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9 Different Ways to Get Business Financing for Your Blog or Business

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With more business owners, bloggers, and entrepreneurs either launching new businesses or startup of their own, or focusing on branding, it’s important to ask yourself if you are taking advantage of the financial upswing? The majority of site owners and bloggers start out with nothing, however, initial startup costs and financial investments are always going to be something to consider.

As unemployment rates flirt with record lows, consumer confidence continues to skyrocket. That has boosted the average annual expenditure consumers put towards goods and services.

The important question here is… What does that mean for you?

It means that if you can launch your business in today’s marketplace, your opportunity to recoup your investments and turn staggering profits are astronomical.

The only issue is that finding funding to launch your business can be a challenge.

With new businesses comes the need to fund office spaces, equipment, employee salaries, and more while you work to get a foothold in consumer’s consciousness.

The good news is that there are lots of ways you can secure business financing and in today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever.

Below you will find a list of nine solutions that can get your website, blog, startup or local business funded today.

1. Bank Loans

We’ll open up our list of funding solutions with what is perhaps the most conventional business financing option available to you: bank loans. Bank loans get acquired by setting an appointment with a loan officer at any major financial institution.

During that appointment, you’ll likely get asked to provide information regarding the business you’re looking to open up. You will also share what your plan is to turn a profit.

In the latest edition of the State of Online Banking, it was also highlighted that other factors like your current finances and credit will enter into the consideration of your prospective lender.

If your lender feels that your plan is sound and trusts that you’ll be able to pay back your loan, you will receive your funding at an interest rate agreed on by you and your lender.

Getting bank loans can be difficult given stringent criteria often set by lenders to mitigate their risk.

2. Online Loans

Online loans are similar in some aspects to getting a traditional bank loan.

When we say “online loans”, we’re referencing solely internet-based lenders. Typically, these loans come in at higher interest rates than what traditional lenders would offer.

The plus side to taking out this type of loan is:

  1. A) You can secure them quickly.
  2. B) You won’t have to answer many questions.

To secure an online loan for your business, you may need to do as little as just show you have income and a checking account. More thorough online lenders will also make it a point to run your credit.

If you go down the online loan path to secure your business’ funding, you’ll want to pay very close attention to interest rates and fees. Many online lenders border on predatory and falling into debt with one of them could spell ruin for your company.

3. Borrow Against Your Stock Portfolio

If you have extensive investments in the stock market but little in the way of cash to fund your business, there are companies out there that will allow you to use your stocks as collateral and borrow business financing against their value.

These types of loans solutions are excellent. This is because they provide another lever prospective business owners can pull to get their products to market.

There are regulations and details you’ll want to brief yourself on prior to exercising this option. Not all market investments will be eligible to borrow against. Which ones are eligible will be determined, in part, by each individual lender.

Be sure to do your research before transferring your portfolio to an online lender. Ensure that you’re not entering into a predatory arrangement that could result in the loss of your investments.

4. Credit Cards

Another go-to means of securing business financing are credit cards.

Many people have experience using traditional consumer credit cards. Business credit cards can be different in what they look for in applicants and what they offer to users.

For starters, in order to secure a business credit card, you may be required to provide an EIN number on your application. This number can get acquired for free by registering for one through the IRS.

For sole-proprietor businesses, some card applications will accept your social security number in lieu of an EIN.

If your application gets approved, your business credit cards will typically come with a much higher limit than you’d get through a standard card. It may also offer you perks that award cash back on things like internet service, transportation, and more.

As with all credit products, stay mindful of your card’s interest rate. Be sure that you’re managing your payments in a way that will keep your company from falling into insurmountable debt.

5. Consider Leveraging Your 401K

If you’ve worked as an employee for another company, you probably have a nest egg built up for your retirement. In most instances, borrowing against that nest egg would result in steep penalties.

However, investing your 401K in business financing, if managed by a tax professional who is experienced in setting up C corporations, can be accomplished without incurring fees.

The same is true if you to borrow against your IRA or ROTH IRA.

Remember, there are risks involved when funding your business with your retirement accounts. If your business fails, not only will you lose your job but your retirement gets lost too.

6. Crowdfunding

While not for everyone, crowdfunding is a low-risk means of getting a business idea off the ground.

Crowdfunding is the process of pitching average people on your business idea. This is typically done by showcasing a “media kit” online which gets made up of videos that describe your idea, information on how your idea can revolutionize a market, and more.

If enough people get compelled by your vision, they can pledge micro investments ($5.00 and up) to help you meet your funding goal.

In exchange for their investments, pledges get prizes depending on how much they invest. Prizes get described in an incentives document your organization will create.

The difficult aspect of crowdsourcing is that very few ideas get funded successfully. You’ll need to invest in a showy pitch/media kit to come anywhere close to your funding goal.

The good news is that if your idea does get funded, beyond giving investors their prizes as promised, you are not beholden to your investors. They are not entitled to royalties on your business’ future success.

Oculus is a notable project made possible through crowdfunding which was later sold to Facebook for 2 billion dollars.

7. Kiva

Kiva is a business financing provider that gives free funding to businesses that are usually based in 3rd world countries. Still, many businesses that are US-based can also get funded through the platform.

In order to get funded through Kiva, you’ll likely need to be part of a disadvantaged community as investors on the platform are interested in helping reshape economies by assisting underserviced populations open businesses.

Still, no matter what your background is, given that Kiva is 100% free, there’s no downside to putting your ask out on the platform.

Kiva offers a flexible payback structure on all business financing serviced through its platform and repercussions for not paying back loans are nominal. Despite that, given the incredible value Kiva provides to underserved entrepreneurs, the graciousness of borrowers has fueled a loan payback rate of 96.8%.

8. Family and Friends

If you’re lucky enough to have a great support network of family and friends, you may be able to secure business financing by pitching them on your idea.

For some, going into business with family members is a rewarding experience that can bring them closer together. For others, being in business with family and owing them money can lead to friction which can decimate relationships.

For that reason, we recommend you tread lightly when looking to engage family and friends for loans. Be sure that nobody is staking their livelihood on your success, and be honest in your intentions to pay people back.

9. Paypal, Kabbage and Online Lending Programs

As you can imagine, the internet has drastically changed the way financing and banking works in the world today.

To bring our nine point list of financial solutions to a close, we simply have to add some amazing opportunities that can be found through providers like Paypal and Kabbage. Both of these platforms allow for businesses to borrow money, almost instantly.

In both cases, all it takes is creating an account and filling in some company details.

For anyone using Paypal to collect and pay for business services online, Paypal Working Capital is perfect.

Kabbage is also great for Paypal users as well, as you can connect accounts and increase the credit line based off your income/revenue history.

Wrapping up 8 Different Ways to Get Business Financing

You have a killer business idea, and all that stands between you and your success is getting the funding you need to get it off the ground. To that end, we recommend leveraging any one of the business financing tips we’ve listed above.

Given their diversity of approaches, you’ll find the success you’re looking for leveraging at least one of them!

Want more of the most thought-provoking advice your business can leverage to find success? Do you want that information online right now?

If so, get the big picture when it comes to local and global economic questions. Start diving deeper the our content pool at Blogging Tips!

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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The Importance of Eye-Catching and Trendy Topics for Your Blog Content

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Today, there are more blogs on the internet than ever before and over 3 million blog posts gets published on the Internet every day. So, you have to develop a strategy to separate yourself from other blogs and show your audience that you’re worth remembering. Getting your blog noticed requires three essential elements: focusing on a niche and writing for a targeted audience, balancing evergreen topics with trends and ensuring shareability. As we see, it all starts with eye-catching and trendy topics. But why? Let’s explore.

Driving Traffic

What keeps a blog alive? It’s consistent flow of traffic – new as well as returning. Creating a perfect balance between evergreen topics and trendy topics is one of the best ways to have sustainable traffic. Ideally, your blog should have a perfect mixture of both trending and evergreen content. While evergreen content never expires, trendy content keeps it relevant. Eye-catching and trendy content proves that your blog is living “in the moment” and paying attention to what’s happening around. That’s why it’s always important to cover the space that’s trendy and interesting to your audience. One of the most significant ways to develop a loyal online following is being part of the conversation. Readers value fresh and trendy content. And they prefer frequent sites that feature constant updates about whatever matters most to each individual user. So Be There or Be Square!

Creating Value

Avinash Kaushik, the author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, once said “Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life”. To rise above the noise, you need to provide incredible value to your readers consistently using your blog. Timely and relevant content is the best way for creating value for your audience. That’s why when it comes to capturing and holding attention, trending content always wins over other content. Trending topics get more traction as they’re relatively more valuable to the reader. Being useful and relevant is the only way to get readers to tune-in. They relate with your post, thank you and engage. When users are engaged, they will be your returning visitor, interact with your content and share it.

create viral content

Better Search Ranking

Creating fresh trendy content is much more fun than creating back-links but it has the same effect. Such content is more likely to get organic links and social shares as well. Always keep in mind that social networks represent a huge mass of people who stand behind the web page and the brand. So, increase “shareability” of your content with trendy and eye-catching topics. That’s how you outrank the competition when there are millions of people posting content daily. At its core, fresh content is content that is up-to-date, newsworthy and relevant to current events. When it comes to Query Deserves Freshness (QDF), Google tries to identify the topics and search requests where the user has a desire for new and current contents. Thus, when the spike in search volume occurs, Google prioritizes websites with high freshness score (fresh results) compared to websites with low freshness score (stale results). Celebrities’ death, affair, break up, new release etc. always create a massive amount of new articles around the topic. For example, Stan Lee died in 12 November, 2018. If we look at the Google trends data for that particular week – 12 November, 2018 to 18 November, 2018, we notice that Google marked the search term “Stan Lee” as “Breakout”. It means this particular search term grew by more than 5000%. Now let’s see how content publishers leveraged this spike in search volume. If you google “Stan Lee”, you should find lots of articles on the Google first page which were actually published on 12 November and the following week! These pages didn’t even exist before 12 November. They just outranked thousands of pages with their fresh contents.

Lowering bounce rate

One of the most common blogging obstacles is finding a way to hook and keep your audience engaged and lower bounce rate. Time sensitive content can be the answer. Trendy and fresh content is catchier than general truths or case studies. Time sensitive trendy content shows that you’re on top of the news and you’re ready and willing to write something that can be used immediately. So, do not hesitate to get going right away when you are working with eye-catching and trendy topics. By introducing an element of urgency, you can get your target audience to take notice. While working with trendy contents, don’t go for random trends. Identify the core target audience of the blog and create trendy content around that audience and your niche. Google loves niche content on websites. When someone clicks a result on the SERP, Google pays attention to how long they stay on that particular website or blog and there are no better signals than engaged users on a specific site.

Increasing shareability

Love it or hate it, social media is integral to how audiences discover, consume and engage with content. That’s why shareability of your content matters. But what makes a piece of content shareable in the first place? There are certain qualities that shareable pieces have in common. And undoubtedly, eye-catching and trendy topics is one of them. If more people share your content, it will increase your reach and the likelihood of others engaging with your content. Anytime a reader shares your content on social media, search engines count it as a “vote of confidence” in your brand.

Now you know the importance of eye-catching and trendy topics for your blogging. So, the next question is: how to find trendy topics? There are many ways to tap into trends, understand what your audience is searching for, and discover unexpected ways to reach new people. Let’s explore some very effective tools.

Google Trends

When one term in particular spikes in relation to other searches, Google classifies it as a trend. And Google suggests us to use Google Trends to find the trends. While traditional keyword research tools tend to be very one-dimensional, Google Trends shows you a multidimensional view of queries. If you want to check factors like seasonality, geographic location, and media coverage, Google Trends is second to none. It helps us to “Explore what the world is searching.” Google Trends enables us to compare search terms and see their popularity over time. Google has recently revamped the Trending searches option available within Google Trends. This revamped Trending searches section shows what is trending in search right now, both daily and minute-by-minute. If a trend is going up this means to focus energy on creating content for this trend.

Google Keyword Planner

Keyword research is the process of learning the words and phrases people typically use to search for information online. If you want to do keyword research to understand what people are actually searching for, Google offers a free keyword research tool: Google Keyword Planner. It’s a wonderful tool for the bloggers looking for topics to blog about. Google Keyword Planner enables you to stay on top of keyword trends and ensure content remains relevant. With Keyword Planner, you can find trendy topics for your blog that are relevant to your niche. Google’s Keyword Planner tool has very recently undergone a rigorous revamp. With this revamped planner, you can see beautiful chart illustrating the keyword volume trends for a certain period of time. The new mobile, location and trending data paired with these super-useful visualizations should help bloggers to find trendy topics for blogging. But keep in mind that Google Keyword Planner has been designed with Adwords advertisers in mind. So, it is quite natural that there are some features in the tool that might not be useful for the bloggers.

Ahrefs Content Explorer

When it comes to topic finding tools, there are a few that are as effective and efficient as Ahrefs Content Explorer. Content Explorer helps blogger find the most shared and ‘linked-to’ content. You can use publish date filter to figure out latest trends for a particular niche. You can also use any keyword into content explorer and it will generate a list of the most popular articles based on their “performance metrics”. There are different types of metrics including Social shares, Organic search traffic and Referring domains.

One final tip. Each type of blog has its particularities, rules, and trends. So, go with the trends but don’t forget your audience and you niche. Don’t forget why you do blogging or the reason that prompted you to initiate the blog. You might have a million trendy topics bouncing around your head, but stay focused on and loyal to your niche and choose the ones that your audience is waiting for.

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8 Brilliant Ideas to Improve Customer Service for Your Business

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The business world is booming across the globe and America is leading the way with 30 million registered small businesses in operation across the country.

Why is business so hot right now? Because the economy is on fire.

Consumer confidence is up, unemployment is down, and people are spending money. All of that means tremendous opportunity for business owners who are willing to throw their products and services into the fray.

Just because opportunity is out there though doesn’t mean that cashing in on it is easy. With all of the competition, it can be hard to attract and retain customers.

One of the best ways to cut through your market’s clutter is to have outstanding customer service. Therein lies the aim of this article.

We want to teach you how to improve customer service within your organization so you can boost consumer retention and create brand evangelists!

1. Don’t Aim for the Lowest Common Denominator

You may be surprised to hear this, but when it comes to how to improve customer service, for most organizations it’s not about building policies around offering outstanding consumer experiences. It’s about building policies around competition.

That’s a horrendous way to approach your customer service philosophy.

Having good customer service doesn’t mean offering the average of what everybody else is offering. It means taking the time to dig into the consumer experience and ask yourself what it is your customers want.

Once you have an answer to that question, even if the resulting directives put you ahead of what’s expected per industry standards, implement them.

Be a trailblazer when it comes to your customer service experience. Be consumer-centric. Don’t be a copycat.

2. People Want Their Issues Solved… Period

A lot of people mistake offering good customer service as being over the top. You hear stories all the time of companies sending people pizzas or giving them $1000 worth of products because they experienced a simple shipping snag with a product.

That’s not where your team’s head should be at.

Doing outlandish things for customers isn’t scalable and it isn’t what’s going to put your business on the map as one that’s noted for outstanding customer service.

What’s going to move the needle for you systematically is simply being able to solve people’s problems, fast.

Focus on what consumers need, not on what they don’t.

3. Get Customers In Front of a Person Immediately

There is nothing more frustrating than arguing with robots on the phone. Do not subject your customers to that experience.

Only have them interfacing with robots for the most necessary reasons and get them to an operator, ASAP.

4. Make Customer Service a Priority

Answering the question of how to improve customer service isn’t something that can be done by making it the keynote in a meeting, coming away with some bullet-point directives, and revisiting the issue in a year.

Good customer service takes being made a priority.

Remember, people are willing to pay more for products and services if they know they’re going to get good service.

Because of that, you don’t want to look at customer service attention as something that’s going to drain your resources. You’ll want to look at it as a financial investment!

5. Find Opportunity in Negative Feedback

If you’re annoyed whenever you see a 1-star review come in on Google, Facebook or Yelp, don’t be. There is a lot of opportunity that can come from bad reviews.

For starters, your bad reviews may reveal places where you can make improvements to your business. That insight is extremely valuable.

Second, when you respond to negative (and sometimes irate) reviews with professionalism and tact, you show onlookers that they can trust you.

That will translate into more level-headed customers taking the leap and doing business with you.

You can read more here about the opportunity that exists in angry customers.

6. Survey Customers

Feedback is essential to successfully navigating all of your “how to improve customer service” concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask people for it.

When a customer service call or chat is over, ask people if they’ll take a quick survey. After a call, send a follow-up email to customers asking for their feedback.

Whatever you can do to get people’s honest perspective on how your team is performing is well worth any time and investment it takes to get those features in place.

7. Have Self-Help Resources, but Don’t Make Contact Impossible

Having an FAQ document on your website is a great way to answer consumer’s simple questions without tying up your phone lines. They are not an excuse to not let people contact you though.

So many companies hide their contact information behind pages and pages of tutorials and FAQ’s when all customers want to do is speak to someone.

If your customers don’t want to read, don’t make them. Always give people the option to reach out to someone on your support team.

8. Never Tolerate Unprofessional Behavior From Your Team

We appreciate that irate customers can be difficult to deal with and that some of those customers may not be worth the money they bring to your company. Still, there is no reason for your customer support team to stoop to customer’s bad behavior.

If you’re noticing your staff firing back at rude customers in a way that is unprofessional, reprimand them. If the behavior continues, re-train them. If it persists, let them go.

As a business, you’re held to a higher standard than your customers. If you or your team doesn’t believe that, you have no business competing in today’s market.

Wrapping Up Ideas on How to Improve Customer Service for Your Business

We’ve just shared with you 8 outstanding ideas on how to improve customer service for your business. Our recommendation is to implement as many of our suggestions as possible as quickly as possible.

If you do, you’ll notice the benefits almost immediately.

For more of the best business advice you can find online, check our additional content on Blogging Tips!

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The Top 10 E-Commerce Blogs Every Store Owner Needs to Follow

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E-commerce is a very wide business that has many different branches, niches and it is always expanding and changing. Therefore, in order to become or keep being successful, we need to constantly update our knowledge and look for ways to improve our business strategies.

A fantastic and very interesting way to do it is by reading the best blogs about e-commerce on the internet. We enjoy success stories like 30 under 30 in e-commerce, so why not read more content like this? In this article you’ll find short reviews about 10 e-commerce blogs that we recommend reading.

A Better Lemonade Stand

A Better Lemonade Stand is one of the most popular e-commerce blogs lately that is mostly read by entrepreneurs of new projects but also remembered by experienced business people.

The blog mostly focuses on practical articles that give useful advice to entrepreneurs. Currently, it has more than 35k subscriptions and can offer video training and some interesting case studies.

Bloggingtips.com

Bloggingtips.com is a fresh yet very interesting blog that we started about e-commerce to read and grasp some new ideas for your current or future business.

It is mainly focused on blogging and can truly offer some valuable tips on how to gain more profits by adding a blog to your e-commerce website. It also explains the advantages of committed long term blogging that will help you not lose motivation for continuing to write it. Also, it has many articles on how to do it correctly and efficiently.

Profitindustry.com

Profitindustry.com is another new e-commerce blog that is full of useful information, innovative ideas, and articles about the best ecommerce platforms which is very handy for anyone who is interested in this kind of business.

Here you’ll also discover some interesting interviews and reviews. There aren’t so many of them on the website yet, because it’s a completely new project, but some promising content is coming up very soon.

eCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel is both an e-commerce blog and a private community that is mostly focused on the experienced 7-figure plus e-shop owners.

Here you can find interesting and inspirational podcast to listen to, a listing of e-commerce jobs, a private discussion forum with thousands of monthly contributions, and exclusive tools to help you grow your business even more.

Get Elastic

Get Elastic is an e-commerce blog that has an insanely high amount of subscriptions and was named to be number one e-commerce blog by the PosRak, which is a serious evaluation.

The blog has much valuable insights on e-commerce and is absolutely worth subscribing and reading. It was even chosen as top 15 entrepreneur blogs worth reading by the Wall Street Journal, which is a high rank too.

Shopify Blog

Shopify is one of the most known e-commerce platforms worldwide, so there’s no surprise they have a pretty insightful blog of their own where you can find valuable advice on e-commerce.

It’s believed to be one of the most favorite blogs to read between people who work with e-commerce because it is more social than any others. This is because the articles receive many comments and there are always lively discussions happening.

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is an e-commerce blog and platform with 99,99% uptime which is highly reliable and valued by their customers. On the blog, you’ll find useful articles and posts on marketing, e-commerce, and also selling.

It’s also a great treat for those of you who enjoy some quality case studies – you’ll discover quite a few of them here.

Volusion

Volusion has more different content than the usual e-commerce websites and blogs. Volusion also offers webinars to their readers where you can learn more about the topic you care about.

The blog focuses on fresh e-commerce insights so that you would be always updated. Here you’ll discover some wider topics like SEO, marketing, and much more.

Internet Retailer

Internet Retailer is a place for those of you who like to read about strategies, data analysis, and technical information. It even has different segments of Research & Data, New & Analysis, and Learning Lab on their website so you could focus on the topics you care most about.

And for those who want to keep up with the trends and the newest information possible – there is also a “Trending Topics” segments with the latest news and updates.

Bootstrapping Ecommerce

Bootstrapping Ecommerce is both an e-commerce and marketing blog, which is very useful because these two topics couldn’t possibly function without each other.

The blog is written by Shabbir Nooruddin and is mainly meant for entrepreneurs, kickstarters, and startupers – the ones who are new to the business and want to learn more.

The World of eCommerce and Online Business

If you enjoyed this list of top ecommerce blogs, be sure to check out my other article on how to get started with your own online business, and finding the right dropshippers and payment processors for your ecommerce site. Once you start to compile a list of trusted and recommended companies and solutions to work with, it will make the launch process a whole lot easier.

 

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