Month: November 2017

Legal Branding

Professionals Discuss How Is Airbnb Affecting The Real Estate Industry

According to Inc., the vacation rental market will be worth roughly $170 billion in the next two years. As for Airbnb, Fortune projects that the community marketplace will go up in 2020 to $3.5 billion. Still, Airbnb has made tremendous growth this year; Fortune further indicates that Airbnb spent $300 million on expansion efforts. While this could be seen as a positive sign for a booming real estate economy, some say Airbnb could reel in suspicious individuals and activity.

Nonetheless, this could be a key investment opportunity for individuals looking into breaking into the industry—as well as for landlords looking to up their game. With Airbnb’s expansion, landlords may have to turn to the third-party housing rental company to bring in more cash flow.

With Airbnb expanding across the real estate market, it is looking like the monopoly could push out their smaller competition or force them to consider including the third-party community company in their efforts.

Will regulations stop them from expanding? According to Inc., it is not looking like it. The company continues to grow despite regulations—such as, as Inc. reports, rental companies needing to register with San Francisco (should they want to provide rental services to customers).    

Not sure if Airbnb’s efforts are great for the real estate industry? Can’t make a decision? Are you considering on cashing in on Airbnb’s expansion efforts? In this article, you’ll learn 6 different opinions from real estate professionals (spoiler: be prepared to be surprised by how diverse they are). From reading this, we hope you gain a better perspective on how Airbnb’s future expansion will affect the real estate industry, and whether this is seen as a welcoming sign or a future pain in the neck.

Read on to learn what real estate professionals are saying about Airbnb’s expansion impact.

www.appfolio.com

“AirBnB is definitely growing in the industry as tenants try to make additional money on the side. That said, large MFRs are cracking down on this as they find it disrupts the resident’s experience at the property and leads to higher turnover of units. Virtually across the board this type of sub-leasing violates the signed lease. I anticipate Airbnb continuing to struggle to gain traction in the MFR space.” – Nat Kunes, VP of Product

www.authoritypm.com

“We own and operate a property management company in Redding, CA that offers long-term rentals but stays out of short-term rentals such as Airbnb. We have seen a huge spike with regards to people looking to have a single family home rented out under Airbnb and managed by a third party such as a property manager. In our community, we don’t have any third party companies that handle management of Airbnbs, leaving property owners to handle them on their own. Vacation rentals require much more energy to manage than a traditional rental. In recent times, we have experienced several property owners converting AirBnB rentals to traditional rentals. Many have expressed frustration due to the much smaller cash flow on a traditional rental vs. Airbnb. We believe the Real Estate market has had additional players picking up investment properties as vacation rentals that may not have jumped in the game otherwise.” – Aaron Robertson, Authority Property Management

www.realpropertymgt.ca

“Recently, the Ontario marketplace has seen a lot of changes around the laws and these sort of disruptive technologies like Airbnb. People are taking residential suites and making them something they are not setup for and this causes a lot of problems for neighbours, property managers and the facilities, while offering no protection for these parties. Some of the municipalities are setting up rules and regulations, however, enforcement will be a very difficult course— how long till the next UBER comes along.” – Jason McGuire, Owner at Real Property Management Service

www.barrettpm.com

“I think this question must be answered with a specific community/county in mind due to the dramatic differences Airbnb could have on certain areas. Some factors that play into whether Airbnbs affect a community can include: Is tourism big in the community? Are there vacation destinations in the community? Does the community have recurring annual events that attract a large crowd? And does the city/county government allow for Airbnbs? The more “yes” answers to these factors, the more Airbnb will affect the real estate industry in that community.” – Amelia Barrett,President at Barrett Property Management, Inc.

www.sparkrental.com

“In larger cities and destinations with heavy tourist traffic, some homes can earn significantly higher returns on Airbnb than through long-term leasing. That’s good news for landlords (and some entrepreneurial tenants), but it can mean even stiffer competition for limited long-term rental housing.

One problem is that the areas with perfect conditions for Airbnb leasing are also usually those with already-tight rental markets. These tend to be the most desirable urban neighborhoods, with the most competition for housing supply. Airbnb rentals pull more inventory from that supply, constricting supply even more.

With that said, the market will fix this problem over time. For example, some not-as-well-managed hotels will likely go under due to the loss of business to Airbnb, and that space will likely be converted into additional residential housing supply. Or consider the retail apocalypse – this is more valuable real estate that can be rezoned to its highest and best use (in many cases, residential). It may also push lumbering city bureaucracies to approve more new housing permits to increase supply.” – G. Brian Davis, Director of Education

www.skypropertiesinc.com

“As a management company, we are both for it and against it.. For it, because our clients make money doing it. Against it, because it may bring unknown people who could cause a noise disturbance, have criminal intent, or even be a criminal, into an unsuspecting apartment community.” – Kari Negri, Chief Executive Officer at SKY Properties, Inc

Digital Branding

How to Come Up with a Great Company Name

This is a guest post from James of BizzMark Blog who blogs about the latest trends in business management, economy, small business strategies, finances and employment.
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If one was to analyze the names of the world’s oldest and/or most successful companies, they would probably not find out too much. Some companies still hold the names of their founders (Ford, Mitsubishi), others feature generic-sounding names (General Electric) while others ‘made a name for themselves’ with some truly attention-catching and inventive names (Google).

It may therefore seem that there are no rules to naming one’s company and that you never know what will work. However, there are some smart practices that will maximize your chances of giving your new company a great name and they will be the subject of this article.

Be Creative but Smart

At first glance, most people think that a superbly inventive name is the way to go and that it should always be something that stands out. After all, you want your company name to catch people’s attention and cause them to research your company more. And while this approach definitely has its merits, it should be pointed out that creativity has its limits and that it can become counterproductive if you don’t mind those limits.

For instance, there are certain industries in which a name that is too inventive can be a detriment. If you are starting an accounting agency, for example, people expect a name that is solid and trustworthy and they might feel that a jokey name denotes a less-than-responsible approach to serious work.

Using puns and similar concepts to name a business is also inventive but mostly counterproductive. Puns are generally difficult to gauge correctly (dancing between funny and lame) and this is the overly complex kind of nuancing that you will want to avoid when naming your business. There is also a chance that you might offend someone with risky puns and alienate that customer segment.

In short, there is nothing wrong with being creative when thinking up your company name, just don’t overdo it.

Look to the Future

To someone who is starting a business, the concept of future is relatively limited. They understand how difficult it is to get a company on its feet and ensure its survival for more than a few months. While most business owners believe their company will eventually succeed and continue to exist for years to come, they tend to concentrate on the very near future.

The reason we are mentioning this is that this can result in some very short-sighted names. For example, a business owner might decide to name their company after themselves, especially in certain industries. And while this does provide a certain sense  of security and even intimacy to the company’s initial customers, down the line it can present a problem. What if you, for example, decide to sell your company? With your name attached to it, the list of potential buyers will almost certainly be shorter.

Another future development business owners forget about when naming their company is the fact that their company might expand into other areas in years. For instance, a software company might start with a product for email marketing and it’s name might clearly denote this. Then, after a few years, that same company might decide to make a more comprehensive piece of digital marketing software. In such a situation, the initial name might be somewhat limiting.

When naming your company, you always have to consider the various paths it might go down in the future. Try to think of a name that will not constrict you or become misleading after a few years.

Consider Your Online Presence

Regardless of the industry, most companies are online these days and business founders have to consider their online presence too when naming their company. Domain names, especially shorter ones, are becoming less and less available, meaning that a company with a nice, to-the-point name might find it difficult to secure a domain name for their website.

You should also consider the fact that overly long brand names look unwieldy in the address bar, with an URL that looks like a gigantic jumble of letters more than anything else.

The good news is that there are always workarounds for your domain name if you are really set on a certain name for your business. For example, you can go for a descriptive domain name which tells people what your business is about.

Another way to get a great domain name is to use a top level domain other than .com. There used to be a time when customers were distrusting of websites that ended in other TLDs, but this is no longer the case.

Be Careful about Legal Stuff

Of course, when coming up with a name for your company, you should always consider the legal implications and the possible issues that might arise from a poor choice of a name.

For one, you will have to register the business name of your new company and you might find out that a company with a similar name exists in your industry and/or your part of the world.

You should also consider trademark registration, depending on where your company will be based and whether you will be concentrating on your area or if you will go national or even global. It is essential to research this well so as you do not get into trademark issues down the line because of a company with a similar trademarked name. This may even entail going to court where they will determine how likely it is for customers to distinguish your brand from an existing one.

If you are not sure about the legal implications of the naming process for your future business, make sure to talk to someone who will help you with this. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Closing Word

There are a number of ways to approach coming up with a name for your company. This name will be the cornerstone of your brand and you need to make sure it describes your business well without causing any problems that we discussed.

Digital Branding

Four Top Tips for Making Sure Your E-commerce Store Stands Out

With online shopping booming, there have never been so many online stores available. Whether you’re looking to buy a new outfit, health and beauty products, Christmas gifts, electronics, novelty items, or even things for your pet, you can guarantee that you’ll find a range of options to choose from online.

For anybody who is considering going into business with an e-commerce store, the growing popularity of online shopping can only be a good thing.

However, the biggest drawback is that standing out from your competition has become more difficult than ever before.

So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you ensure that your e-commerce store is grabbing attention for all the right reasons.

Tip #1. Quirky Labels

When you order something online, you’re usually more interested in your product arriving rather than whatever the store has sent you in terms of flyers and other advertisements.

But, as an e-commerce owner, there are several things that you might want to consider doing for your customers to change this.

For example, printing quirky and unusual labels for your parcels using Dymo Shipping Labels from Label City can be a good way to make them sit back and notice. Or, why not send them a small free gift as a token of your thanks?

Tip #2. Offer Something Different

With most e-commerce stores operating in much the same ways as each other, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd in online business is to offer something different to your target audience.

For example, ASOS have recently achieved this fantastically, offering the never before seen option to buy now and pay later through Klarma, without the need for customers to borrow money. Previously, any ‘buy now and pay later’ options would require the customer to open a store card or borrow credit.

Think about things that are missing from the market and what you can offer your customers that nobody else does.

Tip #3. Go the Extra Mile

When you’re buying items in-store, customer service is easy – all you need to do is visit the customer service desk or information point and ask the assistants for help.

However, when shopping online, getting good customer service isn’t always so simple. As an e-commerce store owner, it’s down to you to understand the importance of good customer service and go the extra mile for your customers.

Whether it’s offering a live chat service twenty-four hours a day, having a member of staff manning social media at all times to send replies, or offering a generous return policy, putting your customers first is a sure-fire way to ensure that your company stands out.

Tip #4. Offer Great Deals

Lastly, bear in mind that many people who shop online do so because it’s cheaper and there’s more chance of them bagging a fantastic deal.

So, wherever possible, make sure that you are offering exclusive deals to your customers that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

If you enjoyed these tips, we’d love it if you shared them with your friends and followers. 

Choosing a virtual receptionist service
Digital Branding

Great Tips for Hiring Your Virtual Receptionist Service

Hiring a virtual receptionist service can help you develop your business. The primary purpose of hiring a virtual receptionist is to deal with your customers by taking their messages, screening your calls, and transferring them to an extension. But this isn’t all they provide. A virtual receptionist will also provide you and your staff extra time to handle the essential tasks of your company as they help maintain the reputation of your company and get new customers.

Below are a few great tips for hiring your virtual receptionist service. I hope they’ll help you out.

What virtual receptionists provide

Tips For Choosing A Virtual Receptionist Service

Look for their experience: According to James Russell Lowell, “One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.”

An inexperienced person can never do the same as the experienced one. If you want your tasks to be handled properly make sure you opt a highly skilled, experienced, and professional virtual receptionist. Taking calls and messages may not be difficult, so it’s better to look for someone with experience and communication skills to realize the full potential of a virtual receptionist team.

How do they deal with your customers?

The foremost thing that one needs to look for when hiring the virtual receptionist services team is that how will they deal with your customers. What do they think is an essential part of the interaction with your customers? Always choose the receptionist team who is opting to keep a friendly environment with your customers and are willing to get you more customers by providing excellent services.

Can they solve major issues at a company?

If you want to hire a virtual receptionist service team, the most important thing you need to find out is whether they are good at problem-solving or not. Find out their ability to overcome challenges in their past projects and determine if they are able to handle things you require or not.

How well can they handle the pressure?

Taking calls and messages and talking on a live chat is not an easy job. Not everyone can overcome the challenge and onerous duties of demanding customers. Before hiring a virtual receptionist service team make sure to figure out if they can handle the pressure and work quickly in a stressful environment or is it beyond their reach.

How well does a virtual receptionist know your industry?

How well do they know your industry?

The receptionist team you are hiring should have full information about your industry. Make sure they have done thorough research on your company so that it is easier for them to deal with your customers. You will, of course, be willing to offer the team the training they need about your company.

Do they know how to handle difficult clients?

The majority of the people who call or engage in online chat are polite and well-behaved, but at times you come across people who are difficult to handle. For this purpose, a highly-skilled and professional receptionist team need to be hired, so it is easier to cope with clients and customers who are giving you a hard time.

These are a few tips which will make it easier for you to choose your virtual receptionist service team. For more such articles, stay connected.

Digital Branding

6 Digital Branding Cliches That Are Way Overdone

The road to branding excellence is littered with cliches, and while there is a time and a place for these overused staples of digital communication, they should be used sparingly and with careful forethought.

As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” but when it comes to digital branding, it can definitely go too far.

It doesn’t matter if your company sells bespoke products, sources goods from a third party, grows them, blows them up, or consults on technology; when it comes to your branding, following the herd is NOT a good idea.

Here are six of the most overused and overdone cliches of digital marketing, and how to navigate the temptation to use them in your own branding.

1. The World’s First

Okay, if you really are the first, then you might just be able to get away with this one…

Unfortunately, this phrase is so overused that, even when true, it just comes across as being insincere. And if you decide to use it, you’d better make sure to have done your research.

The internet loves to point out a marketing fail, and if it turns out that your world’s first is actually a second or third, you’ll either appear silly or dishonest.

This problem is easily avoided through thorough and creative research – there will almost certainly be something more informative and relevant that you can use in place of this tired cliche.

After all, getting somewhere first is not a guarantee of quality, or anything else for that matter…

2. Generic ‘Hipster’ Logos

Your logo should evoke your brand, and be both distinctive, and recognizable.

A smart font with a colorful accent might look quite professional at a glance, but if it is too generic, it will be forgettable, and easily confused with other brands. There are a ton of ‘samey’, vaguely ‘hipster’ logos flooding the market right now: from tech companies to coffeeshops, everyone seems to be doing it! The same aesthetic is being used to sell tea, shorts, software, beard oil, and a plethora of products. But in the end, it’s all just one big sea of aesthetic blandness.

You can, and should, do better.

3. Bespoke Next-Level Solutions

All of these things. See how vague that description is? Yet this phrase, with varying synonyms, can be found throughout the digital marketing world.

Yes, you may offer a service that is tailored to the customer, and solves their problem using brand new technology. There is nothing wrong with advertising that.

The problem arises when you give no further details. If someone tried to sell you “next-level” cheese, you’d want to know what made it so special. It’s the same thing here: the lack of descriptive words makes the statement sound empty and hollow.

Solutions can hide many sins, so be more specific.

Don’t assume that your audience will simply take your claims at face value. Instead, give them some genuine, relevant information that will help them decide whether your service is for them.

4. Shame-Based Copy

Have you ever been to a site that boldly proclaimed you were not a real athlete/book-lover/human being unless you bought their product? Or that tried to niggle at your insecurities before offering the solace of their premium service?

Just don’t do that.

You don’t need to make your audience feel awful about themselves to convince them to buy your product. The same applies to those annoying CTAs, like those mailing list pop-ups that make you click “No, I’d rather be a failure” in order to get back to what you were reading.

You should be able to sell your product or service on its merits, convincing your audience that whatever their life is like, you will make it even better.

While there’s nothing wrong with a little humor at the expense of your audience, shaming and diminishing your customers with is just not cool.

5. Awful Brand Videos

There are plenty of examples of video marketing gone wrong, and you don’t want your brand to be added to the long list of painful brand videos.

You know the ones; the director of the company delivers a jargon-heavy marketing spiel, while moving through a featureless office space.

It’s hard to come across at your best in video content if you’re not used to being filmed. But that doesn’t mean you should just accept the results and release bad content.

Your audience want to get to know the personality behind the brand, not simply be told things they can read on your website.

In less time than you think, you can create excellent video content that really grabs your audience’s attention. Put some personality into your brand marketing and give your customers a glimpse behind the scenes of your business. Don’t settle for a stiff showreel.

6. Keep Calm

Sure, it was good while it lasted, but we’ve seen quite enough of the “Keep Calm And Please Share My Content” offerings.

Of course, if it turns out that your audience still loves that sort of thing, then maybe you can make it work – perhaps your brand lends itself particularly well to the cliche, if you sell carry-on luggage, for example – but there’s almost certainly a better option.

Jumping on similar phrase bandwagons can make your brand seem imitative and unoriginal.

Establish your target audience. Then do some in depth research and find out what makes them tick:

  • If you’re selling cars then maybe your audience want to keep going fast, whilst being safe
  • If you’re selling winter clothing then maybe your audience want to keep warm, without sacrificing fashion
  • If you are selling art supplies then maybe your audience want to keep being creative alongside their busy day jobs.

Whatever it is they want, make sure that’s what you give them – not tired phraseology.

Did any of those sound familiar? If so, don’t freak out — it doesn’t mean you need to go back and rehash all your content. The reason cliches come to being is that for awhile, they worked.

Remember, you don’t need to do what works for others, you need to do what works for you. So cut the crap and don’t be slack; get into the mindset of your audience so you can represent your brand in a way that both you and they will love.


Victoria Greene is a branding expert and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce, how writers can hone their craft, and how companies can improve their digital reach. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their marketing.

Create an effective Instagram profile
Digital Branding

Is a Business Loan the Best Financing Option for Your Start-Up Company?

When asked what the biggest hurdle is when starting your own company, most people are going to respond, ‘the finances’. It’s no secret that starting your own business requires a lot of cash up front. You need cash to pay for equipment, inventory, overhead costs for space (renting or leasing business space), employee’s wages, and so much more. There are fixed and variable expenses involved, and these need to be covered. In the end one of the most common reasons new businesses end up failing is because they struggle to cover start-up costs.

Unless you happen to have a trust fund, or have been saving your entire life, chances are you’re going to have to look into financing options. One route that many start-ups end up going for is a business loan. Now with that said there are a few different types of business loans available to you, more specifically secured and unsecured business loans. Are either of these right for you, if so which one? It’s important to look at them closer.

What is a Secured Business Loan?

A secured business loan is a very common type of loan. With this loan you will be borrowing money and you will put up collateral in return. Should you default on paying back the loan, the bank or lender can then take legal action against you so that they can take the collateral you have put up.

This type of loan allows you to borrow the maximum amount of money since the bank doesn’t see it as risky. They know they have the collateral to fall back on. Because the loan is less of a risk, you’ll be rewarded with a lower interest rate.

What is an Unsecured Business Loan?

An unsecured business loan is money that is borrowed from a bank or other lender without any sort of collateral being put up. In this type of agreement the lender is taking all the risk. Should you default on your payments, there is nothing that they can take ownership of. For this reason you may be approved to borrow less money, and the interest rate tends to be higher.

For a new business just starting out, an unsecured loan is often the only solution available. If they had access to collateral, they would probably use that to finance the business. Sometimes the lender may ask for a “director’s guarantee” in these unsecured business loans. What this means is that if you default on paying back the loan, they can then take legal action against the company’s director. Clearly this is something you will want to establish before signing anything.

Don’t Just Focus on the Banks

If you are going to go ahead with a business loan, it’s important you keep in mind that banks aren’t the only ones able to help you out. There are other routes such as trustworthy loan companies like Aspire Business Loans that specialise in both secured and unsecured business loans. You can apply for a loan anywhere between £1,000 and £300,000 and they will search a number of lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible. Often you’ll get a decision that same day.

These companies are brokers, meaning that they will have experience dealing with lenders and therefore the likelihood of the lenders trying to take advantage of you is much smaller.

The Right Solution Exists

The good news is that even if you don’t have the start-up cash required for your new business, there are plenty of solutions out there that can provide you with access to the cash you need. It’s a matter of finding the one that best matches your needs. Remember, starting a business is a long term commitment – finding the funding may be difficult, but it might not be one of the hardest things about starting a business. Once the costs are covered, your business will only be a success if you’re willing to put in the effort to make it one.