We Are Celebrating National SBDC Day

Celebration SBDC Day | Riviera FinanceNational SBDC Day is March 22 and we are joining the celebration. Nearly 1,000 Small Business Development Centers across the United States will celebrate the small business community with events, public relations initiatives, and social media campaigns designed to highlight the importance of small business on economic development nationwide.

Local SBDC Offices Offer Free Training

According to the ASBDC: Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can go to their local SBDCs for FREE face-to-face business consulting and at-cost training, on topics including:

  • Writing business plans
  • Accessing capital
  • Marketing
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Technology development
  • International trade

The U.S. Small Business Administration reports: Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide a vast array of technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. By supporting business growth, sustainability and enhancing the creation of new businesses entities, SBDCs foster local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. As a result of the no cost, extensive, one-on-one, long-term professional business advising, low-cost training and other specialized services SBDC clients receive, the program remains one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs in the federal government . The SBDCs are made up of a unique collaboration of SBA federal funds, state and local governments, and private sector resources.

SBDC assistance is available virtually anywhere with 63 Host networks branching out with more than 900 service delivery points throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Learn more about the SBDC on their website.

Riviera Finance Supports the SBDC

Riviera Finance has sponsored numerous SBDC events and activities over the past 10 years.  Our affiliation allows us to access critical resources for our small business clients to ensure their growth and success.

Learn more about how your local office is celebrating SBDC Day.

Top 5 Tips for Creating a Profitable Website

Top 5 Tips to Create a Profitable WebsiteA profitable website is one of your best tools for getting more leads and customers. Many websites, unfortunately, are not effective and don’t do much to help businesses grow. To create website traffic and profits it’s necessary to do plenty of research and to implement some proven strategies. Let’s look at the top five tips to create website success.

 

  1. Install Google Analytics

Analytics are essential for tracking your results and understanding what is and isn’t working. There are all kinds of tools to help you do this, but Google Analytics is free and fairly easy to use. It gives you many valuable capabilities, such as tracking your visitors, identifying how long they spend on each page, tracking conversions and learning where your traffic comes from. Install Google Analytics and consult it frequently. When you notice that you’re not getting the desired results in a certain area, try to pinpoint the problem so you can make the necessary changes.

  1. Implement a Content Management System (CMS)

A CMS makes it much easier to build a successful website. Many tasks are automated and you can add helpful features such as plugins. WordPress is the most popular CMS, but you can also look into others such as Drupal and Joomla. WordPress is generally the most newbie-friendly. Drupal is better for sites with high traffic or many pages. Joomla is very good for small businesses because it has many features that let you scale up as you grow. The best CMS really depends on your needs.

  1. Conduct A/B Tests

The only way to really know how your site is doing is to conduct tests. A/B or split tests are simple and useful, as they let you compare two variables. The more elements you test, the more comprehensive your knowledge. Remember that almost everything you do in marketing can be tested, including headlines, article topics, layouts, colors, graphics, and much more. Google Analytics provides many tools for testing, which Google calls experiments.

  1. Add a Contact Form and Contact Information

To create website success, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers and prospects to contact you. A contact form is a simple way for people to send you an email for more information. In addition, list as much contact information as you’re comfortable with. It’s best to list a physical address and phone number. This information increases the trust factor for your business. It shows that you’re transparent about who you are, where you’re located and how to get in touch with you.

  1. Include Multiple Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

If you want a profitable website, you absolutely must include strong calls-to-action (CTA). You should include a variety of these in multiple locations. Having CTAs in different formats increases the chances of people leaving their email addresses, buying your products, or taking whatever action you want. If you’re selling a product, for example, include many links to the product page. Have opt-in forms on every page of your website. A CTA lets your visitors know exactly what you want them to do.

For ways to supplement your business’s cash flow, contact Riviera Finance and learn about our invoice factoring services.

This week’s blog was provided by Moxie Digital. Riviera’s weekly blog articles, written by business professionals on a variety of subjects, are designed to help business owners manage and grow their companies.

3 Ways to Market Your Business Online – For Free

Market Your Business Online for FreeIf you are looking for ways to market your business but you worry that a limited budget is holding you back, you’ll be glad to know that there are quite a few effective marketing tactics that are free. When you’re just starting out, or you’re strapped for cash, it’s prudent to seek out these cost-free strategies. Let’s look at three powerful ways to market an online business that don’t require you to reach for your wallet.

 

Sign Up With Google My Business

Google provides several important tools to help you market your business locally. Google Maps is particularly important for physical businesses, as it provides customers with directions to your place of business. Here are the key steps to use Google My Business and Google Maps:

  • Sign up with Google My Business. Add all relevant information, such as your business name, address, phone number, hours and description.
  • Check the appropriate categories.
  • Add images of your business.
  • If you have a physical business, add Google Maps.
  • Ask customers to leave reviews. Google displays reviews with its listings.

If you have a service-based business where customers don’t actually walk into your store or office, you can still sign up with Google My Business. However, you must have a brick and mortar business to use Google Maps. Both services are free.

Social Media

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others provide many free resources for promoting your business. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get the most out of social media:

  • Choose the sites that work best for your business. Think of the demographics of your customers and figure out which social sites they use most.
  • Fill out your profiles thoroughly. Use quality photos, include links to your website, and provide a detailed, keyword-rich description of your business.
  • Connect with friends, family, business associates and colleagues to grow your following. On some sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, one of the best ways to build up your following is to follow others with similar interests. Also connect with influencers in your industry -people with large followings and solid reputations.
  • Share content regularly. Daily is best. You can post two to three times per day on Facebook, even more on Twitter. Post a variety of content, including articles, videos, images, infographics and anything that’s relevant to your audience. You can also post useful links to other people’s content if they aren’t direct competitors.
  • Offer special promotions to your followers such as coupons, promo codes and discounts.

Email Marketing

Another great free way to market your business is email marketing. An email list gives you the ability to send messages to your list whenever you want.

  • MailChimp is free for the first 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Once you get more than that, you can find a plan that fits your business.
  • Send out emails regularly to engage with your audience. You could use a newsletter format to help establish your expertise. MailChimp provides templates to help you do this.
  • Promote articles, videos, your Facebook page, your latest product, affiliate offers, your book on Amazon or whatever you want to promote. On the other hand, also include helpful tips, news and other helpful information.
  • As your list grows, you may want to segment it, sending different messages to subscribers based on their interests and past buying behavior.

Use these three free methods to market your business. As you gain a larger following, you’ll start generating income from your online marketing efforts. Then you can think about investing in advertising and other paid promotional strategies.

Invoice Factoring as a Backup Source of Cash

broker_slide_man_aConsider invoice factoring with Riviera Finance as a backup source of cash flow.

“Waiting to get paid” is the not-so-new normal in the world of business.  In the U.S., companies take an average of 38 days to pay their bills.  In some industries, the wait is much longer.

But to the business owner, the waiting isn’t the hardest part.  Guessing when the customer will actually pay is the real challenge.

Among the many reasons businesses don’t get paid on time, here are a few:

  • customer cash flow issues (yes, customers have them too)
  • customer cash flow management (float on your money)
  • seasonal workload issues
  • customer staff changes
  • invoicing errors
  • lost or misplaced invoices
  • insufficient or inaccurate backup documentation
  • vendor preferences
  • disputes

Most likely, none of the above show up in the business plan!  Uncertainty of getting paid is one of the most common variables in small business, and a major cause of critical cash flow shortages.  But the only real way to avoid the impact of payment delays is to have a backup source of cash available.

Many businesses use non-recourse invoice factoring as a backup cash flow source.  It’s easy to get set up, and extremely flexible to the needs of the business.  When cash flow is needed, customer invoices can be submitted for payment and funded within 24 hours.  No debt is created, and there are no minimum funding obligations.  As a backup source, the invoice factoring line puts control back into the hands of the business owner without taking any payment flexibility away from the customer.

Take the stress out of guessing.  Set up an invoice factoring account with Riviera Finance today.

Credit Enhancement: Supplier Assurance Letters

When your customer demands credit and your supplier demands cash, you might need more than standard factoring provides.

A supplier assurance letter, written by Riviera Finance on your behalf, can convince your supplier to sell you the materials you need ON CREDIT, long enough to deliver a finished product to your customer.  This transition credit can be a launching pad for your company’s success.

This powerful credit enhancement tool is simple.  It works like this:

A.  Your company receives a purchase order for goods from a reputable customer, Able Department Stores.

B.  Riviera Finance approves Able for factoring.

C.  Riviera Finance writes a letter of assurance to your supplier, Apex Materials, as follows:

a. Acknowledging the Able purchase order for finished goods (primarily using Apex materials)

b. Affirming Riviera’s role as factoring company in the transaction

c. Stating the amount owed to Apex (as per your direction)

d. Assuring Apex that, after the Abel transaction has been completed and factored, Riviera will directly transfer to Apex the amount owed

Although the Supplier Assurance isn’t a formal letter of credit on your behalf, it provides transaction security to the supplier, often enough to be a credit substitute and bridge the credit gap for future transactions.  Ask your Riviera Finance representative for more information on how a supplier assurance letter can benefit your company.

image