posts

posts

UnitedLLC Supports the 2021 Special Olympics

UnitedLLC Supports the 2021 Special Olympics

United LLC also has supported the 2021 Olympics

UnitedLLC Certifies in Helping St Jude Children's ResearchHospital

UnitedLLC Certifies in Helping St Jude Children’s ResearchHospital

7 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

7 DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2021

1. Facebook is Stronger than Ever for Seniors.

The good news is that Facebook is still currently the #1 social media platform in the United States, with an impressive 41% of its users being over the age of 65. So for marketing that targets a senior demographic, there simply isn’t a better platform.

2. Chatbot Use will Increase.

Chatbots are a specialized form of software that acts as a virtual “concierge,” communicating with users and assisting them in completing their goals. Chatbots interact with humans in a natural way, primarily through the use of text chat windows, but verbal interactions are also possible.

3. Video is a Must.

A total of 73% of all Americans engage with YouTube. That means more than half of all Americans are watching videos just on one platform.

Look to video as an opportunity to share information with customers. What products or services do you provide to solve everyday problems? What makes your business stand out from the competition? Make sure your content is relevant and provides a benefit to viewers.

4. Live Video is a Separate–Yet Important–Thing.

One of the fastest rising stars in digital marketing is the use of live video. Part of this is due to the massive spike in streaming services, thanks to popular channels such as Twitch.

Live video offers an unedited “real” look into your business that customers appreciate. You can show off your authenticity on a variety of channels, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat– so you can choose the platform that’s best for you.

5. Good Content Still Matters.

Content marketing continues to be an essential component of digital marketing, although there’s an increasing emphasis on nuance in content.

So what makes good content? It’s not just about making posts everyday; the information you share should be informational, educational, and above all, relevant to the needs of your target audience.

Take time to focus on what makes your business unique, valued, and necessary. While sharing memes or participating in viral challenges can be a great way to build buzz, you need to share core information about your business in order to garner hot leads.

6. Email Marketing is Getting More Personalized.

Email continues to be a major channel of communication, with billions still using it for personal, commercial, industrial, legal, scientific, and academic purposes.

In the digital marketing space, email now has the strong capability to serve your customers with information that’s relevant to them. This is done through the use of email automations or artificial intelligence (AI) software.

With automations, relevant emails can be sent to your customers interact with other emails or your website. This way, you only have to write an email once– and your marketing platform takes care of the rest.

7. Voice Interaction is Going Up.

Thanks to Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and more, verbal interaction with devices is continuing to rise. It’s more important than ever to make sure your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is on-point. This way, search engines like Google can better understand what your business is all about, making appropriate suggestions to Siri and helping users easily find your business.

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

7 Exit Strategies For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

7 EXIT STRATEGIES FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND ENTREPRENEURS

1. Liquidation

This strategy refers to selling all of your assets and closing up shop. In some cases, this is the only option on the table for small businesses. This occurs when the business is reliant on a single person and there is no longer anything remaining to sell.

If you find yourself in this predicament, you will need to ensure your business is salable. You may consider restructuring the business so a buyer is able to properly take over and shorten the transition period.

2. Liquidation Over Time

With this option, business owners take either all or most of their business’s profits over time – this is prior to ultimately closing or selling a business, as opposed to reinvesting profits to enlarge the company.

In most cases, Liquidation Over Time is achieved by facilitating large dividends or salary drawdowns over a number of years prior to winding down a business. Moreover, if owners prefer to forgo an aggressive expansion of their business, in favor of maximizing their current lifestyle, this form of liquidation is optimal.

3. Keep Your Business in the Family.

A lot of small business owners go the route of setting up a limited company, with intentions of keeping their business family-owned. If the business is successful, this guarantees that the owner’s legacy continues on and supplies a living for their heirs.

4. Sell the Business to Employees and/or Managers.

Your managers or employees may be enthusiastic about acquiring your company. Take time to consider if you believe any of your team members would be interested in taking over. After this, you may consider a sit-down conversation and be clear about what this person will be acquiring, both good and bad. It’s important to show this person your respect and trust with your company’s future.

5. Sell to Another Company.

It may prove profitable to position your small business as a desirable acquisition. Companies purchase other businesses for various purposes, such as using a newly-acquired business to fast-track expansion, adding complementary business activities that can generate synergies, and removing the competition.

6. An Initial Public Offering

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) may be a viable exit option, depending on the type of business you have. When a company has matured to a point that you cannot receive large enough private investments, you may consider an IPO.

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

6 Pieces of Advice to Grow Your Small Business in 2021

6 PIECES OF ADVICE TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS IN 2021

With more competition than ever, it’s important to stay on top of market trends and be aware of the latest nuances in developing a strong business. Below, we have compiled a list of advice from some of our favorite entrepreneurs to help you strategize.

1. Work Toward a Higher Purpose.

“If your purpose is deep, your success will be meaningful. If your purpose is shallow, your success will be hollow,” says Michelle Tunno Buelow, founder of infant product retailer Bella Tunno. “Customers will feel gratitude from supporting you.” Her business provides one meal to a child in America for every product sold.

When you can connect your business with non-profit initiatives or social causes, you can build another layer of transparency, trust and reputation among your customers. However, you should not force your business to take on a cause or mission that doesn’t relate to you. Consumers can smell inauthentic businesses using social causes to sell their goods from miles away, and it can lead to a lot of online backlash.

2. Build a Strong Foundation.

“When you’re starting a business in your kitchen, you don’t think far ahead,” says Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals, a deodorant, soap, and toothpaste brand acquired by Unilever for an undisclosed amount in 2017. She advises business owners to keep audited financial records from the start. “The more history you have, the more sellable the company will be.”

3. Assemble an Advisory Board.

“A founder’s instinct is usually correct because they’re passionate,” says Scott, who bootstrapped her eponymous billion-dollar jewelry empire on credit cards and now boasts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as a major investor.

4. Learn the Business

“Start small and get in the game,” says Alex Rodriguez, the former New York Yankee, 14-time Major League Baseball All-Star, and partner to superstar Jennifer Lopez. A-Rod has helped bring the TruFusion fitness concept to the East Coast by opening two studios in South Florida. “Go narrow and deep on one or two things,” he advises.

5. Create a Culture that Aligns with your Brand.

“You need a great culture to have a great brand,” says Scott. “Fiercely protect it with ‘glass overflowing’ people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves.”

6. Look to the Future.

Keep in mind that the consumer landscape is always growing and evolving. “In 2010, 1.2 billion people were online. By 2015, it was 2.8 billion. By 2022, it will exceed 8 billion,” says Salim Ismail, founder of ExO Foundation, an online donation system. “Are your products and services set up for that market?”

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

6 Branding Tips for 2021

6 BRANDING TIPS FOR 2021

Your brand is your life force: it’s not only the image you project to your customers, but when built right, can also serve as a motivational tool for your team that helps them stay focused and motivated.

Below are 6 branding tips you can use in 2021 to help your business feel strong inside and out.

1. Focus On the Most Powerful Marketing Channels

There are a plethora of organic and paid online channels that you can use to promote your small business. It’s not important to get your name across every platform possible: some channels aren’t right for your target audience, and when you can’t keep up with posting on every channel, you can appear unorganized or drive business away.

When starting out on social media, it’s best to focus on 1-2 channels that you believe are appropriate for your industry and you know you can keep up with. Don’t be afraid to look to your competitors and see which platforms show the best results for them.

2. Build Customer Relationships Through Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies to stay in touch with expected customers. As it turns out, email marketing is still popular.

83% of people prefer email as one of the channels to receive promotions from brands they trust. This platform gives you a direct connection to your customers: you can send important updates and exclusive deals to keep existing customers happy and engaged.

3. Promote Your Best Content

Don’t let scanty budgets deter you from social media promotion or running paid campaigns. When you post high-quality content consistently on a few channels, you can focus on reviewing their performance and ensure they’re worth your time and money.

4. Tell a Unique Brand Story

When producing content, your goal is to build an audience for it.

“Our job is not to create content. Our job is to change the world of the people who consume it.” – Andrea Fryrear

When small business owners build a brand, they often look to large corporations such as Apple, Nike, and Target for inspiration. But you wouldn’t compare your finances to theirs, would you?

Our number one rule for branding is to make sure you can back up what you’re promising. While your brand can be aspirational for who you want to become, its heart should reflect exactly who you are and what you have to deliver. Otherwise, you can be setting customers up for disappointment and bad reviews.

5. Share Video Updates and Educational Videos

Visual content is big. In a survey of 300 content marketers by Venngage on visual content marketing, 45.5% predict that more than 80% of businesses would rely heavily on visuals as part of their marketing efforts.

Educational videos are a great way to establish your expertise. If you can’t afford a big production, consider using Facebook or Instagram stories to share quick updates. They add a personal touch to help humanize your small business and make you more relatable.

An idea to start: What questions do customers ask you the most? How do you solve this problem?

6. Claim Your Google My Business (GMB) Page

Over 60% of users use their mobile devices to search for local services, and over 80% of searches worldwide are done on the Google search engine.

Google My Business offers free tools that can help you drive customers to your website and share important information like your business address, hours, and phone number. You can also interact with your customers by responding to their reviews. Taking responsibility for both good and bad reviews reflects on your reputation and trust.

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

Tax Outlooks for Small Businesses in 2021

TAX OUTLOOKS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN 2021

Win or Lose in 2021?

Many small business owners should be excited for 2021. With a new year comes new opportunities, new ways to grow and new tax deductions.

20 Percent Tax Deduction

According to USA Today, small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible to deduct 20% of their income tax. Even though this is exciting news, it comes with a catch: Companies who are set up in a way where they don’t own their equipment but lease it won’t necessarily qualify for the deduction. This also plays into the requirements for the deduction. Companies set up as partnerships, S Corporations, and sole proprietorships qualify as long their annual income doesn’t exceed $157,000 for single tax filers and $315,000 for couples filing jointly.

100 Percent Bonus Depreciation

In Wealth Factory’s article, “2018 Tax Reform Details: 5 Big Wins for Small Business Owners”, they address new opportunities that small businesses can benefit from as a result of tax reform. Depreciation represents a large part of common tax deductions. Depreciation is where you are allowed to write off the wear and tear of certain property.

In 2002, Congress implemented the Bonus Depreciation Service to speed up this evaluation process and quickly save on taxes. In 2015, the depreciation deduction was increased to 50%. Now, the new tax reforms bump the deduction up to 100% and will stay like that until 2023. After 2023, it will slowly decrease each year.

Property that qualifies for this service includes personal property used for business purposes that is useful for 20 years or less; for example, cars, computers, software, machinery, equipment, and furniture.

Real property that is tied with the business, like real estate, does not qualify. It is highly recommended that business owners speak with their accountants to discuss the plan they could use when implementing the bonus depreciation.

The sales & income tax leaders vary as well. The Tax Foundation describes an individual tax burden as what a taxpayer has actually spent in local and state taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, these are the five highest state-local tax states:

  • New York 12.7 %
  • Connecticut 12.6%
  • New Jersey 12.2%
  • Illinois 11.0%
  • Wisconsin 11.0%

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

4 Tips to Grow Your Small Business

4 TIPS TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

Being an entrepreneur requires focus and determination that many small business and startup owners struggle with. This is natural. While 80 percent of small businesses survive in their first year; over 50 percent fail before 5 years.

Below, our team offers 4 tips on small factors that can help you establish a strong business from the start or strengthen your current ventures. You put hard work into your business. Now it’s time to work smart.

Use Smarter Hiring Strategies

For a rapidly-growing business, the hiring process may need to happen quickly to keep up with growing demand. But your company cannot survive on your enthusiasm alone.

A bad hiring decision is not only an expensive mistake to correct; it can even reverse some of the growth that your business has experienced and slow down its momentum. According to a report conducted by the Brandon Hall Group and Glassdoor, 95% of hiring teams admit that they have made a poor hiring decision. This can cost businesses thousands of dollars in recruiting, training, and lost revenue – even for entry-level hires.

Give yourself space to consider important factors like interest, experience, and how you see job candidates working with your team in the long-term. A hiring decision should not be made in haste.

Dedicate Time to Building an E-A-T Score

A great marketing strategy can be a catalyst that propels a business to the next level. But what comprises a stellar digital marketing campaign?

What you think is important about your business and what matters to your target audience may be wildly different. There are countless competitors vying for your target audience’s attention, and you cannot afford to rely on guesswork when creating your website or using social media.

Do your research on your potential clientele. We recommend following Google’s E-A-T score (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) to establish a strong connection with your business and what your customers are looking for.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it simple: Your website should give viewers the information they need fast.
  2. Include author bios on any blog posts to showcase your team’s expertise.
  3. Invest heavily in the technical security of your platform. Your website should always offer a secure connection for customers who submit their personal information to you. An SSL certificate is an easy way to ensure your customers’ information remains private.

Include Data Science in Your Startup Strategy

For larger startups, becoming a data-driven organization will be even more critical to your business’s growth and success in the upcoming year. According to Dresner Advisory Service’s report, more than half of businesses expect to incorporate Big Data into their strategies. There is no doubt that this trend will continue, especially given the fact that 87% of industry leaders have already integrated data science in some form.

If you want your business to continue to grow and succeed, it is essential that you put the systems in place to make digital adoption a reality, not just a dream. This means that every leader in your company must be using digital tools to help increase their productivity and base decisions and strategies on data. Each department should be using programs that make their jobs easier and smarter, such as analytics programs for forecasting or AI automations.

Remember that Generation Z is Coming of Age

As another year passes, it also means that an entire generation of consumers and employees are turning a year older as well. Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2012) will be starting to make a greater impact on businesses.

Sixty-one million Gen Z’ers will be looking for jobs in the next few years, and they are also expected to have even more influence and buying power than Millennials – as they are projected to be the largest generation of consumers in history.

United LLC’s team of experts is dedicated to helping you find long-term solutions for your business. Reach out and learn about our working capital solutions that can help your business grow.

GET STARTED

April 2021 Report: Small Business Optimism Index - NFIB

Editor’s note: this report initially appeared on www.nfib.com.

Optimism among small business owners continued its steady climb in April, with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increasing 1.7 points to 103.5. Sales improved in April, the inventory soft spot seen in last month’s report rebounded, and profit trends posted a very solid advance. Job creation plans gained, hiring remained strong, and expectations for sales, business conditions, and credit conditions all improved.

“America’s small and independent businesses are rebounding from the first quarter ‘shut down, slow down’ and don’t appear to be looking back. April’s Index is further evidence that when certainty and stability increase, so do optimism and action,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “The continued economic boom is thanks, in a major way, to strong growth in the small business half of the economy.”

A net nine percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, a four-point improvement, and the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes rose one point to a net 20 percent of owners. The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases fell three points to a net two percent (seasonally adjusted). This is consistent with the significant build up in the first quarter that added nearly one point to GDP growth, and owners slowed additions to wait and see how much customers reduced the excess stock.

The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” improved two points to a net negative four percent as fewer owners viewed stocks as excessive. The net percent of owners planning to expand inventory holdings rose from a negative one percent to two percent, a three-point gain, indicating that strong sales gains resolved the excessive Q1 inventory build and owners are ready to place new orders and build inventory.

“The ‘real’ economy is doing very well versus what we see in financial market volatility. Many jobs were created, and GDP produced with no substantive inflation pressure. The pace of economic growth has accelerated, and consumers and small businesses are an important part of the improvement in sales,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

The frequency of reports of positive profit trends improved five points to a net negative three percent reporting quarter on quarter profit improvements, a very solid gain. Twenty-seven percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, unchanged.

While investment spending has been solid for the past two years, more will be needed to make up for the years of weak investment spending starting in 2008. From the start of the recovery in Q3 2009 through 2016, the average percent reporting capital outlays was 54 percent and was as low as 44 percent (September, November, December 2009 and August 2010). After 2016, the average has been 60 percent, with a high of 66 percent reached in February 2018. Recent productivity numbers suggest that the revival in small business investment has started to pay off with gains in worker productivity.

United LLC recognized by Special Olympics for Ongoing Support

2019 special olympics annual fund drive certificate of appreciation - UA Supply Chain

United LLC recognized by Special Olympics for Ongoing Support

United LLC feels a tremendous responsibility to give back to the communities where we live and work. While we provide financial support to numerous charities, we also believe that the greatest, long-lasting impact we can make is to contribute our time, expertise, and resources to those in need.

United LLC has been proud to help the Special Olympics since 2017. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest amateur sports organization with more than 3 million athletes in the world.

Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. We are proud to support their efforts toward making the world a better, healthier and more joyful place—one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.

See more of United LLC’s charitable efforts.

How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

HOW TO SUCCEED AS AN ENTREPRENEUR

As an entrepreneur, life is not easy. You know that whether you make it big or you hit a brick wall, it is all in your hands. It is also in your control to deal with challenges and make them your stepping stones to success or let them weigh you down and force you to quit. There is no easy way out to make a success out of an entrepreneurial endeavor but there are things that you can do to increases your chances of hitting the bull’s eye.

Do not make impulsive decisions

Any decision you make affects not just your life but also the lifecycle of an entire business and the people who depend on it. Keep in mind, especially during decision making time because this thought will help you take things slow and invest time and attention before you make a move. Yes, it is necessary to move fast and grab opportunities but moving in to grab a deal does not mean you make poorly thought out decisions.

Let your instincts guide you

While this does sound like something a Jedi would recommend, it is never a bad move to trust your gut and listen to it. Entrepreneurs are not always prone to following the rules and going by traditional systems and this is usually what sets them apart and gives them successes that bigger, more conventional businesses cannot hope to achieve. It is important for you to listen to your inner voice because you know your business in and out, far better than anyone else, even experts do.

Rely on team work

Whether this means you call in all the co-founders or everyone with a stake in your business for a pow- wow or it just means you are taking the views of your staff into consideration, working as a team is in your best interests. At the very least, you are exposed to a variety of new ideas, some of which you may not even have considered. At best, you are leveraging the varied skill sets of your team to evaluate a problem or decision from all possible angles so that you know exactly what the situation is.

Getting your team together to handle big decision making is also a smart management move that involves your people more deeply in the business, gives them more emotional stake in it and thus, build better loyalty.

4 Ways to Market Your Business for Free

4 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS FOR FREE

1. Create local awareness.

Gaining coverage in local papers, trade magazines and websites can greatly increase name recognition and educate people about your business – driving new customer acquisition. While many growing businesses in competitive landscapes may want to hire an expensive public relations firm, startups and small businesses can start off with some simple “do-it-yourself” PR.

2. Increase lead generation and customer engagement with email marketing.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ascend2, email is the most effective digital marketing tactic, the one that delivers the best ROI and the least difficult to execute.

3. Leverage social media.

It’s free, easy to get started and offers a massive network of potential customers. The hard part is increasing your followers without wasting your precious time. Make sure you focus on value over volume. Identify the social channels that reach your customers best – including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and the new guy, Ello. The goal is to provide your followers with something that’s useful, interesting and shareable. Start small, post a few times a week and learn who your audience is. Once you have an understanding of who’s consuming your content, and what they’re interested in, you can start ramping up efforts.

4. Stand on the shoulders of your customers

Satisfied clients can be a business’s best marketing tool. Actively engage pre-existing clients through PR, social media and email.

Marketing a small or new business is extremely crucial to a company’s success but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invest a huge chunk of capital into it. Savvy, frugal entrepreneurs can find products and services that can help increase visibility and drive customer acquisition – without spending any overhead.

Qualifying as a Government Contractor

QUALIFYING AS A GOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR

You may take it for granted that your company is a “small business.” The distinction is important if you wish to register for government contracting as a small business. To be a small business, you must adhere to industry size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration. As you register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (SAM), you will also self-certify your business as small.

The SBA, for most industries, defines a “small business” either in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months, or average annual receipts over the past three years. In addition, SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

  • Is organized for-profit
  • Has a place of business in the United States
  • Operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor
  • Is independently owned and operated
  • Is not dominant in its field on a national basis

The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or any other legal form. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences, such as size standards.

Size Standards

Because all federal agencies must use SBA size standards for contracts identified as small business, you need to select NAICS codes that best describe your business and then determine if the business meet size standards for the selected NAICS codes. Use our Size Standards Tool to find out if you qualify as a small business. Once you have determined you are indeed a small business, you can then certify your business as small by registering as a government contractor.

Contracting Resources for Small Businesses

CONTRACTING RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Small businesses interested in pursuing federal contracts have many options available to represent their company to potential buyers, to research the federal marketplace for available opportunities, and understand the competition. To prepare your business for federal contracting opportunities, it is important for you to understand these resources.

System for Award Management

If you are ready to bid on federal contracts, it’s necessary to submit your business profile to the primary database that federal agencies use to locate contractors. To send your business “resume” to the government, register a business profile with the System for Award Management, also known as SAM. Agencies can search for your business based on several factors, including capabilities, size, location, experience and ownership.

Dynamic Small Business Search

The Small Business Administration maintains the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. As a small business registers in the System for Award Management, there is an opportunity to fill out your small business profile. The information provided populates DSBS.

FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities

Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed at FedBizOpps: Federal Business Opportunities. Federal agencies are required to use this site to communicate available procurement opportunities and their vendor requirements to the public and interested potential vendors for all contracts valued over $25,000.

USASpending.gov

USASpending.gov is your source for information about government spending through contracts awarded by the federal government. The website is a searchable database that contains information for each federal award.

OSDBU

Many federal agencies have what is known as an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work within their agencies to identify opportunities to incorporate small businesses as vendors to their agencies. Each agency releases a forecast of anticipated procurement activities that includes potential small business opportunities.