Archive for May 29, 2014

Why an 800 Number is Still the Best Way for People to Call You

You’ve probably seen all of the cute advertisements on television offering up some exciting mobile phone plans for businesses, but is this really the best way for your customers to call you? In today’s day and age, every little thing about your business will leave an impression on everyone who contacts you. As such, there are several key benefits to having an 800 number.

Free for your Callers

If you’re running a national business, then people without unlimited long distance plans are going to be charged a per-minute rate to contact you. In fact, with some simpler mobile plans, nationwide long distance is not automatically included. If your customers, or even your leads, are going to call to inquire about your products or services, it’s important to make sure that it won’t cost them anything to do so.

A Professional Touch

The internet has created a huge influx of new businesses, so no matter which niche your business is in, there’s a good chance that you have quite a bit of competition. This means that if there is anything you can do to make your business stand out, you should do it. Professionalism will get you a long way, and the addition of an 800 number adds that touch in a way that can’t be duplicated. When given a choice, people who surf the Yellow Pages for a business will choose one with a toll free number for the reason that they believe the business is better established.

Saves You Time and Money

Let’s say that you’ve considered adding a landline at your home specifically for your business needs. If you don’t already have one, it’s going to cost some money to install a new jack, and that doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of purchasing the new telephone equipment you’ll need. With a virtual 800 number from iTeleCenter, you won’t have to do any of that. Ordering is simple, and you can have your new number up and running in just minutes by forwarding it to the existing line of your choice.

Maintain Your Privacy

In order to gain business, you’ll probably want to advertise in any number of ways. Of course, putting your personal cell phone number out there for just anyone to find can certainly pose a problem, especially since you won’t be able to truly separate your personal and business calls. Fortunately, these 800 numbers are easy to advertise on your business cards, flyers, and even your radio or television ads, if you so choose. They show a sense of establishment when they are in print, and this means that more people are likely to turn to your offerings than those provided by people without toll free telephone options.

Therefore, as an answer to the advertisements all over the television regarding their new plans for businesses, there are fantastic options if you need a mobile service provider. However, when you can purchase an 800 number from a company like iTeleCenter and link it to that mobile phone, you’ll realize even more benefits.

 

Plans Starting at $0.00/Month. Try iTeleCenter 100% Free for 2 Weeks! Sign Up Now!

Looking for Financial Assistance for Your Small Business? Here’s Some Quick Information to Help.

Ken has always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. He read a lot of books, magazines and anything he could get his hands on to prepare him for the tough entrepreneurial role.

His first challenge in his entrepreneurial endeavour came quite unexpectedly.

Ken read many magazines that said banks provide loans for small businesses. But when he approached banks for a small business loan, he was quite disappointed.

Ken is not alone. Since the financial crash of 2008, entrepreneurs and small business owners are finding is difficult, if not impossible, to secure a bank loan for their business.

Lenders want to see the financial track record of your business. Banks are lenders, not investors. Before they lend you money they want to be sure of your ability to repay it with interest. They are not at all interested in making an investment.  So, what did Ken do? Did he give up? What options did he have other than a traditional bank loan?

The good news is he did have quite a few options… and so do you.

Peer lending

When a bank says no to your small business loan application, your friends are probably the first place you turn to. They may be able to help you to some extent by lending you some cash. You can also turn to your family members for financial help. But if the amount that you need is large, peer lending might not be enough. For small financial assistance, you may able to hit up your friends or family members but for larger needs there are other options that you need to explore.

SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration or SBA is an agency of the United States government that aims to support entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the US. The agency’s activities can be summarized under “3 C’s”: capital, contract and counselling.

The SBA has an array of loan programs and grants for specific business purposes. But it does not lend funds directly to an entrepreneur. If you want a loan from SBA the first thing that you have to do is build a relationship with the loan officer at your local bank or credit union.

Here are the 3 most popular SBA loan programs. An entrepreneur needs to qualify to avail himself of any of these loans.

7(a) Loan Program

This is the most popular SBA loan program. A small business owner can get up to $750,000 from your local 7(a) lender. 7(a) loans can typically be used for working capital, asset purchase or leasehold improvements.

Business owners with an ownership stake of 20 percent or more need to personally guarantee the loan.

504 Loan Program

This loan program is intended to supply funds for asset purchase like land or equipment. This loan is meant for small businesses with less than $2.5 million in net income.

7(m) Microloan Program

This loan program is still under review. This program intends to provide “small” loans of up to $35,000 that can be used for a broad range of purposes including starting and growing a business.

In addition to loans, the SBA also offers grants ONLY to non-profit and educational organizations. It does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business or to a small business.

You must visit the SBA website for more detailed information about its loan programs and grants.

Note: The SBA does not lend you any money. They provide a partial guarantee that makes the whole affair less risky for a lender.

Government Grant

Not only non-profit businesses are eligible for government loans; for-profit businesses can also qualify for federal grants. For example, in 2010,     Canopy Apps received $2 million in National Institute of Health (NIH) grant money to develop translation technology for medical professionals working with non-English speaking patients.

Government grants require strict conformity. You also need to observe strict reporting measures to ensure that the money is well spent.

Private Financing Companies

You can also approach private financing companies for help funding your small business. In fact there are quite a few private lending companies that specialize in providing loans to small businesses.  Companies like Kabbage and OnDeck give you the money you need to start or expand you small business.

These companies work really fast and if your business needs a loan immediately it is better to approach these companies. They usually process a loan request between ten minutes to four hours. If you qualify for a loan, it will be credited to your account on the very next day.

Kabbage loans vary between $500 and $100,000 depending on business volume, time in business, transaction volume, social media data and the seller’s credit score.

OnDeck loans range from $5,000 to $150,000 depending on the borrower’s cash flow, credit profile, social data and public records.

It is best to consult with a business finance expert before you approach any of these institutions or companies about a small business loan. An expert can help you identify your exact business needs and help you understand who the right lender is for your small business goals.

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How to Get a Toll Free 800 Number and Use It with Your Cell Phone

With new technologies being introduced on what seems like a daily basis, you’ll be glad to know that you can put them to good use in your small business plans. Although 800 number technology has been around for quite some time, the recent changes in the way cell phone plans work will allow you to forward calls to your mobile device, increasing your productivity while still keeping your personal phone number private.

How Does This Work?

The 800 number you’ll order from a virtual telephone service provider like iTeleCenter can be forwarded to just about any device you’d like, whether this is your home phone or even your cellular device. When a caller dials this number, he or she has absolutely no idea that the call is being forwarded to your cellular phone. This means that you can take your business with you wherever you go, remaining available to your leads and customers even when you are out of the office. In fact, this is a great way to create a professional atmosphere without investing in tons of expensive equipment.

The Marketing Benefits

Something else that you’re sure to love in regards to using an 800 number with your cell phone is the fact that you can easily advertise your toll free number on your website, flyers, business cards, radio ads and more while still allowing people to contact you on the device that is most convenient. You’ll never have to give out your personal telephone number, and this will allow you to separate your personal and private life without issue.

Can You Save Money?

Another awesome thing about the virtual service is that it allows you to save money, since you won’t actually have to install any expensive equipment. With a traditional 800 number and a landline, you’d have to install a new jack in your home, purchase a telephone that is equipped to handle such calls, and then remain close to that phone during your business hours in order to intercept the calls. This isn’t the case with a virtual service; you just need to set it up using a relatively simple interface and then forward your calls to your cell phone. It’s truly that easy!

What about Productivity?

Your time is money when you’re running a small business, and every single lead that you can convert to a sale generates much-needed revenue. As such, this service can help you generate even more revenue because you won’t be tied to a landline! You’ll be able to answer business-related calls while you’re on the go, as well. This means that you can provide answers to questions and excellent customer service wherever you are.

As you can see, new technologies are enabling small business owners to do all kinds of things to save them money and increase productivity. At iTeleCenter, we make the process of using an 800 number with your cell phone an easy and affordable one.

 

Plans Start at Just $19.95/Month. Try iTeleCenter 100% Free for 2 Weeks! Sign Up Now!