep questions simple: don’t over complicate your questions and make your survey easier to complete. Nobody likes long and complex surveys. In fact, according to a study, your abandonment rate for conducting surveys will go down the shorter it is.
  • Pay attention to the survey length: time is precious for everyone, but even more for healthcare professionals. You have to ensure your survey isn’t long, considering that you know this. Try to aim for surveys that are anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. 
  • Offer survey incentives: These incentives include gift cards, cash rewards, discounts, and coupons. 

Medical focus groups

Despite having many benefits behind it, you must gather all participants in a room together. Hence, this isn’t possible during a pandemic, so the advantages of live face-to-face research are inevitable. In addition, all researchers hold essential meetings and debates, but gathering them in one room can be pretty challenging to do. 

Moreover, organizations have a panel of thousands of healthcare professionals that can find unique respondents concerning your focus groups. Furthermore, they can help you with the reports and summarize your research, all-in-one. 

Fill in service delivery gaps

By nature, healthcare solutions can be pretty complex and challenging and typically rely on a service delivery model. For example, companies supplying medical testing equipment to laboratories will have a bunch of specialists who won’t do anything except provide exceptional training and make sure that the equipment is working and being used properly. 

Moreover, market research assists these businesses in assessing any service delivery gaps, or in short, seeking if there is space for making improvements that can give a better outcome and create stronger relationships. So, for example, the company that is supplying medical testing equipment may find new ways of improving their services through market research, or maybe the hospitals that are evaluating patient quality may have issues with data management and capturing it. Thus, they will try to find new ways to strengthen engagement rates for the future. 

In-depth interviews

In-depth interviews are an excellent way of discovering your patients individually and what you can do for them. These types of interviews can be conducted either in person or by phone. In-depth interviews will usually last anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour. But, of course, it isn’t something that can be rushed since you need some time to learn more about your patients. 

The time frame is perfect for allowing healthcare researchers to get in-detail information for feedback because healthcare can be a sensitive topic in general. Generally speaking, personal interviews make it easier for everyone to gather information without having any privacy concerns. The number of one-on-one patients you interview will depend on how many patients you have. After all, it’s up to you to see how many patients you have. 

Ethnographic research for healthcare

Ethnography is a field of study that uses interviews and observation to study how people interact with technology and use products and services. Moreover, it allows researchers to record a client’s behavior in order to get additional feedback. This can either be performed with software or in person. Additionally, this is a real-time observational method as it’s shown to be more reliable. 

You can also add a customer journey map to this technique to see how patients will interact with the healthcare provider’s website and how they’ll locate services through word of mouth or phone referrals. 

Use secondary healthcare market research cases

Instead of only using primary healthcare market research, you can consider using secondary sources in the healthcare industry as well: 

  • Market research reports: an excellent source of information that you can use in the healthcare research section and an ideal place for getting started. 
  • Industry and consumer report: An excellent start for researching target markets and providing reliable healthcare reports. 
  • Websites of healthcare providers: usually involved with your competitors and are an excellent standpoint for conducting market research. While researching these sites, you can find presentations specially made by investors, annual reports, and much more. 

Why is healthcare market research necessary?

healthcare

Everything we mentioned in this article is practical if you know how to put them into action. Therefore, healthcare market research needs to be above all for those in the health industry and create a new path for improving care. Hence, this is what the healthcare industry stands for. 

Moreover, the best thing that healthcare providers need to succeed in this industry is to have a target market to understand the type of research they will conduct clearly. 

Furthermore, proper research is a golden path to building effective relationships with your clients, an excellent reputation, great reviews, and attracting even more patients as you develop. As you start to learn more about your patients, you’ll begin to increase your care quality and build more trust between each other. Thus, this is what makes you stand out from your competitors. 

What does healthcare market research help you evaluate?

Not only can you identify the needs and wants of your clients, but doing the proper research helps you evaluate healthcare access. Healthcare access allows you to go through the benefits and barriers to healthcare groups with low incomes or senior citizens, for example. In addition, you can target a rural population or inner cities to achieve the best results possible. 

Additionally, healthcare market research helps you improve business operations, making business processes more efficient and further allowing you to find out where you need to make tweaks and make improvements. 

Wrapping it up

That’s all in this article. These were our most effective tips on how you use healthcare market research to increase your business’s efficiency and ensure you carry out the proper measures for coming to the aid of your patients. The healthcare industry requires intensive care, and those who find new and effective ways to treat their patients will be winners. 

You need to sit down and find out who your patients are. The pandemic changed many things, especially the way we work, and has distanced us because of distance restrictions. Healthcare providers need always to find new ways to serve their patients and what better than conducting interviews and surveys to see what they want from you and how to serve them.  

Put these steps into practice and you’ll see that your healthcare business will be heading towards a new start and will understand its target audience easier!

 

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6 Ways to Improve Your Business Processes

business-processes

After an incredibly tough two years, businesses globally are looking forward to a period of sustained growth and expansion. Business strategies are no longer centered around business continuation and rescue, but rather on how to scale the business. We thought we would take a look at what organizations are doing globally to help streamline their business processes. We unpacked what is working for them and how they are using various techniques to ensure that the business grows over the next two years.

Use Platforms and Tools to Automate Business Processes 

One of the easiest ways to grow your business is by streamlining as many processes as you can through automation. Once you get a process right and functioning in your organization, automate it and move on. There are tons of online platforms that offer multiple solutions for automation, and what is more, most are incredibly affordable.

You can find anything from tools for social media scheduling and posting to an online plagiarism checker to ensure the content you publish is unique. There are also automation tools for your HR department, financial processes, and supply chain. They are great for saving resources like time and manpower to simply get the process right and leave it to run automatically.

Rethink Your Lead Generation Techniques 

We have seen so many companies running with old lead generation strategies and wondering why business is simply not coming in. The fact is that in today’s modern era of online resources and digital technology, there are a plethora of great ways for you to up your lead generation game.

Back in the day, cold calling was a top method of generating leads, but now you can use data or web scraping, targeted research, social platforms referrals, SEO, and content marketing. The internet has provided businesses with endless opportunities to build databases and target new customers.

Center Business Processes Around the Customer Experience 

business-processes

The fact of the matter is that a successful business is customer-centric. Every single department, from client-facing staff to developers, needs to function and perform with the customer in mind. Start with looking inward and looking at your website. How effective is your UX design? What does your sales funnel look like?

It is important to optimize every single one of the touchpoints in the company as well. From all contact and engagement points to mapping out a streamlined customer journey, it is worthwhile doing a full customer journey audit. Refocusing your staff on the customer experience is also key. A company-wide initiative is an effective way of training your staff on effectively dealing with and managing customers. 

 

Redesign Your System 

Many business owners have stepped back to relook at their system and how the business runs in the last two years. The COVID-19 outbreak forced companies to pivot their operations and start catering to more online and digital customers. 

In order to redesign your system, it would be worthwhile to do a deep dive into your organization. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where are the highest costs in the organization and can they be reduced?
  • Which processes create a bottleneck and how can we relieve those?
  • What are the highest frustration points in the company for customers and team members alike?
  • Where are the majority of delays happening?
  • Which process in each department takes the most time to get done and how can it be optimized?

With these questions, you can map out just where your attention needs to be in the company and what needs to be rectified. If your company is focusing on customer centricity, these are the most critical aspects to receive attention.

Look Inward to Your Staff 

All of the aforementioned questions can be answered by your employees. They are the ones facing the backlogs and bottlenecks. They are in contact with the clients and customers directly. They know what works and what doesn’t. Keeping open, transparent communication with your employees is one of the most effective ways of improvising all of your business processes.

Your company culture is critical. Your interaction and communication with your employees should be open, productive, and beneficial to both parties. Your employees should be on your side in creating a healthy, productive culture where work-life balance and productive communication are key to your company’s health. 

Measure, Monitor, and Track Everything 

As a rule of thumb, keep monitoring all data that is coming into the company. From lead generation statistics to key data coming in from your websites and relevant platforms. Knowing what the data is saying is knowing what works and what doesn’t. 

Take your website as an example. You can track which campaigns were successful and which were not based on the traffic. You are then able to plan similar campaigns for the future based on this data.

Bottom Line of Your Business Processes

The bottom line is to get to the bottom of your company and work up. Reset your foundations. Map out critical blueprints of improvements. Take a look at what other companies are doing and roll it out on your own.  

 

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How To Create a Punchy DIY Logo (The Devil Is in The Details)

Logos

Most people react favorably to visual stimuli, and a memorable logo will deliver a powerful message to consumers, whether it’s as familiar as the red and white Coca-Cola script, the apple with a single bite missing, or the distinctive “swoosh” that defines Nike.

Of course, there are many other examples. Not all logos are equally memorable, or equally effective, so if you’re just beginning to think about logo design, you might wonder how to ensure that your brand logo will resonate with potential customers and produce the kind of lasting appeal that you hope to generate.

Here are some positive steps that will help you navigate the design process and create a punchy logo that tells your brand’s story.

Define Your Brand Identity With Your Logo

Whether you’re selling insurance or automobiles, ideas or food, your first job will be to create a brand identity that extends across the entire line of products or services that you offer your customers. This is the first step.

Concentrate on your message, and discuss the ways in which you can communicate that message directly to your customers.

Spend Time and Energy on Research

The time and energy you devote to market research at the outset, whether you are starting a new company, adding a new product line or expanding your roster of services, will pay dividends in the long run. Don’t skimp on the initial research phase, and be sure to solicit the kind of information that is quantifiable and pertinent. This is one area where guessing is a mistake. Collect data and analyze it before you act.

Understand Your Ideal Customer

Once you have developed a specific brand “personality,” you are better able to determine what will attract the type of customers you want to your products or services. Delve into the specifics of why someone might choose your brand over a competitor’s: Some of the reasons could include price, quality, value, innovative design, improved technology, ease of use, etc. Never ignore the benefits of company history or trust.

You never know what will inspire you. Be open to possibilities as you embark on your logo design effort. Search for inspiration everywhere.

Identify Visual “Triggers”

Logos

Get creative during your team’s logo design sessions. As you identify your ideal customer base, also try to understand what it is that might specifically attract someone to your products or services, and play into that motivation. Keep notes of pertinent words, ideas and images that you can combine in different ways to express a thought. Combine random words and symbols.

Some “power words” to think about include:

  • Futuristic
  • Trustworthy
  • Established
  • Traditional
  • Modest
  • Innovative
  • Unique

You get the idea. Have fun with the thought process, and try not to get bogged down with details during the early states of logo design. It takes time to produce a masterpiece!

Explore Your Competition

Don’t hesitate to visit competitors’ websites, read their Facebook posts and examine their products. Appraise what they are doing right, and analyze how their brand identity meshes with your perception of their products and their customers. Then go back to considering the message that you want to convey. Make it personal.

Define the Basic Guidelines for Your DIY Logo

A brand logo typically includes only three standard components:

  • The font, or type style
  • A color block, or color palette
  • The visual element; a unique symbol

It’s simple, right?

Most of the world’s most iconic graphic logos began with a combination of the company name and a distinctive symbol. Some, like Starbucks and McDonalds, later dropped the name when the symbol became universally recognizable. Others — think Ebay, You Tube and Lego — use only a graphic font and distinctive color(s) as their brand identifiers.

Remember that the logo you select will become, in effect, the public face of your company. So, spend the necessary time up front to develop a logo that will continue to tell your story, even as your brand grows and develops new products or services. Some major corporations have been disappointed with subsequent attempts to “modernize” the logo.

That is not to say that a logo cannot evolve over time. Read about this evolution of iconic logos for a fascinating history lesson.

Play With Ideas

Whether you’re trying to develop an idea for a solo entrepreneurial venture, or working with a team to develop coordinated branding efforts for a new company or a non-profit organization, the basic steps should be the same. Don’t set a deadline for the creative effort. If you have decided on a great name for your new company or product line, you can use that as a stand-alone feature until you develop a logo that checks all the right boxes for appeal and suitability, one that generates interest and enthusiasm, and one that will stand the test of time.

Tap into creativity in a variety of ways:

  • Make sketches
  • Keep an idea notebook
  • Schedule brainstorming sessions
  • Notice the signs that are all around you
  • Be “intentional” — it’s more important to tell your story than to create an award-winning logo
  • Start with your company’s story

Visit an Online Logo Design Platform

Logos

Get a feel for the way in which varied logo design elements can be combined by visiting an online logo design platform. There are several that are user-friendly and economical, even free to use for initial design sessions. Most maintain extensive libraries of graphic designs to help you fuel your creative efforts. Some use artificial intelligence to help you design logo online free to select graphic symbols and fonts that will appeal to a specific customer persona.

Most feature a logo support team, and assistance with coordinating logo use across the landscape of uses you want to incorporate, including social media, direct mail, print advertising, business cards, correspondence and packaging.

You don’t have to possess graphic design expertise or even artistic creativity to manipulate fonts, colors and visual symbols, combining them in a variety of ways to sample what different logos might look like. Color triggers different emotions, so experiment with different hues, shades and intensities as you work on your logo design.

Test different designs and alternatives, if possible, before you make a final decision on a logo. Solicit comment from your board, your marketing team, product engineers, field personnel, customer service reps, and potential customers, if possible, to get feedback on a short list of possible logos.

The Basic Elements of a Good DIY Logo

Remember, that it is not the logo itself that will spell success for your product or service — or for your company — but the logo you select will always be intertwined with your company image, for better or worse.

The best logos have five common characteristics:

  • Simple: The goal is to create a logo that is instantly recognizable.
  • Relevant: Your logo should be distinctive to your brand, because it represents a basic form of communication with your customers.
  • Timeless: You don’t build a company overnight; and you’ll want a logo that will “age well” as your company grows and evolves.
  • Versatile: As a brand emblem, assure that your logo is adaptable, and that it can be scaled for various uses — from a business card to a highway billboard.
  • Memorable: The primary goal of a good logo is to spark instant recognition in the mind of a current or potential customer.

While some great logos, like the Starbucks Coffee emblem, are graphically complex, most are simple. And while some brands have effectively changed their logos to meet changing customer preferences over time, most at least retain some elements that signify continuity and timelessness.

Color is a universally unifying element, even though a number of well-known logos employ “positive-negative” effects on occasion. If you choose a particular color to use as part of your logo, try to carry it across the landscape of brand identification, in the way that distinctive blue packaging has become identified with the Tiffany brand.

Finally, any logo design should be pertinent to your brand. Your logo must have a tie-in to the kinds of products or services you offer. You may love pine trees, for example, but it would most likely be a mistake for an Arizona home builder to feature a pine tree in its logo. In the same way, the happy panda is a memorable choice for the World Wildlife Fund, but an animal’s face would have little impact as a logo for an appliance company.

Is a Logo Really That Important?

At this point, you may be asking yourself if you really need a logo. Why wouldn’t a classy, distinctive business card, a descriptive e-mail address and a knockout website suffice?

We believe the answer is obvious: Think about the number of world-class companies that don’t have a logo. Can you name even one?

Remember that your logo is the visual representation of your brand. It can be the “elevator speech,” if you will, that creates a great first impression. Your logo is your brand “cheerleader,” the “nametag” that distinguishes your product from a sea of similar products, and it offers reliable assurance to a buyer or supporter that the company behind the logo can be trusted to perform or deliver.

So, take the time to develop a logo that sends a message of stability, of excitement, of performance, of lasting value, of ethical business practices, of concern for the environment, of lives well-lived, of innovative products and necessary, desirable services.

Whatever your message may be, tell the story you believe needs telling!

 

 

 

small business coach

4 Easy Steps To Obtaining Sponsorships For Your Events

sponsorships

It’s easy to plan events when money is not an issue. But in reality, the budget is always an important factor in event planning. Getting sponsorships can be challenging. But there are key ways that can help get you there effortlessly.

The potential sponsors you should approach depend on your event and your audience. It must be a good match between all three for it to work. Most importantly, you need to offer your sponsors something unique.

Below, we’ve compiled a quick guide to help you understand how to get sponsors for an event.

Plan And Do Your Research to Gain Sponsorships

Stop for a moment to plan how you will work with sponsorship. How much money do you need? How many sponsors can you take care of? What do you have to sell? Can you work alone or do you need to get help from someone?

Expectations and conditions are often two different things. Big ambitions are good, but be realistic. It will be both easier and more enjoyable if you approach the situation step by step.

It will make all the next steps easier if you research potential sponsors thoroughly. Start with companies in your niche and see if they already have experience with sponsoring events.

You can also check events similar to yours and see which companies sponsored them as they’re likely to sponsor future events of the same kind.

Create A Sponsor Proposal For Events

sponsorships

Once you have listed the potential sponsors, it’s time to create a robust proposal. Your sponsorship proposal must be tailored to each company and present your event and sponsorship opportunities in a well-designed and organized manner.

You have the option of writing your proposal from scratch or using a sponsorship proposal template, which makes it easier to generate a professional-looking document. 

Your proposal should include enough details so that the potential sponsor can understand what is being offered and how this will benefit them. For this reason, make sure to include the following information: who you are and why you are credible, what the event is about, what kind of audience the event will attract, prominent speakers and sponsors, what the company will gain from the sponsorship, key figures (number of participants, social media statistics, etc.).

Find Out Who To Talk To

Once you’ve put together a proposal, it’s time to approach the potential sponsor.

It’s common practice to send an email but companies are flooded with them. So how do you make sure your email isn’t lost in the shuffle?

A smart tip is to go through LinkedIn and see if you can figure out who might be in charge of sponsoring events. It will most likely be someone from the marketing department. Write down some promising names and start reaching out. Ask to speak to one of the names on the list and ask for an email address if they are not available. Do not bother to leave a voicemail message, as it rarely works.

Before reaching out to potential sponsors, narrow down the options because event sponsorship meetings and pitches are time-consuming. Make sure to contact brands that align with your event values and that can represent the key goals and image of your upcoming events.

Essentially, the best sponsors to contact are those with the highest ROI on your time invested. Don’t forget that sometimes less obvious job titles and people in your network will be a better fit and more fruitful for pitching.

Offer Incentives

Sponsorships are a two-way street as sponsors also want something in return for their investment. This is why you should come up with a way to sweeten the deal and make them understand what they will get out of funding your event.

Will you place the sponsor’s name or logo on the promotional flyers and banners, will you mention them in your email newsletters, blog, or social media posts. A great idea is, for instance, to offer event-related discounts or freebies to customers that buy the sponsor’s product or sign up for their service, encourage followers on social media to like or repost the sponsor’s content.

When you show a sponsor that you’re willing to give more than just take, it will show them that you’re dedicated and serious about making the event a success.

Conclusion on Gaining Sponsorships 

Securing sponsorships for an event is important, but making sure you’re organizing an exceptional event is far more important. If you don’t put effort to organize a good event, you’ll fail to build a long-lasting relationship with your sponsor and the next time you’ll want to secure a sponsorship will only get harder.

By following the aforementioned steps, you’ll be able to get valuable insights and create a stellar event experience and keep everyone involved happy.

 

 

small business coach

 

The Ultimate Guide To Creating a Business Plan

business plan

The Ultimate Guide To Creating a Business Plan To Grow Your Business

Every small business owner needs a business plan to guide strategy and growth.

A good business plan separates failing small businesses from successful ones.

We regularly see our clients increase their profits by 50%, 400%, and even 1,500% starting with a proper plan as one of their most powerful business growth strategies, allowing them to make conscious and informed decisions.

This guide will teach you steps that will assure a steady growth of your business using one of the most rudimentary, yet overlooked strategies: writing a business plan.

How Does Writing a Business Plan Impact Your Business?

We said that planning is one of the most pivotal business growth strategies.

But how does it work within the big picture?

Say you have your business rolling for quite a while now. It’s not growing fast, but it’s not stagnant. 

What you’re missing could be the reason most businesses fail within their first year

business plan

CB Insights recognize multiple reasons for small businesses to fail, from failure to raise capital to personnel issues to pricing issues.

But look closely at the chart.

What do all these reasons have in common?

If you’re thinking ‘a viable business plan’, you’re right. 

The first thing we ever ask of our clients is to delineate where they would like to be and how they see themselves getting there. It turns out that if you do not plan your way towards success—or even worse; you don’t know what success would look like for you—it is hard to get there.

For entrepreneurs who move quickly and like to get right to the point, planning might seem like a formality or useless paperwork when in fact, executed properly, planning is the foundation of business growth.

  • A business plan compels you to analyze the current state of your business. So, instead of overlooking your business needs, you’ll overcome situations before they turn into challenges
  • Knowing where you are, you can analyze and pursue opportunities for business growth. You gain a better perspective of what you can do now to expand your business, be it finding new prospects, building and managing your team better or systematizing your internal processes and procedures.
  • When you know what the ideal future of your business looks like, you have a clearer perspective on what your priorities are. You should see planning as a strategic framework that guides your decision-making process. This way, making decisions regarding your business will be less a game of guesswork and more a game of taking strategic action.
  • When you know where you want your business to be in the far future, you can better track your near future. Another way to put it, a business plan provides you with key performance indicators that will help measure the progress towards your business goal

business plan

Typically, a business plan requires you to assess all aspects of your activity.

A standard business plan usually includes an executive summary, a business overview, business objectives, a description of products and services, an overview of market opportunities, sales, and marketing strategies, a competitive analysis, a financial auditing, a financial analysis, and a delineation of the management structure.  

While useful for raising capital, these standard plans are the reason many business owners’ eyes glaze over when they think about developing a plan  

Instead, our approach to business planning is a little different…

We take planning to the next level. 

This guide shows you how to use planning to envision the actionable steps towards your goal. 

All that using the knowledge you gathered in a traditional business plan.

business plan

This means analyzing the current situation including a SWOT Analysis, creating a business plan around the weaknesses that need immediate attention, setting hard and fast deadlines for accountability, and tracking your progress in terms of business KPIs. 

First, we’ll make sure you make an informed decision when choosing your goal, meaning that we will walk you through how to make a thorough audit of your current situation. 

Then we’ll help you write clear-cut business KPIs that will guide your future tactics and strategies.

And finally, we will guide you through planning actionable steps to achieve your goals, and show you how to measure your success.

A successful business plan factors in these elements

Step 1. Analyze Your Business To Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

To make long-lasting and growth-inducing changes, treat your business with honesty.

A business plan imposes a thorough (and sincere) inspection of the state of facts within your business. So the changebusiness plans you make are congruent with the reality of your activity.

Once you’re well acquainted with the present state of your business, you can spot new growth opportunities.

Now, it’s time for you to touch base with your business.

Your Activity as a Business

Start by revisiting your core business activities. 

You have already sent your services and products out into the world for people to enjoy. Hence, you have enough data to learn about your offer.

To take the pulse of your business, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Which products or services work well in your target market? Which are not? 
  • Do you find that your products or services still fit the needs of your audience? And if they don’t, what doesn’t work? Analyze the cause of low performance (price, packabusiness planging, sales, marketing, functioning, etc.).
  • Your target market is it overly saturated with this type of product? If the answer is ‘yes’, is there something that differentiates your service from your competitors? 
  • What is the distinct value of your services to your customers?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your prices? Can you improve your profits and the quality of your services by making changes in your pricing, package offerings, service delivery, and so on?
  • Your team – are they motivated? Do they perform the way you want them to every day, or is it a constant battle to get work done the way you want it done?
  • Do you have standard, documented processes, and procedures that guide you and your employees to produce consistent results every time?

Take time to answer all of these questions. And don’t forget to take notes along the way.

The Efficiency of Your Internal Organization and Processes

business planThere’s a lot to analyze in terms of efficiency.

From the grounds where you conduct your activity and the equipment, you use to the efficiency of your management structure and the skills of your employees.

So, buckle up! You’ve got some reviewing to do.

Business Premises 

When it comes to where your business is located, ask yourself: is this place responding to our business needs now & does it allow us to grow? 

Although they are easily overlooked, your business premises should contribute to your small business success.

  • Do you have long-term commitments to the property? 
  • Do the premises present you with advantages or disadvantages? 
  • Is moving out an option to reduce costs?

Equipment and Technology

Whether your business rests on services, manufacturing, retail or you carry out your activities exclusively online, you use equipment and software.

Is your equipment modern or outdated? Does it help you to better execute your activity? Will new equipment help you speed up processes, reduce costs, or improve services?

business plan

When it comes to IT systems… 

  • What software, platforms, or gadgets do you use in your activity? Are they sufficient to help you provide outstanding services or products? 

And more… 

  • Can you use them for growth? When your business grows, will they meet your needs?
  • Are there any new devices, informational systems, or tools that you can use to improve the quality of your products or services or to streamline your internal processes?

The People of Your Business

business plan

By this, we refer to everyone who works in your business including yourself, employees and subcontractors.

Let’s first look at your management structure.

And the first question you require an answer to is: is your current team formed by the right people?

  • Do they constantly learn and grow?
  • Does their performance meet your expectations? Is your business thriving under their management?
  • Are they attuned to the company’s values? 
  • Do they have the appropriate skills for their positions?

And the next question is: do YOU have the right skills to guide your business towards growth?

Be honest. The point of this question is to guide you to learn where you can improve and where your teams need more training.

This leads us to the questions about your employees.

  • How skillful are your employees?
  • Do you have a training structure in place to assure the constant growth of your business performance?
  • Do you think that your employee engagement is high? Find out if your employees are aligned with the company’s goals. Moreover, are they satisfied with their work?
  • What are you doing to keep up the employee engagement and satisfaction? 

Your Business Through the Lens of Competition

business plan

You know by now that you’re not alone in the market. You’re surrounded by businesses that want your customers!

This means that you’ll have to know your competition well, provided you want to find growth opportunities.

To learn about  your competition, get curious about this:

  • What is their offer in opposition to yours? What are their market advantages and disadvantages? 
  • How do they price their products and services?
  • And how do they advertise their products, services, and themselves? 
  • How do they attract customers? 
  • What’s their reputation in the market?

Consider ‘secret shopping’ them to learn the answers and see what it feels like to be their customer.

Learning this information will help you identify opportunities to grow your business in a place where your competition won’t

Your Business from a Financial Standpoint

business plan

We’re saying it, and you should be thinking it—manage your business by numbers.

Poor finance management will bury your business alive.

To avoid that happening, take some time to review your financial statements: cash flow statement, balance sheet, and profit and loss statement. If you don’t know what to make up of all that information, get your accountant beside you.

business plan

This is what each of these statements will tell you

This type of investigation will make you familiar with how your business is using and producing money. And this will show you if you’re using your money efficiently.

 

Finding Market Opportunities

As you might have guessed, this implies doing further research about your customers and your market.

You must renew your market research because markets shift. Trends evolve. People change their minds. 

You have to know what’s happening out there so that your business can take part in it.

  • What are the actual market demands and needs? Interview some of your clients.
  • What’s the present business environment – aka the economy, the technological developments, social changes?
  • Are there new, emerging services and products creating more competition?

client success history

Step 2. Write Informed and Clear Business KPI To Guide Your Business Growth

Dare not skip this step! 

It is imperative that you answer each question and complete each task in this step.

Because, otherwise, we would have to ask you:

Are you sure you want to grow your business?

If your answer is yes, let’s get you to write a business plan like an expert.

For this section, you will use your previously gained knowledge to write a business KPI that will constantly remind you of your path to small business success.

What is a Business KPI?

business plan

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators—a quantifiable measurement you choose to help you gauge your progress towards business success.

You can use KPIs to measure almost every aspect of your business: financial achievements, operational activities, marketing efforts… ANYTHING. Nevertheless, KPIs differ from business to business, industry to industry. 

So don’t copy what others do. You have to find out on your own what is critical to you and your business. 

That’s why, first and foremost, you will have to select the area that you want to improve for your business.

How Do You Know Which Business KPI to Select?

With the help of your previous analysis (and your fellow knowledgeable business coach), you will identify what stands in the way of your business growth.

Is it your employees that require a nudge? Are you leaking money in the manufacturing department? Is your marketing not rising to your expectations?

Task 1: Identify One Pressing Business Weakness.

KPIs also depend on the past (background data) & on where you want to be in the future.

business plan

Task 2: Think of What Long-term Success Looks Like. Then Find a Benchmark to Gauge Short-term Success.

Side note.

Be careful what success metric you choose. Let’s say you find that your employee training programs don’t show astounding results. And you want to change that.

The improvements won’t produce better results in the training program in itself. You should see upgrades in the decrease of errors in product production.

Why Choose Only One Business KPI?

business KPI

Your business is a complex mechanism working on thousands of integrated and interconnected points and systems. 

So it’s a matter of course that changing one thing will affect the entire business.

But you can’t make changes in each segment of your business that needs improving in one go. 

That would wreak havoc on your business! 

You will not know for sure what does and doesn’t work. And it would be difficult for you to measure and keep track of what’s going on.

For this reason, we will track one thing at a time.

Do you need inspiration for finding your business KPI? Here are some ideas.

What Makes up a Good KPI?

business plan

A great KPI is succinct, straightforward, and relevant.

Consider these questions when writing your KPIs:

  1. How do you want your business to perform in the future? What are your projections?
  2. Why are these projected results important?
  3. How are you going to gauge any changes in numbers?
  4. What will you do to achieve the projected results? 
  5. Who will oversee this project? 
  6. How often will you evaluate the potential advancements?

Task 3: Write Your Business KPI, Answering Each of the 6 Preceding Questions.

Get ready, for you’re about to reach the—almost—last step in creating a business.

Step 3. Implement Your Plan and Measure the Results To Ensure Small Business Success

Here’s the process of action planning for business success and measuring the results. 

Action Planning for Business Success

business sucess

You should approach implementation through the lens of an action plan. Why action planning?  

Because it is the utmost actionable part of your business plan.

It provides an explicit delineation of what steps you should be taking to achieve your goals. It aligns your actions to your objectives. And, finally, it saves you from guesswork.

Now it’s time to prepare the list of tasks that will get you to your goal. 

And to achieve your KPI. 

Meaning honoring your business. 

This also means growing your business. 

We’ll return to our thought bubble.

business plan

If you have followed each step, at this moment, your action plan is half done.

What more you need to do is to expand on point 4: “how can you influence the outcome”.

 You’ll have to: 

to do list

  • Write down each activity that needs to be done and break them down into tasks.
  • Designate the action or specific tasks to a staff member.
  • Determine a timeline for each task.
  • Identify what resources you and your team need to complete the tasks.

Then, all you have left to do is get things rolling.

Measuring the Growth of Your Business

Do you remember when we asked you to be specific about your KPI? Well, the time has come to check on how things are going according to your benchmarks.

business sucess

Generally, you would review the performance of your business every quarter. But this timeframe may not be relevant to your business plan.

When you measure results, you go back to the initial source of information that you have used when analyzing your business. For example, when you had checked the performance metric indicating your conversion rate, you perhaps used a CRM. Now, you should go back to your CRM and look at the stats.

Take notes and compare them with your projected results.

Is everything going according to the plan? Or are the results signaling that you need to come up with new business growth strategies?

projected results

If results don’t live up to your expectations, don’t fret. Go back to

 your business plan, tweak it a little, consult with your stakeholders or business coach, and try again.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

How to create an action plan [+ Template]

Do You Need More Guidance in Planning the Growth of Your Business?

business plan

Find more freedom and raise your profits with one-on-one business coaching sessions.

If you struggle to find the optimal direction to grow your business, we can help you. No need to commit to the entire coaching program. For now, jump on a 30-minute strategy session

Before the meeting, we will send you a scorecard or a survey. Before and during the session, we will review the information you submitted, and we will help you figure out the next steps for your business.

 

small business coach

How Time Tracking Can Benefit Small Businesses

time-tracking

Unlike large corporations, small businesses run delicate operating models that can’t marginalize the effects of low turnovers. What they have is a flexible system of operation that entrepreneurs can easily supervise and fine-tune at will to keep the books in order. Time tracking is a major part of this.

However, all this elastic administrative power must be leveraged with precision and skill to produce results. One of the many strategies small business owners use to keep things organized is employee time management.

Since timekeeping shapes payrolls, startups can’t afford to get it wrong. It’s all the more critical in remote workplaces where employees are paid by the hour.

That’s not all. Time tracking also helps business and project managers handle various elements of their organizations. An effective system keeps everything orderly and stress-free. In effect, you need to know how to track work time if you expect to make reasonable headway in your business.

So, what are the benefits of time tracking?

Increased Awareness/Grasp of Company/Project Components

time-tracking

As a business manager, the importance of having a firm grasp of your employees, client base, projects, and even company goals cannot be overstated. A report by Harvard Business Review (HBR) outlines the various difficulties that business managers face today. These challenges include leveraging important data to shape company policies. Even small businesses managers are not exempt from these struggles.

Time tracking data can help business owners understand how their companies work. The system can be used to measure staff efficiency, estimated project completion times, and payroll accuracy. With a solid work time tracking app, it’s easier to get a grasp on these company components to make better decisions.

For example, the data shows you which team member performs better at specific assignments. This way, you can allocate work to the right talent, boosting efficiency.

Better Workflow with Time Tracking

In order to organize their workplaces and better engage their employees, some business managers have had to rely on third-party professionals. In truth, you can easily manage workload once you understand the time factor within the organization.

Often, the problem with managing workflow comes from having too much time with too little to do, or vice versa. However, the solution lies in efficiently monitoring the amount of time you and your employees work. Once you do that, it’s easy to identify performance ‘hot spots,’ bloated activities, and unused time.

With this data, you can remove bottlenecks, improve work speed, and optimize workflow. You can remove unnecessary processes and assign important tasks to employees during peak hours.

Easier Monitoring of Productivity Ratings

Time tracking is a tool for reliable comparison of company components and dynamics. Why would a business manager be upset upon knowing that last year’s turnover was better than this year’s? It is because businesses are expected to get better with time.

With small businesses, more time often indicates experience. More experience often indicates greater efficiency. Greater efficiency ought to result in higher performance. Now, higher performance is often the gateway to increased productivity.

Time tracking allows you to gauge your employees’ efficiency, productivity, and even experience. More than this, it helps you to measure and compare the partial and overall productivity of a single employee, teams, departments, or the entire organization.

Understanding your workers’ strengths and weaknesses means you can assign jobs better and help them improve.

Enhanced Payroll Efficiency with Time Tracking

As a small business, your payroll is likely your biggest overhead. This expense affects everything from your profit margin and cash flow to your ability to secure credit. That’s why you have to make sure you get it right if your small firm is to thrive.

Small businesses with inefficient time tracking systems often face payroll issues. The situation is worse when the company is made up of work-from-home staff.

Time tracking applications are excellent at generating timesheets and tracking billable hours. Using the right solution will see to it that your staff is adequately paid without complications.

Reduced Risk of Employee Multitasking and Stress

Working long hours is not equal to working productive hours. A well-cited Stanford study even concluded that “Long weekly hours and long daily hours do not necessarily yield high output.” It further stated:

“Employees at work for a long time may experience fatigue or stress that not only reduces his or her productivity but also increases the probability of errors, accidents, and sickness that impose costs on the employer.”

So, time tracking is as important to the health of your employee as it is to the smooth running of your organization. Establishing a ‘time-ceiling’ for when and how long employees should work daily can help. It will prevent your organization from burying itself in futile drudgery.

Easier Team Management as You Utilize Time Tracking

time-tracking

Time tracking is one of the best ways to manage teams. As earlier explained, good time tracking practices will help you get a solid understanding of the components of your organization. With respect to your employees, it will be easier for you to get them to ‘tick.’ This is the same as knowing the recipe for effective employee engagement and inclusive performance.

Once you can track and manage time in your organization, you will find it easier to assign tasks and expect timely executions and implementations. Also, it won’t be all that complicated to have useful interpersonal relationships growing at the workplace. That’s because your employees will know when to socialize and when to focus on work.

Also, although many contemporary studies insist on high productivity ratings from specific hours of work, your organization might be the exception. After all, a small business has proportionally fewer components to work with by way of employees and overall targets. So, time tracking will help you recognize where your organization stands: where more hours result in low performance and vice versa.

Increased Employee Awareness of Company Goals

Time tracking can be used for more than just directly boosting employee performance or generating timesheets. You can also use it to make your employees more sensitive to the goals of the company. As this Forbes report explained, you are more likely to get more loyalty and work out of employees that know what your organization is all about than those without the faintest idea.

The same fact holds for the incorporation of company culture. Using a reliable time tracking app, for example, can show you what your employees spend most of their time doing. This information will help you identify things to make available to your workers and what to discard. As any successful business manager will tell you, a united workplace spirit is vital to the growth of any small business.

Keep Optimizing the System with Time Tracking

Overall, time tracking is good for your small business. It helps you prioritize, organize, and make the components of your organization integrate smoothly. Always ensure you use valuable data to develop better policies. Collecting feedback from your workers will also help you leverage time tracking better.

 

small business coach

Start-up Loans vs. Small Business Loans: What’s right for you?

loans

It takes money to make money. How often have you heard that? Although some businesses don’t need start-up capital or funding to facilitate growth, most companies require financial assistance at some stage or another. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options available for small businesses looking for a cash boost. Depending on your needs, you could use anything from a credit card to crowdfunding, to start-up loans or small business loans to get the necessary funds.

Most commonly, startup or small business loans are the options that entrepreneurs choose. These loans are ideal if you’re not looking for investors or outsiders to join your team, or don’t want to leverage personal equity. While both options get the job done, choosing the one that best suits your needs depends on the specifics of your business.

Comparing Start-Up And Small Business Loans

loans

The biggest difference between start-up and small business loans is that your personal credit history and finances are important factors when it comes to start-up loans. This makes it very similar to a personal loan, as your affordability is the basis of the qualifying criteria, and not necessarily that of the business.

If you have a good credit history, this loan is easier to obtain approval for. You can then further split up these loans to meet the needs of your business. You can obtain vehicle finance, mortgages, and installment loans.

Start-up loans are more flexible in terms of their uses, as you don’t have to link the funds to one specific purchase. In contrast, business loans relate to buying specific items, and using the funds for anything else will be near impossible. The terms of a business loan tend to outline exactly what the funds are for, and you cannot allocate them elsewhere.

The Approval Processes for Loans

Start-up loans are usually easier to qualify for and require less documentation. On the other hand, it usually takes longer to approve small business loans, and they require a mountain of paperwork.

Start-up loans rely on your personal credit history and financial status, so assuming you have a stable income, you should be good to go. You can, of course, use your business plan to support the application, although a new business will lack the proper financial backing to make much of a difference. These loans are often smaller and rarely exceed $50,000, with repayment terms capped at seven years.

Small business loans will look at both your personal and business credit scores, which makes them more suitable for already established businesses. One of the most important factors taken into consideration is how long your business has been operational, and its performance during this time.

This application process will require proof of profitability and cash flow. You’ll also need to state how you will use the loan. Sometimes, you may need to submit your business plan as a supporting document, along with any relevant legal documents, proof of your company’s structure and registration, tax certificates and any operational licenses and permits.

While the application process is more intensive and requires extra paperwork, small business loans tend to be far higher than start-up loans. These loans can exceed $1 million, and you can usually pay them back over a period of up to 25 years.

Advantages Of A Start-Up Loan

  • The approval process is far quicker
  • Funds are available sooner
  • Less paperwork required
  • You can use the funds on almost anything that your business may need

Advantages Of A Small Business Loan

  • The application links to your business, not your personal finances
  • You are not liable for outstanding payments
  • It can build your business’ credit history and work towards building a healthy credit score
  • The amount you borrow can be far larger
  • You can pay it back over a longer period
  • The interest rate will be lower

Choosing The Right Option For Your Business

loans

When choosing between a start-up and a small business loan, you need to factor in your business goals, credit history, and business history. You also need to calculate the amount of money you need, the interest rate you can afford, and your repayment terms. Take the following into consideration when deciding which funding avenue to pursue:

  • Established businesses looking for low-interest rates: As mentioned, small business loans are ideal, but the application process will take longer and it can be difficult to get approval. You may need to put up assets as collateral, and both your personal and business credit scores will be vetted.
  • New businesses looking for low-interest rates: The government offers small business loans such as the 7(a) program to encourage entrepreneurship and boost the economy. While approval tends to be easier and interest rates are low, the turnaround time on approvals can be lengthy. You also won’t need to put up collateral, and the government will often sign as a guarantee on the loan.
  • New business with good credit: You won’t qualify for a small business loan if you have a new business with no financial history. This is where a start-up loan becomes your best bet.
  • Instant cash flow: Start-up loans and personal loans often pay out far quicker, and you can complete the approval process online. Be sure to read the fine print before committing to anything, though. While the payout process may be quicker, the interest rates may not necessarily be favorable.
  • Bad credit: If you have a poor credit rating, there are alternative options that will secure your business credit. However, always do your research beforehand, and ensure you can meet the lender’s repayment terms.

Funding Your Business Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult

Funding is not all about loans, as you might be eligible for specific, additional funds or credits. But when deciding between a start-up loan and a small business loan, the easiest way to choose between the two is to look at the age of your business. If you have a well-established business, with a positive financial history and ripe for growth, a small business loan is a very viable option.

For newer businesses still trying to establish themselves, start-up loans seem to offer more positives, although they come with risk at a more personal level. However, as an entrepreneur, risk is all part of the process, and a start-up loan could be exactly what your venture needs to turn risk into reward.

 

small business coach

6 Reasons Your Small Business Needs an Accountant

accountant

As a business owner, you probably flourish and succeed in a DIY environment. However, the more hats you wear, the less you’ll achieve. Running a business isn’t a piece of cake. Having an accountant on your side can prove to be highly beneficial. From challenges with hiring to keeping up with product quality, your business is likely to face countless troubles. Out of all, money matters are a forever-going hustle for every business dealing with transactions. Your company’s finances are not only a problematic and ever-changing aspect but the engine of any business task. In addition, accounting is one of the essential areas for keeping your business profitable.

Managing your company’s finances might be overwhelming with so many tasks on your plate, making it vital to hire an accountant. Having an accountant helps you track your financial aims with productivity. Moreover, an accountant is likely to provide your business with a broad range of services that help you save money, reduce risk and grow your business. An accountant takes over the money-related work, allowing you to focus on other crucial business activities.

In addition, ensure that you hire an experienced and qualified accountant to help tackle your business’s finances better. Look for professionals who have pursued a degree in finance, like a CMA, as preparing for the exam using Wiley CMA test bank and other effective tools and resources would have equipped them with the knowledge required to complete all accounting tasks effectively.

Here are six reasons how hiring an accountant can be the best decision your business makes:

Help to improve cost-efficiency

accountant

Did you know that even a primary task like reducing business expenses can help your business grow? An accountant can help you develop a financial map, helping you decide which costs to keep and which to cut down. It is likely to indicate and show you which costs can be developed, which projects are too costly and which costs have better choices out there. Moreover, accountants can help you reduce your cost through tax deductions which can be done by creating a thorough and clever tax plan.

In addition, with the help of an accountant, you can become more tax literate, saving you from all entering any legal problems. They observe your financial transactions and give you an insight into where you are overspending and how you can cut costs in such areas. Besides that, hiring an accountant can play a significant role if you ever plan to sell your business by making sure you are selling your company tax efficiently.

Measure business performance with the help of an accountant

One of the things commonly neglected by businesses is measuring performance setting aims and goals. Not just that, companies don’t pay attention in measuring such against results such as revenue increase, complaints received, invoices are written off, etc. however, it can be the key to deciding whether your business will succeed or fail. Whereas an accountant can help you create performance evaluations. It will help your business understand its actual performance against the aims you might have set. Moreover, using such evaluations can enable you to understand it in terms of signs vital for growing and prospering.

Stay ahead of trends and policies

In today’s fast-paced world, hiring an accountant is a great way to keep up with emerging trends, new tech advancements, and changes in rules. These experts are aware of the critical pressure aspects your business might face at different stages of its life. Not just that, an accountant can help you visualize the significant issues your business might face due to economic doubts, uncertainties, changing trends, and new rules. An accountant can identify such uncertainties by keeping regulation checks and economic and financial evaluations, giving your business a competitive edge.

In addition, after they identify the changing trends, they can help you prepare for them by taking the help of various financial forecasts. They will use smart solutions, growth managing tools, and analytical performance reporting to help your business stay ahead of the emerging trends. Your accountant can introduce you to the best accounting software by providing a guide, highlighting the best one for your business.

Reduce your workload with an accountant

Once you open your business, you will need time to run daily operations rather than be busy with bookkeeping, tax, or calculating expenses. Not just that, as your business starts to grow, your business’s finances become more complex. It demands more of your time and effort, making it vital to hire an accountant. These experts will help you manage business operations by suggesting process improvements. They will take over the financial and tax commitments, introducing you to various tools to make your life easier and save your time. Moreover, investing in an accountant will help you maintain focus and keep you on the path towards achieving your goals. In addition, hiring an accountant eliminates the chances of making errors while creating a report.

Improve your cash flow

accountant

What is the essential thing required to run your business? Well, cash is what keeps your company going. Without controlling your cash flow, you are unlikely to make it essential to grow your business and make it successful. Managing cash flow is crucial for your business as even a successful and profitable business can collapse without having enough cash. In addition, having a good cash flow balance can help you understand where you are spending your money.

Moreover, managing your cash flow covers how your company manages its financial investments and activities to maintain a good cash flow balance. Your business needs to have adequate cash flow to survive and pay its everyday expenses. If you cannot find cash in the company to match your growth, you might run into financial difficulties, making it vital to hire an expert. Investing in an experienced accountant can help you have reasonable credit control. They will ensure that your cash management policies are in place, giving you access to all possible funds and information.

Get valuable advice from an accountant

Hiring an accountant can help you get the perfect advice on planning your business’s future. They can help you pull out past data and examine the position of your business. It will help you decide when the best time is to buy inventory or make investments, helping you stay competitive. Moreover, an accountant can look at the big picture to figure out the best way to support the long life of your business. Furthermore, these experts can give you an unbiased discussion board for your ideas and warn you of the possible risks.

Final thoughts

An accountant can help you run your business much more effectively and efficiently. Investing in an accountant can reduce the amount of time you spend on bookkeeping, allowing you to look at other business operations. In addition, these experts can help you predict the changing trends, enabling you to have the edge over other businesses.

 

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