July 30, 2019

Insurance for the Self-Employed? 53% Think They Don’t Need It

Insurance for Self-Employed Folks

When you run a business, your risk exposure increases. If you are self-employed, the outcome of these risks can have serious repercussions.

Insurance for Self-Employed Folks

A survey from Qdos reveals more than half or 53% of those who are self-employed don’t think they need insurance. Even though there is a difference between thinking you don’t need it and having it, 29% say they don’t have insurance at all.

If you are a small business or a freelancer working as an independent contractor, clients are now demanding insurance before they hire you. So, knowing your liability exposure and insurance requirements can protect you from financial losses and potential lawsuits. The problem is most small businesses and independent contractors are not fully aware of their liabilities.

In an emailed press release, Seb Maley, CEO of Qdos, addresses the risks and liabilities for self-employed workers.

Maley says, “Self-employed workers are exposed to all kinds of risks on a daily basis – many of which they have no control over and cannot see coming. When running a small business, there’s no escaping the fact that you might have an accident and not be able to work, make a mistake for which you’re liable or even be investigated by the taxman.”

Maley adds if a small business doesn’t have the right insurance, the owner could be personally liable. And oftentimes the cost is more than owners can afford, which can result in the business shutting down.

The Reason for Not Buying Insurance

Surprisingly cost is not the top reason for not buying insurance. While only 25% believe it is too expensive, the majority or 53% don’t think they need it.

The reasons self-employed workers don’t buy insurance:

  • 53% do not think they need it
  • 25% believe it’s too expensive
  • 17% have never considered it at all
  • 8% are looking to buy it
  • 1% can’t find the right policy
  • 1% say they are self-insured
  • 5% stated ‘other’ reasons

The survey also revealed 71% of the respondents hold at least one form of insurance. And the most common policy amongst this group is public liability insurance.

Additionally, 95% of those who earn more than $61K are more likely to have insurance, while those earning under that amount are less likely (63%) to have a policy in place.

Insurance in the Freelance Age

It is not always the case, but when a client requires insurance you have to buy it or lose out on the job. Increasingly clients are asking for insurance because of the work freelancers are performing.

This is especially the case for freelancers working with sensitive data in the healthcare, financial, and security industries. With highly skilled and specialized freelancers now part of the workforce, insurance will increasingly be a requirement. And if it is a big-ticket project which requires compliance, it will most definitely require insurance.

If a client requires insurance shop around because there are many affordable options out there. Don’t just give up without first checking what is available in your price range.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Insurance for the Self-Employed? 53% Think They Don’t Need It" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 30, 2019

Here’s How You Can Foreclose a Loan for Business?

The successful operation of a business is dependent on a wide variety of factors, including but not limited to, the product or service being offered, the competition, the brand image, the market conditions as well as the availability of excess funds. Of these factors, one with the highest capacity to impact the business is money. After all, it is money that helps meet various needs of the enterprise. Some of the common expenses include working capital needs, purchasing new equipment or machinery, upgrading technology, hiring new personnel, recouping with sudden changes in the marketplace, and dealing with emergencies, amongst other things.

In cases when your business is running low on funds, and you wish to accomplish any of the aforementioned objectives, a business loan can come in very handy. You can opt for one of the two types of business loans:

Secured Business Loans

These loans are procured by offering collateral to the lender. Since the risk proposition of the lender is low, the interest rate of the loan is also comparatively lower. This loan type is ideal for new and small businesses that are in need of funds, but may not have a strong financial standing or the requisite level of creditworthiness to enjoy an Unsecured Business Loan.

Unsecured Business loan

These loans are procured without offering collateral, thereby increasing the risk proposition for the lender. Consequently, one may avail this loan at a higher business loan interest rate. Large-scale businesses generally avail this type of loan.
Foreclosure of a Business loan

Regardless of the type of loan a business procures, one thing remains constant – the interest outgo. As a thumb rule, every business tries to keep its expenses to the minimum to ensure greater profits. One way to do so is to save the money going towards the interest component on a Business Loan. This can be easily taken care of by Foreclosure, which essentially means paying off the loan in multiple parts or full, before the end of the stipulated tenure. This is usually done, when the business enjoys a surplus cash flow.  In this case, the interest component only needs to be paid until the loan has been paid off in full, thereby helping in saving on the interest outgo.

How to Foreclose a Business Loan?

More often than not, an SBI Business Loan or other Business Loans for that matter cannot be foreclosed online. Hence, you should be prepared to visit your branch to initiate the process of foreclosure, which usually includes the following steps:

On your bank visit, get in touch with a loan executive, and seek assistance for loan foreclosure. At this point, the executive will guide you through the steps, while also handing out a loan foreclosure form.

You will be then required to fill the form with your personal details as well as the information pertaining the loan, and duly sign the same.

Next, you must furnish the following documents to the bank-

  • Proof of Identity (Passport/ Driving License/ Aadhar Card)
  • Loan Documents
  • Bank statements of the loan account

After the submission of documents, you can clear the outstanding loan payment via cheque, demand draft, or cash.

Once the payment is made in full, the bank will issue an ‘Acknowledgement Letter’ stating the same. You should preserve this letter carefully. Then, in the next few days, you will receive the loan agreement, thereby indicating the process is complete from both sides.

Things to Know before Business loan Foreclosure

As simple as the process of foreclosure is, as a business owner, you need to take into consideration the following aspects before going forward with the decision.

The Lender will Levy Foreclosure Charges

While foreclosing a loan helps you save money, it proves to be a substantial loss for the lender. In order to discourage you from prepaying the loan, the lender will levy a foreclosure penalty. This penalty may range anywhere between 0.5% and 2.5% of the outstanding loan amount. You should be prepared to shell out this money, before deciding on the foreclosure.

Besides, it is extremely important that you weigh the savings made through foreclosure, against the penalty, and see if it is still beneficial to pay off the loan. If not, it is better to carry on with regular EMI payments.

That being said, if you enjoy a good relationship with the lending institution, you can always try to negotiate the penalty, and even place a request of waiver of the same.

Your Business Might Face a Cash Flow Crunch

Of course, closing a loan comes with its own benefits, but you must only do so, if you have surplus cash. Otherwise this step may lead you towards an uncalled for cash crunch, with little or no cushion for any bad days ahead. Hence, make sure your finances allow you the ‘luxury’ of foreclosing your Business Loan.

Excess Cash Can Be Used Towards Investments

Even when you have surplus cash, wherein you can comfortably pay off your loan you should always analyse if there are any investment opportunities available. In case, there is an investment which can help you earn greater returns than you will save on the interest outgo towards the loan, then go ahead and invest the surplus money. After all, generating revenues/ returns is the primary goal of any business.

You can Claim Tax Benefits on the Loan

When you file your Income Tax Returns, you can claim deduction on the interest paid towards the loan, by indicating the same as a business expense. When you foreclose your loan, you won’t be able to do so anymore. While the deduction may not be substantial, it can surely be of help if you are a relatively new business.

Timely Repayment of Loan Can Boost Your Credit Score

If you are looking forward to building a favourable credit history for your business, you may want to continue repaying the loan in the form of regular EMIs. The timely loan repayment will reflect the financial discipline of your business, therefore increasing your credit score over time. This may not be the case if you foreclose the loan. Considering that as a business you will need more loans in the future, you should aim to boost your credit rating as much as possible; as it will help you procure Low-Interest Business Loans in the future, that too with considerable ease.

We hope that you now know all that there is to about Business Loan foreclosure, and the aspects revolving around this significant financial decision.

The post Here’s How You Can Foreclose a Loan for Business? appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

July 30, 2019

Different Kinds Of Office Space

The space for offices comes in variant shapes and sizes, all available for renting and purchasing process. Even as many different industries of different niches support open floor plans and office spaces that can accommodate them, there are plenty of different types of office space that can fit your company’s needs and requirements.

However, if you are looking for different rental office space listings then just visit Justproperty.com as they are one of the best online real estate portals in Dubai. While if you are still confused about what kind of office space you are looking for then read this article till the end.

Types of office spaces

Traditional office space

The classic office layout is usually best for financial services, hedge funds, and law firms. This type of office space will give employees quiet and private areas to work and handle clients and confidential information. While some common features of a traditional office include

  • Reception
  • Boardroom
  • Bullpen

Creative office space

For creative people, there are creative office spaces that have become synonymous with open-plan office space. However, creative office space can vary in style, decor, and layout. While some of the creative office space layouts include:

  • Wood flooring
  • High ceiling
  • Large windows
  • Wet pantry
  • Fewer walls

These layouts highlight the collaboration on a functional and symbolic level. There are less partitions between departments and desks which offers transparency, communication, and collaboration between employees, managers, and leadership.

Creative office spaces are also very spacious compared to other spaces. As it involves square feet allocated per person, you can fit more employees at tables or rows in open space that you can at individual cubicles or private offices.

Startups, tech giants, and creative agencies along with large enterprises and financial institutions are all looking for creative office spaces as this type of space encourages and facilitates communication within teams.

Contiguous office space

Contiguous office space is multiple suites on the same floor that are combined to a single tenant. Moreover, contagious space can also be referred to suites which are located on multiple floors of a building that a single tenant rents.

Coworking space

As the name suggests, this type of office space offers flexible terms of use of a number of desks in an open office space and usually includes meeting and break out rooms. Such offices serve small companies and startups in need of workspace for an indefinite period. Coworking space can be secured by desk per day for one year or more.

While shared amenities, spaces, and appliances help keep costs low. On the other hand, longer commitments will ensure lower rent prices but depending on the situation it may be worth paying a premium for the flexibility.

Due to the flexible lease terms and collaborative workspace, coworking spaces often encourages interaction between tenants in the form of organized events, panel discussions, and happy hours.

Executive suites

Executive suites come as fully serviced workspace settled within a full floor of space that has been leased to another company. You can get executive suites on a lease with flexible terms. Most office suites will offer month-to-month rent or in terms of 3,6,9, and 12-month increments.

While some offices will also come loaded with furniture and pre-wired for phone and internet services. The perks of an executive suite include access to a common conference room and break room and a reception area with a receptionist.

Classifying different types of office buildings

Classification of office buildings serves as signals of their amenities, architecture, location, and cost to rent.

Most office buildings fall into these 4 categories: Trophy, Class A, Class B or Class C. However, there is no industry standard or benchmarks that’s what makes these buildings one class or the other. The distinction varies by market and by other buildings that are in the neighborhood.

So, the common factors that decide what class a building falls into are the age, location, curb appeal, historical significance, maintenance, ownership, building infrastructure IT, HVAC, and on the construction awards such as LEED certification.

Class A office space

The largest and highest quality office spaces on the market are the Class A office buildings. Class A office buildings are available in a mix of vintage, historical buildings and new constructions that offers premium location, top of the line technical infrastructure, reputable ownership. Such buildings also include a ton of tenant services such as maintenance team and lobby concierge.

Class A comes with high rent prices and attracts firms with budgets.

Class B office space

Buildings that are older but still offer reliable amenities and property management services fall under the Class B category. Class B office spaces are mostly owned by smaller tenants and earlier-stage companies. Such offices can be found in prime areas but enjoy cheaper leases than Class A building because there are fewer amenities and services.

Class C office space

As the name suggests, Class C office buildings are the properties with fewer tenant services than Class B. While there are very few Class C office buildings on the market because they struggle to compete with higher-quality office spaces.

Trophy

A trophy is the unofficial 4th term that is used to denote a buildings’ category. A trophy is a high-end class building beyond Class A types. They are well-known iconic structures and represents one-of-a-kind building with distinctive architectural designs and composed of the highest quality of materials.

Summary

If you live in Dubai and are searching for office space to expand your old office or for a startup then look for it on Justproperty.com as it is Dubai’s most visited online real estate portal.

The post Different Kinds Of Office Space appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

July 30, 2019

Bad Business Reputation Proves Deal Breaker for 90% of Online Shoppers

90% of Online Shoppers Don’t Buy If You Have a Bad Business Reputation

Good online reputation is a critical success factor for your business because your online reputation influences your customers’ minds.

A whopping 90% of online shoppers have chosen not to buy from a company because of its bad reputation, according to research conducted by Trustpilot.

Small business owners often struggle to build a large customer base as they don’t have a big marketing budget to sway customers. Being perceived as unreliable or unfair can make it more difficult for small business owners to grow their customer base.

Need for Good Online Reputation

It takes time to build a brand. At the initial stage, your small business might not be a popular name in your industry.

When prospects or customers don’t know about your business, they try to find information about you.

In fact, 60% of online shoppers perform a search for the company when they are unfamiliar with it. What’s more, over 93% of customers read reviews before buying online, confirms Trustpilot’s research.

It’s not like that only online shoppers perform a search. 42% of in-store customers conduct research online while in a store, says Google research.

Won’t a customer will hesitate to place an order if he/she finds negative reviews on the first page of search results?

90% of customers who don’t buy because of a bad online reputation of a company, as found in the research, don’t stop there. These customers also tell other customers not to buy from the same company.

Image for bad reputation spreads

So having just a few negative reviews can cost your business a good number of customers eventually.

Big companies have a large base of loyal customers. They can afford to lose a few customers. For a small business owner like you, each and every customer counts.

So keeping a clean online reputation to build trust with customers is no more a passive tactic.

What You Can Do to Avoid a Bad Business Reputation

Customers lose interest in brands when they find brands are silent, secretive and project outdated online presence, as stated in the research. Also, deleting negative reviews has been found to be the biggest trust breaker.

Here are factors that decrease the trust of buyers, according to the research:

Image for factors that decrease trust

What can you do to manage your business’ online reputation to build trust with your customers?

Here are some effective ways:

  • Claim and optimize your profiles on reputed third-party business listing sites to build credibility
  • Proactively monitor your business’s reputation
  • Keep tabs on your business’s social media accounts
  • Respond constructively to criticism and never delete negative reviews/ comments
  • Keep your website secure and publish high-quality content that offers value

You should not wait for any negative review surfacing online to start online reputation management of your business.

As a small business owner, building a good online reputation should be your goal from day one because it is an important way to build trust with your customers.

About the Report

Zachary Pardes, Trustpilot’s advertising and communications director, says, “Small business owners continue to face the reality that larger companies are persistent in trying to take their customers. This report proves one of the most important ways to remain competitive and keep customer confidence high is by maintaining a good reputation. And a good reputation generates loyalty, which is priceless in an environment where consumers have many options.”

A good online reputation not only brings in more customers but also helps you compete with big companies. Customers choose to buy from an unfamiliar company over a reputed company known for a recent scandal. What’s more, customers find a strong brand reputation more important than price, the research confirms.

Online reputation management is a must-follow practice for small business owners in in today’s web-connected world.

What is your plan to manage your business’s online reputation?

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Bad Business Reputation Proves Deal Breaker for 90% of Online Shoppers" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 30, 2019

Marketing Proposal Template: Here are Some You Can Use

marketing proposal template

Looking for the perfect marketing proposal for your marketing agency? Maybe you’re starting a chatbot agency or offering Messenger chatbots as part of your shiny new services to clients.

And you need a marketing proposal template.

Sorry, we don’t have it. Because here’s the thing. The only perfect marketing proposal is the one that works for your specific agency in your specific situation with your specific clients. And that’s a lot of variables.

But, thankfully, there is such a thing as marketing proposal templates. And that’s what we’ve assembled for you here.

You can hop and skip over the meaty section below and just grab the template. But, be warned, the solution to a winning proposal isn’t the template itself. It’s what goes inside the template. If you follow the instructions below, you’ll increase your proposal accept rate dramatically.

Marketing Proposal for Marketing Agencies — What are You Selling?

First, it’s important to ask a crucial question.

What are you selling? 

This marketing proposal template is for marketing agencies of any kind.

However, MobileMonkey is a Facebook Messenger chatbot builder. If you are selling chatbot services, make sure you’re using a robust, powerful, and cost-effective platform to create and deploy hyper-effective Messenger chatbots.

MobileMonkey is particularly powerful for marketing agencies with a unique pricing tier and an expanded suite of features and benefits specifically for marketing agencies. Please check it out. 

The Perfect Marketing Proposal Template: This is the Goal

The simple unvarnished goal of a marketing proposal is to win the client, get the yes, earn the revenue, etc.

Marketers like to bring up a lot of other stuff when talking about marketing proposals:

  • The perfect font for a marketing proposal
  • The ideal way for the client to sign the marketing proposal
  • How long, exactly, the proposal needs to be
  • What colors are the right ones for a marketing proposal
  • How to send the marketing proposal to a client — Word, PDF, paper, smoke signals, something different?
  • The winning design template for an irresistible marketing proposal

Are all of those things important?

Yes. Sort of. Maybe.

And each of those features serves a single goal — to win the client.

However, there are other more important features than the perfect font and just the right color.

What are those important features that will compel the prospective client to say yes? There are two primary ones.

  • The client’s negative psychological motivation. What pain are they feeling that your marketing agency can solve? They want you to take away their pain.
  • The client’s positive feelings that working with you will provide. What value and rewards will they earn as a result of saying yes to your proposal and working together? How will this make them feel?

Let’s use an example:

CEO Sally is stressed because her local staffing agency is wasting money on Facebook ads. It’s causing her to skip breakfast, gym days, and yell at her kids. Sally doesn’t like this. Sally feels sad. Sally feels unhealthy. Sally feels like a bad mom. Sally believes that by contracting with you, a kickass Facebook marketing agency selling chatbot services, she will eat healthy foods, go to her weekly Zumba, and speak kindly to her daughter after picking her up from school each day. She believes that her company’s revenue will increase. This makes Sally feel happy.

Notice that I haven’t even touched on cost at this point. Heck, I hardly even discussed the nature of Sally’s business, ad spend, or marketing approach.

Sally is feeling bummed and your marketing agency can help her feel non-bummed.

The point is this. Even if you choose to use comic sans as your font and send a fax (what’s a fax?) as your delivery method, a client very well might say yes as long as the psychological motivation and potential ROI are high.

So, to summarize:

  • A yes is the goal.
  • The way to get the yes is by assuring them that you will do two things:
    • Erase their pain
    • Deliver positive feelings

I’m not trying to go all Freud on you, but I do think it’s important to acknowledge a simple fact of human psychology: deep psychological motivation will win the day faster than fonts.

That’s why the marketing proposal template below includes features that will help to deliver on that front.

Okay, let’s dive in. You can use this handy Google doc as a template. It contains a simple outline of the proposal to keep you on track. Sorry, no sweet vectors, flashy fonts, or drag-and-drop templates for you here. Try VismeCanva, or Word Templates for that.

Summary Section

One page or less

Your summary statement is one of the most important components of the marketing proposal because it’s at the beginning and because most major stakeholders will at least glance at it. You’re basically telling the client that you want to get married and you hope they say “I do.”

[Prospect name],

One to three paragraphs that address the following points

  • The reason why your client originally reached out to you. You want to tie it back to the pain they felt when they submitted the contact form on your website or picked up the phone and gave you a call. Poke at that.
  • The problem they are facing. Reference that pain again by describing how they are losing money or time, how they are missing out on something important, and how that won’t change unless they work with you.
  • The solution that you are proposing. Teasing them with the solution is fine. Don’t throw platitudes or cliches in here, but reference the work that you do and the identical (and successful) work you’ve done in the past for clients like them.
  • The outcome that you will deliver. Don’t just focus on numbers. Focus on feelings. Obviously, you probably don’t want to promise a better night of sleep, but you can suggest that your solution will be “100% outsourced,” “easy,” straightforward” and “seamless,” which is almost the same thing.

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

  • Keep this section brief. You want your client to be able to capture the gist of the marketing proposal template in one to three minutes.
  • Stay casual. This is a personal note. Keep the tone light. Marketing proposals often contain stiff, awkward, and formal language. Look, you’re probably not a lawyer and neither is your client. Just act natural. And write like it, too.

Marketing Solution

1-2 pages of how you’re going to solve the client’s problem.

Follow a four-point outline to describe your marketing solution:

  1. Problem Statement – what is the client dealing with that you can solve? One paragraph/
  2. Strategy Solution – what will you do that will solve this problem? 5-15 bullet points.
  3. Deliverables – what are the specific things you will give or do. E.g., 12 chatbot sequences, ongoing support for 6 months, etc.
  4. Results – the kind of success and joy that the client will experience as a result of working with your marketing agency

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

Three tips. Here they are.

1. Explain your specific strategy with the client in concrete terms.

Some agencies might think “we don’t want to give away our secrets! Especially if they haven’t paid us yet!”

I’m here to say give away your secrets. A client will be more compelled by a clear strategy than she will with a vague promise.

Explain exactly how you’re going to achieve the client’s goals. You don’t want the client to hand back your proposal saying, “Can you explain how you’re going to solve our problem?”

Tell them. Upfront.

2. Drive quickly towards solutions.

The “solution” should be just that — solutions.

Too often, this section goes off the rails with the following mistakes:

  • Vague promises. The language gets salesy. The clarity wafts away. And the client is thinking “But will they?”
  • Getting stuck in the weeds of methodology. Most clients could care less about your Ahrefs wizardry or your MobileMonkey skills. As important as those are, spend less time talking about how you’re going to solve the problem and more time describing what the solution will be.
  • It’s too long. In most cases, the client’s problem can be solved in one page of a proposal (so to speak). If it takes more than that, eyes will glaze and minds will wander and…adios client.

3.  Use quick, bite-sized bullet points for this section.

This is pure tactic.

Use bullet points.

Client brains will praise you. I’m just as eager as the next guy to read Atlas Shrugged, but paragraphs consisting of 81 lines don’t fly with a marketing proposal.

Summarize your solution into a few succinct bullet points, and you have a higher likelihood of the client 1) reading your proposal, 2) understanding your proposal, and 3) accepting your proposal.

Investment

One page listing the price and payment terms.

“Investment” is code for “give us money.” This is the money section in which you will explain exactly how much it costs and how you expect your fee to be paid.

All you need here are two sections:

  • Price – how much it costs. Keep it simple. A number is all you need.
  • Payment terms – when and how they need to pay your fee.

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

  • Place this section on its own page (or slide, if you’re using slides). Clients will be rabid about seeing this section. Most of the time, this is all they care about.
  • Don’t pretend that you’re giving them discounts. Often, I see the pricing section reveal all kinds of false discounts — a few subtraction problems followed by wow! a lower number than they were expecting! Leave that for negotiation. Stand by your price and leave the subtraction problems for third-grade math class.

Timeline

One page describing when the client can expect to receive deliverables and see results.

This section outlines — again using bullets — the dates (and times if applicable) by which they can expect two things:

  • The deliverables
  • The results

Trace these out with as much bullet-point simplicity as possible.

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

  • Tell them exactly when can they expect results. Every client wants to know the answer to this question, when will we see results? Be as straightforward as possible in answering this question, but by all means, answer the question!
  • Commit to your timeline. This power tip gets a bit ahead of the game, but I plead with you to stick to your dates. All the talk about projects missing deadlines? It’s abnormal for a company to actually delivery by expected dates. Be that company.

Team (optional)

One or more pages (depending on the size of your team) with headshots, titles, and descriptions of each team member.

This section is extra. It can help, especially if you have some heavy-hitting luminaries on your team — names and reputations that are recognized and admired in your local market or niche.

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

  • Headshots are a must-have in this section. Cognitive neuroscience has demonstrated that humans have an emotional and visceral response to seeing faces. The presence of headshot photos — especially smiling ones — in a marketing proposal can help to add a touch of humanity and emotional depth to an otherwise bland marketing proposal.
  • Keep the descriptions casual and brief. While you may be tempted to spill the entire bowl of alphabet soup over this section — John Smith, ACSA, BS, MS, Ph.D., accredited by AWEG, certification by HHR and BRE, member of AFS and RJTY. Forget it. You’re better off talking about Smith’s affection for Dinmont Terriers and weekend proclivity for disc golf.

Case Study (optional)

One or more pages describing a similar situation and solution in the past.

Again, this is extra. If you have case studies, trot them out. If you don’t, no sweat.

Marketing Proposal Power Tips

  • The best case studies consist of 1) similar problems and 2) similar clients. Some agencies tend to think that the bigger the brand they’ve worked with, the more compelling the case study will be. Doesn’t always work that way, though. Even if you did work with Coca-Cola, the mom and pop store you’re working with right now wants to know if you’ve successfully solved a problem for a similar mom and pop establishment.
  • Brief and simple. I’m beginning to sound like the summer’s hit song in literally every mall and boutique teen clothing shop across America. Simple. Brief. Simple. Brief. Yes, it matters. Keep your case studies…you guessed it…simple and brief.

Agreement and Terms

One or more pages with your standard legal agreement and terms.

This is the “boring section.” But it’s also really important.

I’m going to leave the language of this to your lawyers or whatever copy/paste job you’ve done in the past. However, it is important to have a clear description of the recitals, operative provisions, confidentiality agreements, and all the other legal necessaries to protect yourself and your client.

Signature Section

And finally, it’s signing time.

You know how this goes down — a couple of lines and a couple of dates, and you’re set.

Marketing Proposal Template Bonus Tip for Massive Success

Let’s be honest. Getting a marketing proposal template right is just the first step.

The second step is having the client sign it.

And the true unicorn land begins when you deliver awesome work, rinsing, and repeating.

Now that you have a killer marketing proposal template, I also have a bonus tip that will make your marketing proposal all but irresistible.

One of the greatest ways to significantly improve the chances of acceptance is to offer something new, differentiating, and appealing to your client.

That something is chatbots. Chatbots are a fascinating and emerging component of digital marketing. All trends indicate their massive rise in the coming years, and so far, there are only a few agencies that offer chatbot marketing services.

My recommendation? Offer chatbot marketing services to your clients. Here are a few get-rich-quick links for using chatbot marketing as part of your proposal and your agency’s growth:

Marketing Proposal for Marketing Agencies – Simple and Brief

Having worked in the marketing agency industry for over ten years, I’ve seen torrents of marketing proposals.

After a while, they blend together in a cyclone of hackneyed promises and commonplace language.

The marketing proposals that have succeeded have done so as a result of three things:

  • They sooth the psychological pain point
  • They anticipate positive feelings that the client will experience
  • They are simple and brief

Ready to get started. Here’s the template.

This article, "Marketing Proposal Template: Here are Some You Can Use" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 30, 2019

Evaluating the Benefits of Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Have to Hard, Read This

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?

Instagram “influencers” are masters at the art of quid pro quo, and know how to get free goods and services in exchange for featuring a brand on their Instagram page.

But is it worth it for the brand or business owner?

Joe Nicchi doesn’t think so.

In fact, the Los Angeles-based owner of CVT Soft Serve (a vintage ice cream truck) has had enough of supposed influencers asking for freebies in exchange for a snap.

After endless (denied) requests for free ice cream in exchange for “exposure,” he figured it was time to send a message.

He took to CVT’s Facebook Page to post the following message:

We truly don’t care if you’re an Influencer, or how many followers you have. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page. It’s literally a $4 item … well now it’s $8 for you. #InfluencersAreGross

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?

Nicchi isn’t alone in questioning the value of influencer marketing.

The value of influencer marketing can be tough to prove, especially with something physical like an ice cream cone.

While online products and services can be tracked with UTM codes, it’s much harder to track when it’s physical.

Furthermore, all the likes, reach and “exposure” (a word Nicchi has come to hate) might never translate into a single sale, given that the influencers audience might not even be local.

But then again … there are the unicorn influencers who can skyrocket a brand to the next level with one mention.

The fact that influencers are backed by thousands of followers provides social proof that is compelling.

Then there’s the fact that people are largely more likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation from a connection rather than a brand.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder influencer marketing is a $6.5 billion industry.

If you’re thinking about working with an influencer, make sure to do the following:

  1. Verify the legitimacy of their following with a tool like this free Instagram Audit Tool.
  2. Evaluate whether their following matches your ideal clients.
  3. Check out their previous work with other brands (and make sure they follow FTC guideline by disclosing the post is an #ad or #partnership)
  4. Ask for data on some of the ROI they’ve been able to deliver thanks to their social posts.

As for Joe Nicchi and CVT Soft Serve?

They’re doing just fine.

CVT has been featured in Vanity Fair, Times Magazine, Newsweek, People Magazine, TimeOut, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications — all without the assistance of influencer marketing.

In fact, since his anti-influencer campaign went viral, he’s got more Instagram followers than ever.

Go figure.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Evaluating the Benefits of Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Have to Hard, Read This" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 29, 2019

Evaluating the Benefits of Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Have to Hard, Read This

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?

Instagram “influencers” are masters at the art of quid pro quo, and know how to get free goods and services in exchange for featuring a brand on their Instagram page.

But is it worth it for the brand or business owner?

Joe Nicchi doesn’t think so.

In fact, the Los Angeles-based owner of CVT Soft Serve (a vintage ice cream truck) has had enough of supposed influencers asking for freebies in exchange for a snap.

After endless (denied) requests for free ice cream in exchange for “exposure,” he figured it was time to send a message.

He took to CVT’s Facebook Page to post the following message:

We truly don’t care if you’re an Influencer, or how many followers you have. We will never give you a free ice cream in exchange for a post on your social media page. It’s literally a $4 item … well now it’s $8 for you. #InfluencersAreGross

Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?

Nicchi isn’t alone in questioning the value of influencer marketing.

The value of influencer marketing can be tough to prove, especially with something physical like an ice cream cone.

While online products and services can be tracked with UTM codes, it’s much harder to track when it’s physical.

Furthermore, all the likes, reach and “exposure” (a word Nicchi has come to hate) might never translate into a single sale, given that the influencers audience might not even be local.

But then again … there are the unicorn influencers who can skyrocket a brand to the next level with one mention.

The fact that influencers are backed by thousands of followers provides social proof that is compelling.

Then there’s the fact that people are largely more likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation from a connection rather than a brand.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder influencer marketing is a $6.5 billion industry.

If you’re thinking about working with an influencer, make sure to do the following:

  1. Verify the legitimacy of their following with a tool like this free Instagram Audit Tool.
  2. Evaluate whether their following matches your ideal clients.
  3. Check out their previous work with other brands (and make sure they follow FTC guideline by disclosing the post is an #ad or #partnership)
  4. Ask for data on some of the ROI they’ve been able to deliver thanks to their social posts.

As for Joe Nicchi and CVT Soft Serve?

They’re doing just fine.

CVT has been featured in Vanity Fair, Times Magazine, Newsweek, People Magazine, TimeOut, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications — all without the assistance of influencer marketing.

In fact, since his anti-influencer campaign went viral, he’s got more Instagram followers than ever.

Go figure.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Evaluating the Benefits of Influencer Marketing Doesn’t Have to Hard, Read This" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 29, 2019

4 Easy Steps to Choose the Perfect Business Name

How to Create a Business Name

The name that you choose for your business can make a major impact on your brand image. Selecting the perfect name sometimes requires finding a balance between the practical and creative elements. Then once you have the perfect name in mind, you need to make it official and protect your brand.

How to Create a Business Name

If you’re just getting started with your business journey and are in search of the perfect name, here’s a guide ranging from the creative to the legal aspects involved.

Choose a Name That’s Creative and Memorable

The best business names always stand out from the competition. That means they need to be creative and unique. There’s no magic formula for this. But basically, your name should be different enough from other companies in your industry that customers won’t confuse your business with others.

However, there are also some advantages of having a business name that clearly and directly describes what you do. For example, including “plumbing” in the name for a local plumber tells people exactly what type of service you provide. So they’re not left guessing. And it can help you with things like SEO for your website. You can still get a little creative with the other aspects of your name. But in certain industries, people don’t expect anything too out-there.

No matter what style of business name you choose, it’s essential that the name you choose is easy to remember. It should be pithy and simple enough so that customers can commit it to memory after doing business with you just once. Ideally, it should also be something that’s very easy to read and pronounce. And if there’s some kind of hook, like a pun or an element that you can tie into your logo or branding, even better.

If you’re not sure where to get started on your naming journey, you might consider using a name generator or list of name examples that are specific to your industry. You still need to make sure that the names you come up with aren’t taken. But these tools can sometimes help business owners find that spark of inspiration that leads to an original idea.

Check the Availability of Your Business Name

Even if you find the perfect business name, it won’t do you any good if someone else is already using it. This can lead to confusion for your business and potentially even legal issues.

To avoid this, check the U.S. trademark database and your state’s database of business names. Additionally, you need to look into the rules regarding business names in your state and/or city. Some states have outlawed certain words, often those that might imply you run a government office, school or financial institution. If you meet these qualifications, then you should be good to go legally.

However, there may still be other businesses using your preferred name without having a trademark registered. Even if you can lay legal claim to it, a company that has been using the name for years may create headaches for your business. And the whole thing can seem confusing for customers. Do some online searches to make sure your name isn’t in use unofficially. You may even want to search for names that look especially similar to avoid confusion.

See If the Domain Is Available

Ideally, your business name will also be available as a website domain. Using your name, rather than a tagline or combination of other words, makes your site easy to remember. So customers can quickly find you online and make purchases or interact with your business.

Before choosing a name, it’s a good idea to check the availability of the domain you want. If it’s taken, you may want to rethink or adjust your name, or reach out to the owner to see if they might be willing to sell. You might also look to see if the corresponding social media handles are available.

Once you have your eye on a domain that corresponds with the name of your business, try to register it with the .com extension, since that’s what people are used to. You can also purchase the .net and .org equivalents and have them redirect to your main site. There are actually lots of new extensions available today, including things like .tv and .design. But these aren’t usually as easy for customers to remember.

Register Your Business Name

Once you have the perfect name, it’s time to make it official. In the U.S. you can register your business name with the Secretary of State office in your state. Outside the U.S., find the relevant local authority that deals with businesses and ask about their process.

Additionally, if the business name that you use on a daily basis is different than the legal name for your business (like if you’re a sole proprietor and your business name is technically your own name) then you can file a DBA to register the name you use for business matters.

You might also consider protecting your brand name with a trademark. This is different than registering your business name, even though your brand and business names may be the same. This would give you legal protections if other companies attempt to use your brand name in any of their materials. And it can also help you protect multiple brands under the umbrella of one company.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "4 Easy Steps to Choose the Perfect Business Name" was first published on Small Business Trends

July 29, 2019

10 Awesome Tips for a Successful WordPress Ecommerce Business

10 Awesome Tips for WordPress Ecommerce

Looking for a reason to build a WordPress Ecommerce site for your small business? How about the fact it runs 34% of the Internet? Or that it powers almost 15% of the top 100 websites worldwide?

Small Business Trends talked with William Patton, Theme Review Team lead for wordpress.org – WordPress Developer and some other experts. Here’s 10 awesome tips for WordPress Ecommerce to propel your enterprise.

WordPress Ecommerce Tips

Balance Images With SEO

He started our conversation stressing the importance of balancing images with SEO.

“The first thing you need to understand about selling with WordPress is images are what people buy with,” he says. “You need to balance that with knowing search engines can’t see them.”

That’s why he suggests balancing the two together. You can’t neglect one for the other.

“You need good images and good descriptive text.”

As far as your pictures go, you can balance them with good SEO technique through title tags. Adding a keyword in your image title and alternate text areas works.

Use the Right Contact Methods

Patton says there’s three big ways customers will contact you.

“People want to get in touch by email, phone or Live Chat,” he says. “A lot of sites don’t provide at least one of those three things.”

Here’s a link to the Live Chat plugin. Depending on your target market, you might need a combination of these or all three.  If you’re going to use the chat option, keep in mind you need to be responsive. This only works if you’re ready to answer questions and respond to queries quickly.

For e-commerce sites, it all comes down to one simple idea.

“People have questions they need answered before they buy,” Patton says.

Use Email Remarketing

This technique works well with a discount. Patton explains the thinking here.

“Try to offer someone a discount on a product to get a sale you otherwise wouldn’t have. That’s always better than not making one.”

You’ll need to look outside WordPress here. They don’t have a plugin. Try Mailchimp.

Pick Your Features Beforehand

A little design preparation goes a long way. You need to have a rough idea of what you want your site to look like. Otherwise you can get bogged down in the thousands of WordPress theme choices. You will be asked to make a few selections including layout, features and subject.  The last one is an easy box to check. There is an e-commerce category.

Consider Color

You need to keep in mind that visuals are very important for online marketing. Brand recognition is fueled by color. If you’ve already got a logo and some marketing done, try to coordinate your theme.

Remember that research shows customers prefer lighter colors to darker ones. You should also consider purchasing a premium theme.

Make Sure You’re Mobile Friendly

These days you need to be mobile friendly or you will lose sales. Patton says this means paying special attention to the theme you pick. If it’s more than five years old, it might not have the necessary tweaks.

“Any sites focusing on redesigns really need to look into this.”

Target High End Clients

If you’re targeting high end clients, you’ll more than likely want to focus on Apple devices. An iPhone has more pixels working on resolutions and other smart phones.

“On the high-end versions, that can mean up to 1000 pixels in a very small space,” Patton says.

Long story short is you need to focus on really high-end resolution images. Get some info on how to do this here.

Target Slow Connections

Your target market might be customers in developing countries with slow Internet connections. Low-resolution pictures are better in this situation. They don’t hamper your mobile site from loading and possibly cost you a sale.

 Pick a Good Host

After you’ve gone through what you need to do to put a WordPress e-commerce site together, don’t skimp on the host. Remember cheaper isn’t better. Inexpensive hosts tend to crown lots of websites on one server.

That translates into a slow web experience and lost sales.

Get Yoast

Yoast SEO is another must when you’re putting together a WordPress e-commerce site. With all the talk about mobility and the right themes, you can’t forget about content. Making sure you get traffic to your website is a marketing necessity.

This tool will analyze any of your blog posts and pages. It gives you advice on how to do everything from writing meta tags to choosing keywords. There is even a readability score coaching you on how to make your content more search engine friendly.

Don’t overlook this easy to use marketing tool.

Finally, take a look at how fast your pages load in WordPress. Here’s a tool you can use.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "10 Awesome Tips for a Successful WordPress Ecommerce Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Buy now