Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Five Tips for Applying for a US Business Visitor Visa

Five Tips for Applying for a US Business Visitor Visa

US Business Visitor Visa

If you’re going to be visiting the United States as part of a business trip, you need to apply for a US business visitor visa from your country of origin before arriving at your first US port of entry. This process will be complicated if you’ve never done it before, so make sure you follow these five tips as closely as possible if you want to minimize stress and maximize your chances of getting the visa as quickly as possible.

1) What is a B1/B2 Visa?

A B1/B2 visa is considered a visitor visa in that it allows foreign nationals to travel to and enter America for business purposes. There are multiple types of B1/B2 visas including tourist, business, investor, treaty trader, or treaty investor visas. The application process varies depending on which type of visa you apply for. For our purposes in writing our professional post, we'll focus on how to obtain a standard B1/B2 visa.

2) What is the Difference Between B1 & B2?

If you are planning to come to America temporarily on business, there are two primary visas you should know about. The B1 visa is appropriate if your plans will require you to spend no more than 6 months in total at any point, while B2 will allow you 6-12 months depending on how much time you'll spend outside of the United States. If your travel plans are uncertain, it's worth applying for both types of visas. Often times it's not clear how long an assignment will take until after you arrive, so just be honest and flexible with your application details. If there is doubt or confusion around your plans—ask! You can ask USCIS an officer designated by them at any time while applying for a visa during processing.

3) How do I apply for a B1/B2?

The process of applying for and obtaining a US business visa isn’t terribly complicated, but it can be intimidating if you aren’t sure what to expect. That’s why we put together these five tips on how to apply for a B1/B2 business visa. Read our tips below and you’ll know what documents to gather and how long each part of your application will take. Once you've applied, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about visiting the United States as a tourist or businessman (or woman). We hope these tips help answer some of your questions and make applying easier!

4) Do I need extra documents based on my citizenship?

US business visitor visas require that your trip to America is connected to commercial, professional, or other established trade relationships. However, different visa classifications may require additional documents depending on your citizenship. If you’re unsure what documents you need based on your nationality and/or type of visa, it’s best to consult with an immigration attorney before filing your application. Here are five things you should know about applying for a business visitor visa

5) Do I need to notify anyone I'm coming?

You don't need to notify anyone of your visit, but you should be prepared to prove that you have ties that will bring you back to your home country. While it's not required, provide supporting documentation showing financial stability, employment status, and/or future travel plans. If someone else is sponsoring your trip or inviting you as a guest of their business or organization, include documentation of these relationships. Showing someone is coming to see me may not be enough if they can't explain why you are visiting them specifically.

Conclusion

The business visitor visa is intended to make it easier for non-US citizens to come into the country on short notice to do business with companies based in America. The application process can seem daunting, but there are many resources available that can walk you through each step. I’ve outlined five tips below that will help make sure your application goes smoothly and you get approved quickly. Following these steps will ensure that your potential US customers won’t have any trouble contacting you while you conduct business in their country.

6 Simple Ways to Help Creative Agencies Get Clients on Board

6 Simple Ways to Help Creative Agencies Get Clients on Board

Creative Agencies Get Clients on Board

Most creative agencies struggle to make ends meet, simply because they are not able to generate enough leads and convert them into paying clients fast enough. Here are six simple ways any creative agency can increase its client base in the next 30 days with no extra costs whatsoever.

Establish Trust

If you want clients, you first need them to trust you. And there’s no better way to gain that trust than by showing your work. Show them your portfolio, talk about past projects, or hand over a well-written case study. It doesn’t matter what it is; if they see what you can do for their business, then they’ll start feeling more comfortable about working with you. Once you have their trust, it’s easier to get involved in strategic conversations and brainstorming sessions where hard decisions are made. After all, most of your success will be determined during these early stages of planning. Without enough client buy-in at this point in time, any agency worth its salt would walk away from a project—no questions asked.

Work Together

Even if you’re targeting a local market, it’s important to network and collaborate with like-minded individuals. It might seem counterintuitive, but there are numerous benefits of collaboration for creative agencies. You could form mutually beneficial partnerships by teaming up with another creative agency in your industry; find out what challenges they face and see if you can help them overcome those obstacles. And don’t forget: A good referral from another business or professional is one of your most valuable assets when it comes to getting clients on board.

Collaborate

Finding and working with a like-minded, talented partner or team can be a real asset. Having an in-house creative director for example means you’ll have someone who intimately understands what your business does, where it fits into your clients’ strategies and how you work as well as who isn’t afraid to voice an opinion when something feels off. That said, make sure that you not only see eye-to-eye but are also working in complementary spaces. One mistake that creatives sometimes make is spending too much time collaborating with other creatives when they should really be looking for ways to collaborate with people from different disciplines—particularly salespeople.

Offer Something of Value

Don’t just spam your potential clients with advertisements. Many of them are going to ignore you anyway, so it’s a waste of time and money. Instead, offer something of value that will make you stand out from competitors—like a free trial of your product or service. You might not see immediate results, but these little gestures can have a big payoff in long-term relationships. You don’t even need to go all out right away; instead, start with small things like email newsletters or simple downloads that show off your expertise. Take care of those who already know about you and they’ll be more likely to pass along positive word-of-mouth advertising once they do start working together.

Show Off Your Awards and Recognition

In your social media profiles, you should always include any awards or recognitions you’ve received. No matter how big or small they are, it’s still proof that you have experience and can be counted on for stellar work. If you don’t have any awards or recognition, start applying for grants now. It will look great when potential clients see it in your portfolio. And if they notice a lack of big-name brands/companies who love your work—they may think less of it. (Even if they don’t notice.)

Give Them an Experience

When you’re working with a creative agency, you want their work to reflect your own brand identity and values. A great way for agencies to do that is by having clients speak directly with team members during consultations or project kick-offs. There's a lot of ways they can facilitate that experience, says Aliza Sherman, Founder, and CEO of IAC Search & Media Marketing, whether it's setting up Skype calls or actually meeting in person. Giving your clients an opportunity for in-person interaction will not only demonstrate your agency's resources but will help them get excited about your partnership together.

Conclusion

While every agency is different, there are certain patterns that can be followed. The most obvious one is that creative agencies need to market themselves in order to get new business. We’ve come up with a few ideas here that have been proven successful time and time again by creative agencies of all sizes—but if you think there are some crucial steps we may have missed, please let us know in the comments below!

A Brief History of Holiday Shopping

A Brief History of Holiday Shopping

A Brief History of Holiday Shopping

1) Retailers may be decorating their stores earlier because they want shoppers to notice their selection earlier rather than later in December. 2) Companies use decorations as a way to lure customers into spending during what is traditionally a slower season at retail shops. 3) During WWI, holiday decorations became popular on store shelves as a way to boost morale among American citizens on behalf of US troops overseas. 4) Holiday decorations first became mainstream in Victorian England where streets were lit up by gas lamps. 

For centuries, people celebrated holidays at home by giving gifts and cooking festive dishes - until an increased interest in mobility led Americans out of their homes and into retail stores during the Industrial Revolution.

Holiday Shopping Get So Commercialized

What Used to be a Friendly Gift Exchange Has Become A Fight for Sales. On Black Friday, Christmas Eve, and even Halloween, people flood stores on their quest to get a good deal on gifts that they’ll probably just return anyways. The holiday season used to be a time for sharing with loved ones. Today it is just another excuse for consumerism. It has turned family traditions into credit card debt and brand loyalty into consumerism. While some argue that shoppers wouldn’t buy things if there weren’t sales, advertisers know that people will spend money if they are given an excuse to do so.

What People Don't Shop Locally Anymore

Many people don't shop locally anymore, but that wasn't always how things were. Local shopping used to be normal and became increasingly less common over time as retail chains rose to power and spread across the country. This was partly driven by technological advances—the rise of cars made going to places farther away more convenient—but it also happened because people wanted a wider variety of options than their local stores could provide. We’re now at a point where shopping locally is becoming trendy again and it's actually possible for merchants to thrive in today's ultra-competitive landscape with personalized service and smart merchandising strategies.

What People Spend Less On Gifts

Did you know that Americans spend less money on gifts today than they did 100 years ago? It's true. At its peak in 1920, total retail spending during December totaled $6.9 billion—which was equal to $98 billion in 2014 dollars (inflation-adjusted). During last year's holiday season, however, total holiday sales were just a third of that amount: $262 billion. Given these data points, it would seem strange that shoppers are spending more time and money on shopping today. How is it possible to spend less and still shop more?

Creating Special Traditions In Our Own Families

It can be easy to fall into a familiar cycle when it comes to holiday shopping. Year after year, we go to our local mall or big box store and hit up our usual suspects, following similar lists and stocking up on gifts that our friends and family have asked for. And while it’s important to give gifts that your loved ones really want, you don’t have to be a slave to habit; there are plenty of ways to mix things up and create special traditions in your own families.

Conclusion

Until relatively recently, most holiday shoppers spent their time and money supporting local businesses by shopping at Christmas Markets or visiting a department store downtown. Today, that’s changed dramatically; for many, shopping local means popping down to your closest outlet mall and picking up deals on mass-produced products manufactured in China. But why is it like that? What caused holiday shopping to become so commercialized? Well, as you might have guessed from today’s lesson on holiday shopping history, it was caused by a gradual shift away from small-scale localized production and toward large-scale standardized business models.

How to Stand Your Business up to the Covid

How to Stand Your Business up to the Covid

Stand Your Business up to the Covid

How to stand your business up to the covid? What does it take to ensure that your product or service can compete in the marketplace? The first step is finding an idea that has high potential, and then developing and refining it until you’re ready to launch. The second step involves doing everything possible to mitigate risk and show that you know what you’re doing. Here are some ways you can prepare your business to stand up against the competition so that your idea can grow and thrive into something much bigger than you ever imagined it could be.

1) No Debt

A critical component of starting a new business is not taking on debt. When you start a new business, your income is generally low and expenses are high. This means that even small payments can prevent you from being able to pay your other bills and can set off a cascade of problems in your life. The most important debt to avoid when starting a new business is credit card debt, which can spiral out of control quickly. There are times where borrowing money may be necessary - such as when buying inventory or opening an office - but if you find yourself spending beyond what you make or eating into savings, it’s time to reconsider how much debt you’re taking on.

2) Liquid Assets

The more money you have in liquid assets, like cash and investments, the easier it will be for you to sustain your business through a slower period. The problem is, cash isn’t a great asset when it sits idly; you need options. This is where earning interest and other returns on investment come into play—it allows you to capitalize on your liquid assets without having to move them around too much. It’s also possible that your income from one asset doesn’t match up with another. For example, if most of your money is tied up in stocks but you have bills due next week that can only be paid by selling bonds or real estate, earning an income from those assets will make all of these goals easier to meet.

3) Credit Cards

The biggest risk for small business owners these days is credit card fraud, which can quickly lead to huge losses. If you have a credit card machine for your store, be sure it has EMV technology built-in and use that instead of swiping cards manually. And you should probably get a separate bank account just for your business’s money so that your personal account doesn’t get drained because of fraudulent purchases. Start by opening an account with a small bank and online-only institutions are often easier to work with than traditional banks and credit unions. You may also want to consider using Square, Intuit GoPayment, or PayPal Here as ways to accept payments without dealing with cash in your store.

4) Savings Account

Opening a savings account for your business is key if you want to stand your business up against legal action. You might think you don’t have enough money to open an account, but you’d be surprised by how much interest can add up over time, especially with small amounts of money. Even saving $100 a month can translate into thousands in savings after just one year. Additionally, opening an account that requires multiple signatures might make it more difficult for someone else to take control of your business’s assets without your permission. If you have assets that need protection—like intellectual property or a patent—you might even consider opening a separate bank account solely for those assets and keeping them safe from potential litigation.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurs are optimistic and will always see ways their business could fail. If you have a plan and take small steps along your journey, you’ll always be prepared for any potential issue and won’t let anything get in your way of succeeding. Researching, planning, and preparing ahead of time are crucial elements of running a successful business—and they all start with having an overall strategy that is set in stone. Decide on which direction your business will take early on, be consistent as it grows, and don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from reaching your goals.

8 Tips for Saving Money With Business Insurance

8 Tips for Saving Money With Business Insurance

Money With Business Insurance

Business insurance can be confusing and complicated, especially if you don’t know the specific details about the policies offered by your insurance company. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Business insurance policy basics aren’t hard to understand, and knowing the ins and outs of your business insurance will help you save money and find all the coverage you need in one place. Here are ten tips to help you learn more about your business insurance options and how they can save you money over time.

1) Reduce Risks by Buying Properly

If you want to save money with business insurance, take time to get it right. You can reduce your risks and get a lower premium by buying good liability and property coverage and sufficient but not excessive worker’s compensation. This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t buy enough insurance. By picking up just a little bit more than you think you need, you could actually save quite a bit of money each year.

2) Know When to Use Keyword Phrases

When you’re writing about how to save money with business insurance, make sure to include money with business insurance in your title. Keyword phrases like these boost your post up in search rankings and allow you to attract targeted traffic. As an added bonus, it makes your content more shareable on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you’re not getting enough visitors from Google, try adding some keyword phrases into your content. You may be surprised by what happens!

3) Divide Your Coverage

Dividing your coverage by separating out your home and business insurance policies can help you save money on your insurance. For example, if you own a business in a low-risk industry and work from home, you might get better rates on insurance than if you had two separate policies. Be sure to compare quotes from different providers before making any decisions; it might be worth taking on some additional risk in order to save on premiums. After all, if you’re trying to save money with business insurance, every little bit helps!

4) Consider Adding Extra Limits

If you’re looking to protect your small business, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on insurance, consider adding extra limits or higher deductibles to existing coverages. For example, if you’re already carrying $1 million of liability coverage on your business vehicle but would like some more protection, talk with your agent about raising your limit to $2 million. Remember: always get estimates from multiple providers so you can determine which one provides you with adequate coverage at a reasonable price. It may also be worthwhile to shop around once a year – rates tend to change over time and it never hurts to see what else is out there.

5) Get Fewer Deductibles

Getting a low deductible on your business insurance will save you money. For example, if you have a home or auto policy with a $500 deductible, you’ll generally pay 10% of each claim ($50) before your coverage kicks in. If you opt for a $5,000 deductible on your business insurance policy instead, you’ll pay 15% ($750) before coverage takes effect. 

This makes it crucial to have enough assets set aside to cover that higher deductible. Also, keep in mind that some smaller companies might not be able to afford high deductibles without raising prices—and studies have shown that consumers are willing to spend more money if they don’t see price hikes on their invoices.

6) Take Advantage of Discounts & Special Offers

In most cases, you can save a lot of money on business insurance just by taking advantage of discounts and special offers. Before you start shopping, call your agent or insurance company and let them know what kind of business you run (there are many discounts tailored to specific industries). If your company operates in multiple states, ask about multi-state coverage; chances are good it will be cheaper than buying separate policies. Some agents may also be able to refer you to other companies offering discount rates for loyal customers. That's not only smart shopping—it's a good networking.

7) Don't Overinsure

When it comes to business insurance, you can never be too sure. That’s why you should always, always be overinsured. If your company is one of those that can't afford to pay claims when they inevitably arise, it's not worth getting insurance in the first place. Overinsuring means taking out more coverage than you think you need—the only way to make sure you'll be protected if something happens. As a general rule of thumb, if your annual revenue is less than $1 million, consider protecting yourself against potential risks with liability insurance or errors and omissions coverage—or both. You may also want to protect yourself with crime coverage if thieves are especially active in your area.

8) Look at Payouts in Detail

First, you need to get familiar with your business insurance policies’ payouts. Most small business owners know that they have coverage in case of fire or flood, but you should also take a look at your policies to see how much they’ll cover if someone sues you, if one of your employees injures someone in their home, or if you accidentally injure an employee at work. If any of these scenarios are relevant to your business, consider adding extra liability insurance so that in case something goes wrong with one of them, you’re protected. You can also opt for increased coverage limits in some areas so that when bad things happen, you aren’t out too much money.

Conclusion

There are many ways to save money on business insurance, from bundling policies to getting quotes from different companies. Be sure you have a complete understanding of your coverage and what you will need in your next policy so that you can maximize your savings. One of these tips might be just what it takes to get more bang for your buck with business insurance. For more information contact a local agent who has experience saving businesses money on their commercial coverages.

What to Look for in a Janitorial Service

What to Look for in a Janitorial Service

Look for in a Janitorial Service

If you run your own business, especially one in an office building, you probably think it’s worth it to invest in the best janitorial cleaning service you can find. But how do you know if you’re really getting your money’s worth? Luckily, there are some signs that will give you an idea of whether or not your janitorial service is doing its job right. Here are just three simple ways to evaluate janitorial cleaning service performance.

1) Verify Experience

When evaluating janitorial service providers, you want to ensure that they have experience cleaning your type of business. Ideally, they'll have served similar businesses with similar features. For example, if you own a restaurant, look for someone who has served other restaurants. Find out how often they clean each facility and whether or not it's all done by employees or through sub-contractors. An experienced service will have employees on staff that is dedicated solely to one facility so that attention can be paid specifically to your needs.

2) Verify Certifications

As with any business dealing, it’s important to verify that anyone or any company you’re thinking of working with has all the necessary certifications. For example, if your office is near an airport, you’ll want someone who has FAA certification. On top of being up-to-date on industry standards and local laws, it shows that they have taken their craft seriously enough to put in extra hours at school or on the job site. If an individual or service doesn’t have what you need, move on to another candidate – there are plenty out there! Also, keep an eye out for whether janitorial services have insurance – it’s a great added security measure.

3) Verify References

When checking references, you'll want to interview two or three past clients and ask them: How long did they work with your company? How would they rate your company's punctuality and reliability? What did they like most about working with your company? And what did they like least? Ask if you can speak with current clients, too. What can you find out from them about their experiences working with janitorial services in general and yours specifically? Make sure you get key information such as contract dates so that it is easy to evaluate how many of those references are still doing business with your company.

4) Verify Insurance

When you’re evaluating janitorial services, one of your priorities should be insurance. The last thing you want is to discover that your contractor does not have coverage when something goes wrong. With an accredited service, you can trust that they are properly insured, both physically and financially. The issue of insurance coverage alone should be enough reason to look elsewhere if your potential provider cannot or will not provide proof of insurance. It’s better to know before disaster strikes than after it's too late. Any reputable janitorial service will be able to provide proof of appropriate commercial liability insurance with any reasonable request, so don't settle for less!

5) Verify Customer Base

Look for companies that have more than five years of experience and a track record of good customer satisfaction. If you’re unsure if their references are legit, look them up on Yelp and see what previous customers have said about them. It’s important to note whether or not they’ve been around long enough to establish processes and service continuity. You shouldn’t do business with anyone who hasn’t been able to maintain positive feedback from their customers.

Conclusion

A janitorial service can be one of your most effective marketing and advertising tools, but only if you choose wisely. Evaluate cleaning service providers by considering some of these criteria: thoroughness, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and environmental. This way you’ll avoid being stuck with a janitorial service that doesn’t meet your expectations – or worse – leaves a bad impression on potential clients. Make sure your business is ready before you start looking for a janitorial service! Good luck!