The Importance of Local Business Internet Marketing

Small business operators must be aware that 80% of their target market search on the Internet to look for products and services. Is your business available on the Web to capture these customers?

Missing out on having local business Internet marketing is a great loss to your company as it will not catch those customers who rely on the Internet in terms of making their purchases or availing of services.

As early as now, start creating your local business Internet marketing. As time goes on, traditional marketing channels are becoming null and ineffective. Other companies spend a lot of money on newspaper, radio or yellow pages advertisements and see little return on investment. To keep your business going, start moving away from the conventional method of advertisement and jump on the latest trend in marketing.

You can do both if your financial condition allows you to realize bigger increase on profit. But if not, then start with the local business Internet marketing as your tool to start attracting customers.

Some business owners who have lost their interest in the local business Internet marketing may have tried, but failed or was not satisfied with the results of their Internet advertisement. Internet marketing does not work if it is not carefully planned. A small business owner should of course hire someone who has total knowledge in marketing. Even if you make your Internet marketing endeavor as grand and striking as those created by big companies, if it does not have the necessary content, then it will not attract customers.

Small business owners must create a convincing and creative Internet advertisement to encourage customers to avail their service or purchase their products. You may also try to offer a nice starting price or discount for customers to make them take a shot at your service or buy your products.

Having an effective Web advertisement will drive traffic on your website and will surely increase your profit. Aside from putting up an online ad, small business owners should also have knowledge on Search Engine Optimization. This makes your listing be easily searched by your target market. The right usage of keywords will make your customers reach your business.

Build Business Success by Building Strong Business Relationships

Building strong relationships with your clients and with other businesses in your network can mean the difference between success and business failure. Your business cannot prosper without support from other people, customers, and businesses. This is possible only if you build and maintain proper relationships. The seven tips below will help you to create business success by strengthening your relationships.

1. Networking is the key to strong business relationships. Contacts form the lifeline of your business. Interact regularly with your existing and prospective customers, suppliers, partners, colleagues, contractors, and acquaintances. You can network personally or through various networking groups. It is not necessary to always deal and discuss only business matters. Your sincere efforts at pursuing and maintaining a relationship will repay your company more than any impersonal advertising can do.

2. Your business card is your identity. While networking, offer your business card to your clients and acquaintances. Your card should be professional in appearance and contain all of your contact details, including your telephone numbers, fax, e-mail address, and website. Exchanging cards forms the foundation of a business relationship. Always carry your card, even to social functions, and be prepared to give your card out when it is appropriate in the conversation.

Exchange business cards on every appropriate occasion. If possible, add a personal note to yourself on the back of the card about the person, where you met, and any questions the contact has about your business. When you collect a card, follow up with the new contact within a week. A business leader who is working on networking will maintain a collection of cards and contact details on a database.

3. Use email for simple communication. Email is a very simple and inexpensive way of communicating with your contacts. Send regular emails to your clients, even if there is no ongoing project. This helps others to remember your business and your expertise long after you have completed a assignment.

You could email an informative letter about industry trends or launch a new product or service your business is offering. After you first establish a contact, a simple email thanking your new contact for the time spent in talking with you and expanding on the services your business provides is appropriate.

Emailing is an effective viral marketing technique. Your clients and business contacts will forward your message to others who could be interested in your line of business.

4. Maintain a well-designed and professional website. Your business website should offer clear information of your business and provide easy to understand navigational directions. Clients should be able to move around and discover relevant information on your website with ease. Optimize your website with popular search terms to improve and increase web traffic. Always update your website with recent information and remove all outdated or unnecessary information.

You can even create an industry forum linked to your website to encourage business people within the industry to network online. This keeps people coming back to your website and establishes your company as the leader in the field. You will also be able to establish strong networking ties to the people contributing comments to your forum.

5. Socialize with Other Business Owners. You will meet many prospective clients at business gatherings. Attend conferences and industry events to network with other people who can assist your business to grow with mutually beneficial arrangements. Play golf, attend social or charity events, and generally socialize with your network of contacts to build and maintain your relationships.

Send emails to new clients providing answers to any queries, or offer to meet your new prospective client at any convenient place to discuss and elaborate on business matters. This helps to build a lasting business relationship. Follow up your emails with phone calls to cement and establish your relationship.

6. Remember Your Loyal Customers. You should always pay special attention to your regular and loyal clients. Your repeat clients offer greater business than new clients do. Your old clients are well aware of your capabilities and approach you when the need arises.

Offering your loyal customers special discounts and services will make the relationship stronger. It is not necessary to offer only business related benefits. You can offer coupons to any special social event, concerts, any upcoming celebrations, and passes to local attractions. You can also send birthday cards and greetings on other special occasions.

7. Remain Flexible and Overcome Obstacles. Remain flexible to maintain steadfast and successful business relationships. A business prospers through inputs from various people, including business partners, employees, mentors, clients, and your contemporaries. Never underestimate anybody and always remain courteous in your business dealings.

You may encounter many obstacles in your business. Being flexible enough to accommodate any delays, uncertainties, and upsets with good communication can build a congenial and effective business relationship with all people associated with your business as a whole.

Building strong business relationships is the key to building business success. You need to network and focus on building and maintaining your contact list to ensure people are talking about your business. Without building a wider customer base, and creating strong networks with other business people who can assist your business, your business will fail. Use the tools that you have, such as email, your business card, your website, and your business services to cement your relationships with your business contacts.

Guarantors For Business Loans

A guarantee is basically a promise to satisfy the performance of an agreement. A guaranty is similar, but is used to satisfy the performance of a loan by an individual. Analysis of credit and guaranties is a discipline that only the most qualified people should perform. Investigating guaranties is never performed alone -it is part of the overall credit review of a business requesting a loan. It is a complex set of procedures beyond the scope of this article. This article will summarize the elements involved to investigate a business loan guaranty. Consult with your CPA or Banker for assistance before attempting to do it yourself.

Investigating a personal guaranty for business loans is part of commercial credit analysis. The credit-underwriting department of a commercial bank or business lending institution typically performs this analysis. Any institution or person considering the extension of credit related to a business can perform credit examination. All guarantors must complete a Personal Financial Statement accompanied by tax returns and sometimes-additional supporting financial statements. Guaranties are legal agreements that obligate a third party, usually a business owner or key corporate officer, to repay a business debt should the business entity default on its repayment of a credit facility. A guaranty is not a primary source or substitute of a borrower’s credit worthiness.

Personal guarantees are frequently obtained from the owners of a corporation, partnership or any other form of a business entity. From the lender’s perspective, a personal guaranty ensures the personal and business interests of the owners are equivalent. If the business entity defaults on the loan, the guarantor promises to cure the default. Since most guaranties are unsecured, their values are more psychological than tangible. However, a lender can ask for some type of personal collateral of the owner for additional security for the making the loan. For example, the lender may ask for a pledge of a secondary lien on the owner’s home. The type of property pledged depends on the risk factors calculated by the lender. Some property holds greater security values than others.

Investigating the credit worthiness of a loan and a guarantor involves careful credit investigation. In commercial lending, banks will apply principles called the 5 Cs as a basis for credit examination. The 5 Cs are Character, Capacity, Capital, Conditions, and Collateral.

Character – This relates to the motivation of the borrower to repay a debt obligation. It is unlike any other financial performance indicator found in the financial statements. Determining character is a judgment call derived from careful interviewing of the applicant and study of the applicants’ historical credit reputation. Background checks and interviews with others having business relations with the applicant are useful to make a fair appraisal.

Capacity – “Cash is King”. Loans are repaid from cash generated by the business’ operating cycle. Can the borrower manage their cash efficiently enough not only to repay the loan, but all other debts simultaneously? Historical financial performance is evaluated to determine how the borrower handles their debts and expenses. Sources to review include the Income Statement, Statement of Cash Flows, and partially the Balance Sheet. A new or very young business is difficult to judge because they have not yet accumulated enough historical data to review.

Capital – It is the funds available to operate a business. The two primary conditions in this area involve the amount of owner’s equity (OE) and efficient uses of the capital to operate the business. It is not good when borrowed capital (credit) is greater than OE. Careful scrutiny of the Balance Sheet is required in this area. The purpose of capital is to maintain operations. Borrowing funds to augment operations is normal. However, too much borrowed capital is a sign that something is wrong.

Conditions – These are external factors relative to the industry of the business. The current state of the economy is a good example. Industry events and situations (current and predicted) are taken into consideration as to how it affects the business. For example, if a key supplier of the business experiences a labor strike, further investigation is needed to consider the affect on the business. Interviews with key officers and the business owner can shed light on what is happening. Additional resources like trade journals, industry news reports and the like are useful tools.

Collateral – Lenders want repayment from cash, not property. The last thing a lender wants to do in a default is take the property pledged backing up a loan. Property pledged is only a means to offset weaknesses in the other Cs. It is a safety net of last resort should a loan default a secondary source of repayment. A collateral pledge is completely irrelevant if the loan request contains too many negative signs in the foregoing credit assessment areas.

Guaranties are generally classified as unlimited and limited. An unlimited guaranty covers all the debt obtained by a single borrower to a single lender. Limited guaranties are associated linked to a specific loan with a capped dollar amount.

Other types of guaranties include corporate and government agencies.

Corporate guaranties are similar to personal types except it is generally one corporation guarantying the debt of another corporation. Usually, large corporations guaranty the debts of its smaller subsidiaries or new business units.

Government guaranties are special situations, whereby a state or federal agency guarantees a business loan. An example agency is the Small Business Administration (SBA). Governmental guaranteed loans are very complex and typically take longer to process. A lender processing governmental secured loans must adhere strictly to the guidelines of the agency guaranteeing the credit. Under an SBA loan, the lender provides the money to the borrower and the SBA guarantees the loan amount up to certain percentages depending on the program loan used. Each loan program has specific qualifications and conditions attached to it. Anyone can contact the SBA directly for more information by visiting www.sba.gov. It is recommended to speak with an SBA approved lender to see what options are available. Obtaining an SBA loan is often the best choice for a business because the borrower cannot qualify under conventional terms. The SBA assumes most of the risk, thus making the credit request more palatable for the bank.

Careful credit examination is required to investigate any guaranty for business loans. Analysis should account for all tangible and intangible factors of the individual guarantor with the associated business. The guaranty does not stand alone without review of the business. Credit analysis is both an art and a science. Sound judgment based on financial data, combined with practical experience is necessary to consider all variables of a credit request. Professionals that have formal credit training usually perform business loan analyses. Consult with your CPA or Banker for assistance before attempting to do it yourself.