Day: October 30, 2020

Chartio (YC S10) is hiring sr product Designers, Managers and Engineers

Article URL: https://chartio.com/about/careers/senior-product-designer/ Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24932597 Points: 1 # Comments: 0

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The Biden Contradiction

He’s running on Covid and character, but his policies are the most left-wing in decades.

Is Getting “Google Guaranteed” Worth It?

Google has rolled out a new consumer protection feature called Google Guaranteed. Businesses advertising through Local Services Ads can apply for a Google Guaranteed qualification, offering extra reassurance to customers.

Google Guaranteed could be a powerful lead generation tool to help you stand out from your competitors.

The program helps showcase home service providers who have been pre-screened. With an easily visible green Google Guaranteed Badge showing a checkmark, these ads may draw customers’ notice more than others will. And it’s not just because of the eye-catching badge—it’s the knowledge they’re able to choose a business already certified by Google.

What should you know before applying? Let’s have a look at what Google Guaranteed is, who it benefits, and why you might want to consider it for your business.

What Is Google Guaranteed?

Google Guaranteed is a certification program created to increase customer confidence in local businesses. Customers who are vetting companies online can look for the Google Guaranteed Badge, which offers protection if something goes wrong.

Many businesses are already using Google’s Local Services Ads to generate leads for their companies through paid search efforts. The Google Guarantee offers help for businesses who want to draw more organic traffic instead.

Services booked through Local Services Ads are automatically insured up to a lifetime cap, which varies by location. Any customer booking this way has the comfort of knowing they can claim the amount of the invoice should they be dissatisfied with the service.

How to Tell If a Business Has Been Google Guaranteed

Google Guaranteed adds a green checkmark “badge” underneath the names of qualifying companies. If a customer uses an audio search on Google Assistant or Google Home instead of searching on a screen, there will be an audible confirmation of this guarantee.

Example of How Can Customers Tell If a Business Has Been Google Guaranteed

How Does Google Guaranteed Work?

If your business uses Local Services Ads, you can apply to the program by signing up for Local Services Ads and applying to be Google Guaranteed. If the service is available in your area and you receive certification, a badge or logo will be displayed next to your ad.

When you apply, Google will check your business license, insurance, and online reviews. They’ll also conduct background checks on employees—at no cost to you. Owners’ backgrounds are always checked, and other backgrounds are checked based on the nature of your business.  

If your company passes this screening, you’ll receive a badge to show customers Google has prequalified you.

If a customer is unhappy with your service, they can submit a claim to Google to be reimbursed for the amount of their invoice. Google will then reach out to you to learn more and may request additional information from the customer. You’ll have the opportunity to resolve things with your customer. If that doesn’t work, Google will decide on a fair resolution based on its discretion and findings.

What Does the Google Guaranteed Program Cover?

Google Guaranteed will cover customers the amount of the invoice in question up to $2000 in the US and Canada, with varying limits in other countries as the program expands.

Lifetime limits in different regions are as follows:

  • United States: $2,000 USD
  • Canada:  CAD $2,000
  • United Kingdom:  £1,500
  • Germany:  €1,500
  • France:  €1,500
  • Ireland:  €1,500
  • Italy:  €1,500
  • Spain:  €1,500
  • Belgium:  €1,500
  • Netherlands:  €1,500
  • Austria:  €1,500
  • Switzerland:  ₣2,000

What Isn’t Covered by Google Guaranteed?

There are limitations to the coverage that should be noted by both companies and customers. For instance, customers must have booked the work through Local Services Ads itself and claim reimbursement within 30 days of service completion.

The claim must be for the amount on the invoice for the original service performed, up to a lifetime maximum. It cannot include any additions, future projects, damages, or cancellations, and a customer’s dissatisfaction with the price is not considered a valid reason for a refund.

Is My Business Eligible for the Google Guaranteed Program?

If you’re eager to enroll, you may be in luck! Google Guaranteed has rolled out in many areas over the last couple of years, focusing on home services. The eligible industries for Google Guaranteed vary from region to region and may continue to change as the program expands. One of the first steps is to check eligibility to see if the program is available to you.

Google Guaranteed Program Eligibility

What Industries Are Eligible in the US?

In the USA, the following industries are eligible for Google Guaranteed: Appliance repair, auto glass, auto repair, carpet and upholstery cleaning, electrical, event planning, financial planning, garage door installation, home cleaning, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), junk removal, lawn care, locksmith services, pest control, pet grooming, photography, plumbing, roofing, tree services, water damage restoration, window cleaning, and window repair.

What Industries Are Eligible in Canada?

In Canada, Google Guaranteed covers HVAC companies, locksmith services, and plumbing businesses.

Does Google Guaranteed Cover All Professional Services?

The Google Guaranteed Program only covers home services for now. However, Google has a program called Google Screened, which covers professional services like financial planning, law, and real estate.

How Are Local Service Ads Related to Google Guaranteed?

The Local Services Ads program already offers you the ability to advertise to potential customers in your area through paid search.

Google Guaranteed is a feature of Local Service Ads intended to instill confidence in local businesses. It offers companies a way to potentially attract more organic traffic without investing the time and money needed for paid search engine marketing.

As a business owner, you may appreciate that it’s simpler to use, targets organic traffic, and costs you an easy-to-understand flat rate.

Is Google Guaranteed Worth It?

It depends on your business needs. You’ll need to decide if Google Guaranteed is worth the cost for your business, weighing the program’s cost and the time it will take to get and maintain the certification against the potential rewards.

You should also consider how much competition you typically have for your services. If you usually have to compete with a large number of other businesses, you’ll probably benefit more from having your ads highlighted.

How Does Google Guaranteed Benefit Businesses?

The Google Guaranteed Ads program offers a distinct way for businesses to rise to the top of search results, as they are displayed above the normal pay-per-click (PPC) Google Ads. Just keep in mind the ad format only allows you to show your company name, city, phone number, hours of operation, and customer rating.

What Does Google Guaranteed Offer Customers?

Google Guaranteed works to cut down on the confusion some experience when comparing local competitors by building customers’ trust in certified companies. The program acts as a consumer protection service, opening up a valuable avenue for customers to spend money with confidence. Vetting potential providers may become quicker and easier as customers know they have Google backing the quality.

Are There Any Drawbacks to the Google Guaranteed Program?

Applying to Google Guaranteed doesn’t result in an overnight acceptance, and you need to maintain your standing with the program. There are also costs associated with using the program, so any business should expect a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to measure results.

There is an in-depth certification process that includes background checks of some or all employees. Depending on the company’s size, this can take significant time to complete, so interested businesses should apply early and be patient while Google reviews their application.

It’s also worth noting this is a revenue source for Google, and they’re likely to expand it. While it may offer valuable benefits now, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future as more businesses sign up.

How will you stand out from the competition if they all get certified?

Is the Google Guaranteed Program Right for Your Business?

For many small businesses struggling to navigate the complicated world of pay-per-click search marketing, the Google Guaranteed Program could make a significant impact. It may allow you to spend less time worrying about keyword research and bidding strategies, so you could devote more of your time running your business.

While paid search can be a powerful tool, many businesses haven’t been able to devote the time or budget necessary to see a return on investment. While there is always expert digital marketing consulting available, those just getting started may want to try it out first.

How Much Does Getting Google Guaranteed Cost?

The program costs a base fee of $50 per month, for an annual cost of $600. However, there are also costs for every lead.

Google Guaranteed differs from pay-per-click. You’ll only pay when a customer calls or connects to engage your services, rather than paying each time a potential customer clicks on an ad.

Costs vary depending on your market and industry, but the average cost per Google Guaranteed lead seems to be about $25. Businesses are able to dispute leads that aren’t legitimate— for instance, if the customer is outside of the local area in your ad or if incomplete customer contact information is provided, preventing you from following up.

Similar programs have rolled out by other companies, such as Yelp’s Verified License, which you might compare with Google Guaranteed. Google’s new certification may resemble Yelp’s on the surface, but the Google Guaranteed program offers a powerful quality guarantee that Yelp doesn’t.

How to Set up Google Guaranteed for Your Business

To set up Google Guaranteed for your business, you’ll send in your application for consideration with Google.

You’ll indicate what country you’re in, what industry your business is in, and your zip code or postal code. This step will confirm if Google Guaranteed is available in your area, as mentioned above. Once that’s been confirmed, you can finish your application.

How to Get Ready for Google Business

If Google Guaranteed is not available in your area yet, there are still steps you can take to get ready for when it is. Ensure your business license and insurance are up to date. You should also check your Google reviews, encouraging your satisfied customers to review your business online, and address any negative reviews.

Maintain Your Google Guaranteed Standing

If you’ve been accepted into the Google Guaranteed Program, congratulations! However, your effort shouldn’t stop there. You’ll need to maintain the standards you established in order to receive the certification in the first place. These standards mean keeping your business license and insurance up to date. Monitor your Google reviews to address any issues, and continue to encourage your customers to provide reviews to begin with.

Conclusion

Google Guaranteed could be a powerful source of lead generation for businesses looking to grow. It may help small and medium-sized companies pull more organic traffic and compete without wading into paid search platforms.

Will you be signing your business up for Google Guaranteed?

The post Is Getting “Google Guaranteed” Worth It? appeared first on Neil Patel.

How to Develop a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps

According to Smart Insights, 45 percent of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy; 17 percent of companies have a digital marketing strategy in place, but it’s separate from their marketing plan. 

This means 62 percent of companies are unprepared. 

They don’t have the strategy, tactics, or tools they need to market their business well. The bad news is that marketers waste 37 to 95 percent of their marketing budget. This is really common, but it doesn’t have to be; if you have the right digital marketing strategy in place, growing your business is easier. 

If you’re feeling unprepared, don’t worry. 

Today we’re going to cover the important ins and outs of creating a winning digital marketing strategy. 

Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

Your digital marketing strategy gives your company direction. With a plan in place, you’ll have the details you need to help your company grow consistently. Your digital strategy document should: 

  1. Define your short and long term goals
  2. Show you who your customers are
  3. Show you where you can find them 
  4. Outline what you need to attract your customer’s attention
  5. Offer a step-by-step plan to attract and hold customer attention
  6. Show you how to analyze and improve marketing performance

Why go to all the trouble? 

Is it worth the time to create a strategy document? CoSchedule’s State of Marketing Strategy Report found winning marketers: 

  • Document their digital marketing strategy. Marketers who document are 538 percent more likely to achieve success than those who don’t.
  • Document their marketing processes. Those that do are 466 percent more likely to achieve success consistently over time than those who don’t.
  • Winning marketers set goals. Goal setters are 429 percent more likely to report success than those who don’t; 81 percent of these marketers achieve their goals; 10 percent of organized marketers always achieve their goals.
  • Winning marketers study their audience. These marketers are 242 percent more likely to conduct audience research four times a year. Almost 60 percent of the elite marketers featured in their study conduct audience research once or more per month.

It seems too good to be true, but it’s actually the reality.

The more time you spend thinking about your goals, getting to know your audience and planning how you’ll approach your digital marketing, the more likely you are to achieve success. 

What Should Be Included In Your Digital Marketing Strategy

I’ve already given you a sneak peek, did you catch it? 

To be successful, your digital marketing strategy should focus on four specific areas. 

  1. Setting goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  2. Understanding and defining your audience 
  3. Creating and implementing your digital marketing strategy
  4. Auditing and improving your marketing campaigns 

You’ll want to break each of these areas down in enough detail so you (and your team) can work with each of these areas properly. With each of these areas, you should have a pretty clear idea about: 

  • The information, tools, and resources you’ll need to create a plan
  • Who will be responsible for creating your plan
  • Who will be responsible for implementing your plan
  • The KPIs and metrics you’ll use to measure the success (or failure) of your plan
  • The tools and resources you’ll need to implement and improve campaign performance

Each of these points needs to be defined clearly for the four steps areas above. 

Let’s take a closer look at these four areas and break things down a bit more clearly. 

1. Setting Goals, Objectives, and KPIs

This step is all about deciding what you want.. 

Planning your marketing strategy begins with setting quantitative and qualitative goals;  you’ll also want to set KPIs. These goals are sort of like the railroad tracks that keep your digital marketing strategy on the right track. 

What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative goals?

G2 has a really helpful way of defining these, so I’m going to paraphrase their definition here. 

Quantitative goals can be counted, measured, or displayed using numbers. Goals like increasing monthly recurring revenue by 15 percent or boosting your conversion rate by 3 percent are good examples of quantitative goals.  Qualitative goals are abstract, descriptive, or conceptual — these goals are usually tied to the question “why.” Goals like increasing customer trust or improving brand reputation are examples of qualitative goals. They’re difficult to measure but just as important. 

You’ll want to make sure that your goals are: 

  • Challenging, realistic, and attainable
  • Tied to your company’s mission, vision, and values
  • Concise — 2-3 main goals 3-5 supporting goals
  • Specific, clear, and timely
  • Broken down into smaller, step-by-step milestones 

Your goals are important, but they’re difficult to achieve if you don’t have a step-by-step plan to follow. That’s where milestones come in; milestones are tactical. They’re great because you can use them to move towards your goals quickly. 

What about KPIs? 

Scoro has a list of 136 KPIs you can use to jumpstart your planning. I’ve listed a few of the more common examples you can use below.

  • Unique visitors per day/month
  • Pages per visit
  • New leads per day/month  
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Conversion rates
  • Churn/attrition rate
  • Cost per conversion
  • Conversion rate per keyword
  • ROI per content
  • Click-through-rate on paid advertising

Focus is really important. 

It’ll be tough to focus on lots of metrics at once. Instead, you’ll want to focus your attention on a small number of really meaningful KPIs and metrics. 

Which ones are meaningful? 

They’re the KPIs that have the biggest impact on your company, the ones that generate consistent returns or a large amount of cash for your company. You’re looking for the 20 percent of KPIs and metrics that produce 80 percent of your results. 

That’s a pretty easy place to start. 

If you’re not sure which KPIs you should focus on, start with the common KPIs and metrics that have a direct impact on your business. These are typically metrics that focus on traffic, conversions, and optimization. 

2. Understanding and Defining Your Audience

You know what your goals and objectives are. Now you need to figure the same things out for your customer. This step requires some upfront research, but the success (or failure) of your digital marketing strategy starts here. 

Think about it. 

If you find the right customers, the people are excited to buy your product, then selling is a whole lot easier. It’s especially easier if you can understand what they want and how you can go about selling to them. So to do that, you’ll need information on your customer’s demographics and psychographics. 

What are you trying to figure out? 

  • The size of your market: You’ll want to figure out some important details about your market —is it new or established, niche or mainstream, broad or specialized. You’ll want to figure out who the major and minor players are, market expectations, areas you can disrupt, and the financial upside in your specific market. 
  • Who your customers are:  Are you targeting new moms, weekend warriors who are active on the weekends? You should have a basic idea of the customer you’re targeting. Are you focusing your attention on a specific niche, i.e., affluent travelers, price-conscious fashion aficionados? Use previous sales, competitor research, and market research sources like Ubersuggest and Google Trends to find the answer. 
  • Where they spend their time: Your customers have specific hangouts. Web developers spend their time on sites like ArsTechnica, Reddit, SitePoint, etc. New moms spend their time on sites like Babble, CafeMom, or Bundoo. If you know where your customers like to spend their time, you have a pretty good idea of the channels to target and the content to use. 
  • What they consume: This overlaps a little bit with where they spend their time. When there is an overlap, you’ll want to break the differences down even further. For example, your customers may spend a lot of time on Reddit, but this doesn’t tell you what they’re consuming on Reddit. Reddit is where they spend their time; the subreddit r/RobinHood is what they consume. See the difference? One tells you about their specific interests and desires; the other focuses on location. 
  • Why they buy: Your customers don’t buy for the same reasons. Sources like online reviews are a great way to get really helpful, in-depth feedback on why customers buy from customers themselves. You can also use tools like surveys or polls to attract responses. You’re not looking for an individual answer; you’re looking for trends. 
  • Where and how they buy: Do customers price shop offline, in your store, then order online from Amazon? Maybe your customers prefer a one-time purchase over recurring payment options? If you understand when and how your customers buy, you’ll be able to adjust your marketing around their expectations. Maybe that means persuading customers to do something different or stick with market expectations. 
  • What they need to buy: Online reviews are a helpful tool here as well. If you’re a new business, you can start with competitor reviews. Go through your competitor reviews, then make a list of the concerns brought up in each review. Look for customer objections, technology issues, complaints, reputation issues, any problem that customers felt were deal breakers. If you have reviews of your own, you can do the same thing there. 

Remember the research I shared earlier? 

Elite marketers study their audience, conducting audience research once or more per month. This step is important because it gives you the instructions you need to create a winning digital marketing strategy. Audience research shows you how to persuade your customers. 

This isn’t rocket science. 

But it requires more effort than most companies are willing to give. 

Here’s why. 

Most companies assume they already know their customers. They believe they know what their customers want and the best ways to approach them. 

They may be right. 

But the data they have on their customers changes often. Consistent research is the only way to stay on top of what your customers actually want. At this point, you’re ready for step three. 

3. Creating and implementing your digital marketing strategy

If you’ve done your homework, you should have the building blocks you need to create a well defined digital marketing strategy. You should be able to identify the marketing channels that will work best for your business. There are lots of digital marketing channels you can choose from. 

You can focus on: 

  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Display advertising
  • Email 
  • Online video
  • TV commercials
  • Mobile ads
  • Channel partnerships
  • Events 
  • Social media advertising 
  • Podcasts and radio advertising
  • Print advertising

In fact, there are more than 51 different marketing channels you can use to promote your business. Which one are you supposed to use? 

There are a few ways you can approach this. 

  1. Investing in the channels your customers use (e.g., search, social media) 
  2. Investing in the channels that give you independence and control (e.g., email, partnerships)
  3. Investing in the channels that are most common/popular (e.g., SEO, PPC, Social media) 

Start by testing the channels where there’s more overlap. 

If your customers use popular channels like Google search or Facebook, those are great places to start. If you’re looking for a channel that gives you maximum control and works well with other channels (i.e., email), you can start there. 

Don’t forget to test. 

Testing shows you what works. The tools you use for testing tend to be consistent with the channel (e.g., email comes with analytics. Google offers Google Analytics, etc.). Typically, you can branch out once you’ve identified the marketing channels that perform best for your business. 

You’re looking for stability. 

You want to get two to three channels working well before you decide to add more. Once you’ve identified your channels, use the data you’ve collected in step two to create the kind of marketing content that fits well with the customers you’ve identified.

Your content should: 

  • Attract their attention
  • Be fascinating 
  • Discuss a problem or challenge
  • Offer a solution to the problem or challenge you’ve just identified

Here’s another important detail. The research you’ve done should help you create a strong value proposition that answers the “why me?” question. Your value proposition is basically a promise. It’s the most important part of your marketing copy. 

It gives your customers a persuasive reason to do business with you. 

Your value proposition sets you apart from the competition. It gives your business an unfair advantage, and it gives you the opening you need to attract more customers, increase customer loyalty, command higher prices,  and beat your competitors. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown if you need help creating your own value proposition. 

If you’ve followed the steps I’ve mentioned above, you should have the information you need to create amazing content that draws customers in. 

4. Auditing and improving your marketing campaigns 

If you can’t measure your marketing, you can’t improve them. Part of the reason marketers waste 37 to 95 percent of their marketing budget is the lack of measurement.  Forrester’s research stated that between 60 – 73 percent of a company’s analytics data goes unused. 

Companies don’t know how to work with their data. 

  • They don’t know which problems to fix
  • They don’t know what they have 
  • They can’t see the value of their data
  • They don’t know how to evaluate or analyze their data
  • Their data isn’t available to analysts who can use it 
  • There’s too much data to go through and not enough people or time to use it

The other three steps aren’t all that helpful if you can’t see your marketing results. If you’re going to create a successful digital marketing strategy, you’ll need a plan that helps you to capture, report, and analyze the data. 

You’ll need analysts who can use your data to solve problems. 

That’s part of the problem. 

Most companies don’t have the people or processes in place to handle this. This is why it’s so important for businesses to get help. It’s too much for most companies to handle on their own — small, medium, and large companies all struggle with these issues. 

If this is the case for your organization, it may be a good idea to get help from an agency. 

You should be able to plan, implement, and optimize your digital marketing strategy.  If you can’t, it’s a good idea to get help with all or part of the process. 

Conclusion

Almost half of companies don’t have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy in place. A smaller segment of respondents haven’t connected their strategy and their marketing. Most companies are unprepared; they’re not ready to handle the requirements that come with creating their digital marketing strategy. 

If you’re feeling unprepared, don’t worry; use the information we’ve discussed as a guide. If you’re aware of the ins and outs of planning, you can create a winning digital marketing strategy in four easy steps.  

The post How to Develop a Winning Digital Marketing Strategy in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Neil Patel.

Top 10 Aviation Forums, Discussions, and Message Boards You Must Follow in 2020

Top 10 Aviation Forums Contents [show] ⋅About this list & ranking Aviation Forums JetPhotos Airliners.net Forum PPRuNe Forums Airline Pilot Central Pilots of America The Airline Pilots Aviation24.be Forums Jetcareers Forums4airports » Aviation Industry Forum Submit Blog Do you want more traffic, leads, and sales? Submit your blog below if you want to grow your traffic and […]

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Top 15 Military Forums, Discussions, and Message Boards You Must Follow in 2020

Top 15 Military Forums Contents [show] ⋅About this list & ranking Military Forums DefenceTalk | World Military & Defense Forum World Defense Army Rumour Service Forum Bharat Rakshak Indian Defence Forum MilitaryImages.Net Army.ca Forums Sino Defence Forum | China Military Forum Strategic Front Forum Defence Hub US Message Board » Military Military-Discussion Forum Submit Blog Do you […]

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Separate Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase

It’s a recession phase. You may have a new small business, or are now connected because you invested in one. Or maybe you have suddenly become an owner or a manager. No matter what, here is why you need to separate your commercial and consumer credit. This is especially vital during any recession phase. And yes, that includes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Protect Your Personal Assets During a Recession Phase

Small business credit is credit in a small business’s name. It doesn’t link to an owner’s personal credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the sole employee of the small business. 

Consequently, an entrepreneur’s business and personal credit scores can be very different.

The Advantages When You Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit

Given that business credit is distinct from personal, it helps to secure a small business owner’s personal assets, in case of litigation or business insolvency. This truly matters most during a recession phase.

Also, with two distinct credit scores, a small business owner can get two different cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles buying power.

Another benefit is that even new ventures can do this. Going to a bank for a business loan can be a recipe for disappointment. But building business credit, when done properly, is a plan for success.

Consumer credit scores depend on payments but also various other factors like credit use percentages. 

But for business credit, the scores truly merely hinge on if a small business pays its debts on time.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit: The Recession Phase Process

Building small business credit is a process. It does not occur without effort. A company has to proactively work to build business credit. 

However, it can be done readily and quickly, and it is much faster than developing personal credit scores. 

Vendors are a big component of this process.

Undertaking the steps out of sequence leads to repetitive denials. No one can start at the top with company credit. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a denial 100% of the time.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Build Small Business Fundability Even in a Recession Phase

A company needs to be fundable to lending institutions and vendors. 

Therefore, a small business needs a professional-looking website and email address. And it needs to have website hosting from a supplier such as GoDaddy. 

In addition, company telephone and fax numbers must have a listing on 411. You can do that here: http://www.listyourself.net

Additionally, the company phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or similar).

A company also needs a bank account dedicated purely to it, and it has to have all of the licenses essential for operating. 

Licenses

These licenses all have to be in the particular, appropriate name of the small business. And they must have the same small business address and phone numbers. 

So keep in mind, that this means not just state licenses, but possibly also city licenses.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit  by Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service During a Recession Phase

Visit the Internal Revenue Service web site and get an EIN for the small business. They’re free of charge. Pick a business entity like corporation, LLC, etc.

A small business may begin as a sole proprietor. But they absolutely need to switch to a type of corporation or an LLC.

This is to decrease risk. And it will maximize tax benefits.

A business entity matters when it involves taxes and liability in case of litigation. A sole proprietorship means the business owner is it when it comes to liability and taxes. No one else is responsible.

The best thing to do is to incorporate. You should only look at a DBA as an interim step on the way to incorporation.

Economic Downturn Separate Biz and Personal Credit Suite

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Start Off the Business Credit Reporting Process During a Recession Phase

Begin at the D&B web site and get a cost-free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a business in their system, to produce a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.

Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s websites for the small business. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for accuracy and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process. 

In this way, Experian and Equifax have something to report on.

Starter Vendor Credit

First you need to build tradelines that report. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.

And with an established business credit profile and score you can start to get credit for numerous purposes, and from all sorts of places.

These sorts of accounts have the tendency to be for things bought all the time, like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor workwear, ink and toner, and office furniture.

But first off, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who give you starter credit when you have none now. Terms are in most cases Net 30, versus revolving.

So, if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you must pay that money back in a set term, like within 30 days on a Net 30 account.

Details

Net 30 accounts have to be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts must be paid completely within 60 days. Compared to revolving accounts, you have a set time when you have to pay back what you borrowed or the credit you used.

To begin your business credit profile properly, you ought to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting bureaus. As soon as that’s done, you can then use the credit.

Then pay back what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Vendor Credit – It Helps

Not every vendor can help in the same way true starter credit can. These are vendors that grant approval with marginal effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

As you get starter credit, you can also start to get credit from retailers. This is to continue to confirm you are trustworthy and pay on time. Here are some stellar choices from us: https://www.creditsuite.com/blog/5-vendor-accounts-that-build-your-business-credit/

Uline

Uline is a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.uline.com. They offer shipping, packing, and industrial supplies, and they report to Dun & Bradstreet and Experian. You MUST have a D-U-N-S number and an EIN before starting with them. They will ask for your company bank information. Your business address must be uniform everywhere. You need for an order to be $50 or more before they’ll report it. Your first few orders may need to be prepaid initially so your business can get approval for Net 30 terms.

  • How to apply with them:
  • Add an item to your shopping cart
  • Go to checkout
  • Select to Open an Account
  • Select to be invoiced

Crown Office Supplies

Crown Office Supplies is an additional true starter vendor. You can find them online at https://crownofficesupplies.com. They sell a variety of office supplies and take helping clients seriously. They state, “just starting your business, or maybe have an existing business, but you have a question regarding office supplies… we are here to help!” And they report to Dun and Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax.

There is a $99.00 yearly fee, though they do report that fee to the business credit reporting bureaus. For other purchases to report, the purchase needs to be at least $30.00. Terms are Net 30.

  • Here’s how to qualify:
  • Your business entity must be in good standing with the applicable Secretary of State
  • You must have an EIN and a D-U-N-S number
  • Business address (it has to match everywhere)
  • Business license (if applicable)
  • A corporate bank account
  • Business must be at least 60 days old
  • Membership fee is $99 per year upon approval

Apply online.

Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger Industrial Supply is also a true starter vendor. You can find them online at www.grainger.com. They sell hardware, power tools, pumps and more. They also do fleet maintenance. And they report to D&B. You must have a business license, EIN, and a D-U-N-S number.

  • To qualify, you need the following:
  • A business license (if applicable)
  • An EIN number
  • A company address matching everywhere
  • A company bank account
  • A D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet

Your corporate entity must be in good standing with the applicable Secretary of State. If your business doesn’t have established credit, they will require additional documents. So, these are items like accounts payable, income statement, balance sheets, and the like.

Apply online or over the phone.

Accounts That Don’t Report

Non-reporting trade accounts can also be helpful, even in a recession phase. While you do want trade accounts to report to at least one of the CRAs, a trade account which does not report can still be of some value.

You can always ask non-reporting accounts for trade references. And also credit accounts of any sort ought to help you to better even out business expenses, thus making budgeting easier. These are providers like PayPal Credit, T-Mobile, and Best Buy.

Store Credit

Store credit comes from a variety of retail companies.

You must use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the business’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Fleet credit is from companies where you can purchase fuel, and repair and take care of vehicles. You must use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make sure to apply using the small business’s EIN.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Cash Credit

These are businesses like Visa and MasterCard. You must use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

These are often MasterCard credit cards.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Monitor Your Business Credit

Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and take care of any errors ASAP. Get in the practice of taking a look at credit reports. Dig into the particulars, not just the scores.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less than it would cost you at the business credit reporting agencies. See: www.creditsuite.com/monitoring.

At Equifax, you can monitor your account at: www.equifax.com/business/business-credit-monitor-small-business.

Update Your Record

Update the information if there are errors or the information is incomplete. At D&B, you can do this at: https://iupdate.dnb.com/iUpdate/viewiUpdateHome.htm . For Experian, go here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp . So for Equifax, go here: www.equifax.com/business/small-business.

Recession Phase Credit Suite

Learn more here and get started with building small business credit with your company’s EIN and not your SSN. Get money even in a recession!

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit and Fix Your Business Credit During a Recession Phase

So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to contest any mistakes in your records. Mistakes in your credit report(s) can be fixed. But the CRAs often want you to dispute in a particular way.

Get your company’s PAYDEX report at: www.dnb.com/about-us/our-data.html. Get your company’s Experian report at: www.businesscreditfacts.com/pdp.aspx?pg=SearchForm. And get your Equifax business credit report at: www.equifax.com/business/credit-information.

Disputes

Disputing credit report inaccuracies typically means you send a paper letter with duplicates of any proof of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the originals. Always send copies and keep the originals.

Fixing credit report errors also means you specifically detail any charges you challenge. Make your dispute letter as clear as possible. Be specific about the issues with your report. Use certified mail to have proof that you mailed in your dispute.

Dispute your or your business’s Equifax report by following the directions here: www.equifax.com/small-business-faqs/#Dispute-FAQs.

You can dispute errors on your or your business’s Experian report by following the instructions here: www.experian.com/small-business/business-credit-information.jsp.

And D&B’s PAYDEX Customer Service telephone number is here: www.dandb.com/glossary/paydex.

A Word about How to Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit During a Recession Phase

Always use credit smartly! Don’t borrow beyond what you can pay off. Keep track of balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying punctually and in full does more to raise business credit scores than pretty much anything else.

Growing company credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a business get loans. Your loan provider knows the business can pay its debts. They understand the business is authentic.

The business’s EIN attaches to high scores and lenders won’t feel the need to ask for a personal guarantee. This is particularly helpful during a recession phase.

Separate Your Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase: Takeaways

Business credit is an asset which can help your company for many years to come. Learn more here and get started toward building company credit. The COVID-19 situation will not last forever!

The post Separate Commercial and Consumer Credit in a Recession Phase appeared first on Credit Suite.

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