Tax Season Prep: Five Steps to Get You Ready Now

According to Benjamin Franklin, there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Although tax season is still a few months away, it’s advantageous that business owners start preparing for it now. There are certain steps that need to be taken to be able to report the right amount to the IRS and make sure no mistakes are made on your taxes.

Collect Business Records

We’ve all seen movies where frustrated business owner bring a box of receipts to their accountant come tax time. Don’t let this be you—a good rule of thumb for any business owner is to have a systematic way of collecting business records for tax time. If you get in the practice of careful filing of your documents, you will not need to scramble in the spring and spend your time looking for records or frantically calling vendors to ask for receipts or invoices.

An electronic system where you can keep track of all business-related earnings and expenses will make it simple to determine your overall income and deductions you may be eligible for. Plus, this will foolproof your filing system and allow you to access information from anywhere, anytime. Certain programs, such as Quicken and QuickBooks allow you to download your financial information straight unto your tax return.

H&R Block provides a useful checklist of all expenses that will determine your taxable income.

Separate Business and Personal

One of the most common mistakes that small business owners make is failing to separate their business and personal expenses. It’s vital to utilize business checking accounts and credit cards to clearly understand what your business expenses and earnings are to report the correct taxable income amount and determine what deductions you may be eligible for.

If you fail to do this throughout the year, you will spend days trying to determine what amounts were used for your company and what was made for yourself.

Save Receipts

Although it’s not something anyone likes to think about, any business has the chance of being audited. To protect your company, make sure to keep all business-related receipts. The good news is that there are several receipt apps, such as Shoeboxed, which allow you to scan receipts and keep their digital copies. Plus, the apps can be integrated with certain accounting software, making the tax preparation process quick and seamless.

Review Payroll

Before submitting your tax records, review your payroll information with a specialist to verify that everything was calculated correctly and legally. Payroll mistakes can be costly; 40% of businesses pay over $800 to the IRS simply for payroll errors.

Know Your Deadlines

Federal taxes are not the only taxes businesses are responsible for. There are also local city taxes, self-employment taxes, property taxes and payroll taxes, all with their own stipulations, forms and deadlines.

Research these deadlines and note them in your calendar so that you are not penalized for late filings.

If you are anticipating a large payment to the IRS this year, or need funds to invest in getting your business ready for tax time, consider a small business loan from IOU Financial. You may be eligible to borrow up to $500,000 in a quick turnaround of just two business days. Click here to learn more.

Why Companies Need Corporate Wellness Program Apps

Taking care of the wellbeing of your employees shows more than just your corporate culture, it’s also a signal that your company cares for its own future and prosperity. More and more companies include different wellness programs in order to enhance the health status of their workforce. These programs rely on various tools and activities that track and maintain the health status of the working people. Let’s take a more detailed look at all the benefits that wellness apps bring to companies.

Easier implementation of the wellness program

First and foremost, wellness apps facilitate the implementation of your wellness program. Conducting these types of programs is never easy, especially within companies that include a large number of workers or remote employees. Automation, provided by mobile and desktop apps, makes the implementation of the program much easier and brings in a few extra features that would otherwise be difficult to carry out.

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism is a large issue for any company in the world. The productivity drops every time you have a person on sick leave, no matter how capable your team might be when it comes to covering for the absent co-worker. The best way to reduce the number of workers that turn in sick, is for a company todo whatever it takes to improve the well-being of its employees. Using wellness program apps within your company allows your employees to keep track of their health status, which further increases their chances of preventing any future health issues.

Keeping a high level of productivity

According to research, productivity depends, in a large measure, on the physical and mental status of your workforce. Wellness apps provide food recommendations, fitness instructions, track vital signs, all of which can reduce the chance of sickness. Workers that maintain their physical health status, feel better and more eager for work, which is essential for company productivity. Furthermore, as we already stated, even if the rest of your team is able to cover for their colleague, heavier workload and the need to perform faster leaves room for mistakes, which have to be fixed so more time gets wasted.

Apps allow wellness program improvement

Without comprehensive feedback, it’s difficult to improve a wellness program that your company implements. Apps, allow you to conduct surveys and get all sorts of analytics that could show which parts of your wellness program need improvement. It’s important for the success of your program to know which aspects don’t show desired results, which ones take too much time, and where you need to put in an extra effort to make the program work seamlessly.

Ability to create healthy dining options

There’s an old saying “we are what we eat”. Rather than suggesting that I’m a bowl of pasta, this piece of wisdom means that our mental and physical state depends on the food we place on our tables. Wellness apps allow you to create healthy dining menus and suggestions for various types of food. For instance, you can have your employees check in to see what gluten-free options they have, which vegan courses are available, or simply learn how to make a new tasty dish.

This way, your employees avoid the risk of heart diseases, cancer, digestive problems, and other health issues that both you and your workers want to avoid.

Conclusion

A company is doing well as long as the people that contribute to its success are doing well. Therefore, business owners should invest in the wellbeing of their workforce if they wish to maintain a high level of productivity. Moreover, the companies that show care for their employees build a positive image, which is important for business expansion and recruitment of talents. Wellness apps automate and simplify the implementation of your corporate wellness program, making it more efficient and reliable.

Guest Post: About the Author

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at ProEssayWriting. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking. Follow her on Twitter.

Looking to implement a wellness program in your corporate structure? IOU Financial can help with up to $300,000 in as little as 24 hours.

How to Make Business Financing Part of Your 2019 Growth Plan

You might occasionally encounter a business owner who has a dim view of debt. That’s unfortunate, because debt, if you manage it properly, can help you grow your business. Here are several ways your business will benefit from the prudent use of debt:

Accelerate growth:

You can use loan proceeds to buy new equipment/facilities, hire more skilled labor and/or purchase additional inventory. This gives you growing room without drawing down your retained earnings. Naturally, you should have a detailed plan that lays out how you’ll deploy the loan proceeds to achieve the desired results. Failing to plan your finances can leave you in a hole when it comes time to service your debt.

Retain full ownership:

You might want to expand your business and are deciding whether to use debt, equity or a mix of both. Remember that bringing on equity investors gives you new “partners” who’s ideas might be different from yours. By borrowing rather than issuing stock, you remain fully in charge and do not have to share profits.

Tax benefits:

You can deduct you loan interest from your business taxes. As you know, every dollar in business is important, so the tax benefits you receive from borrowing are a significant success factor.

Build your credit:

When you pay your loan back on time (or faster), you likely will increase your credit score and boost your credit limit. This comes in handy as you expand your business, because future loans will be easier to access, and you’ll probably get a lower interest rate and/or higher spending limit. Be sure to check your credit reports and scores so that you can correct mistakes.

Avoid asset sales:

If you find you don’t have sufficient funds to complete your growth plan, you might be tempted to sell off your receivables or inventory. However, asset sales have several problems that reduce their desirability. For instance, your customers might not like being billed by a new entity, and this may cause them to question your viability. Furthermore, the haircut you take on asset sales often exceeds the interest you’ll pay on a loan. Why risk doing permanent damage to your business through asset sales when you can take out a short-term loan instead?

Smooth out seasonality:

Seasonal sales variability shouldn’t stop you from expanding your business. Using debt allows you to smooth out the effects of seasonality and keep your growth plans on track. To that end, make sure you borrow from a lender that doesn’t charge prepayment penalties. This allows you to pay off your loan sooner than anticipated without incurring extra charges.

Financing your ideas:

It takes cash, and often lots of it, to pay for the R&D costs associated with a new product or service. You can obtain cash via debt and plow it into your latest research, both from the operational and marketing viewpoints. Using debt instead of equity helps you maintain your trade secrets when they are most vulnerable – in the development stage. Equity investors might require you to reveal valuable information that can fuel the work of competitors.

Cost of capital:

Debt often has a lower cost of capital than does equity. Equity investors not only require a chunk of the profits, but also might require managerial control, a required rate of return and dividends. Debt is simply priced and avoids some of the costs associated with equity financing.

In summary, financing your business’ growth through the prudent use of debt is a winning formula for long-term success. IOU Financial can arrange a business loan of up to $300,000 quickly and with minimum hassle. If you are interested in growing your business, contact us today.

Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses

SEO (search engine optimization) has dominated digital marketing in 2018 and will no doubt continue to do so in 2019. SEO is equally important for small businesses as it is for the world’s biggest brands.

For small businesses with a local presence such as a physical storefront, or simply a customer base in a specific geographical area, local SEO is particularly important. Figures show that 97% of customers search for a local business online. This means that having a strong online presence and ranking highly on search results can make a huge difference in capturing customers and revenue.

In this article we will cover top tips for improving your local SEO to help you to grow your business in 2019.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of improving your online presence to rank in searches on Google, Google Maps, and other search engines and directories around a specific geographic location. This could be a city, suburb, district or general geographical area. Refining local SEO can help businesses to generate sales leads and attract customers in their local area, and when done well is extremely effective in standing out from the competition.

Keywords

Whether for local, national or global SEO, using the right keywords is extremely important (though not the whole picture, as we’ll cover later in this article). With 40,000 Google searches conducted every second, the purpose of SEO is demonstrating to Google that your site is the most relevant to the search query.

The number one factor that Google looks for in determining relevance is keywords. Therefore finding the strongest keywords which will mean your business reaches the most number of customers. This means reaching not only any users, but those most relevant to your business, who are most likely to purchase your goods and services. For local SEO this means a combination of location-based keywords and other keywords relevant to your target audience. You should determine  these through keyword research using tools like Moz, SEMrush, Answer the Public or  Ahrefs.

Online Listings

Online listings are an extremely important part of local SEO, and Google My Business is arguably the most important platform. It is essential for all small businesses to ensure they have a current, complete and accurate listing on Google My Business to improve their ranking on Google Maps and other apps, as well as Google search results more broadly. Having lots of reviews on Google also increases your ranking, so be sure to encourage your customers and contacts to give you a positive review.

Other online listings are also important for local SEO. Having a presence on these directories can not only drive more organic traffic to your business, but it also strengthens your online presence and therefore improves local SEO. It is a good idea for local businesses to register for as many online directories as possible: the most popular directories such as Yelp.com, Better Business Bureau and Yell.com in the UK should be a priority, as well as any influential directories specific to your area or your sector. Make sure that you have complete and up-to-date listings in each. It is also important for Google ranking purposes that the information in each listing is exactly the same, and exactly matches the name, address and phone number shown on your website.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is an important process, and involves making sure all pages and posts on your site are doing everything possible to encourage Google to rank your site highly in results. When Google is deciding which results to rank first, it will check (“crawl”) pages to determine which are the most relevant to the search. The search engine looks at certain parts on the page in particular when deciding how relevant it is to the user’s search.

One of these key aspects is the SEO title: that is, the title of your page or post which appears on the Google search results, which is also the title shown at the top of the page’s tab on a web browser.

The second important element is the page or post’s title as it appears at the top of the page (also known as the H1 heading), and the page’s permalink or URL. Be sure to include as many primary keywords as possible in all three of these elements, and long tail keywords if possible. Other important elements to prime with keywords are subheadings and alt-tags (alternative text descriptions) on images.

Link Building

As previously mentioned, Google looks not only for post relevance but also signs that your site is authoritative and reputable in determining rankings on its SERPs. Backlinks, or links back to your site from other well-known and reputable sites, are a key way to demonstrate that your site is authoritative, and along with keywords one of the two top ranking factors on Google.

You can build backlinks by creating valuable, useful and informative content which is relevant to your audience. By producing valuable content, you will encourage other sites to link to your site, although this is rather a long-term strategy. You can actively build backlinks through a PR strategy involving approaching online publications and sites and pitching guest articles or other content. These types of link building techniques are highly effective in both boosting local SEO and driving organic traffic via other sites and blogs.

Citations and within your site can also demonstrate to Google that your site is reputable, improving your rankings. Include citations (links from your site to sources) for any information, quotes or figures you give, as well as products and companies you mention in your content. Building internal links within your site (links to other pages and posts within the same domain) will also improve SEO. This is because internal links make it easier for Google to navigate or “crawl” your site.

Implementing these local SEO tips and techniques can make a world of difference. By building a great local SEO strategy you can bring more traffic to your site, attract potential customers, boost revenue and grow your business in 2019.

Guest Post: About the Author

Tom Buckland is a digital marketing and Amazon seller consultant specializing in technical SEO. He’s the founder of Cardiff-based digital marketing agency HQ SEO in the UK and loves helping businesses profit through smart digital marketing strategies.

Three Strategic Ways to Help Your Online Content Perform Better

One of the most effective and affordable ways to get your business to show up in Google search results is by including content in your marketing strategy. When potential customers search for restaurants, hair salons or body shops, you want your company to come up on the first page of Google, otherwise you will have a very difficult generating new traffic to your website.

Content is not only advantageous for new business acquisition, but for customer retention, as well. Offering your existing customers value through informative, educational and engaging articles and blogs will help them stay connected with and loyal to your brand.

Some business owners get disappointed when they don’t see any results from their content, but that is likely because they are not optimizing it to help it perform. Follow the three strategies below to help your content perform better and increase traffic to your site.

Keywords

Keywords are specific words or terms that search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, utilize to help online visitors connect with your site. Examples of keywords include:

  • Los Angeles hair salon
  • Restaurant family deals
  • Affordable wedding photographer

If you are not utilizing keywords in your content, you should change that starting today. In order to discover what keywords your potential customers are searching for, you need to utilize tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner. This is a completely free website that will help you find keywords related to your offerings, and inform you about how many people search for the terms and what the competition is for them.

Your goal is to find keywords with the highest search volumes and the lowest competition, which will help new customers find you more efficiently online.

Social Media Promotion

Your social media business accounts are the perfect place to promote your blogs and articles. Many content management systems, such as WordPress, allow you to automatically connect your social media accounts to the system, publishing content that you post across social media.

This easy strategy will go a long way in helping you get more eyes on your content without much effort on your part. Your content will also help set you up as an authority figure on social media, giving you the opportunity to educate your followers about your latest products, as well as sharing product reviews, how-to videos and industry-related advice.

Promoting your content on social media will allow your followers to share it with their circle of friends, thus giving you free marketing. Plus, your followers will be able to comment on your content, asking questions or stating their opinions, which will improve your communication with your customers and show them that you are committed to bringing them utmost value.

Cross Linking

Search engine optimization (SEO) is necessary to help your content rank better. Cross linking is an imperative strategy that you must learn to implement if you want to generate traffic to your site.

Cross linking means creating different links that point back to your website, which helps Google see your page as having more authority, thus directing more traffic to it.

There are several ways to generate links to your side, including searching for content that is similar to yours online, and leaving a comment with a link to your article.  For example, if you wrote an article about easy ways to french braid your hair, you can Google other articles about hairdos, and leave a comment for the readers saying that you wrote an article about french braiding that may be interesting to them, then adding that link.

Another way to attain this goal is to search for other websites in your niche, and contact the administrator asking them to link to your article in their content. This usually works if your article can add value to theirs.

Alternatively, you can offer to swap links, adding another site’s link to your content and asking the administrator to do the same.

The three ways mentioned in this article are essential to get your content to perform better. You may also consider hiring a professional SEO strategist to advise you on efficient ways of generating new traffic to your site.  If you need financial assistance with this goal, IOU Financial can help you secure an easy and fast small business loan of up to $300,000. Contact us today and get funded within 24 to 48 hours.

Small Business Guide to Big Technology

Over the past decade, technology has become a major part of the business world. Although advanced technology previously only belonged to large-scale businesses, that’s no longer the case. No matter what size the company, technology is an integral part of the day-to-day processes at any scale. In fact, a large percentage of small enterprises reported the use of at least one digital platform for sharing information with customers, advertising, communications and sales. 

The use of big technology may seem daunting to smaller businesses; however, the implementation of tech like mobile applications, cloud computing, automation and AI-based chatbots can be a game changer. The use of these types of programs helps businesses to make better use of their precious time and operate in a more cost-effective, efficient manner. 

Cloud computing

One of the most important innovations to hit the small business scene is the transition of data storage, processing, and analysis to the cloud. Cloud computing decentralizes data and eliminates the need for an on-site data hub. 

According to industry front-runner, Mark Hurd,  “The cloud has changed the dynamic significantly … You don’t need an IT department anymore — that’s changed. With the cloud, the work is done for you.” This means that companies can instead focus those resources on tasks which will more directly benefit the organization, which is an important perk, especially for small businesses.

Using the cloud is a much safer alternative to an on-site storage system. Because artificial intelligence technologies are included in many cloud-based computing applications, the level of security is much higher, allowing for more secure data and higher customer satisfaction.

Business automation

The amount of time, energy and resources it takes to complete tedious, everyday tasks can get a bit frustrating. However, through the use of business process automation (BPA), those tasks can be handled without the need for actual human labor. Automation instead employs AI and machine learning to complete the more mundane, data-driven responsibilities of a corporation. 

Basic processes like forwarding and transferring data, sending notifications and reminders, extracting info, organizing data and processing multitudes of information can all be put into the hands of BPA. Doing this reduces the number of errors and allows the tasks to be completed at a much quicker pace than they could ever be done by humans. Not only does it help the business operate more smoothly and efficiently, but it also frees up those employees for more valuable work. 

AI-based chatbots

The need for a human at the other end of a chat tunnel has become obsolete. Businesses are now turning to computer programs that mimic real human interaction and do so to converse with customers. This means that businesses large and small can cut down on customer service representatives and instead employ this technology to do the work of multiple people. 

Chatbots offer large-scale, 24/7 availability to customers and reach a much larger audience without increasing costs. They can be customized to the business, learn as they go and provide round-the-clock customer assistance, offering quick solutions and real-time support for nearly any question a customer may have.

Not only does this create a much more customer-friendly funnel for service, but chatbots can also become interactive platforms for marketing. Customers can chat via Facebook messenger and receive information about a company or even discounts and coupon codes at the click of a button.

Mobile applications

In this day and age, nearly everyone owns a cell phone and uses mobile apps multiple times a day. No matter the size of the business, creating an app for customers to use can be a vital ingredient for success. For businesses like salons, exercise studios and restaurants, apps can be used to handle day-to-day tasks like scheduling and setting reminders. 

Moreover, a mobile app creates more engagement at a faster rate by reducing the number of touchpoints and human interaction while creating a more personalized experience. These apps can remember favorite orders, settings and other user preferences. In this way, the apps can send and share information regarding sales and other offers to the audiences most likely to enjoy and use them. 

By having a mobile app, organizations can create a high level of brand awareness. A consistent, recognizable design that lives on a customer’s cell phone allows companies to have constant exposure and subtle advertisement. Even when a consumer is not actively engaging with the app, the logo is still present and making an impression, however small. 

Guest Post: About the Author

Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and a tech-obsessed female from the Big Apple. She lives by building and redesigning websites, running marathons, and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.

Planning Your 2019 Customer Service Strategy

Now is the time to be setting goals for 2019 together with your team. One of the most vital strategies to plan for is your customer service strategy in the new year. Excellent customer service is one of the most important metrics for successful businesses, and what sets them apart from the competition and creates loyal customers for life.

f you are able to instill great customer service into the very foundation of your business, your customers will feel confident that you are delivering the utmost value to them.

Why should you dedicate so much effort to customer service? First it’s because retaining a customer is much more affordable than acquiring a new one. Second, because it helps you improve your sales strategy; one source found that “the probability of selling to a new customer hovers in the range of 5-20 percent, whereas selling to an existing customer resides in the range of 60-70 percent.”

The tips below will help you with planning your 2019 customer service strategy:

Live Chat

Today’s customers demand immediate help with questions and concerns, and waiting 24-48 hours to return a phone call or an email will usually lead you to lose a sale. In 2019,  it is extremely advantageous to streamline your customer service response time and offer options, such as life chat, that will connect your employees with customers immediately.

In 2018, businesses that already utilize live chat improved the customer experience by allowing images and files to be shared throughout the process. For 2019, forward-thinking companies are implementing screen sharing and video conferencing, which is especially advantageous for tech companies or businesses that can add value to their customers by walking them through the process of using their offerings.

Social Media

You’re likely utilizing social media to connect with new and existing customers, so it is no wonder that 63% of customers expect to be able to contact you on channels such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. If you have a business page on any of these platforms, but do not regularly check your communication, you are likely losing out on potential sales.

For 2019, dedicate staff members who will communicate with your social media audience right on the platform. In addition to increasing potential sales, social media communication is much more affordable than communicating via phone. One source estimates that one interaction on social media will cost a business an average of $1, compared to $6 for an average call center phone call.

Artificial Intelligence

Any article that focuses on customer service trends can’t omit artificial intelligence (AI) in the discussion. This technology is no longer part of the future, but a staple of the present. In fact, some experts predict that by 2020 85% of businesses will use AI instead of people for customer service needs.

If you haven’t started implementing AI into your business operations, you are in the minority, as it is estimated that over 55% of companies have jumped on this bandwagon.

Chatbots are likely the most popular and easier to implement strategies for your customer service needs. When utilized for messaging, AI bots can be programmed to answer many of your customers’ questions without needing a live person. Chatbots are now being used to book services for customers as well as recommend complementing products.

Investing in your customer service strategy is one of the smartest and most important moves you can make it 2019. Your customer service is often the most important identifying factor of your brand to your customers, and will likely be the deciding factor whether they will be loyal to you or move on to your competitor.

IOU Financial wants to help your business improve its customer service in 2019. Contact us today to learn more about our small business loans of up to $300,000, which you can use in improving your operations in the new year.

5 Reasons Why SEO is so Important for Small Business

Small businesses nowadays have difficulty in keeping up with larger corporations for a number of reasons, which include inadequate experience of market dynamics. However, they have some quite interesting advantages that keep them afloat. The advent of SEO has partly levelled the playing ground in order to make small business more visible amid giant companies. But for you to profitably utilize SEO for your small business, you should be fully aware of its importance and significance for a small business. That’s what this piece seeks to discuss.

SEO and its significance in modern business

SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” It is a strategy you can implement in order to qualitatively and quantitatively improve search engine traffic to your website. If properly implemented, SEO can help you rate your webpage higher in organic search engine results. In our modern market where 81% of buyers conduct their product research on internet and 89% of consumers engage search engines before settling for their choice product, you can’t afford to joke with SEO in your business.

Advantages of SEO in business

  • SEO is the major source of website traffic and it helps business to bypass some competition.
  • It is a form of free advert, it is therefore cost effective.
  • SEO can help businesses to build trust and credibility which will in turn add value to such businesses.
  • SEO can be measured easily. Some of the attributes you can measure in your SEO include; organic traffic, website ranking, conversion and the source of conversion etc.

Disadvantages of SEO

  • SEO requires long time to achieve desired results.
  • For businesses in highly competitive niches, effective SEO might require more investment.
  • SEO doesn’t provide full control for businesses.

5 Reasons why SEO implementation is beneficial for small businesses

Despite the challenges associated with SEO, there are still numerous success stories out there. Aside being “a free advert” which small businesses can leverage on, SEO could help consumers to locate small businesses in the “internet crowd”. As a startup, SEO could be your only affordable stepping stone to your target audience. The following are the reasons why well-implemented SEO is beneficial to small businesses.

1. SEO can provide users with a better experience

Every business owner wants a good level of ranking and effective visibility. Most people fail to realize that having a good user experience is a big step in getting there. A good example of a strong user experience is how Google has become the most sought-after search engine. A good SEO adds a memorable experience for users, which in turn works in favor of the brand.

2. SEO improves the purchase cycle

Using SEO strategies in relaying your message and the increase in the dependability of your services would definitely put you in a good spot with your customers. It will improve the purchase cycle when practiced in the right way. This is a major benefit from the buyer’s and seller’s perspective.

3. SEO improves business visibility and branding

When customers check online for products and services, they expect to find websites where their needs can be met. There have been testimonies from various people who easily found their way to EssaysOnTime via search engine, just at the right time they urgently needed their academic tasks done. If your webpage can continually appear in search results, it means you are gaining more potential customers.

4. SEO offers your business a wider coverage

It gives you the avenue to sell to people outside your comfort zone when they are looking for products that your business provides. You don’t have to pay for spaces in magazines and newspapers. It beats all forms of traditional advertisement. You just come up when they are looking for businesses like yours. Even if you’re in a competitive industry, you can still standout using the right SEO strategies. For example, Emerson’s PHP development website was able to rank as number one, despite using a competitive keyword and being a new website. This is just one of the numerous SEO success stories achieved through appropriate strategies.

5. SEO helps you keep insight on your customers

Google Analytics is a tool that helps you monitor the traffic your customers generate, the language they speak, how they search and browse. This helps you make timely and informed decisions about your business and your techniques.

Conclusion

A developing business has a lot of space to flourish, and SEO constitutes a significant part of this space because of the numerous opportunities it offers. The benefits of adopting SEO in running a small business include the increased awareness, better user experience and improved purchase cycle. Therefore, you would be enhancing your small business the most cost-effective way, if you utilize the opportunities SEO has to offer.

Guest Post: About the Author

Jacob Dillon is a professional writer and distinctive journalist from Sydney. Being passionate about what he does, Jacob likes to discuss stirring events as well as express his opinion about technological advancements and evolution of society. Find Jacob on Twitter and Facebook.

Networking for Small Business Owners

Networking for small business owners is imperative to make vital connections to grow your company. Interacting with potential investors, business partners or clients will help you form loyal and trusting relationships and open up new opportunities.

The biggest roadblock that prevents small business owners from networking is lack of time—it’s difficult to carve-out hours to attend an event or a conference when you are practically living at the office. However, networking should not be ignored—with these tips, you can achieve this goal.

Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media platform designed to connect professionals in virtually any industry. They currently have over 500 million members in over 200 countries around the world. The first step to using this site is to create a personal account with your photo and contact information. You should add details about your business so that when you communicate with other members, they are able to easily find what company you own.

You can also create a business page showcasing your business on LinkedIn. If you connect your email account, you will automatically be able to add your contacts. You can also search for contacts via their name or company they work for.

LinkedIn transformed the networking world by allowing users to create groups by interest or industry, where you can find like minded entrepreneurs or clients without leaving your home or office. You can also join professional groups and ask questions to get help in growing your business.

Host a Meet & Greet

Devoting time to net working can be especially productive if you combine it with other goals, such as brand recognition and connecting with new customers. A great way to do all three is to host a meet & greet inside your business, if it has a physical location.

Start with inviting other small business owners either in your niche or simply in your area. This will be a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs, bounce ideas off each other and learn new tips on improving your business operations.

To make sure that everyone interacts and has a good time, plan some activities, such as ice breakers or fun games. Make sure the attendees have enough room to mingle and get to know one another. Facilitate interaction by setting up small tables where attendees can congregate, but encourage everyone to move around the room.

This will not only connect you with other like-minded professionals, but also expose your business and products to possible new customers.

Cross-Promotion

If your goal is to network with potential customers, a highly effective way to do so is cross-promotion strategies. Partner with another business, preferably not in your industry so as to avoid competition. You can work together to promote each other’s brands on collaborative materials.

This can be as simple as leaving flyers or coupons in each other’s locations, or as complex as creating a marketing plan to promote both brands. For example, think of world-known companies such as T-Mobile and Netflix offering their services in a joint plan.

By joining another company in your networking efforts, you can expose your brand to a brand new customer base and decrease your marketing and advertising costs.

If you are looking for financial assistance to invest in your business, look no further than IOU Financial. Our company supports small businesses with easy and quick loans. Contact us today to learn how you can get a secured loan of up to $300,000 in 24-48 hours.