How to Figure Out Small Business Credit Reporting

Your company’s credit reports directly affect your ability to compete and grow. Unlike a personal credit report, anyone can pull your business credit report — they don’t need your permission. “You want to make sure you have good business credit because it’s one of the primary ways businesses decide whether to do business with you,” says Amber Colley, director of sales partnerships for Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. “They are making critical decisions to determine whether to sell to you, lend money to you, and to determine whether you’re a viable partner.”

“We do pull a business credit report, there’s no doubt about it,” agrees David Goldin, president and CEO of AmeriMerchant, a New York City firm that provides merchant cash advances, business loans and inventory purchase programs. “It’s one piece of the puzzle.”

Your business credit record may influence not only a company’s decision about whether to do business with you, but also the terms of any deals they offer. “Interest rates can be determined on the content of your business credit report, insurance premiums can be determined on this data, as well as terms and pricing with your suppliers,” says Colley.

How to check your business credit report
You can confirm that your small business is listed with Experian, Equifax or D&B by searching their websites at no cost. Note that if you operate under a DBA (doing business as) license, you may see search results returned in your legal name or the company name. In either case, if your small business comes up in the results, your company has a credit report with that bureau.

Each company offers an assortment of individual reports and ongoing credit monitoring. For example, you can access a copy of your D&B credit report for free using the Company Update feature (you’ll need to first apply for a free DUNS number — a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business); D&B’s free Credit Signal product will also show if your credit score has changed (but not the actual score) and track how many times your file is being accessed. At the other end of the cost spectrum, Experian’s $1,500 a year Business Credit Score Pro subscription plan allows you to access your report 30 times a month and includes your business credit score as well as a host of other features (though the company recommends its $129/year Business Credit Advantage package, which gives you unlimited access to your own report).

That will help you pinpoint areas of weakness that may present your company as a higher credit risk. It will also give you the opportunity to identify and challenge any suspicious or fraudulent activity that has had a negative impact on your report, including business identity theft. “We always recommend that they’re constantly monitoring their business credit report,” Ward says, “and certainly, if there are adverse actions, we’ll take care of those immediately.”In keeping with consumer credit practices, Experian will also provide you with a copy of your business report at no charge if your company has been denied credit by a prospective lender.

Unlike consumer credit files, business reports cannot be frozen if the company’s owner finds something amiss, but owners can dispute information by way of a fraud statement, also known as a fraud alert. “It’s important to understand that a fraud alert is not a security freeze,” Ward says. “A fraud alert is a message that displays on the business credit report for lenders to see so that they can take additional cautionary measures and actions on the verification of the business.”

So then… how do I build business credit?
Well, you need to setup proper trade relations with specific vendors that report to the credit agencies. Not only this, but you must acquire a D.U.N.S. number, as well as ensure all your information is correct. You may also build business credit using personal guarantees to expedite the process, but that’s only if you have good personal credit. Fortunately, Fortune DNA offers a business credit program for a low, reasonable price. If interested, visit www.fastcreditconcepts.com. We’ve serviced thousands of clients, and we have one of the largest selections of vendors to choose from.

By Randy B. Hecht, Elaine Pofeldt & Fortune DNA

How to Attract More Customers

Here’s a great article on how to attract customers for your business. The consumer is the life of a business — it’s the reason it exists. To expand your clientele would be to expand your business, your profit, and more.

Attracting customers is one of the top challenges for startup businesses, especially if you do not have any marketing background yourself. However, the principles of marketing are common sense and can get you a long way without excessive expenditure.

1. Know Yourself
Time spent on working out what makes your product or service special (its unique selling proposition) is time well spent because it helps you differentiate yourself from the competition. Clarifying your mission and values will provide you with a framework for positioning your business.

2. Know your Customers
Who is supposed to buy your product or service? Be clear about who you want to sell to. Even if your service or product theoretically could be of interest to almost everybody, pick a customer segment and start marketing to it. Once you have decided on a market segment, it will be easier to decide how to reach potential customers and which channels to focus on.

3. Set a Budget
Making a marketing plan and allocating a fixed budget can help you keep an eye on costs. It is easy to overspend; having a budget will help you focus your mind and your marketing activities. Beware of advertising scams: Unscrupulous fraudsters systematically target new businesses. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t any good at all. Don’t commit to anything over the telephone, and don’t be shy to say “no thank you”.

4. Care for Contacts
Referrals and word-of-mouth are a fantastic way to get new customers. Think about who you know who could help endorse your business. Ask for testimonials, referrals and recommendations.

5. Be Visible
A website is a must for any new business, but it can be simple and inexpensive. The three most important elements are: Your contact details, a compelling offer and an attractive design. The same applies to any other promotional material such as leaflets, flyers and posters.

This helpful information was provided by sme-blog.

4 Business Growth Tips

Upon starting up your business, you likely put a lot of thought into it. You may have asked for help from different advisors, books, website articles, and more. You’ve likely invested a LOT of time and effort into your business JUST to get it off the ground. So… now what do you do?

You might be wondering, “What can I do to grow my business? How can I improve? How do I become successful?” There’s many ways to do this, and in this, we’ll be listing off some of our top 10. Of course, you may need to invest more time, money and sweat in order to do this, but so long as you’re ready, we’re ready to help you.

1. Open another location.
– This may not be the best choice, considering different variables in your environment, but this is often times what comes to mind first to many businessmen. Business owner, consultant, and entreprenuer Nick Malis says, “Expansion isn’t always the best answer. It’s all dependant on your planning, research, and more.”
Here are some valuable tips in consideration of this step:
Look at economic trends, for indications of how your company will stay present and remain profitable.
Make sure you have an AMAZING management team for this location: You’ll need them to get this new location up and running.
Determine financial options. Figure the best way to obtain money for your location. Perhaps you need a loan? Don’t have the credit for it? Don’t worry, we have a business credit program.
Choose a GREAT location for THE BUSINESS. Not for what is the cheapest and easiest, but rather for what’s best for business.
Make sure you manage to keep a profit, as well as a steady growth throughout the years.

2. License your product.
– If you have a branded product, or a sort of service, this can be a GREAT low-cost growth method. Not only does this help your growth IMMENSELY, but it also minimizes your risk, and has an incredibly low price in comparison.

3. Do Google Adwords Testing
– One of Google’s best features is it’s AdWords program that allows for low-cost advertisement on one of the world’s biggest audiences. In comparison, it takes usually a few thousand dollars for a good advertisement campiagn, but with Google AdWords, it takes a few hundred dollars at most. And it reaches thousands of people, if not HUNDREDS of thousands! If you need assistance in starting up an AdWords campaign, there’s plenty of courses online to teach you!

4. Look at yourself as one of the best!
– You’re only as successful as you make yourself out to be. Don’t let your business make you closed-minded, make yourself think you’re one of the best in the business, and then behave accordingly. You need to work on a positive mindset, or else you will inevitably fail!

Opening an IRA for your Future

Do you want a retirement account that you can save tax on? If so, then you should set up an IRA. Specifically, a self-directed IRA.

So.. would you want a Roth IRA, or a Traditional IRA? Well, it all boils down to your preference. If you want to have a tax-advantaged IRA, then you want to have a Traditional IRA. If you want to have a tax-free IRA, then you want to have a Roth IRA.

Next, you want to find a place to invest your retirement account in to. More often than not, people become invested in a brokerage account, whether it’s on their own will, or not. A lot of brokers/retirement account custodians tell you, “You can’t invest in anything but the market! A brokerage account is where a retirement account is invested, no if’s and’s or butt’s!” Well, that’s not true. They call it a “self-directed” IRA for a reason. You’re meant to direct the funds to invest wherever you’d like. The issue stands in that most custodians don’t care about your wants, only about the money. There are VERY FEW custodians that’re actually truthful, and let you invest your IRA wherever you’d like. It’s recommend you AVOID a brokerage account, as the stock market is unstable. People have lost more than 75% of their retirement account over the last few years, and it’s all because they were invested in the stock market.

Now, you have your basic outline down. It’s time to actually open the account. Setting up a self-directed IRA can be a difficult process, as finding the correct custodians, and setting up the IRA so you can direct your funds properly can prove EXTREMELY tiresome. You need to fill out a rather large sum of forms, as well as get the correct structure of your IRA to be able to invest your retirement wherever you want willingly. Fortunately, Fortune DNA knows of TRUE self-directed IRA custodians, so if you’re needing help with controlling YOUR future, feel free to call (702) 637-4040!

The last step is to dream of your retirement. You’ll save TONS on your retirement through utilizing an IRA. Start thinking about how you’re going to spend your blissful retirement! Will you get an RV, and explore the country? Or will you spend it on building your dream house? It’s up to you!

If you’d like more information on how to set your IRA up properly, call us for information at (702) 637-4040!

Small Business Tips on How to be Successful

The Small Business Tips on How to be Successful

1. Deeply examine your competitor, as well as the strategies and various steps they used/took to do well.

2. Try innovation. Look to improve upon your products, or look to introduce new products. This can often help small businesses flourish and have a great year.

3. Remember to focus on finding solutions rather than stressing and dwelling CONSTANTLY, thus destroying your efficiency. You should have a deep understanding of what went wrong in the past year and take steps to improve upon it.

4. Remember not to repeat your mistakes! A business should be a constant learning process — there should be no repetitive trend showing if you’ve had it happen before!

5. Take a look at some opportunities/steps to expand your business. Whether that be through opening a new location, hiring a new set of employees, or raising capital. If you’re looking to raise capital, bear in mind that Fortune DNA offers an unbeatable business credit program. We have lists of vendors you can use to build your credit, and we show you the exact way to do it. If interested, call (702) 637-4040 for more information.

6. Finally, take a look at what you did correctly, and continue to do so! If it worked before, there’s a high chance it’ll work again this time around.

How am I perceiving my business?

Here’s a great article about how to perceive your business. Perception is everything. How am I going to look at this business of mine? Is it going to be looked at as a challenge, or will it be looked at as an opportunity? Why have I started a business? To make money, or to become successful?

Why are we even starting a business? Is it passion, are we driven to do something new, or as Steve Jobs put it make a dent in the universe? Start a business, grow it and then do an IPO – world domination next!

For many the reality often has little to do with passion! It has more to do with being a back-office manager, than an entrepreneur – why is that?

In the daily grind we lose our passion and are now driven more by necessity and other secondary business considerations, like accounting and red-tape.

Shouldn’t it be easier to run a business?

I believe it is, if you manage to keep yourself from losing your business focus and with that control of your business.

How do you do that?

You need to think ABOUT your business, not IN your business.

It starts of with having a plan and sticking to it, until you change the plan. Don’t let the plan be changed by circumstance, you need to stay master of your plan.

For this to work you need to take time out, go for a walk and think about your business. Don’t do it in your office and switch your mobile off. If you are really lucky and you have a business mentor, take him/her on this walk with you.

Given the right focus, you will soon work out what you need to do and then the sky is the limit.

This helpful information was provided by sme-blog.

Promote your Business Using the Web

Here’s a great article about promoting your business online. There’s no doubt your marketing and promoting methods will be a major factor in whether or not your business succeeds. If you need some guidance, or advice, feel free to call the Fortune DNA offices at (702) 637-4040 for a free 30 minute consultation.

If being ‘tech savvy’ is not your forte, then it might be wise to start thinking more about ways the internet and digital media can help promote your business, as there is an increasing number of new marketing opportunities out there which are fairly cost efficient – especially if you are willing to be a bit creative. Many of you readers probably have some kind of idea of how the internet works and the opportunities that are around, as you happen to be reading this article (I assume), on the internet.

Even though there is time and money that needs to be invested, when used correctly, marketing via the internet can provide even smaller businesses a decisive boost and advantage over competitors. Nowadays, barely anyone is arguing over the tremendous importance of incorporating the internet into main business promotion strategies.

Being found on the web

Even when the bakery store around the corner has its own web presence, being non-existent on the internet in today’s digital age is simply not an option. Just like your business not being added to the Yellow Pages a decade ago, not having your business placed on Google Maps or on online business directories can turn your business virtually invisible, as consumers now use the internet as their first point of reference when searching for companies. Smartphones providing consumers with the internet wherever they go is a likely reason for this trend.

Therefore it is not surprising that an online advertising strategy for any business involves the creation of a user friendly and well organised website. Not only should users be able to easily find the business website that they are seeking but once on there, they should also be able to find the information that they are searching for. If not, then in today’s fast-paced and competitive world they are likely to move on to find the business of a local competitor. This is why knowing how to give users exactly what they want and keeping things simple, remains to be the most important guideline when designing a webpage and for an online marketing strategy in general.

Social media marketing and promoting deals

In saying that though, a good website doesn’t come cheap, especially for new and smaller enterprises. If investing thousands of dollars for a website is too unrealistic, don’t forget that social media marketing and promoting your deals on voucher sites like these can prove just as effective. With most internet users connecting themselves to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, businesses can easily reach loyal or new customers and maintain interest.

Though, at the end of the day, word of mouth is still the best form of promoting your business. Publicising discounts of your establishment via the web, has proven successful for new businesses, leading new customers your business, restaurant or service. Although social media has grown at a tremendous pace during the last years, do keep in mind that some demographics may not use it actively. So depending on your target demographic may mean that in order to reach as many customers as possible, an integrative marketing approach is needed.

This helpful information was provided by sme-blog/Voucherbox.

Nick Fortune says, “Saving money isn’t a felony! It’s YOUR responsibility as an American!”

Founder of Fortune DNA, Inc, Nicholas Fortune says that saving yourself money by utilizing the tax code is every American’s RESPONSIBILITY. Not only does Nick say it, but he directly quotes from the IRS THEMSELVES! The IRS states, “It’s every American’s responsibility to pay their legal minimum in taxes.” Yet somehow, CPA’s view it as a crime!

Nick Fortune is an expert tax-strategist with over 20 years of experience! He has taught THOUSANDS how to save up to 15-50% in taxes LEGALLY, by making use of the tax code!

Typical CPA’s might state otherwise, and tell someone that there’s NO WAY they could EVER save 15-50% on their taxes, but guess what? Your CPA likely isn’t working FOR you!

Find out how to know if your CPA is working for you! Find out how to pay the legal minimum on your taxes! We can teach you! We teach you the secrets of the ultra-wealthy. We know the in’s-and-out’s.

For example, did you know around 80% of small businesses are set up incorrectly? Most pay AT LEAST 10% in taxes that ARE NOT necessary!

Get a free consultation today to learn how we can help you start putting more money in YOUR pocket, and less in Uncle Sam’s!

Start Planning Now

Ten Rules for Asset Protection Planning

Start early, keep it simple, and don’t try to hide stuff from your creditors.

There’s a gambling saying that goes something like, “If you want to be a winner, you have to walk away from the table a winner.” One time-honored method of reaching this result is to systematically take your chips off the table as you win them, so that your potential for losses stays small.

Asset protection planning is all about taking chips off the table in good times, so that you still can walk away from the table a winner no matter what happens in bad times. Those who worry the most about asset protection are those who are the most likely to get sued; think obstetricians and, more recently, real estate investors here. But average folks often get caught up in difficult situations, and thus if you have something to protect then the topic of asset protection should at least cross your mind.
Technically, asset protection planning is the debtor’s side of creditor-debtor law. While creditors are concerned about the strategies and techniques of collection, debtors are interested in the strategies and techniques for protecting their most valuable assets from potential creditors.

But in this calculation, it is not just about protecting assets but also about making sure that one does not end up in jail for contempt or bankruptcy fraud for engaging in the process.

Keeping in mind the law school adage that “General rules are generally inapplicable”, the following 10 rules should always be kept in mind when you try to take your chips off the table.

1. Start Planning Before A Claim Arises

Many things you can do will effectively provide asset protection before a claim or liability arises, but few things will afterwards. That’s because what you do after a claim rises could be undone by “fraudulent transfer” law. Moreover, the point at which a claim arises is earlier than a layman might think—it is, for example, usually much earlier than when a demand letter or a process server shows up at the door.

2. Late Planning Usually Backfires

Asset protection planning after a claim arises is apt to make matters worse; think of it as getting a flu shot while you have the flu, and the shot itself making you even more woozy. It is a common misconception that the only thing a judge can do is to unwind a fraudulent transfer, leaving a debtor who unsuccessfully tried late planning no worse off than if he had done nothing. To the contrary, both the debtor and whoever assisted in the fraudulent transfer can become liable for the creditor’s attorney fees, and the debtor can lose the hope of getting a discharge in bankruptcy.

3. Asset Protection Planning Is Not A Substitute For Insurance

Asset protection planning should not be a substitute for liability and professional insurance, but rather should supplement insurance. It is a myth that asset protection plans invariably scare away plaintiffs, and an asset protection plan doesn’t pay legal fees to defend against a lawsuit. Insurance also supplements asset protection planning, since it can help a debtor survive a claim a fraudulent transfer claim. If you get sued, let the insurance company pay to defend it and pay to settle it — that’s what you’re paying the premiums for.

4. Personal Assets Are For Trusts; Business Assets Are For Business Entities

Business entities such as corporations, partnerships and LLCs are meant to be vehicles for commercial operations, not to act as personal piggybanks. When personal assets are placed into a business entity, the potential for the entity to be pierced by a creditor on some theory or another, such as alter ego, increases exponentially. The place to put personal assets is in a trust. There is a long and solid body of law that protects trust assets—when the trust is properly drafted and funded. And please don’t name the entity the “Family” Partnership or LLC, unless your family is famous for making sausage or some such.

5. Too Much Control Is A Bad Thing

Asset protection planning attempts to reach a balance between giving the client sufficient control so that the assets do not disappear, but at the same time not so much control that a creditor can successfully argue that the debtor and the asset protection structure are effectively one-and-the-same and thus should be disregarded on alter ego or some similar theory.

6. Asset Protection Planning And Tax & Estate Planning Don’t Always Jive

Often asset protection planning and estate planning work together, but sometimes they are at odds and what might be a good idea for estate planning may not be such a hot idea for asset protection. For example, the making of gifts (to children and other prospective heirs) is common in estate planning but anathema in asset protection planning since gifts are often easy to set aside as fraudulent transfers. Meanwhile, homestead exemptions are a very powerful asset protection planning tool, but this usually traps the value of the home in the debtor’s estate.

7. Your Money May Be Offshore But You Are Here

Recent cases have recognized the power of courts to require debtors to bring their money back to the U.S. through what are known as “repatriation orders”. If the debtor does not comply with a repatriation order, a court may issue a bench warrant for contempt of court and hold you in contempt (and in jail) until the money does come back, or for many years. The record? It is 14 years in jail served by former corporate lawyer H. Beatty Chadwick who refused to repatriate money from overseas to pay alimony to his ex-wife.

8. Don’t Count On Bankruptcy As The Last Refuge Of A Desperate Debtor

Once upon a time, bankruptcy was akin to a nice warm shower that allowed a debtor to wash all debts away while still retaining a goodly amount of assets. Not anymore. In 2005, the bankruptcy laws changed to become a cold acid bath that leaves debtors with bare bones and little flesh. State homestead exemptions have been substantially limited, and other new provisions in the bankruptcy code and new bankruptcy case law can make parts of asset protection plans very difficult to protect in bankruptcy. Plus, bankruptcy judges have some of the strongest powers to make debtors cough up assets.

9. If You Can’t Explain It, It Will Never Work

Many asset protection plans become so complicated that not even the client can explain how assets are held or how those assets were transferred. But such questions can be expected in depositions or a debtor’s examination, and a failure to fully and clearly explain what happened and why will make the court very suspicious and potentially give the court grounds to begin disregarding entities or setting aside transfers. Most judges start asking themselves, “What is really going on here?” If the structure and transfers are too complicated and not well explained, there is a much higher chance that the judge will find fraud on creditors. Indeed, the best asset protection plans are often simple plans, such as creating and funding an irrevocable trust for the benefit of their children.

10. Usually Everything Sees The Light Of Day

Asset protection planning should be based on the presumption that the entirety of the planning and its purpose will eventually become known to creditors, because one way or another it usually does. Asset protection plans that require secrecy will face a plethora of problems, from how not to disclose the structure or activity on tax returns, to how to keep a mad ex-spouse or disgruntled employee from talking to creditors. And don’t even think about going into bankruptcy without making a full disclosure about assets and transfers. The failure to make a full disclosure will usually lead to a denial of discharge, and the failure to make a truthful disclosure can amount to charges of perjury and bankruptcy fraud.

Nevada Homestead Provision

As in every other state, the public policy of the State of Nevada is to avoid leaving its citizens homeless and penniless because of a negative result in a lawsuit. So the state legislature, codified under NRS 21, has provided a list of assets that cannot be taken from you by a creditor (a person or entity who has obtained a judgment against you). Relative to the rest of the country, Nevada is generous when it comes to these “exempt assets.” The state is especially benevolent in protecting your house.

NRS 21.090(l) provides that your homestead is exempt from execution to satisfy a judgment. NRS 115 governs how to make the homestead declaration effective. Simply desiring it to be true isn’t enough.

To qualify, title must be in your name (or the name of your revocable living trust, provided you are its beneficiary), and you must reside on the property.

You can certainly pay one of the many homestead recording services who will stuff your mailbox in the first few weeks after your purchase or title change on your property. They charge $25 to $50 plus the county recording fee ($18 in Clark County). But you can also do it yourself. The county provides the form to do so here and also offers a nice overview on what’s involved here. You’ll need your property’s parcel number (you should be able to find that on a property tax notice or by pulling up the recorded deed on your propertyhere). Then check off your filing status, the type of property you are declaring as your homestead, and the name on title. You’ll also need the legal description of your property which you’ll find on your most recent deed. From there you’ll sign before a notary and mail it to or visit the recorder’s office for recording.

I include preparation and recording at no charge (aside from the recording fee) for my estate planning clients.
A few more notes about homestead declarations:

  • Per NRS 115.020(5), moving an already “homesteaded” property into your revocable trust, so long as you are its beneficiary, will not require you to re-file. However, if the beneficial owner changes, re-filing is necessary to secure the protection.
  • The exemption protects you up to $550,000 in equity, not just fair market value.
  • Obviously, claiming homestead protection will not protect you from your bank’s mortgage or home equity line of credit (NRS 115.010(3)), among a few other specific creditors.
  • A creditor can still place a lien against your property, but has no power to force its sale. However, if the property’s equity is greater than $550,000, then a judicial partition/forced sale is possible.
  • OJ Simpson famously took advantage of Florida’s unlimited homestead protection. It allowed him to move there, dump a ton of cash in a sprawling and expensive estate, and have it all protected from civil judgments that were eventually entered against him.

In short, taking an hour or so to follow through on filing a homestead declaration is worth your time. It’s a relatively simple process, inexpensive, and along with your homeowner’s insurance policy, the first line of defense in asset protection.