Category: Legal Branding

Legal BrandingLocal BrandingPersonal Branding

Why It’s Better to Work for a Startup

Startups have become all the rage in the tech world. Still, across almost every business sector, you can find new, up and coming startup companies shaking up their industries. Startup culture is trendy, but if you peel back the outer layers, you’ll find that startups are fundamentally changing the way people work. While more established and traditional workplaces come with their own rewards, startups offer plenty of perks for job seekers willing to make the change. Here are some ways working for a startup can change your work life for the better.

1. Upward Mobility

While there is always some opportunity for advancement in more traditional settings, the startup’s nature is that they are continually growing. Getting in on the ground floor of a successful startup means that you’ll have far more opportunities to improve your bottom line. Beyond the basic idea that being involved from the earliest days of the company means you’re more likely to get a promotion, you’re also more likely to be in a position to expand your portfolio of skills. Employees at a younger company often wear many hats. Adding a versatile range of skills to your resume is always a good idea.

2. Office Culture

Startups are widely known for having a more open and engaging office culture than their more well-established counterparts. In some offices, that could mean more flexibility in working hours. Research shows that employees who have more flexibility with their work time are happier and more productive. At a startup, it’s much more likely that you will be able to set the work schedule that works for you.

Beyond the schedule flexibility, working for a startup most likely means you won’t find yourself drudging away in a sea of cubicles. For one, you’re more likely to get a sit-stand desk, allowing you to maintain a better and healthier posture. Getting up and getting moving is crucial at work. An open office space with a sit-stand desk and expanded recreation space are tremendously beneficial for health and productivity.

3. Wages and Benefits

Startup culture is, generally speaking, driven by data. While that can sometimes sound like corporate fluff, what it means for employees is that you’re more likely to have better wages and dental. There are two reasons for this. The first is that startups are often competing in aggressive job markets for candidates with in-demand skills. Sweetening the deal with better wages and benefits only makes sense in that scenario. 

The other reason is somewhat more complicated. Startups know that younger and more tech-savvy workers are more likely to have the skills they need. The employees in that demographic care less about the stability of a long career and more about happiness and comfort. Today’s workers are more likely to eschew the incentives of the old corporate world in favor of a wages and benefits package that maximizes paid time off, quality healthcare, and other fringe benefits like gym memberships. Startups know what these workers want and are more likely to give it to them.

4. Social Benefit

In the same way that the workers of the new economy are looking for comfort at work, they’re also looking for workplaces and occupations that allow them to affect social good. Whether you’re looking to help people in need or do your part to stop climate change, startups are more likely to solve these problems than traditional companies. Beyond the core work mission, startups are also typically heavily involved in charitable giving, especially in the fields they’re working in and the cities where they’re located.

5. Location

While the corporate office parks of yesteryear are more likely to be located in hard to reach and expensive suburbs, startups are much more likely to be in locations that are more desirable to the next generation of employees. Startups know that today’s workers want to live in work in places with vibrant social life, quick access to amenities, and proximity to public transit. Startups have the flexibility to choose and, if necessary, change locations to meet the needs of their mission and workforce far more efficiently than traditional companies.

Working for a startup comes with many great benefits that you won’t find in the traditional corporate world. If any of these perks are what you’re looking for in your next workplace, it may be time to consider going to work at a startup. You never know if the startup of today will be the business giant of tomorrow.

Legal BrandingLocal BrandingPersonal Branding

Crowdfunding PR Tips for Kickstarter & Indiegogo

One thing that you need to do before all else when trying to gain media coverage is to create a media list. It is one of the most important public relations jobs and it is always guaranteed that when done right, it is an effective way to establish media relations with target specific journalists and influencers. 

This guide will go in detail about: 

  1. What is a media list? 
  2. Making the perfect media list 
  3. How to use media lists to get press 
  4. How to start a conversation with media outlets 
  5. Examples of media lists

What is a media list?

The whole point of a media list is to have a detailed document of media outlets including journalists, bloggers, writers, editors and influencers that are perfectly matched to your niche and topics that you are writing about. It normally includes the name of the individuals and their contact information. 

The opinion of a media list is very hit or miss because it can be construed as a waste of time and a way to spam every media outlet to get responses from anyone. There are two halves of developing contacts, which include building an effective media list and being able to start conversations and build relationships with media contacts.

Making the Perfect Media List

Step 1: Find your audience

It is important to figure out every aspect of your audience; what they read, what they listen to, what they watch, the type of things they follow on social media, etc. With this information, you will get a better understanding of the type of media outlets to target.  From there, you can ensure coverage by sending your press release email to the appropriate audience

This research information of your media list is very important because from there you are creating a list that is more thorough and you can think about: 

  • Your customers – the people that are going to buy your product or service 
  • The stakeholders in your company – The people that require evidence that your PR is working 
  • Industry experts – the people in your sector that you want to notice your company 
  • Regulators – the people that have a direct influence on your sector and are beneficial to impress. 

From there and to keep everything concise and put together, create a spreadsheet of all ideas and titles that relate to your industry. Once you have compiled everything, you can search keywords of your ideas on search engines for the relevant newspapers, magazines, etc. that cover the same or similar topics that you have put in your spreadsheet. 

Step 2: Creating the list

A good media list needs to be clear, concise, and organized. Here are some things that you should add to your list: 

1) Name of the publication/blog/website 

You should identify the exact name of media outlets and add it to your media list because there is a possibility that reporters will move around and change their jobs, so you want to focus on the publication and readership rather than just the contact. 

2) Publication website address

This could be a handy shortcut on your media list so that you can easily refer to the media outlet’s online presence whenever you need to. 

3) Reporter/Blogger/Journalist/Broadcaster full name

Do not send press releases or stories to email addresses that seem generalized, it would honestly be a waste of time because so many emails go through these email addresses, they aren’t going to think twice about skipping over them. 

You need to see if you can find the email addresses of the specific bloggers and people that you want to write about your product/service and keep it precise and personal. 

4) Job title 

You should also keep note of the position that the contact holds in the company that they work for because it might become relevant for your media pitch. This is helpful when you have breaking news about your industry and when you contact them because it is relevant and it helps both of you. 

5) Email

This is one of the most important things because you are going to need an email address of your contacts when you decide to distribute your press release.

6) Phone number 

You might also want their phone number so that you can call them to talk about a story or follow-up on a pitch that you had previously sent to see if it is relevant.

7) Social media details 

If they are on social media, you should add them so you can also start building a personal relationship with them. It is common that journalists are found on Twitter, so find their handle and start talking to them.

8) Frequency

Make a note of how regularly the publication you want to send your pitch to goes out. This can have an impact on the stories that you send because they could only post monthly, weekly, etc. You need to know when to send your pitch out and whether it is relevant at the time.

9) Story ideas

This is a perfect moment to align the stories you intend to send out with the right people. If you have a collection of different angles and stories that you want to send out, you can add them to this column so that you can link them to the appropriate reporters and broadcasters. When you do this properly, you won’t end up sending your press releases to the wrong people. 

10) Notes

Keep track of important information that could be useful in the future. When it comes to the media outlets, you can add the stories that they have written recently, specific area they do features on, notes about conversations on social media you have had with them. 

Step 3: Research relevant journalists

The next step is to click on the articles that are on the first few pages of your search because those will be the most relevant to your topic.  When you are going through the articles, make sure to double check if there is an actual person that you can contact because sometimes, blogs do not give out author’s names for articles written. 

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t find the author’s name right away, just keep doing some research on the platform and you might be able to find another contributor that you can contact. It is important that you not only try to get coverage by top-tier publication but try and establish credibility with smaller media outlets to build up your portfolio.

Step 4: Make your list of target journalists

While you are reading each article from your search results, you should go through some questions before you add them to your media list.  You should try and keep your PR lists more simplified because the thing to remember is that it is more effective to have a handful of relevant journalists that you have a good relationship with than a long list of journalists that are a part of your field, but you rarely speak to. 

The questions that you should ask yourself before adding them to your list are: 

  1. Are they a generalist or specialist in the field? 
  2. What is their editorial style? 
  3. Are they easily contacted or mind being contacted by different mediums? 
  4. What kinds of publications do they or have they written for?

From there, you can tailor your messages in a way that you know will catch their attention. They are constantly bombarded by messages and information that may not concern them, so keep your messages as relevant to the topic at hand as possible. You can also think of media relations as a number of games, the more you pitch to, the higher chances of landing something. Just make sure you understand the relevance.

Quality over Quantity.

If they answer all these questions, add them to your media list and go from there.

Step 5: Keep your list updated

Creating a media list can take time and effort because it is important to keep the list current and updated. New media opportunities can present themselves whenever possible and journalists can move around, so you need to stay alert and update any information that can possibly change. It will make sure that you still have the relevant media outlets and also makes sure that your hard work is wasted. 

Step 6: Watch your market and competitors

It is more than likely that whatever industry you are in, some media outlet somewhere has written something about it. That means that they definitely have the experience to write about your company and your industry. However, when you pitch to those media outlets, make sure that you stand out from your competitors because if they have talked about a similar product/service, they most likely would not have to talk and write about the same thing again. 

How to use media list to get press?

Enterprise Resource Planning collected of scrabble game elements

You may have a large list of relevant names and contact details, but you still need to make sure that when you pitch, you still keep it personal. You need to remember that just because you are using your efforts to connect with them and chat with them, it does not mean that they know you. 

You need to connect on a personal level and have communicated prior before sending them a press release or story pitch. Make sure that they are aware of you and your business, already interested in your story and relatively excited about posting and sharing your story with their readers. 

It order to build a relationship with any type of media outlet, it is simple enough to start a conversation. It is important to start a conversation with the relevant people that already exist on your media list weeks before your actual launch date of your product or service.  Continue having the conversation until you have built a solid relationship so that when you need media coverage, you can approach them with a preexisting relationship and not as a complete stranger and there is no need to send a cold email pitch. It can take so time to build a good relationship, but once it is done, the payoff is definitely better than last-minute attempts. 

How do you start a conversation?

Sometimes it might hard to figure out how to start a professional conversation. So, in order to get some pointers, closely read the articles that are a part of your research. It may seem a bit harsh, but try and find mistakes, weak points or anything missing from an article or blog posts that could be used to start a conversation. 

Some things to look for:

  • Grammar errors 
  • Outdated facts 
  • Information that can be added 
  • Possible articles that need follow up stories 

It is also important to understand that when it comes to influencers, you should try many different types. Don’t limit yourself to journalists or bloggers. You can even try to get coverage from investors, social media influencers, and even founders of other companies. To find the appropriate ones, you need to define the goal of your product or service and then define your target audience. Once you figure out all those things, you are all set. 

Creating a media list is easy; it is the follow-through that can be complicated. You need to make a solid first impression so that you can get continuous coverage. The more effort you put into creating a media list and sparking a solid conversation will have a great payoff. 

Conclusion

Media lists are a way to keep everything organized and up-to-date so that you know what you are sending, who you are sending it to, and when. It is a way of documenting the key media contact that might be interested in stories about your business or area of expertise. Do not limit yourself to the traditional media outlets, keep an open mind and don’t give up too quickly if you don’t catch the big fish. Keep at it and it will all be worth it in the long-run. 

Legal BrandingLocal Branding

Driving for Work: Safety Requirements for Employers and Employees

Motor vehicle incidents represent one of the biggest risks employees are exposed to. To make matters worse, it’s a kind of risk that is taken daily, especially when it comes to professional drivers or those who need to drive around the country for work. It’s quite difficult to avoid damage and loss caused by various problems that might occur, which means that preventive measures are of utmost importance.

All those operating a motor vehicle as part of their job are at risk of being involved in a roadway crash, which can have devastating consequences to both those directly involved and their companies. We’re talking about loss of lives, families losing a member who brings substantial income and companies that may be left without a reliable worker. Needless to say, such problems also affect the company’s performance in terms of meeting agreed on deadlines, potentially losing jobs and having to pay substantial amounts of money to repair the damaged vehicles. In order to help you minimize this risk and prevent problems in the first place, we’ve compiled the following list of things to consider.

Safe driving program

No matter how big your company is, if the employees are obliged to drive as part of their job, there needs to be a driver safety program implemented. The goal is to save lives, reduce the risk of life-altering injuries, protect the company’s human and financial resources, as well as guard against potential company and personal liabilities associated with motor vehicle incidents.

Such program should be treated as an investment, not expenditure. The reason is simple: companies need to protect their employees and save money by preventing expensive and potentially devastating accidents. The desired outcome of a safe driving program is to change driver attitudes, if necessary, and improve their driving skills in order to prevent vehicle crashes and tragedies.

Policies and procedures

Having a safe driving program is necessary, but so is having a written statement emphasizing the commitment to reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries. A set of comprehensive and enforceable safety policies should be created and communicated to all employees with an aim to reduce the number of accidents. Such policies can be communicated by posting them throughout the workplace, distributing copies or organizing regular meetings where the policies are discussed. It might be a good idea to offer bonuses and incentives to those drivers who stick to the rules.

Ensure premium insurance coverage

Needless to say, you need insurance for all the vehicles owned by your company, but you need to be aware that the minimum coverage won’t give you maximum protection. That’s why you should choose comprehensive plans that cover the cost of repairs and losses in the most common scenarios. Australia, for example, is a country that has specific and strict rules and regulations when it comes to insurance. Finding the most comprehensive car insurance in Australia that covers accidents, natural disasters, theft and damage to someone else’s property, as well as emergency roadside assistance, is a must for many small companies there. Your employees who drive, as well as company vehicles, are exposed to road risks everyday so it’s always a good idea to look for the most comprehensive package that suits your needs.

Regular maintenance and inspection

It goes without saying that your fleet needs to be properly selected and regularly maintained in order to minimise the risk of crashes and related losses. All vehicles must be subject to a routine preventive maintenance schedule for servicing and checking safety equipment and you need to strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to specific mileage in the context of performing regular maintenance.

Another thing to consider is the age of your drivers. With most of the working population being millennials, you should know that they expect their vehicles to feature as much safety equipment as possible. When it comes to millennials at work and perspectives from a new generation, they want all the equipment and gear they are supposed to handle to be in perfect condition, so that injuries are avoided and work is done efficiently. That means you should upgrade your vehicles with as many safety features as possible.

Tracking technology

Every employer needs to know where their vehicles are at all times to make sure the drivers are not slacking on the job. Unauthorized use of a company vehicle is grounds for termination, since it has the potential to be a serious liability and can damage the reputation of your company, not to mention the possibility of theft or vandalism. Luckily, tracking technology allows you to analyze employees’ drive times and location and you should definitely use it to keep track of your vehicles.

If you follow these tips, you’ll definitely improve the safety of your employees who drive a company car or drive for work. You should be aware that investments in safety decrease the number of problems you may encounter and that higher safety standards protect your valuable assets and improve your employer branding significantly.

Legal BrandingPersonal Branding

How to Build a Brand Your Mom Will Be Proud Of

Small business owners create their brands in a variety of ways. Pride is a thread that connects most of those efforts, however. Most people don’t want to feel ashamed of their businesses. They want them to get attention for all the right reasons. Here are some practical, effective ways to create a brand that you’ll love to mention when someone asks, “So, what do you do?”

Offer High-Quality Products

Providing high-quality products to your customers might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many brands prefer to merely get their products into customers’ hands. Representatives from those enterprises only think about the initial purchase — not repeat buyers. They don’t care if the items fall apart or stop working outside the time frame for returns. 

In a 2019 survey, 85% of respondents agreed that quality was a deal-breaker or deciding factor in their purchases. Make the quality of your products so evident that people can immediately see, feel or perceive it in other ways. 

Speak to quality in your product descriptions, too. You might say, “Our team of engineers worked for five years to design a tent that’s durable, simple to pitch and pack and reliable in any weather. If you’re dissatisfied for any reason, we want to make things right.”

Treat Your Employees Well

Workers collectively make up the backbone of the most successful brands. When workers love their employers, they’re more likely to be eager brand ambassadors. However, if employees get mistreated — or perceive they do — the ramifications could affect your whole operation. Most consumers don’t like the idea of supporting companies that don’t value their employees.

Consider if a customer walks into a store and notices that most workers are grumpy or bored. The matter could worsen if the workforce becomes so disgruntled that outspoken members take their complaints to social media or the press. Some employees may even strike. 

You can prevent unhappy employees from ruining your company’s reputation, however. Get to the heart of what’s wrong by showing a willingness to listen and take them seriously. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but show you’re committed to implementing improvements. Think about having a formal process for gathering feedback. Consider letting people provide input anonymously if preferred. 

Investigate Custom Packaging Options

A well-crafted brand immediately stands out from the competition. Customized packaging can help you achieve that goal. An eye-catching box makes people get excited whenever they see it. You can design boxes with bright colors, creative fonts, quotes or even graphics. All of those things help to strengthen your identity. 

You can also put thoughtful details into the box, such as a strip a recipient can pull to open the package, letting them avoid struggling with scissors. The lid of the box might have tabs that slot into the bottom section, helping people easily open and close the packaging. 

Another nice thing about custom packaging is that people are more likely to reuse it. An appealing, branded box that a person got after ordering from an e-commerce site could get repurposed as a container for anything ranging from office supplies to snack-size packs of trail mix. 

Provide Consistency

Whether you operate a neighborhood deli, a furniture store or a web design company, customers want to feel they’ll get the same outstanding brand experience no matter how many times they visit. Begin by thinking about what aspects shape how people see your company. Perhaps your top-notch customer service or inviting in-store atmosphere. Maybe people appreciate your witty brand voice or your well-designed, mobile-friendly website. 

Think about the things in your power that maintain those factors. You might need to invest in more staff training. An in-house style guide can also remove uncertainty about matters like color schemes, word choices and punctuation preferences. 

Regardless of  which individual approaches you take, ensure that everything looks similar across all platforms and ways people access your business. Consumers notice that attention to detail. It helps them know what to expect when dealing with you. 

Respond to Customer Issues

The customer experience occasionally becomes tarnished, even at companies well-known for their amazing brands. It’s your responsibility to be available when people want to reach out after things go wrong.

Maybe someone feels upset due to an inefficient cashier. Perhaps they opened the box from an online order and discovered the product inside was something other than what they purchased. 

Ignoring these problems will not make them go away and is likely to make them worse. Show customers that their concerns matter to you and that you want to fix the issues. Waiting too long to answer them gives the impression that customers are not your priority, and you don’t care about earning or keeping their loyalty. 

Choose Causes to Support

Aligning your business with causes that matter to you and your workers could positively impact profits and how many new customers you gain. A 2018 survey found that charitable giving affects 73% of Americans’ purchase decisions. The same study revealed that 65% of those polled believe companies have a responsibility to give back. 

Strive for authenticity when picking what matters most to you. Try to select causes that relate to your business. If the company sells water filtration products, you might support a charity that brings clean water to disadvantaged areas. 

Talk to your employees about how they could get involved with causes, too. Some might participate in a fundraiser or a community clean-up day, for example. They’ll like knowing that their contributions span beyond your business. 

Admit to Your Mistakes

No one’s perfect, and that reality will inevitably manifest in your business. Maybe you’ll make a blunder that causes some customers to leave. Perhaps you’ll cling too tightly to a plan despite overwhelming evidence of its failure.

Owning up to your mistakes isn’t fun, but it’s a crucial part of being an effective and admired leader. Learn from your errors, too. Dig into what caused them, and figure out proactive prevention measures.

Decide how to communicate with outside external parties. Should you publish a press release, or might it work better to post a YouTube video? The right format varies depending on the severity of the issue and what you want — or need — to convey.

Building Blocks for Your Brand

These actions are not the only ones that make up a fabulous brand that people praise. However, they’ll get you off to a good start in earning positive recognition and customer satisfaction.

Lexie is a branding enthusiast and web designer. She loves checking out local flea markets and taking her Goldendoodle on hikes. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner and check out her design blog, Design Roast.

Legal Branding

Legal Recruitment – How New Lawyers Can Explore Career Options

The legal domain is full of opportunities but everything boils down to nailing the one that is just right for you. As a new lawyer, you need to understand your career options and decide carefully so that you don’t end up being in the wrong place. The apt career choices right from the start, on the other hand, can give you a head start and have you well-established in the field sooner than you expect. Here are some facts about legal recruitment and career planning that you should know while exploring career options in this field.

Decide the specialization that appeals to you

Once you near the end of your training, you will have to choose an area you would want to specialize in. Since the options in the legal domain are endless, the choice can be confusing. However, you will probably have an inclination right from the start. Consider what appeals to you, whether you would want to opt for something intriguing like criminal law or something more humanitarian like personal injury law. Think about the short-term and long-term implications of the choice, in terms of working hours, income prospects, and the kind of clients you will have to deal with. Seek advice from a seasoned mentor if you cannot decide on your own.

Understand the possibilities

Once you are sorted out with the core area of expertise for your legal career, the next important decision would be about the working option you would want to explore. You may want to work with the same firm you have been training with or move to a different one. The best thing to do in this situation is to look for attorney placements with reputed law firms in your area. There is also the option of private practice instead of working with a firm. You may consider joining a business as an in-house member of their legal counsel team. Remember that you need not consider this choice as a permanent arrangement and can switch when you want to.

The choice between practice and in-house

The biggest question that any new lawyer faces while making their career choice is whether they should opt for practice or work in-house with a law firm or business organization. It makes sense to join a firm at the early stages of your career because you get ample training opportunities and support, which is something you should prioritize at this time. Further, this is a safe choice from the income perspective as well because you will get a salary rather than depend on clients and cases. However, there are some facts that you must bear in mind while choosing the organization you would want to join in an in-house role. First things first, look for one that is reputed and works in your core area of specialization. The expected speed of career progression, salary, level of responsibility, work hours, and environment are some other factors to consider.

Your career decisions as a new lawyer can have a far-reaching impact on your professional and financial growth in the long run. So this is something you must do with great care and consideration.

Legal BrandingLocal Branding

All About the Home Improvement Loan With Bad Credit Score

Home is considered as one of the biggest investments for anyone, and your home reflects your true self. If your home needs renovation or any improvement, then you make this investment less burden for you by taking the loan. The cost of the home improvement project of your house will depend on a variety of factors like labors and supplies. The loan can cover your expenses and that too home improvement loans. You can get a home improvement loan easily if you have an excellent or good credit score. However, home improvement loans with bad credit are something that is difficult to get.  

How to Choose Home Improvement Loans If You Have Bad Credit?

Earlier it was not possible to get the home repair loans with bad credit but with time the online lending market has transformed drastically. Now the borrowers with poor or average credit scores too can get the home improvement loans. However, finding the best loan can be exhaustive as you as a borrower need to evaluate the terms and rates of the loan. You need to consider few things while you look bad credit home improvement loan options available in the market:

  • Interest Rates

One of the essential indicators, whether one can afford the loan, is the interest rate. Therefore, you first need to compare interest rates of all the options that are present. Few lenders will offer you personalized rates with a simple soft credit inquiry that will even give access to compare the rates. However, don’t forget that while comparing the rates, your score will not be damaged with hard credit pull. All the lender does not give you this option; that is why you need to be sure which type of credit inquiry will be made once you have submitted the information.

  • Terms

You must know longer the loan term; more will be the interest you will pay. So, it merely means a longer loan period means you have to pay the lesser monthly payment for the longer duration of your life. Likewise, the loan with a shorter term means that you have to pay a higher monthly payment. That is why you must choose the loan term which can be managed easily. Make sure that the payment that you have to pay each month for your loan should fit your budget as you will not want the late payment to affect your credit score further.

  • Fee

There are times when borrowers who want home repair loans for bad credit scores have to pay administration fees. This administration fee will be added to the total cost of the loan; that’s why you need to compare the loan while keeping this in mind. Moreover, you need to find how this fee will be applied. Some lenders will charge them in the principal balance, and other lenders will add these fees to your payment amount.

  • Customer Review

Some lenders can take advantage of the borrower with a bad credit score. That is why borrowers need to do proper research before applying for the home improvement loan. You can check the website and customer reviews for finding the potential lenders.

Application Process of Home Improvement Loan

You can apply for the home improvement loans with bad credit by filling the application form online too. The borrowers need to submit the following documents for getting the home improvement loan are:

  • Valid ID card
  • Valid address, phone number, email address
  • Proof on income (pay stubs or tax returns)
  • Bank account information.

The lenders can ask you to submit additional information if you have a poor or bad credit score. You can get your loan approved by making your loan secure with the collateral or by adding the qualified cosigner to the application of a home improvement loan.

How Can You Improve the Credit Score for Getting the Home Repair Loan?

Improving the credit score is one of the smartest ideas to make you eligible for the home improvement loan. This will not only help you get the loan at better rates and terms but can even make you get the loan easily. If you are thinking, how can you raise your credit score so that you can get home improvement loan at a lower interest rate, then follow the steps given below:

  • Pay all your bills on time and that too every time.
  • You can reduce your credit utilization by paying the debt.
  • You have to review your credit report carefully so that you can see all the information mentioned in the report is valid.
  • Credit cards should be used responsibly as it can improve your credit.

Securing a bad credit home improvement loan can be difficult, but numerous lenders are there to offer home loans to the borrower with poor credit history. The key which can help you to find the best loan is based on reviewing the terms and interest rates of the loan. Moreover, another factor can decide your loan, and that is how loan payment will affect your monthly budget.

Legal BrandingPersonal Branding

Estimate Templates for Smaller Businesses

Flowers are invariably in high demand. Survey says that flower stores are expanding exponentially in the country. Not only flower shops but with it the number of designing houses are also thriving. People are more interested in beautifying spaces. So, industries with aesthetic sensibilities are on a high rise. Every little thing that is associated with your business represents your firm. To maintain its reputation the company however small it may be, needs to look professional. So, the firm should oversee all the business aspects in a methodical manner. When you send an estimate to a prospective client that too represents you. The design of the estimate and the logo will count to a conscious consumer. No matter how creative and inspirational, you approach to life is, when it comes to business it is always required to keep a level head and composed output. So, let us discuss now how one can improve the estimated requirements of a smaller business. 

What is estimate template?

Estimates are formal documents that are required to be approved by both parties when they are in business jointly. Suppose, you want to buy sunflowers in bulk from a dealer and you agreed on a price. You need supplies in multiple locations for several outlets of yours and you want them to be delivered at a specific time. You may have a very good bond with this vendor and you trust him fully. But you need to have a document written in black and white. So, the bargain remains clear between both parties. This designing of estimate might turn out to be a hectic job. So, instead, you can visit aynax.com free online estimate template.  Here you can browse through a different type of archetype of estimate templates. 

Why is it helpful?

A business template takes time to formulate. With each changing deal of trade, the templates need to alter. So, to create all these different templates can be quite a hassle. Instead, you can browse through the online prototypes and get the job done. There is a customization option that will allow you to design the estimate template in your own unique way. The process is easy and straightforward. This form of templates will definitely make your business look sharper and give it a skilled touch. 

Why does the presentation matter?

This is an age of show and tell. People put a lot of energy and effort to make their products and services look aesthetically presentable and beautiful. If you run a business that deals with flowers and design, it is more so important for you to be careful about every single detail. Customers that come to you are most definitely interested in design values. So, your presentation should matter. The documents that you provide should matter to you as it is a part of your design. 

Why is an estimate important for the client?

An estimated statement is a legal paper that holds real value. It is valuable to you as well as to the client. Maybe a team of event management buys flowers for an event. They will need all the legal papers to be submitted to the individual who employed them to do the task. If they can’t produce records, it is going to cause them troubles. If you can’t provide them with official documents nobody is going to do any sort of business with you. And if the estimate you furnish is amateurish then also people are going to avoid your shop; regardless of the quality of your delivery of product or services. 

In the end, it can be said that instead of investing in expensive software to construct your own estimate, you can take the full benefit of the free services provided online.

Digital BrandingLegal BrandingPersonal Branding

Everything You Need to Know about Online Brands’ Path to Profitability

There is a common mistake the vast majority of brands make today — they acquire the funds but have no plan for profitability.

When you start a small business website, you should know that following the practices that most other entrepreneurs follow actually leaves you with a narrow window of success. Operating deep in the red and using that as a sacrifice for quick growth is one of the bigger reasons why many new businesses fail.

If you’d like to know what you need to do to become a profitable business in a reasonable amount of time, keep reading.

Place your focus on margins

Getting to figure out the way to profitability fast begins with knowing the cost variables on an income statement and how you can have them tweaked.

These variables include manufacturing, transportation, employee salaries, office rent, shipping, and marketing. Do know that the most expensive variable for digital brands is usually marketing.

When looking at each unit sold, as a brand, you should find out the total cost of operations and production and compare that figure to what is left. For example, if a brand spends $100 to produce a watch and sells it for $300, its gross profit per product would be $200 and the product margin would amount to 66%.

In order to build a sustainable business, the unit economics on day one should be positive. This is the revenue and cost per item sold. As companies scale, margins usually increase and can vary widely depending on the product type.

For example, apparel brands see margins between 40 and 60 percent. Hence, they need to structure themselves differently than companies selling accessories or prestige beauty where margins can top 80 percent.

Consider hiring a business coach

At this stage, it would be great if you could hire a professional business coach. Sometimes you really need a business mentor you can trust and turn to for advice. It is important to have support coming from a great coach.

This will give you some space to work out challenges that are slowing your confidence down. It is really important in situations where you have to deal with crises or conflicts.

On top of that, a good coach will help you see the forest, not the trees. In other words, a good business coach will always have an objective point of view and the ability to quickly identify problem areas that you couldn’t see.

A good coach will also be able to offer solutions or strategies you might have not considered or push you out of your comfort zone so that you can take your business to the next level.

Finally, experienced coaches are good at helping you triage risks and decide which challenges are worth fighting today and which ones are not worth worrying about until later.

If you are new to the world of business, you should definitely consider having this kind of support along your side.

Do not overspend on marketing

It is easy to get lost when spending on customer acquisition. To be precise, many spend too much on Facebook ads, paid search results, and promoted posts. Unfortunately, that kind of behavior tends to eat up a huge part of the product margin.

As a business owner, you shouldn’t scale unless you are quite confident that you will continue to attract customers without spending irrational amounts on advertising.

Some companies ended in hot waters when it comes to their finances. Various subscription-based services faced this problem when old customers started dropping out, finding new customers became harder to acquire.

So, if you are yet to hit the main growth phase, be very disciplined. Projections for future profitability can be distorted by an unexpected competitor entering the market or by a tweak to an Instagram or Facebook algorithm that raises advertising costs.

Try your best to find a customer acquisition model where you are positive on the first order. That may be difficult, but it is a safe way to play things out.

Your plan should begin with digital ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google. It is easy to experiment with different messages and formats to figure out what works. Once you build a strong community, the ad game becomes easy.

Reduce the number of failed payments

Unfortunate things happen. A customer can have their credit card stolen, their bank can decline a payment due to a network error or exceeded limit. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to reduce the churn. You should focus not only on voluntary churn but on involuntary churn as well. This happens when a customer doesn’t intend to stop using your services and wiring money to your business.

Start tracking involuntary churn and get a sense of your overall monthly churn. This will allow you to determine what portion of it is involuntary and how you should start the failed payment recovery process.

See how many of your customers canceled their subscriptions and see how many stopped paying due to credit card declines.

To find out even more, take a look at their decline codes. This way you can isolate whether the primary issue is:

  • Expired card
  • Outdated billing info
  • Spendy customers who exceeded the card limits
  • Something else

The more data you gather, the better your results will be when it comes to reducing this type of churn.

Take good care of your supply chain

Do not get surprised by unexpected surges in purchases. If you have your own production line, be careful not to underestimate the need for your products.

When there is a spike in demand, it is time to profit. However, if you fail to handle all purchase orders, you might get the whole positive trend to backfire.

So, try to be as flexible as possible. Stock up on your products and keep an eye on the statistics. Be prepared in case a spike in demand occurs.

Try to have the best possible control over the supply chain. This will also contribute to the speed of scaling, which enables your company to meet demand and ensure that all customers are happy.

Do your best to react to demand in real-time and control costs. If you manage to do that, you will only contribute to profitability.

Final thoughts

The journey to profitability is unique for every entrepreneur. As the person in charge, you have to balance your investments in growth with efforts to generate cash flow.

However, it all boils down to one basic thing — the quality of your product or service. A product that makes sense and proves to be useful is generally a guarantee for a bright future.

Legal Branding

Legal Branding Issues: Social Media Mistakes That Could Land You in Hot Water

From Facebook to Twitter, businesses brand themselves by using social media sites and digital marketing. While social media may seem like all fun and games and can be on a personal level, it can land you in hot water when you’re branding a business. Hot water that could land you in court with legal issues. If you’re having legal issues with branding, then turning to a firm like Cory Briggs small business attorney can help, and it’s best to have a lawyer on retainer before you run into trouble. In this blog, however, you’ll find a few of the top social media mistakes that can land you with a ton of legal issues you don’t want to deal with. 

Not Understanding Copyright Laws

From photographs to articles, there are many copyright laws that are easily violated when branding a business. For example, who owns that photograph you’re using? Even more, who is the person in the photograph and will they sue you for using it without permission? You always need to have the proper licenses to a photograph you post on social media. The best way to do this is by only using photographs you take yourself. However, since that’s not always possible, a good attorney will help you determine what can and can’t be done in this department. 

Improper Formatting of Sponsored Posts

You would think that sponsored posts would be easy to share, brand, and post. However, the FTC has buckled down on the improper formatting of sponsored posts, and doing it the wrong way could land you in court these days. If the posts contain numerous hashtags, links, or tags, then you must make sure to separate each legal disclosure. It can be quite confusing, so if you’re in doubt, contact your small business lawyer to ask for legal advice before you format any sponsored posts for your brand. 

Putting Up Fake Testimonials

Customer testimonials can do wonders for your product, service, and branding, as long as those testimonials are true. There are regulators that watch out for fake testimonials on social media sites and you can land in a world of trouble if yours are proven to be fake. This is known as astroturfing and State Attorney Generals are cracking down and enforcing these laws, so you want everything you do to be above board. Just remember, influencer marketing can have serious legal ramifications, and cost you a ton if it’s done improperly. Make sure you do your research and consult with your attorney if in doubt as to whether a testimonial you put on social media could be seen as fake or not. 

Not Reading a Social Media Site’s Terms of Service Carefully

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all social media sites have the same rules. What’s okay for Facebook might not be okay for Instagram, and can get you in legal trouble for violating their terms of service. For example, some terms of service (TOS) state that you can only post images that you have the right to, while others are completely different. Read every site’s TOS before you start posting, just to be on the safe side and in accordance with their specific rules. 

While this post isn’t meant to scare you away from using social media when branding your business, it’s important to note that it’s not all carefree posting and having fun. There are very real legal ramifications if you make the above mistakes when branding your business on social media. Just be aware of them and avoid them at all costs.

Digital BrandingLegal BrandingPersonal Branding

5 Effective Offline Marketing Strategies You Can Use Today

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that we live in unprecedented times. In no other era of human history have people’s lives been changed so fundamentally by technology. At the same time, in no other era have we been so enamored by the past. According to Business Matters, nostalgia marketing has become more popular than ever, with more and more brands turning to retro iconography and techniques in order to capture the interest of a highly online market.

Looking for ways to mobilize that thirst for nostalgia? Check out these effective offline marketing techniques for ideas on how to stand out in a digital world.

Projection Mapping

One of the best ways to maximize technology in your marketing in the real world is through projection mapping. Business.com describes projection mapping as a highly innovative marketing tool that makes use of digital projections on real objects to create distinctive, kinetic advertisements. While it does need significant prep time and can be costly— an average of USD$ 10,000 per minute of projection— the overall effect is attention grabbing and memorable. Projection mapping can engage a wider audience and increase social reach by cutting through the noise and demanding attention.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is perhaps one of the less flashy but more effective marketing techniques that companies like to fall back upon. They do so with good reason — direct mail has an incredibly high ROI, and can cost less per lead than many other marketing techniques. It doesn’t always have to be boring catalogs or paper coupons, either. An article by Triadex Services on direct mail found that plastic postcard materials are 3-5 times more effective than typical paper postcards, improving an already impressive ROI.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing has seen a surge in popularity over the last decade, and it’s not hard to see why. SmallBusiness took a look at three small businesses from the UK that employed guerilla marketing techniques such as a double-decker bus turned cocktail bar and a rap song and found that these campaigns were crucial in raising brand profiles. By employing unconventional techniques and creative strategies, companies are able to get greater responses and engagement than through standard, “traditional” campaigns.

Print Marketing

With the rise of smartphone use and the popularity of digital marketing techniques, you’d be forgiven if you thought that print marketing was dead. The reality is far from this, however, and print is definitely here to stay. All Business reports that 56% of all consumers actually trust print materials more than any other advertising method, even email marketing. While print can be costly and hard to update in a fast-paced world, it can still be an effective part of your marketing strategy, especially when used to complement your online efforts.

Business Cards

Finally, one of the best offline marketing strategies you can use boils down to one thing: the humble business card. While many may take business cards for granted, they are especially useful in a B2B context. Referrals and network-building are an essential aspect of any business, and one of the best ways to do that is through distributing your business cards. BNI founder Ivan Misner has written a piece on the importance of the business card and the most effective opportunities for sharing them.

Once you’ve captured the interest of your customers, then you can start work on keeping them. For more tips on building a stronger, more personal connection with your existing customer base, check out our article on ‘Why Retention Marketing Is the Ultimate Growth Strategy’.