Archive for January 27, 2014

3 Factors to Consider Before Applying for a Business Loan

If your business is facing a serious cash crunch, applying for a loan is the next best thing you can think of. You need cash to keep your operations running, support your expansion plans and increase your revenue. If you have no other option of getting money, you must opt for a loan. But before you apply for a loan, you need to understand that you are accountable to repay it, no matter what happens.  Below are a few guidelines that you must follow before you approach a lender:

Know your credit score

Before you apply for a loan, you must know your credit score. If you approach a bank or any traditional lender, they will check for your credit score. Credit scores play an important role in loan approval. Request your personal credit report – or you can get one for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you get the report, make sure all the data listed is correct and there’s no mistake.

Any score above 700 is considered a high credit score. If your credit score is above 700, you will most likely get a loan at an attractive interest rate. If you have mid-level credit score, between 600 and 700, then you may get the loan but the interest rate will be higher. Any score below 600 is considered a low credit score. It can be difficult to secure a loan with a low credit score.

Know the exact amount you need          

If you are not sure exactly how much cash you need to operate or expand your business, meet with an adviser before you approach a lender. Share all your documents, business plans, expansion plans, business model, and expenditure reports. Also let you adviser know how you are planning to spend the money you borrow. The adviser should be able to tell you the amount of money  you should borrow.

Know your options

There are primarily two types of lenders: traditional banks or credit unions, and non-traditional sources. One alternative is OnDeck. This is a financial platform that provides loans to small businesses in the US. Although the credit rates are likely to be higher than average bank rates, their approval process is much faster. Your loan repayment is done in small increments every day, thereby reducing the chance of missing a bigger monthly payment that is associated with a traditional loan.

 

What do you think about this piece of information? Did you find it helpful? Let us know on Facebook or @Twitter.

3 Reasons Businesses Should Use 844 Vanity Numbers

The significance of a toll free number in a business is known to everybody and this becomes evident from the increasing demand of these numbers. The popular toll free prefixes: 800, 888, 877, and 866 were exhausted and FCC was compelled to release the 855 prefix. But in no time these were also mostly used upped. Last December, the FCC released a new batch of toll free numbers with the 844 toll free prefix.

Although toll free numbers are important for communication and the overall image of a business, a vanity number can be even more effective. Businesses have been complaining of losing their business edge, simply because of the lack of vanity numbers to choose from. The new 844 vanity numbers are a boon for these businesses. They can now choose a vanity number and enjoy excellent business communication, enhanced business reach and a better business image. Here are 5 ways businesses can use 844 vanity numbers to their advantage:

Establishing better business relationships

A toll free vanity number has all the features of a standard toll free number. It can be used across the US and Canada. It never charges the caller for a call. Research has shown that businesses with a toll free number attract more attention than one without, though both offer the same services.   Additionally, a vanity number has one extra advantage. It makes a phone number easily memorable, by spelling out the name of a brand, a company, a product or a service. Thus vanity numbers connect businesses with their customers and prospects thereby strengthening business relationships.

Better sales

Vanity numbers are easily memorable. A phone number, even a toll free number, is nothing more than a string of 10 random digits. But a vanity number contains a brand name, or the name of a product or service. This not only makes a phone number memorable but also acts in the branding of a business. When people remember your phone number and can also identify your brand, it is quite likely that they will call you, whenever they need the kind of products or services that you provide.

Makes you look professional

These numbers make a business look smart and professional. It also provides a kind of assurance to your customers that you are available 24×7 at their service. While making a purchase people often look for after-sales service. This is a time when this type of number becomes extremely useful.  A vanity number gives your customers the assurance of your service, credibility and sincerity.

 

If you still haven’t got an 844 vanity number for your business, get one now and share your experience with us on Facebook and @Twitter.

Getting Back to Work After Vacation

All good things must come to an end and so must holidays. We understand that getting back to work after a long vacation is never easy, especially this year when Christmas and New Year’s Day were both on a Wednesday. Vacations do not give you much time to think about your office and work.  The first day you are back to work can be really difficult. No matter how much you love your work, you will obviously not be happy to find your inbox full of unread email and your entire day spent answering phone calls. Making up for the time you missed on vacation is an intricate act of balancing. You need to get back to work without stressing yourself or losing the benefits of the vacation.

Here are some tips for entrepreneurs to get back to work after vacation:

Be Organized

Whether you have been on a long holiday or have taken a few days off to lounge around at home, be early to work on the day you return. Starting early gives you more time to better manage your email, calls and other business appointments. Upload your vacation pictures on Facebook, pin your images and also complete writing reviews, if you want to, a day before you come back to work. This will help minimize distractions when you are back at work.

Be Practical

You were away for a few days, so do not expect to catch up with all your pending work in a single day. Keep your energy level high and try to prioritize your work. See which work is most important and needs your immediate attention. Finish those items first before you move on to the next ones. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or stressed, try to organize things and finish them gradually according to their importance.

Get a Full Update

While you were vacationing, somebody else may have been looking after your work. Once you are back, do not forget to thank him or her for their help. This will also make the transition back to work easier and will also strengthen your bond with your colleagues and employees. Make sure to get a full update of everything that happened while you were away.

 

How was your vacation? How was your first day back at work? Share with us on Facebook and @Twitter.

Email Communication Tips for Entrepreneurs

Words can change the world. Young CEOs and aspiring entrepreneurs must be extremely careful about their use of words. The world forms an image about them from the words they use in their email, instant messages, documents, and on social networking sites. They must be very prudent in their selection of words. A single instance of wrong usage could be enough to destroy their business forever. Email is entrepreneurs’ favorite communication tool day in and day out. Here are a few tips for entrepreneurs to help them write effective email messages that will protect their enterprise and will drive it on the path of growth:

• Every email must have a definite purpose. An entrepreneur should never write email without a properly defined purpose. Email can try to sell a product/service or optimize an idea that will be beneficial for your business. Entrepreneurs do not have time to waste on purposeless communication.

• Before drafting an email, consider if a meeting, a call or a personal visit would be more effective than emailing.

  • Address the email recipient by his or her name, even when sending email to cold sales prospects. Do not address prospects “Sir/Madam” or “To whom It May Concern.” Spend time researching and try to find the prospect’s first and last name. If possible also try to learn their title. This should lead to more positive responses.

• Be polite.

• “Good morning”, “Hi” may be the standard way to start an email in the US, but different countries and cultures may use more formal greetings. Use appropriate greetings for the recipient. This can make an email communication more effective.

• If the email recipient is a stranger, explain how they ended up in your list.

• Keep email content short and to-the-point.

• Always check the grammar and spelling of email content before sending.

• Minimize the use of acronyms, jargon and complicated words. Keep email short, simple and readable.

• Instead of writing “ASAP” in the email, give expected dates for responses or follow-up.

• Use numbers and/or bullet points to make the message more effective.

• Instead of using negative words like: “Don’t Forget” use more engaging words like “Please Remember.”

• Do not exaggerate or make exaggerated claims in email.

 

Follow these tips in your email messages and tell us on Facebook and @Twitter how it has enhanced the effectiveness of your email.

iTeleCenter Welcomes 2014!

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The iTeleCenter team wishes everyone a wonderful year ahead! We thank all our clients for the support and the trust they have placed in us. We value our association with our clients and we look forward to continually serving each and every one in the years to come.

It’s Time for Business Too

New Year is the time for vacation, holidays and of course BUSINESS! Entrepreneurs cannot afford to leave their business calls unattended even when they are vacationing. iTeleCenter helps its clients stay connected with their customers 24/7 even during this holiday time. Over the last two decades iTeleCenter has matured into a fully fledged virtual phone system with advanced features including toll free numbers, vanity phone numbers, call forwarding, and over 30 other features that keeps entrepreneurs close to their customers and prospects even when they are away from office, traveling or enjoying the holidays.

An entrepreneur can use his business toll free number or local number as his business contact number and have all the calls forwarded to his mobile phone. He can screen his call and answer only those which he thinks are important. He can forward other calls to the voicemail box. He can also keep his phone in Do Not Disturb mode when he does not want to be distracted by phone calls. Entrepreneurs can either listen to voicemail or read them in email. iTeleCenter also enables entrepreneurs to enjoy virtual faxing.

In this festive season, iTeleCenter is an entrepreneur’s best friend that allows him to perfectly balance his professional and personal life.

 

The iTeleCenter team wishes all its customers and readers a very Happy and Prosperous 2014!