Newsletter - 2012 04

April 2012

Business Success

Brought to You By BMA Marketing


Fix missing Birthday Party marketing - automate it

Chris Swanson, Owner

BMA Marketing

Wolcott CT 06716

(800) 603-3985

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Secrets for Getting a Small-business Loan

Small-business owners run short of cash for many reasons. Understanding how the loan process works is half the battle to getting money from a bank.

Bank Limitations

When applying for a business loan you must remember that banks require assurance of repayment. Most importantly, a banker seldom possesses sole authority to approve a loan. The banker must sell the idea to the bank's loan committee and he or she has no desire to look like a fool presenting a poorly conceived loan.

In addition, banks are heavily regulated institutions. Government authorities closely review loans to assure compliance with bank lending policies.

To avoid complications, many loan officers deploy strict suitability standards. They refuse to evaluate any circumstances beyond the basic measurements. You cannot obtain loan consideration from them if you don't fit their narrow criteria.

The Right Banker

Consequently, your strategy for getting a business loan is to first interview loan officers before they start assessing your qualifications. This doesn't entail asking specific questions about lending philosophy. It actually means taking stock of general demeanor. A banker with plenty of self-confidence is most apt to evaluate your loan proposal with a broad view using a personal sense about business matters.

Confident bankers listen to narratives about how a small business operates. They develop an appreciation for the system an entrepreneur uses to prevail in the market. These loan officers rely upon their experience in knowing if a loan applicant is sound. You can explain to such people how you expect to generate earnings for loan repayment.

Organized Information

A good first impression is imperative. You must substantiate your business plan. Demonstrate how your past strategies succeeded. Provide financial reports and understand their meaning. You need a balance sheet as well as a profit and loss statement. Use them to support your oral history of the business and description about current conditions. Determine some key financial ratios that define trends. Present a projection of cash flow from following your plan that reveals funds for repaying the loan. Describe why the loan proceeds will make more money for your company.

Explain the reason you are short of cash.

A banker will know if the cause is poor management. However, healthy businesses can have sound explanations for needing loans. Equipment breaks down at the wrong time. A sales slump sometimes occurs. Expansion opportunities arise when insufficient capital exists.

Remedies are available, but they require more than cash infusions. Reversals of misfortunes demand guidance by organized managers. Show that you have the skills and discipline required to effectively operate the business.

Every banker deals with countless people seeking loans who don't even know where to find a financial statement.

Other applicants have financial statements but not a clue about what they mean.

A customer in possession of well-understood financial statements and a plan for loan repayment is so rare that it commands a banker's full attention.


Want to Get Noticed? Write a Winning Press Release

Quick Quiz

Each month I’ll give you a new question. Just reply to this email for the answer.

Which is the flattest U.S. state?

Why Not Pass Me On?

If you've enjoyed this newsletter and found its information useful, please pass it to another business owner or a co-worker.

Worth Reading

Selections from the best articles seen online this month.

How to Start the Big Project You've Been Putting Off

From HBR Blogs

We've all battled with procrastination at one time or another. In this post, Peter Bregman says that we don't procrastinate because we have so much time or because we don't know where to start. Instead, we do it because we know that a project is important. We're too scared to work on it because we're afraid we will fail. Once we recognize this, the antidote becomes easier.

Why You're Not Happy

From Inc.

Many people work for themselves because they want something more than a regular job can give them. Maybe it's freedom, more money or the fulfillment of building something of value. However, some business owners still end up unhappy. This article addresses that issue and offers some reasons why this happens … and how to prevent it happening to you. Of the seven suggestions, perhaps number three is the most critical: we think business success equals fulfillment.


Affinity: Beyond Branding, by Goldfarb and Aster

Branding is great, but affinity is better. That's the main message from this book.

Affinity is the deep connection that buyers have with your brand. Think Apple and its fans who line up outside its stores for the latest iPad launch.

But the concept can apply to businesses that are far less glamorous than Apple.

The first part of this book is heavy going, but it really gets interesting in part two, where Martin Goldfarb and Howard Aster get into case studies. Goldfarb worked with companies such as Ford, De Beers and Toyota, as well as for Canada's Liberal Party.

His discussion of the "touch points" that he encouraged Ford to focus on when improving their cars is worth the price of the book. By putting their efforts into the parts of a new car that buyers were likely to touch - the door handles, gear shift, steering wheel, etc. - Ford was able to improve the perception people had of its products..


Quotes by...David Ogilvy

A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.

Advertising is only evil when it advertises evil things.

Every advertisement should be thought of as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.

Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.

Leaders grasp nettles.

Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.

The advertisers who believe in the selling power of jingles have never had to sell anything.

Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn’t sell much of anything.

Advertising executive David Ogilvy is best known for his book Ogilvy on Advertising.

Newspaper boxes

Every business wants positive public relations, and a press release is a staple for making that happen. The average major metro news desk receives hundreds of releases each day. So why do we only hear about a select few stories? Aside from being poorly written or structured, releases fail when they're too self-serving or too boring or when they lack a clear objective.

A good one-to-two-page release is preceded by a release date, contact information and a succinct headline.

The city, state and date should be identified, followed by the core content that delves into the "who, what, when, where, why."

Remember to use keywords to take advantage of SEO and database search filters.

Statements should be relevant to a larger industry or consumer group. Avoid generic messages, opting instead for a humanistic approach that includes elements that affect people.

Top releases will always do one or all of the following:

    • Solve a problem or advance a solution
    • Spot a trend and its application
    • Reach out for a good cause

For good measure, schedule releases for a Monday, at least 14 business days in advance of your event or announcement - and follow up with a phone call to the appropriate reporter.

Since most businesses are trying to reach media giants, try localizing your story by offering a niche perspective and targeting local print, digital and broadcast media.

And don't forget the bloggers. These days, bloggers can be just as influential as a publication.


Ultrabooks: The New Must-Have Business Tool?

Dell Ultrabook

There are laptops, and then there are ultrabooks. Ultrabooks are the new and smarter versions of laptops - thinner, lighter, just as sturdy and often offering the same system performance as your run-of-the-mill laptop. They're also just slightly more expensive with an average price tag of about $1,000.

They're great as a business investment, even if you're not always on the go.

New business ultrabooks, including the Dell XPS133 and HP Folio 13, offer the same benefits as space-consuming desktops.

Executives benefit from high-quality webcams, secure software, reliability and portability.

Ultrabooks continue to thrive, with a recent Consumer Electronics Expo showcasing 12 new models that continue to build upon a winning product that merges tablets with laptops - giving users the best of both worlds.

And this is why ultrabooks are a must-have investment for business owners.

The slim line between business and personal life, paired with an increasingly remote work environment, makes it an imperative for business owners to keep abreast with workflow and production through the aid of smart tech tools.

Ultrabook competitors range from netbooks to iPads and MacBook Airs.

Netbooks won't give you the most bang for your buck, simply because of their limited application.

The iPad would be a better choice. It's cheaper and offers the same functionality as a laptop, plus it grants users access to valuable business-savvy apps.

However, iPads are not ideal for an aggressive keyboard user. Macs also tend to be an unfamiliar operating system for many users.


Consequences of Negative Business Equity

Monitoring business equity is as important as knowing the amount of money in a company's bank account. Adverse consequences arise if equity becomes negative.

Equity is all of the owner's investment in the enterprise. Retained earnings are the component of equity comprising all profits that remain in the business. A new business has no retained earnings. Profit at the end of year one is retained earnings to start the second year. Subsequent accumulation of profits further adds to retained earnings.

Withdrawals of profit reduce equity. Business structure determines how an owner withdraws company profits for personal use. Proprietors withdraw money at will. Partners have the same privilege in proportion to their ownership percentages. S corporation shareholders receive distributions, and C corporation shareholders obtain dividends.

Contrary to popular perception, business owners can possibly withdraw more than accumulated profits. This creates negative retained earnings. When that happens, the business has more debt than assets. Selling or liquidating the operation will likely require owners to input capital for repaying liabilities.

The worst consequences of negative retained earnings occur with S corporations. Distributions to S corporation shareholders that create negative equity are taxed as capital gains - unless the shareholder is the source of loans to the business. In addition, a shareholder is not allowed a tax deduction for the loss of an S corporation when he or she has no equity or loan investment in the company.


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BMA's Industry Partners and Resources

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Max Cook / Stardust Marketing - Over 45 years experience in recreation and entertainment facility operations. Multi-unit responsibility for the past 20 years. Experience in employee relations, contract negotiation, grievance handling, and conflict resolution. Development and execution of business plan and budget responsibilities. Strong marketing background with a proven track record of execution. - convert your website visitors into buyers by offering online scheduling and buying capability.