5 Common Branding Mistakes Your Small Business Should Avoid

Because branding speaks to your target audience, it is crucial for your small business to get it right. Your branding will ultimately define your company. With 48% of consumers saying their loyalty is won after their first purchase, first impressions are definitely crucial for the small business. To achieve success with B2B sales, avoid these common, catastrophic branding mistakes.

Failing to Identify Your Target Market

While it’s tempting to continue to experiment, it’s really important to hit your target market from the beginning. It is possible to experiment too much. Until you know your target market, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to brand yourself effectively. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll only weaken your overall brand.

Underestimating Your Employee’s Role

Allowing your employees to have input in your branding makes them a part of the team. If brand development takes place behind closed doors without your employees, you’ll be cutting out the most crucial members. So allow your employees to have a say, and give them some freedom on social media.

According to Huffington Post, “It’s just like allowing your company to build up lots of personal brands under the overall corporate umbrella.”

“Cheating” on Your Brand

After you’ve sat down and developed brand guidelines, these guidelines are then implemented across all marketing materials and online properties. But what if you want to change a few things here and there? What if you used a few colors outside the palette for a new ad? Just because you can doesn’t mean it is the best move. Each deviation, no matter how small, slowly chips away at your brand image. You need to strengthen your customer’s association with your brand – don’t dilute it.

Falling Victim to Social Media Traps

While social media can be a wonderful brand building tool, it can also ruin it in a matter of seconds. Don’t let a moment’s lapse of judgement completely destroy your brand’s reputation. The two most common mistake to avoid are: departing from your brand, and engaging in a conflict with users. It’s impossible to avoid negative users altogether, but arguing is simply not an option.

Failing to Keep Track of Your Brand’s Usage

The job doesn’t end when you’ve successful developed and implemented your brand guidelines – it’s just the beginning. Your small business will have to actively monitor your brand’s usage. How is it being used by others? Where are your branded elements being used on your behalf? It is crucial to make sure your logo is not being used in a similar way, or that it is being used elsewhere with different colors. Many instances may prove to be minor, but others may require legal action.

As you build your brand, don’t forget to consider your financial needs. As a startup, securing funding can be a really big obstacle to overcome. Traditional lending sources will likely categorize your business as “high risk” and close their doors to you. If you’re in need of working capital to get the ball rolling, consider what alternative lenders – like First American Merchant – can offer you.

A merchant cash advance, for example, is a quick and painless way to secure the funding you need. The application process is known for being simple, fast and hassle-free. Taking the time to build detailed branding guidelines and secure business funding now will quickly put you on the path to long-term growth and success.


Student Loan Consolidation Programs: Fast And Effective College Debt Repayment Method

There is no denying the cost of attending college is not cheap. Unless a scholarship can be secured, there is little chance of getting through a 4-year course without requiring a number of loans to finance tuition and living expenses. The good news is that student loan consolidation programs make the task of repaying those loans much easier.

By the time graduation comes, the average student in the US faces $30,000 debts. This statistic means practically every graduate begins their working life in debt, and never really gets out of it. Clearing college debts, therefore, is a priority, but finding an affordable way to do so is the trick.

But through consolidation, which allows for the repayment of a number of student loans in one go, the most affordable method is available. However, there are some issues to consider before signing up to one.

The Mechanics of Consolidation Programs

The way that student loan consolidation programs work is to clear all of the existing individual college loans through a single consolidation loan. But while this may seem like replacing multiple debt with one other, there are factors that make it a highly-effective cost-reducing option.

On average, students take out between 4 and 6 loans over the course of their college careers. This means that as many as 6 interest rates and 6 different repayment schedules have to be managed. This means a complex and highly expensive financial arrangement, making the challenge of clearing college debts as difficult as it can get.

But replacing 6 loans with one creates a less complex arrangement, and because there is just one interest rate to worry about, the cost of the debt is significantly lower too. Often the student loans are replaced by a long-term consolidation loan, ensuring the monthly repayments are kept to a minimum.

The Benefits of a Program

There are several short and long-term benefits to be enjoyed by opting for a student loan consolidation program. The most obvious is that the debt accrued in college is repaid in full, but there is more to it than that.

Consolidating loans provides a chance to free up extra cash. Clearing college debts is accomplished, but the cost of repaying the consolidation loan is much lower than the original loans. If there are 6 loans with 6 different interest rates charged, the total repayments may be as high as $1,000, but this could fall to just $400 depending on terms.

Once the student loans are repaid in full, the credit score of the borrower is adjusted upwards. It does not matter than a loan was used to repay the debts. All that matters is that the individual loans were cleared. And with better scores, lower interest rates are charged on future loans.

The Affordable Repayment Option

The bottom line is, of course, that through student loan consolidation programs, crippling student debts are finally dealt with. But the terms of the program have to be right to ensure the maximum benefit is enjoyed. The lowest possible monthly repayment sum makes the deal as affordable as possible.

There are options that ensure that the repayments are kept low. The first is the interest rate, and searching for the lowest rates may require some time spent online. Thankfully, the development of comparison sites mean that chore is now easier than before.

Clearing college debts efficiently is also accomplished by choosing a consolidation loan with the longest term. This means the principal is divided into a greater number of shares, therefore greatly lowering the monthly repayment sum.

With terms as long as 30 years available, the repayments can be extremely low, and once that is accomplished, and the student loans are paid off, the pressure diminishes to almost nil.

Consolidation Loans With Bad Credit: 3 Ways They Can Improve Your Financial Position

As debt mounts, the pressure to repay them increases dramatically. But while the simple solution is obvious, the reality is that the ability to pay lessens as debts rise. The most practical solution? A consolidation loan, with bad credit borrowers getting the funds needed to clear their debts in one go.

Of course, there are other ways to get rid of debt, but not all of them have a positive outcome. Filing for bankruptcy, for example, can see the debt lifted with the minimal settlement payment made (often nothing paid) but it can affect your credit rating for up to 10 years. With the right debt consolidation program, however, the consequences are all positive.

There are several aspects to getting a consolidation loan that must be addressed if the program is to be as effective, but the advantages are significantly greater than any compromise that may have to be made. Here are just 3 of them.

1. A Clean Slate Through Consolidation

Consolidation is not about getting off paying your various individual debts, but is really about replacing them with a more manageable single debt. To this end, taking out a consolidation loan with bad credit is the most practical way to clearing the credit slate and starting again.

For example, if a person as 5 individual loans to repay each month, they have to manage 5 different repayment schedules, 5 different loan balances at 5 different interest rates. This can be a nightmare to manage, but with a debt consolidation program, everything is melted into one payment on one repayment schedule.

And with the slate cleaned, the pressure is lifted for the long term with the only obligation being to repay the consolidation loan each month, over the duration.

2. Free Up Extra Cash

It is one thing to lift the pressure of repaying mounting debts, but it is another to improve the living standards for the borrowers themselves. But even when securing a consolidation loan with bad credit, this is the outcome. How? Because it also frees up extra cash.

Typically, the problem with repaying the original loans is that there is not enough cash to hand to make the repayments. As the arrears build up, the situation worsens and eventually no payments can be made at all. Through a debt consolidation program, the total debt is restructured to lower the monthly obligations.

For example, if repayments on 5 loans amounted to $1,000, the lower interest rate and longer repayment term on a consolidation loan can see the obligation fall to just $500. That leaves an extra $500 to hand every month to cover other bills and expenses.

3. Restore Credit Reputations

While effective debt management is the key purpose behind consolidation, there is another positive consequence – restoring your credit reputation. This occurs because by securing a consolidation loan with bad credit, your credit scores rise.

Unlike other debt management initiatives, a debt consolidation program buys out all of the debts so they are marked down as having been repaid in full. This fact means that your credit score is increased, thus moving the borrower into the good credit range.

Perhaps more importantly though, the reduction in debt repayments means the debt-to-income ratio is improved too. And since this is the key factor in all loan approval processes, the consolidation loan can make a huge difference to future loan applications too.