What You Need to Know About a Small Business Loan Application

Believe it or not, every small business loan application doesn’t have to take up a few weeks of your life. Not every lender will require perfect credit, a complicated business plan, and pages and pages of documents just to tell you whether or not your business is going pay rent this month. Occasionally small business owners find themselves in a financial tight spot. That’s a simple fact of doing business. What’s not a fact is that the major banks, SBA and fast cash merchant cash advance companies are your only options for a small business loan application. Read on to learn what other small business loan applications options you have.The Good and Bad of a Small business Loan Application from a BankIf you have ever tried to fill out a small business loan application from a traditional bank, you may already understand the headline. If you haven’t, allow me to fill you in. Banks place heavy emphasis on the entrepreneurs personal as well as business credit, in addition to many other factors. For some business owners, a few missed payments on a credit card can be the difference between receiving funding and being left out in the cold.Most banks will also want years’ worth of tax returns and other documents for their loan application. They will spend weeks analyzing the data, slogging through every decision you have ever made. You will also need to explain exactly how every penny of the loan will be spent in advance, and detail it in a business plan.Banks will also require a list of collateral and capital that you are willing to risk on the loan. Should your business run into hard times, you may find the delivery van that you need to run your business has been taken away by the bank.Finally, after the banking crisis of the last few years, many banks are still feeling the after effects of their poor lending policies that led to the near collapse of the economy in the first place. This can make it difficult to simply find a bank that is accepting small business loan applications at all.I don’t want you to think that bank loans are all bad. Quite the contrary, banks provide some of the cheapest and safest working capital a business owner could ask for, which often more than makes up for the inflexibility of the loan application process.What about an MCA or alternative loan for small business?An MCA (Merchant Cash Advance) is a very different form of lending. To qualify, most lenders require you to have been in business for more than a year, as well as a minimum monthly number of credit card transactions. While the terms and process are much more flexible than a small business loan application, the price tag for the capital can vary widely from lender to lender.MCA’s are not technically a loan; rather, the lender purchases an amount of future credit card sales your business is expected to make at a discount. Because of this, the loan is repaid in micropayments as credit card sales are made. The advantage to this is there are no large monthly minimums to meet. The disadvantage is a slightly higher overall cost unless the lender has access to inexpensive capital and can provide a discount on merchant account services that will further offset the cost.Unsecured loans, while sometimes more expensive, often have a much simpler small business loan application process. The trade off is the possibility of slightly higher interest rates to cover the risk of the loan. Because of that, it’s best to find a company that offers a lowest rates guarantee during the small business loan application process. Shopping around can help you save a substantial amount.So what are your options?Choosing the right option really depends on your situation. If you can afford the extra time and resources necessary to get a traditional small business loan, then perhaps it really is the best option for you. If you have less than perfect credit or believe you may have a few slow months coming soon, a loan based on cash-flow or an advance on your credit card sales may be the best option. In the end the key is finding a reliable bank or lending company that you can trust to help you find the right solution

Video Marketing For Lawyers – 9 Things You Must Ask Your Video Producer

Here are the 9 most important things you need to ask any video production company:

1. How long will my video shoot be?
2. How many actual video clips will I get for that length of video shoot?
3. How long will each video clip be?
4. Will you upload my video clip(s) to my website and blog?
5. Do you upload my videos to the video sharing sites?
6. Do you blog about my videos?
7. Do you put my videos on your own website and blog about the newest video you created?
8. Do you use your social networks to tell the world about my new video?
9. How much will you charge me to create another series of video clips?

If the video company you’re choosing doesn’t do all of those things with an all-in-one, turn-key system, ask them “Why Not?”

AM I TOO EXPENSIVE?

You’ve decided to produce videos to market your law practice. You’re now looking for a video production company. Here are 3 reasons why you won’t hire me:

1. I’m too expensive
2. I’m an attorney with years of experience creating and producing educational videos
3. You don’t want the commitment of creating video over 6 or 12 months

There. I’ve said it. These are the main reasons why you will not hire me. Now, I’m going to address each one and by the end of this article, you decide who you need to hire.

Most video production companies charge anywhere from $500-$35,000 to create attorney video. At the low end of the spectrum, you can get the cookie-cutter video where they use a fixed template that you cannot change and get only one video clip for your money. At the other end of the spectrum, you get a custom video channel with 3 or 4 video clips.

In the Lawyers’ Video Studio I shoot one hour of video. From that one hour I am able to get about 4-5 usable video clips lasting 2-3 minutes each! I do not recommend having video clips less than one minute; that’s a waste of your time and money. That will not give you enough time to explain to your viewers the information that they need to know.

Most video studios only offer an a-la-carte menu, where you pick and choose your options. That’s not the way we work in the Lawyers’ Video Studio. Contrary to most video production studios, we create a turn-key system where all you have to do is show up and start talking. You do not need to know anything about how the video is created, edited, compressed, uploaded or distributed. It’s totally done for you.

WHO IS YOUR VIDEO PRODUCER?

Ask any of the video companies you are considering whether their video producers are practicing trial lawyers. Why is that important? It’s only important if you want someone to create video that online viewers want to watch. If you just want to create a video to ‘get your name out there’ and give the world a verbal resume of who you are, then you don’t need a producer who is also an attorney. That would be a waste of your time and money. There are plenty of good video producers out there who can create that type of video for you.

A video producer must have experience creating LAWYER video. Not wedding video. Not commercials. Not verbal resumes that do not help a viewer understand how you can solve THEIR legal problem. They may have won awards for work they did in TV or film, but you must ask any video producer these 3 IMPORTANT questions:

1. Do you know what a [fill in your specialty] lawyer (immigration, workers comp, DUI, personal injury, business transactions, etc.) does?
2. Do you know who my ideal client is?
3. Do you know what an online viewer looks for when searching for a lawyer in my specialty?

A producer who is a practicing attorney will know the answers to these questions. Other producers will likely not know the answers.

YOU DON’T WANT TO CREATE 24 to 60 VIDEO CLIPS THAT WILL GET VIEWERS TO CALL YOU

Ok, I understand. You’d rather stick with your very expensive (and useless) yellow pages ad that does not distinguish you from any other lawyer. Maybe you want to try some display ads in the newspaper again. Maybe you’ll try TV commercials or direct mail. Maybe even dabble in radio spots. That’s fine. One year from now I’d like you to come back to this article and objectively look at your stats to see how many calls you received from your other advertising; how many turned into actual clients; how much revenue you generated from that advertising and what your actual return on investment is.

One year from now, you will have lost the opportunity to create 6 months worth of videos. You might even have lost the opportunity to create 12 months of videos. Just think about how many viewers come to YouTube alone: Over 100 million people EACH MONTH! The goal of creating video is to greatly improve the likelihood that an online viewer will call you instead of your competitor. Anything you do to increase those chances will place you ahead and distinguish you from all of your colleagues.

By creating new video every month for six months, you create 4-5 video clips PER MONTH. That gives you 24 to 30 actual videos that will be online. For attorneys who realize how incredible that value is and the tremendous savings you receive, they will eagerly take advantage of the 12 month video incentive program and create 48 to 60 videos by the end of one year. That’s a huge number of videos.

Creating video is the best thing to have happened to me in my law practice. I receive calls from people across the country every day thanking me for educating them and asking me for legal help. Obviously not all callers have valid cases, but just think…if they hadn’t seen my videos, they would have never called.

So, are you willing to create useful video that will get viewers to raise their hands for more information and seek your counsel, or do you want to wait and let every other attorney get the opportunities you’re passing up? The choice, as always, is up to you. My goal is to make you an informed attorney and let you make an educated decision about which path you want to travel.

How to Start an Online Travel Agency Working From Home

Have you noticed that there are not many store front travel agencies these days? I guess it may have had a lot to do with the fact that many people are using their computer to book their own flights online. Also, after the disaster in New York on September 11th, people were scared to travel and a few years ago, a couple airlines lay off their workers and caused a slow period in the travel industry.

However, I think the main reason is the comfort of booking a flight from your own personal computer that fascinates the consumer to a do-it-yourself attitude. In lieu of this fact, it is apparent that an online travel agency is a good idea for a business opportunity to assist these consumers with trip planning and other customer service issues that they may still need.

There are two types of home travel businesses:

· Referral travel agencies

· Booking and selling agencies

A Referral travel agent is the easier of the two because all it requires is a word of mouth advertising to guide the customer to the online portal where they can book their flight. It is also a relationship business because the referrals in most cases come from family, friends and associates first.

The referring travel agent is compensated with a paid commission, which is decided in advance by the agency to which the referral will go. It is easy to be an online travel agent because it only requires handing out business cards, flyers and maybe placing online ads. There is no immediate contact with the customer unless it is someone who needs additional questions answered. This can be done on a part time basis until the full time income is replaced, then anyone make the transition to a full time business.

The booking and selling agencies fall into a category of only one travel agency. Since we have already confirmed that these agencies are not so popular anymore, we will only concentrate on the referring travel agent.

A referring travel agent does not need to know too much in-depth information about the specific travel details. All they do is to direct people to the website where they book their own flights and get help directly from the airline. In the case of the booking and selling agencies, they have to do the hard work of finding out all the information for the customer, which can be quite time consuming.

If you are considering the opportunity that is open to being a referral travel agent, be sure to find out if the company is stable, if they provide adequate customer service, what the compensation is, can you work full time or part time, do you need any special training, and is it something I can recommend to others with confidence.

One of the perks of being a referring travel agent is that you can work from home, you work on your own time, you get free trips called FAM trips, you get to travel first class, you get discounted air fares and priority baggage claim.

Once you have decided to pursue a travel business opportunity, make sure you treat this as a real business. Get a business name, if possible and a tax identification number. Keep good records of income and expenses because this business is tax deductible. Your vacation trips can be tax write offs if you use it also to refer travel to others.

I would also suggest that you choose a travel category and learn as much as you can about it and specialize in that category. An example is cruises or honeymoon packages. With cruises, you can target the baby boomers who love to take cruises and for the honeymoon packages, you target anyone you know who is thinking or planning to get married.

Let your enthusiasm about this travel business be infectious to everyone you meet. Make sure you take some vacations that you can talk about or suggest to your clients. Educate yourself and take this business seriously.