Monthly Archives: August 2017

Business Loan Myths Busted

Obtaining a loan for your small business is a great way to boost investment and even grow your business when the time is ripe. You might have heard some grumblings about small business loans: they’re hard to obtain; your credit has to be flawless; don’t ask for too much money or you’ll be denied. Fortunately, these prominent myths surrounding small business lending aren’t necessarily true.

It’s important to manage debt properly, but doing so can help grow your business at a faster rate than scrimping and saving. To help you obtain a small business loan for your company, Business News Daily spoke with finance experts to debunk six common myths about getting a business loan.
Myth No. 1: Getting a small business loan is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
Like other forms of financing, obtaining a small business loan is all about preparation. Ensuring your books are transparent and you maintain the reserve liquidity to encourage the lender that you’ll be able to service your debt on time and consistently will lead to success. And experts agree the best way to avoid unnecessary snags is to prepare ahead of time for the application process.
Myth No. 2: You must have perfect credit to get a small business loan.
Low credit scores are a concern for some lenders, but banks aren’t the only lenders out there. Alternative and private lenders are often able to offer more flexible terms, including which level of creditworthiness they can approve.

“While traditional banks may be restrictive when it comes to obtaining credit, there are alternative options,” said Michael Kevitch, president and founder of Small Business Funding.
Myth No. 3: The best way to obtain a loan for your business is through a bank.
Entrepreneurs have more than one option for obtaining financing; banks are not the only game in town. There are alternative and private lenders, as well as creative types of lending like invoice factoring, which can help business owners shore up their capital without going through the lengthy and restrictive application process required by conventional lenders.

For business owners looking to borrow a relatively small sum (between $5,000 and $250,000), getting a bank loan is likely to be more trouble than it’s worth, Kevitch said. Banks are more suitable for businesses that are interested in borrowing a large amount of cash and repaying the loan over a long period of time at a relatively low interest rate. Kevitch advised business owners to make sure they fall under those categories before applying through a bank.

The Evolution of Business Technology

Technology has spurred human advancement for centuries. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in business. The economic and business implications from advancing technologies have resulted in substantial societal change, from the iPhone to the Telegraph.

Appreciating technology means examining the past to understand where we came from. The people interpreting Morse code in 1870 are the same as we are today – they used technology to change lives and build the U.S. on the backs of business and enterprise. The only thing they were missing was the smartphone.

Our relationship with technology has changed drastically within the last decade, and with new and exciting tech on the horizon, looking at our journey up until this point will illuminate some of the challenges that lie ahead.
In its infancy, social media seemed like the latest way for people to connect, revolutionizing communication across the globe. As it developed in the mid-2000s, it proved to be a useful business tool as well.

Much like the smartphone, social media became another platform for businesses and technology companies to connect with users and market products. This eventually led to the emergence of companies that market only on social media. Glossier, a beauty and cosmetics startup, is the latest example of a company that markets via user-generated content on social media.
The telegraph started the telecommunications revolution in America back in the mid-19th century. Samuel Morse worked on the telegraph and sent the first telegram from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore in 1844.

The impact the telegraph had on business is immeasurable – it allowed for instantaneous communication between points hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It helped usher in the railroad in America, which allowed for the transportation of goods, services and people across the nation.
Like the telegraph, the telephone acted as another way communication revolutionized the way people lived, worked and interacted with each other.

Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876. The technology allowed for easy, cheap communication across large regions of the U.S. It also revolutionized the way businesses communicated forever.
The smartphone melds both the laptop and the mobile phone – workers could communicate from anywhere, contribute on company-based platforms like email or messaging apps, and finish work wherever they were. The smartphone also ushered in another wave of consumer culture. The technology industry, spurred in the past by the computer, laptop, and mobile phone, now had a new opportunity to create programs and market products.
3D printing is the latest major tech development to impact business. The 3D printing process has been around since the late 1980s, but it is poised for tremendous growth and could change the way businesses manufacture and develop hardware.

It’s expected that 3D printing will impact different types of business like the automotive, aviation and machinery industries. This technology is expected to continue to have a major impact on American business and could change the way some companies operate.

Best Call Centers and Answering 2018

Fielding calls can take up a lot of valuable time that you and your staff could spend managing day to day operations. Still, customer service is essential and, for some businesses, the phone lines are a major channel for lead generation and even sales.

If you’re having trouble managing the phones effectively, or if you want to improve outreach without burdening your staff, you need a call center service. These services often specialize in both inbound and outbound services; that means services as different as customer support and lead generation are provided under one roof. The best services will boost customer satisfaction, retention and help generate new leads that will eventually become customers as well.

In order to find the call center services you can trust with your business in 2018, we reviewed about three dozen companies that offer inbound and outbound calling services. Here is a roundup of our best picks and an explanation of how we chose them.

Best Call Center Service for Small Business: TeleDirect
TeleDirect was selected as our best overall call center service for small businesses primarily because it boasts a complete selection of both inbound and outbound services, including some of the harder-to-find features like cold-calling services. TeleDirect’s services are also available 24/7/365, meaning your customers will always have someone to speak with, even on weekends and holidays. Depending on your particular needs, you can select shared agents, who conduct multiple campaigns, or dedicated agents, who will be focused solely on your business. TeleDirect also supports English and Spanish, as well as a number of other languages depending on the requirements of your clientele. Find out more about TeleDirect on the call center service’s website, or see our full review for more information.

Best Affordable Call Center Service: Xact Telesolutions
When it comes to bang for your buck, it’s important to find a solution with low requirements and reasonable rates. Xact Telesolutions has packages featuring low monthly invoice requirements or call minimums, making it an affordable solution for even the smallest businesses. Xact’s agents are prepared to answer calls 24/7/365, and the company enables you to monitor any phone call in real time using a supervisory tool. Xact also offers one of the most comprehensive language services, with agents fluent in English and Spanish, and a third-party translation partner that can support more than 100 additional languages. Find out more about Xact Telesolutions on the call center service’s website, or see our full review for more information.

Best Answering Service for Medical Practices: Specialty Answering Services
Medical practices have unique needs in communications. Not only do medical practices have to ensure security, but they also have to do so in accordance with the federally required HIPAA standards. Specialty Answering Service offers a HIPAA-compliant answering service at affordable rates. There are a number of plans to choose from based on your expected call volume, from the pay-as-you-go economy plan all the way up to the massive 10,000-minute plan. Specialty Answering Service also offers an extremely effective appointment scheduler, complete with follow-ups, which adds a layer of redundancy to your practice-management system’s scheduler. Find out more about Specialty Answering Service on the answering service’s website, or see our full review for more information.

System for Your Business

Security is imperative for any business; after all, how can you be profitable if you can’t protect your assets? Luckily, video surveillance systems are more intelligent and effective than ever. The best cameras now offer computer-like functions and features, like motion sensors and automatic mobile notifications. Some even let you automatically contact law enforcement instantly if need be. Technological development has also lead to more efficient ways of managing recording and storage, as well. Now small business owners have access to immensely powerful surveillance systems at relatively affordable prices.

When it comes to buying and implementing a new system, most vendors allow for a large degree of customizability, meaning you can tailor a system to your business’s specific needs. Whether you need a widespread system that can cover multiple locations or just a few cameras to watch your storefront, there’s a solution for everyone. Not sure where to start? Here’s our 2018 video surveillance buyer’s guide to help break down the component parts of video surveillance systems.

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Already know everything you need to know about video surveillance systems? Check out Business News Daily’s Best Picks for Video Surveillance Systems for our recommendations.

Benefits of a Surveillance System
Before diving into the details, it’s important to note the many benefits offered by a video surveillance system. Not only can surveillance cameras deter criminals and help law enforcement quickly catch any would-be thieves, but these systems can also improve the accountability of your employees, help you monitor productivity and sometimes even reduce your insurance premiums. While the up-front costs of installing a video surveillance system can seem a little steep, the long-term payoff and the peace of mind may well be worth the expense.

IP Cameras vs. Analog Cameras
There are two primary types of cameras that can be wired into a video surveillance system: internet protocol (IP) cameras and the traditional analog cameras. IP cameras are the more modern iteration of analog cameras, and while the individual cameras tend to be a little more expensive, they offer a number of features that analog cameras do not. Here’s a look at the differences between the two types of camera.

Resolution
IP cameras are far more powerful than analog cameras, usually shooting footage of between 1 megapixel and 5 megapixels. That makes for incredibly clear image quality, especially compared to the more grainy analog footage, which runs around one-half of a megapixel. IP cameras generally have a larger field of vision than analog cameras.