How to Beat Your Competition with Reviews


How to Beat Your Competition with Online ReviewsOne of the most powerful ways to grow your business and outsell your competition is to get more positive online reviews. Reviews are getting increasingly important as consumers do research and seek reassurance before they buy a product online or stop in a retail business. Reviews are especially valuable for helping you rank and attract customers in local search. According to some research, each star in a review can result in between 5 and 9 percent increase in business. This is extremely significant and makes it worthwhile to investigate the best strategies for getting more reviews.

Reviews on Your Own Website

There are two types of online reviews. First-party reviews appear on your own website. Third-party reviews appear on sites such as Google, Yelp, Angie’s List or other independent websites. Both types of reviews are important. Let’s start with the first party type. Aside from building confidence in your visitors, these reviews are also valuable for SEO. Here are a few guidelines for attracting and maximizing the benefits of first-party reviews.

  • Ask all of your customers to leave reviews on your website. Remind them on your website, social media pages, via email and, if you have a physical business, in person.
  • Publish all reviews. If you filter them and only publish positive comments, you’ll quickly lose credibility.
  • Don’t incentivize. Don’t offer people rewards or discounts in order to get reviews.
  • Reply to all of your reviews. Thank people for taking the time to comment, even if the review is critical.
  • If you get negative reviews, address the issues promptly. Do whatever you can to make the customer happy.

Third-Party Reviews

Reviews that appear on third-party sites are also important. Many customers use sites such as Google and Yelp as guidelines when choosing businesses, including restaurants, lawyers, accountants, medical professionals, and others. Many of the guidelines for third-party reviews are similar to the ones listed above for reviews on your own site. However, there are some differences as well.

  • Make sure your business is listed with Google and any other sites that are relevant to your business. Google is especially vital if you have a brick and mortar business and want people to find you.
  • While almost all types of businesses are now listed on Yelp and Google, don’t overlook specialty sites for your industry. For example, attorneys are listed on and Avvo. Doctors are listed on Healthgrades.
  • Monitor review sites carefully so you know when people leave reviews. Set Google Alerts or use some time of reputation management software or service so stay informed.
  • As with reviews on your own website, always take the time to respond to reviewers. Thank people who leave positive reviews and do what you can to correct any mistakes. Some people will remove or update negative reviews when they see you care enough to address the issue.
  • If you suspect a dishonest competitor is leaving fake bad reviews, notify the site. This doesn’t work everywhere but some sites, including Google, will remove dishonest reviews if you report them.

Online reviews are now one of the best ways to build your business and stand apart from the competition. The best way to attract positive reviews is to offer outstanding products and customer service. It’s also essential to remind your customers to leave reviews.

Invoice financing is a great alternative to bank financing. It’s a way to quickly improve your cash flow without incurring debt. It’s also an option that’s open to many businesses that might not qualify for bank loans. Riviera Finance, founded in 1969, is one of the acknowledged industry leaders for invoice factoring. They provide the highest cash advances in the industry with funding available within 24 hours.

Learn more about Riviera Finance’s invoice factoring solutions here.

10 Mobile Apps to Keep Your Business Going on the Run


10 Mobile Apps to Keep Your Business Running on the Go | Riviera FinanceWhereas people used to spend most of their time in an office for 40 hours per week, now it’s common for business owners and employees to be on the move. One of the challenges of working on the go is staying in touch with the team and clients. Mobile apps can be very helpful in this regard.

Here are 10 useful business apps that help you do business on the run.


Acumatica is a very helpful accounting and financial planning mobile app. It’s a browser-based, SaaS service that’s available on both iOS and Android devices. In addition to helping you with accounting tasks, it’s also great for inventory management, purchase orders, expense reports and more.


If you want a more convenient way to schedule meetings, conference calls or webinars, ClickMeeting is your solution. This mobile app, available for Blackberry as well as iOS and Android, lets you create customized webinars, record meetings, share screens and much more.


Expenisfy is one of your best choices for creating simple, comprehensive and user-friendly expense reports. It simplifies tasks such as reimbursement and scanning receipts. Expensify integrates with many other apps and services, including Quickbooks, Netsuite, Xero and Sage.


Every business can benefit by collecting email addresses and sending out messages regularly. While there are many email marketing services and autoresponders, MailChimp is one of the most reasonable and feature-rich. Now you can create email campaigns right from your smartphone or tablet.


TSheets, made by Quickbooks, is an extremely efficient mobile app for tracking time on any device. You have the ability to track individuals or entire teams. It makes it easy to create and edit shifts and schedules, track sick days and holidays, and identify exactly where and when people are working at any given time.


Surveys are a powerful tool for engaging with your customers and finding out their needs and preferences. SurveyMonkey lets you learn more about your audience, collect valuable data and create polls and surveys for any purpose.


Deputy is an app that’s useful for scheduling, tasking, workforce management and staffing. If you’re looking for an easier way to schedule shifts, track time and attendance and improving communication in your workplace, Deputy is the perfect solution.


RingCentral is an all-in-one phone, conferencing and messaging service that’s compatible with over 100 other apps. You can use it to send and receive texts and faxes, set up conference calls, send messages to your team and much more.


A robust CRM helps you run your business more effectively. Salesforce is one of the best, with a wide variety of customer service, marketing, communications and commerce tools. Salesforce has several memberships for its cloud-based services starting at $25/month.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is one of the most powerful business apps for implementing an effective social media strategy. It has tools to schedule your social media posts, identify influencers, perform thorough analytics on your campaigns and increase engagement.

These are some of the best mobile apps to make your business more efficient no matter where you and your employees are located. Another way to expand your business is to improve your cash flow.

With invoice factoring from Riviera Finance, you can immediately receive cash from your invoices and quickly increase your cash flow.

Is Your Business Really Safe? 5 Tips to Keep Your Business Protected


5 Tips to Keep Your Business Protected | Riviera FinanceBusinesses today need to be extra careful about security. Between hackers, phishing schemes and thieves breaking into your physical location, the threats are very real. To maximize business safety, you really need to pay attention to a variety of factors.

Here are five tips to help keep your business safe.

1. Create a Well-Defined Security Policy

Don’t address security issues in a random way, hoping that everyone will behave sensibly. To protect your business, you need a definite policy in place so that everyone is clear on what to do. Provide people with guidelines on how to protect themselves and what to do in case of a problem. Update your security policy as needed so that it meets the latest threats.

2. Make Sure Security is a Priority for Everyone

One of the reasons that many businesses fall victim to theft or fraud is that not everyone is on board with security precautions. Make sure all of your employees are familiar with your safety protocols. Hold regular meetings on the subject and remind everyone to use secure passwords, avoid clicking on suspicious links, leaving their computers unattended and other such measures.

3. Use the Best Tools and Services

Like many other areas of technology, business safety and security often comes down to having the right tools. Use the latest software for your business, including anti-virus and malware programs. If free programs don’t cover your needs, it’s worth it to invest in more robust solutions. In some cases, it’s a good idea to outsource security to experts. Don’t put your business at risk by saving a few dollars on software that isn’t up to par. Do your research and identify the programs and services that meet your needs.

4. Stay Current with the Latest Security Threats

Hackers and thieves are always coming up with new ways to rip you off. They invent new viruses, malware and phishing schemes. It’s up to you to be just as diligent at thwarting their schemes. Stay informed about the very latest threats. For example, there are always new phishing schemes that tempt recipients to click on fake links. Currently, for example, scammers are fond of sending emails that tell people they’ve received Bitcoins. Next month it may be something else. Make sure you and your employees are well aware of these efforts so you don’t fall for them.

5. Take Inventory Regularly

In order to keep your business safe, it’s essential to be very familiar with your inventory and how everything should look. If you don’t keep close track of your assets, you won’t know when something is missing. Taking inventory of your assets regularly ensures that you know immediately if something has been taken or if there are any irregularities in your inventory. The sooner you identify a problem the faster you can correct it.

These are some of the best ways to protect your business from theft and fraud. Enhancing security helps you feel reassured so you can focus on running and growing your business.

Another way to help make your business more successful is to improve cash flow. One of the most effective ways to quickly get better cash flow is to use the invoice factoring services offered by Riviera Finance.

Why Your Small Business Needs a Website


5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a WebsiteIt’s interesting to look at how the perception of business websites has changed in recent years. In the early days of the internet, websites were a novelty and only considered essential for web-based businesses. Gradually, more and more businesses learned the value of creating websites. Lately, however, the rise of Facebook and other social media sites has made some business owners think that all they need is social media. This, however, is an incorrect and potentially costly error. Websites are just as critical to the success of a small business as ever before.

Why Websites are Crucial

No matter what other marketing tools you use, nothing can replace your business website. For one thing, this is your own personal online property. When you post to a social media site, YouTube, or any other third-party site, you don’t control the process. You’re posting to someone else’s domain and they set the rules. When you own a site and domain, you can take measures to improve SEO and generate more unpaid or organic traffic. You also have complete control over the look and layout of your own site. Above all, your business name and logo appear at the top of the page. These are all essential aspects of building your brand.

How to Get the Most From Your Website

Now that we’ve established that small businesses need websites, let’s look at some guidelines to help make you get more traffic and engagement.

  • Make sure your site is easy to load and navigate. If your pages don’t load quickly, you’ll lose traffic. Menus should be relevant and clearly visible.
  • Your site must be mobile-friendly. More and more people are using smartphones and tablets to access the internet. Your site has to be responsive, meaning that your content is visible and easy to navigate from any device.
  • Create relevant content and update your site frequently. Use strategic keywords that your customers are searching for. Stay current on the latest topics in your industry and post fresh content regularly.
  • Link to your site. To increase targeted traffic, make sure you link to your site from as many places as possible. Include links in your social media posts, emails, business cards and any ads you place both online and offline.
  • Provide contact information and solid customer support. Make sure your email, phone number and, if relevant, your physical location are prominently displayed. Offering multiple customer support options, such as email, phone and even chat bots helps visitors get the information they need from your site.

Websites are, and will continue to be, a crucial small business tool. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use other marketing tools such as social media and email. Indeed, these can actually help you send targeted traffic to your site. You also have to consider other elements essential to maintaining and growing your business, such as improving cash flow.

One of the best ways to do this is to sign up for invoice factoring with Riviera Finance, which allows you to collect payment immediately on invoices and accounts receivable.

Top Tax Credits and Deductions for Small Businesses


Top Tax Credits and Deductions for Small BusinessesSmall businesses need all the help they can get when it comes to taxes. Tax laws are complex and they frequently change. That’s why it’s important to do your research and consult with a variety of tax resources. Before filing your taxes, make sure you’re aware of the many tax credits and deductions for which you may be eligible.

Small Business Tax Credits You Might Qualify For

Tax credits reduce the amount of money you owe on your taxes on a dollar-to-dollar basis. Here are some that you should consider.

  • Employer Wage Credit – If you have employees who are active members of the Uniformed Services, you may be eligible for this credit.
  • Disabled Access Credit – This credit is for businesses that provide access to disabled people.
  • Child Care Credit – If you provide childcare for employees, which can either be at your place of business or contracted with an external childcare center, you may be eligible for an Employer-Provided Childcare Credit.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit – This credit was created to encourage businesses to hire employees from groups that often have a difficult time finding work, such as long-term unemployed, people on government assistance, ex-cons and military veterans.
  • Retirement Plans Startup Costs Tax Credit – If you’ve created a qualified retirement plan for your employees, you may be able to collect a credit amounting to 50% of your costs.
  • Small Business Health Care Tax Credit – This is a tax credit for businesses that provide health insurance for their employees.
  • Federal Empowerment Zone Employment Credit – If any of your employees live in an area designated as an Empowerment Zone, you can receive as much as $3,000 credit per employee. These are areas considered to be economically disadvantaged.
  • Indian Employment Credit – This credit is for businesses that employ registered members of Indian tribes and/or people who live on an Indian reservation.

If you meet the basic requirements for any of these tax credits, it’s worth doing more research to find out if you’re eligible for any of them. 

Business Deductions to Consider in 2018

Tax deductions lower your taxable income. Here are some business deductions that not all business owners are aware of.

  • Retirement Plan Contributions – Retirement contributions may be deductible, depending on the type of business you have and the size of your contributions.
  • Wages and Payroll Taxes – If you are categorized as self-employed or a sole proprietor, you can’t deduct payroll taxes because you’re not considered an employee. However, if you are designated as a C Corporations or S Corporations, you save money on self-employment taxes and can deduct payroll taxes.
  • Interest – If you borrowed money to start your business, the interest you pay can be deducted. The same is true if you loan money to your own business.
  • Startup Costs – Many costs associated with starting a business are deductible. this includes hiring experts such as CPAs, attorneys and consultants. Also eligible are travel expenses, meals and entertainment that you spent at meetings or other business-related events.
  • Health Insurance – Some business owners are eligible for a self-employment health insurance deduction on their personal tax returns.

Make sure that you’re actually eligible for these small business tax credits or deductions before claiming them. The IRS has many useful online tax resources to help you. Consulting with an accountant or other tax professional is also a good idea if you want to make sure you’re saving as much money as possible on your taxes.

If you’re looking for cash flow solutions for your small business – invoice factoring might be a good financing option for you.