Tax Refund vs. Eligible Income

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With Tax Time soon approaching, we feel obligated to remind you of our continued advice about the best methods to prepare your tax returns if you plan on applying for Business Financing in the future.

With Trevor’s 30 years as a Mortgage Loan Officer, he saw this time and time again. While the tax professionals and CPAs might do a marvelous job of getting a Self-Employed Business Owner a GIANT REFUND (or simply lowering the tax bill) these folks never seem to have a discussion with their clients about the long term ramifications of such deductions/lowered income.

The “look back” period to qualify for a mortgage is 2 years; for a business loan of any type, it’s 3 years. That means the Lender will take those “Bottom line” numbers and average them for the time period in question (2 or 3 years) and create a qualifying income. When Schedule C shows a loss or minimal income over the time period, well, do the math. It ain’t pretty.

For a Self-Employed Borrower with a Schedule C (including many LLCs), lowering the net income on Line 31 by deducting oodles of expenses lowers the potential loan. IRS does not “require” anyone to deduct expenses; this is an “option” which helps to lower tax liability. BUT it also reduces a Borrower loan qualification by lowering income.

Whenever you complete a tax return you don’t have to deduct expenses! This feature of a tax return allows you to lower your tax liability.

BUT IT ALSO LOWERS YOUR INCOME.

And for any Loan you may request in future (up to three years later) the Lender will use that bottom line income to calculate your qualifications.
Take extreme care and think long term strategically before making a final decision on a tax return.

Be sure to watch our YouTube video about the “LOOK BACK” period!

We are scheduling FREE 15 Minute Phone Consultations to review disaster financing eligibility and qualifications.

Apply for Disaster Financing

Here we outline several fundamental concepts you can follow that helped Trevor to successfully submit hundreds of approved mortgage applications. Trevor was a Mortgage Loan Officer for 30+ years; we continue to use these principles now to assist Small Business Owners like YOU to get SBA and other Disaster financing:

📌 ALWAYS Apply. Don’t “disqualify” yourself.

📌 Don’t leave anything blank. When something doesn’t apply to you on the application form write “N/A”. If application requests a numerical value and it’s a ZERO then enter “0”.

📌 Use the last four digits of account numbers for credit accounts. The Loan Officer will see the credit accounts on your credit report. Putting the last four digits helps match your application information with the credit report. In other words, don’t enter “FirstBank VISA”

📌 Enter full and accurate account numbers for each bank account in the assets section of an application. Whenever possible, enter type of account “checking” “savings” etc.

📌 The more complete an application, the better your chances of approval and the more efficient your process. TREVOR’S GOLDEN RULE ABOUT APPLICATIONS: Your Loan Application is the “roadmap” the “instruction manual” that guides the lending decision-makers about your qualifications.

📌 Review and revise your application for accuracy (including adding up the math and correcting spelling mistakes. Use the “Carpenter’s Rule” when you complete an application: “Measure twice, cut once.”.

📌 Match your personal and business information EXACTLY to supporting documents. If your business bank account is under the name “Trevor’s Handsome Dude Pool Service LLC” be sure that’s the same name that appears on your application documents. Same with tax returns and other supporting documents. SPELLING COUNTS.

📌 FRONT LOAD the application. Find out what documents are required and submit them with the initial application whenever possible. Make the Loan Officer’s job easier, you’ll have a more positive experience as a result.

📌 Documents submitted in a quality format. PDFs only: NO PHOTOS! Clear, legible scans. Always try to “label” documents such as “ABCBank JAN 2021 statement” or “Trevor Driver License” Again: when you make the processing staff and Loan Officer job easier, you get a better result.

📌 NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. Be tenacious, be politely persistent. If a Loan professional or Lender provides a negative response, ask “Why?” and “What can we do to move this application to a favorable position?” and “What other information can I provide that helps support a positive decision for my application?”

Small Business is the BACKBONE of the American economy. Know that, own that, don’t let them tell you “No.”

The money is there for you to get it; your business deserves it. Feel no shame about asking for assistance to help your Small Business survive this horrible COVID-19 disaster.

Schedule a FREE 15 Minute Phone Consultation to review how you can secure the financing you’re entitled to as a Small Business Owner.

Don’t forget to BOOKMARK this page to stay updated on our SBA Disaster Financing Updates.

Schedule a FREE 15 Minute Phone Consultation to review how you can secure the financing you’re entitled to as a Small Business Owner.

Don’t forget to BOOKMARK this page to stay updated on our SBA Disaster Financing Updates.

It Ain’t a Stimulus until It’s Law

SBA Failed the American Small Business owner during the COVID in the way it implemented the EIDL program guidelines as set forth in the CARES Act.

Under the CARES Act provisions for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), SBA was to provide a totally-forgivable Grant of $10,000 PER BUSINESS paid within 3 days of filing application for EIDL program online. There was never any requirement or provision of anything different from that simple language in the Legislation.

SBA subsequently and arbitrarily changed the Grant to a distribution of $1000 per employee, along with capping EIDL loans at $150k when they’re supposed to go up to $2M as per Congressional Legislation.

The $1000 per employee nonsense was exactly that, complete nonsense and a violation of The CARES Act and a capricious and arbitrary decision by SBA without direction or permission from Congress.

CONGRESS DECIDES HOW U.S. TAX DOLLARS ARE SPENT, NOT FEDERAL AGENCIES.

When taken to task in a Senate hearing, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both replied like Ralph Kramden, “Hummina…hummina…hummina…” and meekly stated that they made these arbitrary decisions to change the program (and ignore Congressional mandate) because SBA was worried they would “run out of money”.

Imagine if the US Navy was in danger of running out of money? Would they stop sailing ships and flying fighters? NO. They would ask Congress for more money.

THAT is the most massive #FAIL on the part of SBA Administration (and Treasury, for their part) in not returning to Congress to request additional funding.

In making these decisions, SBA failed in its fiduciary duties to the American Small Business owner. FYI: In the currently proposed Second Stimulus Legislation, Congress made sure to hold SBA accountable by requiring definitive reporting deadlines that SBA must return to Congress to report on progress of the funding of the various programs.

You can watch the Hearing here.

We strongly urge EVERYONE to stop watching all the alleged YouTube experts expounding on the exact rules of the new Stimulus. When this is actually signed into LAW, SBA still has to create the RULES.  Until SBA creates the RULES, NO ONE can say with any certainty what they are.  Not me, not anyone.  We can only interpret what we read. I read the Legislation several times.  To Trevor’s practiced eye (30 years lending with Government programs), some language remains unclear and confusing.

Our interpretation—and that’s all it is—doesn’t mean a hill of beans until SBA MAKES THE RULES.  Instead of watching YouTube “experts” watch kitten videos.
It could prove to be a better use of your time.

EMAIL US with any positive experiences you have had, we would love to hear from you.

Schedule a FREE 15 minute call to review any complications you’re having with your disaster loans.

Submitting documents to SBA

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If you’re submitting documents to the SBA, you’ll  need to do it the RIGHT way to ensure a smooth process! Here’s our advice (based on Trevor processing loans for over 30 years) on the best way to submit documents:

1. PDF ONLY. No photos, no other file types. With the volume of documents and applications they’re working on, SBA Loan Officers simply do not have the time to convert your documents to PDF. They’ll probably set it aside until they have time.

2. Separate PDFs for separate documents. A PDF of a voided check should be separate from a PDF of a photo ID and etc. When SBA has to separate your documents from a single PDF it slows down your entire process.

3. Label the PDF on your end. For example of a labelled PDF: “COMPANY NAME YTD Income Statement JAN 1 to SEP 30 2020” or “COMPANY NAME Voided Check”

4. List the documents you’re submitting in the body of the email. For example, SUBJECT LINE: “Company Name: Documents submitted DATE”. Then, in the body of the email: “Attached to this email: YTD Income Statement JAN 1 to SEP 30 2020, Voided Check, Photo ID”

5. We recommend using the NOTES App on your iPhone to scan documents. Ridiculously easy.

6. BEST Scanning app of all: “ADOBE Scan” which you can download to your smartphone from your respective app store.

7. When scanning with your smartphone, keep the document within the scanning borders. Most often the scanning app will give you a highlighted “border” for the document.

8. Always scan documents on a flat surface and scan straight, not slightly tilted.

Watch our WTF Wednesday video where we discuss why these are important.

Schedule a FREE 15 minute call to review any complications you’re having with your disaster loans.

Frustrated with Calling the SBA

We know how frustrating it is to spend time and energy following up with the SBA on the status of Your EIDL loan or Reconsideration request!

We’re sharing our experiences from having worked on dozens of EIDL loans and our interactions with SBA Agents. We want to you to know you’re not alone in your frustration, but also to help you to understand how the system works.

1. WE LOVE SBA AGENTS! Every call we experience an SBA Agent who is very professional and eager to help business owners obtain the EIDL financing they need to survive this pandemic.

2. SBA Loan Officers are, to quote an SBA Agent, “Working 15 hour days” on loan requests and reconsideration requests.

3. Okay, once you understand the value of the intrepid SBA Agents and how enthusiastic and hard-working they are, let’s discuss the frustrations of follow up.

4. We did a video on “How To Speak With An SBA Agent” we recommend you watch that for tips on how to make your follow up call.

5. Next, know that SBA Agents don’t always have a complete picture on your loan status. Their system has notes about your file’s progress with “Codes.” We don’t know what those codes are, but let’s hypothesize that a typical code could be something like this: “9837: IRS Form received” or “9822: Email sent to Applicant”.

Trevor has seen coding like this in his previous career as a Mortgage Banker. It’s an efficient way for a system to track the progress of a file.We’ve spoken to a couple of Agents who told us they don’t know what some of the Codes mean when a file is in the Reconsideration system.

6. Apparently, the Reconsideration Team works like a “Black-Ops” enterprise. SBA Agents can’t speak with them and their Codes can’t be deciphered by the SBA Agent you call for a status.

7. Beware of general statements made by an SBA Agent such as “Reconsideration processing times are 5-6 weeks.” Another Agent told us that is not true; she’s seen Reconsiderations take substantially longer. She said the other Agent should never have made that statement. Moral of the story: Take anything an SBA Agent says on general matters with a grain of salt.

8. Don’t think you’re going to call and get very clear guidance. The SBA is STILL overwhelmed with the number of new and Reconsideration requests. There’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of confusion, and long waiting times.

9. Remain consistently vigilant, and always polite. Check in regularly on your file. You won’t always get a definitive answer, but once in a while you might discover the SBA sent you an email that you didn’t know they sent! We’ve seen that happen…the email was sitting in the client’s spam folder. Other times, no such email was received. Moving parts. Confusion. Not quite controlled chaos.

10. Patience is a virtue. We know you need this money to help you survive this pandemic. We know the SBA is working diligently. We also know that sometimes some folks in an organization (Bank, SBA, etc.) get a file and it sits there waiting its turn because that person in the organization is overwhelmed, confused, slow, or, maybe, just maybe, even lazy. Think of the real world and how folks work in your business; the SBA is no different.

Contact us with questions or maybe with some good news you’ve experience contrary to our unabashedly vocal disappointment.

Schedule a FREE 15 minute call to review any complications you’re having with your disaster loans.

Small Business Must Roll the Dice

This comment in an online forum about SBA EIDL loans says it all about two key concepts:

“…who knows what this winter is gonna be like here so I’m afraid to give it back yet.”

The business owner has EIDL monies left over and had considered (oh so briefly) prepaying the loan with the remainder of the monies. And then the new surge hit.

Concept #1: Utilization of EIDL monies as a way to replace lost revenue for working capital due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no finish line; no concrete timeline; complete uncertainty.

If you have not used all your EIDL monies, we recommend holding on to the funds through the coming months. You want to have a better understanding of a “diminishment” of the COVID-19 pandemic to such a level that there’s no fear of upcoming possible lockdowns where you have to close your business. Likewise, to know there’s no upcoming lockdowns to gauge if you will have customers coming through the door.

Concept #2: “who knows what this winter is gonna be like…” speaks to the SBA’s continuing failure to recognize the drastic difference of this disaster from all “traditional” natural disasters. The EIDL processing guidelines and the Loan Agreement and the lack of clear, unambiguous guidance on how to use the monies from and EIDL all need to be addressed by the Administrators of SBA.

We’re eight months into this pandemic; that’s more than enough time for this Federal Agency to have created at the very least some better guidance on how to use the monies beyond stating, “Working capital” in the Loan Agreement.

Business owners are terrified to use the funds incorrectly, many of them saying, “I don’t want to go to jail!” This is absurd.

SBA! Please, please, please, we are begging your Administration, recognize the unique features of the COVID-19 pandemic disaster and modify your guidance for EIDL funds so that business owners can use the money without fear of contravening the terms of their Loan Agreements!

We’re all holding on out here for this disaster to end. We’re all holding on out here, trying to survive and keep our business’ doors open. We’re all holding on for more detail from SBA and a resiliency to the fact this disaster is like no other disaster in American history.

Contact us with some good news if you are in a position to know what is going on in the background of this nonsense.

Old News on EIDL LOANS

Linda Rey manages the marketing for our business financing practice. She recently posted relevant information on Reddit about our recent experiences with EIDL loans, both new applications and the Reconsideration process. A troll responded with, “Old news.”

COVID-19 is ongoing with no definitive end point in sight.

Old news” doesn’t describe the continuing inquiries we receive from anxious business owners. A quick scan of any relevant online forum about EIDL programs reveals the simple truth: business owners still struggle with EIDL loans they’ve obtained (utilization) and fighting for monies they need to survive.

The U.S. Congress and the Small Business Administration (The SBA) responded with amazing alacrity in the early days of this crisis to provide vital support to Americans and American businesses. Yes, there’s been tremendous chaos around those initiatives.

In our opinion, that chaos, specifically about EIDL program loans, arises from two sources.

First is the overwhelming number of requests. According to an SBA Press Release on October 28th, 2020, SBA has funded nearly 9 million loans worth $7 billion. Chaos or not, the SBA did an incredible job of helping American businesses with the two COVID-related loan programs, EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Our second opinion about the chaotic state of SBA EIDL response focuses on the SBA’s internal operations mindset. We mentioned in our introduction the drastic difference between a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood or wildfire, and the COVID-19 disaster. This pandemic is like no other disaster ever experienced in American history. And yet, with all their heroics on the frontlines performed primarily by the amazing SBA agents, loan officers, and processing staff, the upper level SBA Administration applied standards more relevant to the traditional natural disaster phenomenon.

To this day, we are dumbfounded by the SBA’s Administration’s failure to radically adjust the thinking and ultimately guidelines and processes for the EIDL program.

As amazing as our Government’s response has been to the financial uncertainties of this pandemic, there is surely more assistance to come in the future. As of this writing there is no second stimulus package negotiated or finalized in Congress. It is our opinion this will change as the pandemic moves into the second year of human distress. With any future stimulus package there are sure to be improvements and revisions to existing SBA programs.

Presenting this information at this time, in our professional opinion, will help business owners understand the basics of the EIDL program in anticipation of just such changes. When you install a fire extinguisher in your house, you probably took a moment to read the directions, didn’t you? Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but a basic understanding of when and how to use the extinguisher will surely come in handy in the event of catastrophe.

We welcome any questions, comments or concerns you may have if it means some insight or assistance to help sustain your business.

Summarize your Finance Package

Summarizing your finance package can help to prioritize how your banker reviews your financing request.

We recently submitted a client’s financing request to one of the Lenders on our lending matrix.  Our Lender Rep. said, “Holy cow, you guys are on top of it with your summary. Not many brokers make it this easy to review the package.”

We made it easy because the client provided us with their financials. The financials were comprehensive. It’s a multi-million dollar corporation and we’re at the early stage of presenting to the lender. We want to show something that’s easily digestible. We want to ease  the process for the lender to give us a prompt review and tell us their interest in offering the financing.

Summarizing your financials is easy to do.  When you have a lot of line items that lead up to one type of deduction or one type of income source, simply summarize it. Drop it down to as few lines as possible so the lender can do a quick review and say,  “Okay, I see the picture here.”

The Lender doesn’t need to know the granular line-by-line details at this early stage; you want the Lender to give a fast review to gauge their interest. If the Lender expresses interest and offers a Letter of Intent for the financing, you can present the more detailed financials with your full loan application package.

For each client financing request, we write a summary statement. We present a one or two page statement describing some background on the business, the reason for their financing request, and, in bold, large font, the amount of our financing request.

Our presentation package for the initial Lender review is compact, yet complete.  The “first glimpse” by a Lender is sufficient to tell us if that particular Lender is the right fit for our client’s request, or if we need to locate a different Lender.

If you’d like a copy of our Documents Checklist, click HERE.

If you have questions on the best way to present your financing request to a Lender, email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz and we’ll be happy to provide advice.

COVID-19 Recommendations For Your Business Survival

We were recently invited to attend a professional event as guest speakers. At first we thought we would attend via video conferencing. We then discovered that the event organizers expected us to physically visit their office to participate in the event. This raised serious concerns for us, especially since Trevor was ill with COVID-19 over the Summer.  We sent an email to the event organizers expressing concerns and asking a series of questions about their safety protocols.

As soon as we hit the “SEND” button, we realized they could have been more proactive in providing information to us FIRST about the safety protocols. Thus was inspired the following advice to our business owners. We hope you will find this useful. We welcome comments about this advice.

DO MORE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND MESSAGING

The time is right for you to help your customers with concerns about visiting your business. Step up your safety protocols and your message about those protocols. Many more Americans are aligned with recommended safety guidelines including mask-wearing and social distancing. As a business trying to survive through this pandemic, get the word out to more people that you understand their concerns.

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis your customers have concerns about meetings outside of their home or office. Be proactive in your understanding of their concerns. Apart from any local, State or Federally mandated safety protocols, determine how you can add to those fundamentals. If you’re not required to provide free masks, do it anyway. If you’re required to have a certain size of plexiglass divider, install larger dividers. If you’re required to have a specified number of hand sanitizer stations, add more.

You can’t really go “over the top” during this pandemic; the more you do to acknowledge the concerns of your customers about their own safety and that of your employees, the better the likelihood of increasing your customer attendance.

Once you’ve done that, then you need to “go tell it on the mountain” and broadcast the level of protections you’ve implemented.

Get the word out through every channel possible. Your messaging could include a phrase like this: “We want to provide you with assurances of safety protocols before you visit our store/restaurant/office. We want you to feel safe during these uncertain times.”

With messaging like this, you are both acknowledging the “pain points” that many people are feeling and you are increasing the numbers of customers likely to visit. It’s not enough to attract customers who already feel more comfortable going out and about during the pandemic with less anxiety; you need to pry the other, more anxious customers out of their protective environments.  Your message and your protocols will accomplish that goal.

Take a proactive stance that can only raise your customer’s confidence in your attempts to keep them safe. We have some suggestions for advance messaging before a customer visits your office/store/restaurant:

  1. Consider providing a list of the safety protocols you’ve implemented. On the list, note which ones are government recommended and which ones you’ve added for the extra level of caution.
  2. The next suggestion is a really difficult concept because you are acknowledging the customers’ concerns in a way that many businesses fail to do. Essentially, you’re going to remove some of the burden of safety precautions from the customer.

While it may seem that the following questionnaire might frighten away people, we believe the opposite to be true: you will actually attract more customers.

Understand that the vast majority of Americans are already worried about being infected with the COVID-19 virus. Ignoring that concern, assuming that everyone is taking precautions into their own hands or trusting a business with only minimal safety protocols is a fatal mistake for a business trying to survive the pandemic.

Become a “partner” with your customers by acknowledging their worries. Create a dialogue to demonstrate your intense interest in their safety and that of your employees.

We recommend that you include in your messaging these additional information points about your focus on the safety of your customers and employees:

  • Describe how many other people will be in attendance on the day of the event/meeting/reservation, including before and during your customer’s visit.
  • Provide detailed descriptions of the protocols in place currently at your business.
  • Provide a diagram of the business space demonstrating the measurements in relation to your customer’s ability to maintain social distancing. Note the plexiglass and hand sanitizer locations on the diagram.
  • We recommend you send a questionnaire to customers either before they attend a meeting at your office or visit your store/restaurant. Make this questionnaire part of your safety protocols in advance of the customer’s visit.

We know that many businesses are providing a short form of this questionnaire only at the moment of entry. In our opinion, while this is compliant with recommended guidelines, it doesn’t do enough to soothe the worries of many more people. And you want to attract as many customers as possible to survive this pandemic.

We’ve set up a minimal questionnaire. You’re welcome to copy this and use it along with your local, State or Federally-mandated questionnaires:

Please REPLY to this email with your answers to the following questions so that we can assure your safety of you and the safety of our other customers:

  • What is your personal opinion on mask-wearing requirements? 
  • Do you wear masks constantly, occasionally, rarely, or never?
  • Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been in proximity recently with someone diagnosed with the virus?
  • Have you attended a social or professional event with more than six people in the last 30 days?

We recommend you provide this questionnaire, along with the list of safety protocols at the moment a customer confirms attendance at a meeting or even when they make a reservation at your restaurant. We know that many business owners may be fearful that such communications may actually scare customers away. Frankly, we cannot imagine how your interest in clear communications and a dedication to customer/employee safety can be more frightening than the actual COVID-19 virus!

Remember that you want to attract the customers who are taking extreme precautions. They may even be the customers reluctant to venture out of their homes.

Wishing you the best during these difficult times! Stay safe, stay well.

 

The Truth About Credit “Repair”

The most fundamental truth and reality check is this: a consumer cannot “remove” an account that is legitimately your account that is showing on your credit report.

While the account may appear to removed during the dispute process on the report provided by the credit bureau, the reality is that account is most likely to return to a credit report at some time in the future because it’s your account.  This is true whether it’s a positive or negative account.

In other words, if that account was truly yours to begin with, it’s going to reappear at some point on the credit report.  The confusion arises from the dispute process. During the dispute, the credit bureau is required by law to remove the disputed account from the credit report while they investigate the validity of the information with the original creditor.

Often, the bureau provides an updated report showing the removal.  And the investigation process, required to be only 30 days by law, often takes longer. Thus, the credit bureau “extends” the 30 day investigation period, and representing to the consumer that the information has been removed during the investigation.

This is the part where you need to pay attention.

This is one of the major frauds of the entire credit repair concept.  Once the credit bureau receives the accurate information from the original creditor, that account goes back onto the credit report.

A credit report can only be “repaired” to the extent that incorrect information can be amended to accurately reflect:

  • Correct status of an account (such as paid)
  • Removal of a duplicate account (often happens when a minor discrepancy in account balance or account number is reported by the creditor)
  • Removal of an account from a family member with the same name that appears on your credit report (John Jones Sr. mortgage appears on John Jones Jr. report)
  • Correct name misspellings or home addresses, and other personal identifying information of that nature.

Closed accounts aren’t necessarily the problem with improving a credit score.  That’s only one component of the overall scoring algorithm. What most consumers with decent credit misunderstand is their use of their current accounts. Such as, the more legacy accounts you have open and active today, with 50% or less utilization (relative to credit limit) and an on-time payment histories, will generate a better score.

Even with a higher utilization of 50% or more on several revolving accounts, assuming 3-5 active accounts with two years or longer histories and active use, scores can be very good and even excellent.

Please reach out for any further clarification. This is where we see most consumers flail with thinking through the process of “repair” and/or hiring someone to manage the minutia, which will only result in frustration and regret.

When we work with our business financing clients, we include a merged credit report with Classic FICO scores from Experian and Equifax as part of our qualification process from the very beginning.

Most Lenders won’t run a credit report until late stages of the loan application process. Our method helps us to understand and advise the business owner of any challenges on the credit report that may impinge on our ability to secure financing from a Lender.

Trevor, our Chief Financing Rock Star, was a Mortgage Banker for 30 years; credit is one of his areas of special expertise.

Reach out to discuss what you may be experiencing that is contrary to this or perhaps inhibiting you from moving forward in a financing request you’re currently pursuing.

Download our E-Book, “Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy”. Maybe you haven’t filed for bankruptcy; you will still pick up some tips in this ebook.

You Want to Repair Your Credit

We want you to have peace of mind that, should you need to apply for business financing, you’ll be prepared to keep your business going through this or any unexpected crisis.

If you are considering business financing in the future, or simply want to know what to do and how to go about applying for business financing, Aurora Consulting offers a flat fee consultation to help navigate the bumpy road, the treacherous waters of financing.

We review all aspects of what’s required in a loan application including your credit report, financial statements, business plan and marketing plan. We review with you items in your credit report and what happens when you try to repair your credit.

Our consultation includes a credit report with real credit scores from Equifax and Experian.  These are the “Classic FICO” scores only available to financial services institutions.  These scores can be radically different from the scores available to consumers.

When we run the credit report, we assess any challenges that could affect your loan application in the future.  More importantly, we’ll give you the correct advice, based on decades of experience in lending and based on current experience working successfully with Lenders on business loan applications, to address any challenges on your credit report.

What makes us crazy is when a new prospective client says, “I’m holding off for now because I want to take care of my credit report.”

There is no way a business owner can know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable to a Bank for business financing.
We can, and we do know.

Worse, in our experience, more often than not, people take actions to “take care” of their credit that actually does not help them in the business loan process. Sometimes, what they think they’re doing to help, makes their credit worse!

4 things NOT to do with your credit report:

  1. Don’t pay off Collection or Charge Offs or Judgments. Many times these accounts don’t affect a loan approval depending on type of account and amount.  Plus paying these accounts off can lower your credit score dramatically.
  2. Don’t pay down credit card balances.  You may pay down the balance to a level that seems worthy, but actually could have a negative effect on your score.
  3. Don’t pay credit card balances to zero.  If an account has a zero balance, the credit scoring system has nothing to score!
  4. NEVER pay anyone to “repair” or “restore” your credit. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you’re paying for something you can do yourself. And the “guarantees” these companies offer often fail to materialize. Read this article for credit repair scams.

EMAIL NOW if you want to explore how your credit could impact your financing.

Download our EBOOK on how to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. This information was curated after 30 years of reading thousands of credit reports.

We Anticipate Problems to Create Solutions

Our Process Anticipates Problems, Creates Solutions

The good news is that Banks are lending again on a limited basis for non-disaster loan requests.  The bad news is that the loan products are limited and the underwriting guidelines are very, very restrictive.

Many industries/businesses are excluded from loan programs.  Banks simply cannot determine yet the viability of the businesses to survive the pandemic. Risk is too high and thus doors to the lending vault are tightly shut.

Today we spoke to a Bank on four different loan scenarios. Each of these businesses has challenges on their loan applications of different sorts, whether it’s credit, cashflow, type of business, COVID-19 impact on the ability of the business to earn income.

In the hour-long conference call with the Bank, thanks to our qualification process here at Aurora Consulting, we easily addressed the Bank’s concerns and answered their (often) difficult questions as they assessed the risk on each loan scenario. In three out of the four scenarios, we received positive feedback of interest from the Bank. While this interest does not guarantee a loan approval, this, in our experience is a giant hurdle we overcame. 

The rest of it is the loan process.

We also spoke today with a prospective new client in a follow up to our initial call last week.  This client seeks over $4Million in funding for a unique business, a business for which many Banks and Lenders do not provide funding due to their lack of understanding of how this business operates.

We had already identified a Lender for this financing request.

In our follow up call today, the prospective client indicated they would soon make a final decision on moving forward with Aurora Consulting to secure the financing. They also indicated they were working on their credit.

STOP. RIGHT. THERE….BEFORE we go any further. (Meatloaf medley playing).

A client should not “work on their credit” without proper guidance. Luckily, we provide that kind of guidance here at Aurora Consulting. While we don’t believe in credit repair/restoration, we do have decades of expertise with credit and we also know the appetite of commercial lenders when it comes to credit. Note: We have not yet seen this person’s credit.

Our process at Aurora Consulting includes running a credit report as soon as we sign a consulting agreement with a new client. We do this so that we can anticipate any issues that could slow down or prohibit the lending process. We do this upfront so that we can provide advice that leads to a positive result for our clients.

The same holds true for our entire process. We review all financial statements, business plans, marketing plans and any other pertinent items in the early days of working with a new client.  

We do this to anticipate and resolve problems a Bank or Lender may have in the future.

When you apply directly to a Bank/Lender for commercial financing, these items, credit reports, financial statements and the like, are not seriously reviewed until the very late stages of the loan application process. By then the applicant has spent time collecting and submitting documents and spent money on application fees, appraisal fees and other associated costs.

Literally most Banks/Lenders do not run a credit report until the very final stage of the application process, weeks or months after the initial application. At that point, if a credit issue arises on the credit report, all those weeks and months of work are quite literally flushed down the toilet and the loan is declined.

Our role as your financing Broker is to review all relevant documents, including a credit report, in the early stages of your request, before the application, before we’ve even considered conversing, in depth, with a Bank/Lender.

That’s why today, we hit the mark with 3 out 4 of our loan scenarios getting the green light from a Bank to move forward to the application process.  

We were prepared for every question and concern the Bank had because we’d reviewed credit and documents. We anticipated problems in advance and could converse honestly with the Bank on possible workarounds for those problems.

It’s what we do, because we are the business-owner’s advocate. We work for the business-owner. We would be remiss if we didn’t share with you that banks call us when they can’t underwrite the loan. So we understand their process.

Ask us any questions when it comes to business loans. If you want your business to survive, and THRIVE despite the worst crisis we’ve seen in our lifetime, please call us with your questions.

Email Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz

Proposed vs Passed Legislation

We’re often very blunt about things, especially Trevor as he is Scottish.  “Right between the eyes” is a favorite expression of his.  We don’t like to dance around the truth and we certainly despise getting someone’s hopes up about something that’s not reality.

These principles served both Linda Rey and Trevor very well during their respective careers in Insurance and Banking.

At Aurora Consulting, we embrace and continue to follow those principles to assist our business financing clients.

 

We’re going to give it to you now right between the eyes: We refuse to discuss proposed legislation about COVID-related stimulus and disaster financing until and at such time as, that legislation has passed the House of Representatives, the US Senate, and has been signed into law by the President. Period.

Passed gets our attention; proposed stays on our “pay no mind” list.

We relied on this attitude in the early days of the pandemic lockdowns when so much was complete chaos, speculation, despair and distress.  We fielded calls, texts, and emails from our friends, colleagues and clients, each of them despairing for any kind of positive news about Government assistance to help them survive the pandemic lockdown, whether about the EIDL program or the proposed CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program.

In every instance, we patiently listened to and carefully counselled folks.  We emphasized the word “patience” time and again and coined our phrase for the pandemic, “Ever-Evolving.”

Based on our guiding principles, we waited for concrete information.  The SBA website provided skimpy information at best for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.  We charged forward and submitted applications, spoke to several trusted and experienced colleagues, and submitted our clients’ applications, utilizing our decades’ of experience completing successful applications for loans and insurance.

We pivoted with each new challenge that came up, apprised our clients of the situation, and continued hammering at the wall until we achieved positive results.

We used the same methods for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We opted to wait to submit applications until there was more cogent guidance from Lenders and SBA on the functionality of the program.  When we finally submitted our clients’ applications we achieved positive results again.

There’s a lot of talk on the internet, especially on YouTube with glamourous videos, purporting to provide definitive knowledge of what’s in store for extended stimulus and disaster financing legislation.  We call that “static.” PLEASE subscribe to our channel for updates especially for our WTF Wednesday videos.

At Aurora Consulting, we seek results based on reality.  We don’t search for self-inflation of our professional egos by providing incomplete or inaccurate information to the general public at large or our clients in particular.

We know you’re impatient and desperate to hear there is more assistance on the way.  We know that we will wait until that proposed legislation becomes passed legislation.  Only then will we dive into the details to find results-based financing solutions for our clients.

Email us anytime at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz with questions or comments on what you’ve been experiencing with business financing and disaster relief financing.

Tough Questions from Lenders

The good news is that Banks and Lenders are opening up their coffers to provide business credit financing. The other news, that’s more anticipated than “bad,” is these Banks want business owners to answer some tough questions about preparedness for further pandemic-related challenges.

If you are applying for business financing—a loan or line of credit—that’s not Disaster Relief-related, here’s a sample from one of our Bankers on what to expect:

  • How has your business been impacted throughout the crisis?
  • How have you and your employees been affected? Your suppliers? Your customers?
  • What are your key priorities over the next 30/60/90 days?
  • How do you anticipate accomplishing these goals? What hurdles do you anticipate?

To achieve a successful response to your application, you should answer these questions with all appropriate gravitas and extreme detail.

  • The Bank wants to know that, should the pandemic-related lockdowns get tighter:
  • How have you planned to get through that?
  • Do you have cash reserves?
  • An employee-furlough action plan?
  • Do you have the ability to provide your services or products with a serious downturn in customer traffic (think early days of lockdown)?

Banks make loan decisions by assessing the risk on the credit profile of the Borrower. As with any aspect of a loan application, the COVID-19 pandemic has created another layer of risk for Banks. Your successful loan application will take that risk assessment into account as you prepare your application for submission by anticipating how to make a Bank/Lender get into a “comfort zone” about your ability to make payments on the loan as other challenges from the pandemic arise.

Reach out to discuss if your answers to these aforementioned questions would suffice. We are your advocate in the process.

Email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz.

3 Things to Expect From Your Insurance Broker

I’m going to hit you between the eyes, and you may like it.  I’ve worked in the Insurance Industry for 30 years.  My ultimate accomplishment was owning an Independent Insurance Agency.

I’d like to think I know a couple of things about insurance.

Here it comes, the part where I hit you between the eyes:  Your Insurance Broker may not be servicing you properly, and it could be costing you money, probably a lot of money.

I know, I know, insurance isn’t something you think about all that often, maybe once a year, when it’s renewal time. And, that’s when you discover how your Insurance Agent is managing your account.

Maybe your premium went up. A lot. And no one from your Insurance Agent’s office contacted you to let you know that they are aware of the situation. So, you go through the strife and stress of dealing with that situation, whether you go through the motions of switching to another company, or you complain and ultimately paid the higher premium.

You get through the moment. Then, return to your normal life. Until the same thing happens next year when you’re stressed out again.

My Insurance License in Connecticut is still active. I kept it as a matter of convenience for the occasional client. My primary focus since 2018 has been building the Commercial Financing Broker business as a part of Aurora Consulting.

But, here’s the thing. With the COVID-19 crisis and the assistance we’ve been providing business owners to get Disaster Relief financing, I’ve been exposed to other elements of their respective businesses, including their insurance costs, as part of the financing process.

When I see how business owners are being serviced by their Insurance Agents I am, quite frankly, surprised and confused. What I see most often is these businesses have insurance policies where their business is under-insured, over-priced, and minimally serviced.

I didn’t run my Independent Agency that way, and for the clients I’ve assisted over the past 18 months, I don’t service them in that manner either. Your Insurance Agent should be doing these three things.  If they are not doing these to honor your business relationship, then call me and we will review your insurance to see where you can improve.

  1. Annual Review. Your Agent should contact you once a year to review your current policies. The review should include questions about the status of your business and plans for the future. We review your current coverage and premium as well to see what changes have occurred with the policy in the past year.
  2. Updates on Coverage.  Insurance Carriers can change their underwriting standards from time to time. It’s up to your Agent to be aware of those changes and to update you when those changes can affect your insurance, negatively and positively.  Your Agent is the one with their finger on the pulse of the industry while you’re busy running your business.  Your Agent should notify you when a change will affect your business.
  3. Service the Heck Out of You. Practically every business owner I’ve come into contact with in my financing business states that they never hear from their Agent. When I need an insurance document for their financing request, the process of obtaining that document takes longer than necessary because of the lack of communication. The Insurance business is a SERVICE business.

Reach out if you think your insurance needs attention. Email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz.

4 Myths and Mistakes in Marketing During a Crisis

Click to View Video

First, we wish everyone health and safety during through this COVID crisis.

I will outline 4 myths and mistakes in marketing during a crisis. And stick around until the end, I’ll share 3 takeaways you could implement right away.

Given our new paradigm, I’ll put a positive spin on the 4 myths and mistakes in marketing that i’ve seen. 

Not all businesses are suffering financially, but all businesses have changed in some way whether it’s a process or protocol of doing business to ensure safety. People are looking for new ways to connect including efficient ways to do conduct their business.

It’s more important than ever to stay in touch with people whether it’s email, a text or direct messenger in a social media platform.

The number one priority is reaching out to all of your clients to see how they are doing and a polite nudge to remind them that you’re available if they have any questions about anything during this overwhelming time.

We can call it marketing or we can call it staying connected in a meaningful, purposeful way. 

If you are looking to do more than just survive in your business, it’s more important now than ever to either level up your marketing or at the very least, START marketing if you’ve been putting it off or getting by with minimal efforts. 

If people don’t hear from you now when they need you the most, they will find another resource they feel can rely on. I’ve heard more than a few times, “I don’t hear from you all year and now you show up. It’s too late.

The best part is that because we’re in the digital age, the currency is time. You don’t need to invest in big advertising budgets like the Mad Men days. No magazines print ads, no billboards, no Super Bowl ads. 

Here are four myths and mistakes people make when it comes to marketing.

Myth #1 – I don’t know what to say.

There’s more to what you do every day than you realize that people would be interested to know. You know a lot more than someone who isn’t in your business but doesn’t business with you. Delivering value of what you can offer someone will help to show that you’re present in your business and available when they need you.

For people to know, like & trust you, it’s ok to show your personal side. I like to work in my yard so i’ll post projects in and around the house. It helps to show that you’re human. It will also help to show how people can relate to you.

YOU are a brand whether you own a business or work for a business. You do not need to sell your product or service every time you’re marketing. 

Myth #2 – I don’t have time.

Some people may not think they have the time because they may not have seen results worthy of scheduling the time for this task. If you carved out 10-30 minutes every day or every other day dedicated to intentional and meaningful engagement, you would see results in how people pay attention to you. 

The more you spend engaging on a platform, the more you get noticed even if you don’t think the metrics are displaying a lot views. 

Business is about relationships. People have to know how to relate to you but if you don’t exist online, then they won’t know how to find you or know how you can help them.

Myth #3 – I don’t have an audience.

If you didn’t have an audience you wouldn’t be in business. You have people all around you, but perhaps you didn’t think of them as an audience. With the INFLUENCER movement, if you don’t have a million followers or get a million views on a post, people think they’re doing it wrong or that it’s a waste of time because they’re not getting those results.

The flaw in this mentality is that we have to appreciate that for any number of views we get online is less time we have to be in our car driving to a meeting with just one person.

Don’t look at the views or the metrics if you’re just starting out. Focus on the practice of developing a new habit of scheduling time to devote to marketing. If you aren’t creating content, then curate quality content that you trust and that you find relevant to your business.

Myth #4 –There are too many platforms.

Who doesn’t like having choices? To be able to pick from Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, YouTube or any other platform you are familiar with means you get to enjoy however you feel most comfortable when delivering your content.

  • Maybe you want to practice with video so you may utilize Facebook Live because you’ve been on that platform longer or you save your videos to your Youtube playlist.
  • Maybe you want to be more business-like while extolling the virtues of your products and services, so you go to Linkedin. 
  • Maybe you like snapping photos and want to include a meaningful, inspiring message, so you go to Instagram or Pinterest.
  • Or the newest darling, maybe you want to bust a move or deliver a message with curated music in the background, you go to TikTok.

There are so many tools these days to help develop content. It’s a matter of EXECUTING.

And that is where people fail. Even if it means that you are going to pick one goal, but you’re not sure how to go about it, the RESEARCH is a form of execution. 

Research is learning and learning gives us more confidence with something new.

I think a formula for success can be described as follows:

Schedule + Research = (a higher probability of) Execution.

Here are 3 takeaways to ponder:

1. Cultivate your email list. it’s the only digital asset you own. The platforms own your content once you publish it on their site.

2. Do video. If you’re shy or you hate how you look on video, I will tell you from experience, no one is analyzing you the way you think they are. Video is so valuable and helps to deliver your message in such a powerful way. The statistics of how people connect with you is undeniable. Practice with one minute videos. It’s a great, safe start.

3. Repurpose your content. What do I mean by that? If you write a blog, do a one minute video on the topic of the blog you recently published. If you did a video about something important about your business, write a blog even if it’s only 200 words. Then, put the video on your website with the blog. Then grab a section of the blog and draft a post to Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, etc. about your blog and video.

Check out our Be GRAM-Tastic Instagram course.

If you want to find out more about it, Schedule a call with us by clicking on our online calendar here.

Short-Term Solutions for Long-Term Goals

There are two scenarios that some business owners take when starting and maintaining their business.

First, no debt.  These businesses were started with savings and/or investments from the business owners.  These businesses fund daily and annual operations costs with money generated from the profits of the business.  These business owners most often do not like the concept of credit debt, or, worse, have a severe anxiety about the idea of borrowing money to run their business.

Second, belief in debt.  Using debt in the form of credit financing is a reliable source of capital for starting and running a business when the concept is applied with smart planning. These business owners understand that obtaining capital to start or grow a business from a bank loan or other financing source can be a great way to preserve existing profits and working capital, and also a viable option to find the money needed on a larger scale.

Pandemic Panic financing such as disaster relief loans, SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) and paycheck protection program (PPP) loans due to the COVID-19 crisis is a type of credit financing that, in most all cases, could be a band-aid on a gaping wound.

Longer term financial considerations, as your business strives to come through the crisis and survive on the other side, it’s important to consider other types of credit financing to help you obtain the working capital you need.  We’re exploring many different options for our clients.  One of those options is Asset-Based Lending, specifically, .

This is an excellent option for a business with valuable and well-performing Accounts Receivable to obtain quick sources of working capital to assist through this crisis.  The Factor Financing Lender works hand in hand with you and your business team to create a system where your customers invoices are assigned to the Lender.

For a very reasonable cost, you can obtain immediate access to the cash value of that invoice practically as soon as you send it out to your customer.  This quick access to capital dramatically improves your Cash Flow situation, helping to make you stronger on a daily basis to survive and thrive through this crisis.

Factor Financing Lenders vary in their criteria for the types of businesses and types of receivables they prefer.  We’ve assembled a healthy matrix of different types of Factor Financing Lenders to provide you with an array of financing options for your business to help you through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Curious? We are here to answer your questions about this type of financing. Email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz.

 

Plan Prepare Prosper with a Business Plan

There are business owners that are still focused on how they can conduct business today based on the old normal. We’re here to say that you might as well flush that notion down the toilet. It’s a sad reality indeed. We’re not saying that a business cannot be prosperous in today’s climate. No! We are merely saying that there are conditions that must be considered on how you can market your business. We need to reconcile in our minds that this is a “new normal” paradigm.

It’s an apocalypse of sorts. The old normal isn’t coming back anytime soon, if at all.

In our experience as financing brokers we discovered that with the more than two dozen businesses we spoke to ranging in revenue from $60,000 a year to $6,000,000 a year, not one of them had a written business plan. And that was during normal times! It’s a bit crazy that people run their business without a written business plan. It is an essential document for your business. It’s a working, living, breathing document of your business.

And here we are now during the pandemic paradigm.

Now more than ever you need a business plan if you plan to go back to business or keep your business alive. A business plan is a written guide book, that not only helps you to survive this crisis, but also prepares you for new, unexpected challenges as they arise. Those challenges are coming! And those challenges are unknown! The consequences of those challenges are uncertain.

Too many business owners have seen how, in this pandemic environment, a sudden challenge can arise in an hour, a day, a week, a month. And they’re not prepared to deal with that challenge. Even if they had a business plan that they created during normal times, that business plan is mostly useless if not completely useless under this new paradigm, under this new normal.

We are promoting the idea that you need to create a written business plan right now that helps you to survive and helps you to face every unknown challenge that could come your way.

Contact us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz to discuss how you can plan, prepare and prospect during this pandemic.

6 Podcast Episodes That Stopped Me in My Tracks


With COVID 19 hanging around longer than what anyone expected with no eradication in sight, it’s a mistake to think you should stop marketing for your business. I know how difficult it is to market a product or service that you may not or cannot offer right now.

My business is (was) a commercial financing brokerage. Banks aren’t lending right now due to the “all hands on deck” disaster relief financing efforts to help small businesses survive. Given our resources in lending, we pivoted quickly to stay connected to know how the banks and lenders were receiving (or not receiving) guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

This gave us an opportunity to share information and insight. This provided an opportunity to create and share content. One of the ways to grab people’s attention is to share what you know. How you share that information and insight is through the various platforms available to you. There are different ways to broadcast your message:

  1. Written word such as emails and blogs
  2. Audio such as podcasts
  3. Video such as long-form, short-form or live video.

On March 15th of this year, the tough and undeniable realization was that we were going to have to dramatically pivot how we do business in order to earn an income.

Based on my background in insurance, marketing and financing and my partner’s experience with mortgage banking, financing and marketing, we began strategizing the avenues we could possibly earn income.

One thing we have in common is our love and success with marketing. Ultimately, marketing is the way we can get our brand and our business out to the world.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a popular podcast hosted by Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. it’s called Social Media Marketing. As I worked in the yard (almost every day), I would get my exercise in, stress out and learn a few lessons along the way.

I put together a list of the six Social Media Marketing podcast episodes in 2019 that stopped me in my tracks. They prompted me to put into immediate action various tips and techniques to make marketing not only more effective but more fun.

There are so many more episodes that this podcast offers depending on your hot button with what you enjoy (or don’t enjoy) with marketing. Maybe it’s advertising strategies on a specific platform. It’s there. Maybe it’s online traffic vs. foot traffic. It’s there.

The six I chose happen to be evergreen so you can hear their stories and apply their suggestions even during a pandemic. Stelzner has over 400 episodes in the Social Media Examiner library. I encourage you to check out the library of episodes to see what catches your eye and rings your ear.

Six of my favorite episodes are;

Narrative Storytelling: How to Weave Stories Into Your Marketing – Ep. 336 with Melissa Cassera of https://melissacassera.com

I listened to this one twice. Everyone loves stories, but some of us may not be good storytellers when it comes to creating content. You will increase the attention of your reader, viewer, listener if you employ solid story structure.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/narrative-storytelling-how-to-weave-stories-marketing-melissa-cassera/

Phrases That Sell: 8 Copywriting Tips – Ep. 337 with Ray Edwards of https://rayedwards.com

This was the first episode I heard Stelzner use the term “solid gold” when it came to preparing us for what would be included in this episode. Ray Edwards has done copywriting for some of the top influencers in the marketplace. You can find this impressive list on his website.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/phrases-sell-8-copywriting-tips-ray-edwards/

How to Create Long-Form Videos That Sell – Ep. 342 with Daniel Harmon of https://harmonbrothers.com/home

This was fascinating to hear the success of these two brothers in creating videos for companies that no one heard of but had incredible, almost unicorn success with the content they created for their clients.

It’s inspiring to think of the ways you can create video content, if this is a format you feel comfortable engaging. Video is inarguably the most valuable platforms to leverage your “top of mind” factor.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-long-form-videos-sell-daniel-harmon/

Instagram Stories for Business: How to Create Engaging Stories – Ep. 369 with Alex Beadon of https://www.alexbeadon.com

This episode caused me to break out in a sweat because it was something completely new and I was already overwhelmed with all the new ways I could make marketing more effective.

It was compelling to switch how I was looking at Instagram stories as a viable platform. I hadn’t embraced snapchat or live video person so I didn’t think this platform or method would work for me. Instagram has been soaring in its popularity and effectiveness to build fan and brand loyalty.

Alex made me realize the important of consistency when it comes to showing up for your clients, colleagues and future clients.

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-stories-for-business-how-to-create-engaging-stories-alex-beadon/

How to Create Content That Attracts Customers – Ep. 356 with Melanie Deziel of https://www.storyfuel.co

Melanie used to be a journalist and her experience included training her fellow journalists how to create a framework for content. This was fascinating to learn how far you can stretch and repurpose content from one platform. For example, with one podcast episode, you can then create a blog. From the blog, you can extract “snackables” for social media posts.

Melanie’s book Content Fuel will help ease the pain of what to create (“focus”) and where to publish (“format”).

Find the episode here: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-content-that-attracts-customers-melanie-deziel/

Magical Words That Sell: How to Build Trust in Your Marketing – Episode 391 with Marcus Sheridan of https://marcussheridan.com

Now, this one was a little extra special for me because I met Marcus Sheridan in Cleveland at an insurance seminar and literally stopped him in HIS TRACKS to take a picture. I didn’t know Marcus then, but it wasn’t the last time I would hear of him and learn from him.

His magical words will help you generate your own magical words for your magical marketing message. He focuses on how your website is likely not appealing to the visitors in the way you think it is.

Find the episode here:

Those are the six that helped me prepare for the biggest pivot of all: The coronavirus lockdown.

As I mentioned, there are over 400 episodes. Please do not mistake my choosing only six episodes as means to dilute the library of informative content that will help you too and keep your readers, viewers and listeners coming back from more.

You can find our musings and madness here:

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Stay safe, stay well.

Who’s Not Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”?

Who else is an avid fan of Warren Buffett? The “Oracle of Utah” presided this weekend over the annual—virtual—Shareholders meeting for Berkshire Hathaway. Mr. Buffett was a stout, granite-like, believer in the recovery of the American economy after the crash of 2008. This time, not so much.

Much of his ideas, though overall optimistic, were tempered with uncertainty for the future of the American economy in particular and the Global economy as a whole. “Nothing can basically stop America” and “You can bet on America” are two optimistic quotes in an article about the Berkshire Hathaway meeting and Mr. Buffett in today’s NYTimes.com. But he tempered much of his positivity with more than a few “I don’t knows” when queried by the audience and journalists on the uncertain future of a continuing COVID-19 world.

Not that he was necessarily espousing “doom and gloom” as much as he was following a traditional line of thinking for himself and his company: Cautious optimism. Warren Buffett would rather lose out on an opportunity for an investment than to have acted to quickly, without the due consideration such a decision deserves. You can clearly see this as a bedrock concept of his success as a stock investor. He’s not sure which way the economy is headed, but he’s hoping for the best.

Warren Buffett is a student of economic history, and he presented his analysis at the meeting of the American economy from 1789, up to and past The Great Depression. He pointed out that the stock market took 22 years to recover to its highs between 1929 and 1951. His realistic assessments are important for us at Aurora Consulting as we determine ways to continue our Brokerage and find working capital for businesses.

We’ve spent the past six weeks working feverishly—including more than a few all-nighters—to help our clients obtain SBA Disaster Relief financing, in particular the EIDL program and PPP loans. We’re happy to report we’ve been quite successful with that project. But now we find ourselves casting about to see what our horizon looks like, and how to continue helping our clients.

To take two of Mr. Buffett’s phrases into our context seems appropriate today. “I don’t know” is the first. We have some good ideas and you will see those concepts unfolding in the coming days and weeks. Already this week we’ve scheduled conferences with different types of Lenders as part of our deep-dive into lending availability for our clients. We’ve also created basic strategies for Aurora Consulting on the best ways to move forward and help Small Business during the ongoing pandemic and its attendant economic challenges.

The second of Mr. Buffett’s quotes, and the inspiration for this blog, seems most appropriate to what we do here at Aurora Consulting, we find working capital from Banks and Lenders for our Small Business clients. Warren Buffett, as quoted in today’s NYTimes.com: “This is a very good time to borrow money, which means it may not be such a great time to lend money.” Realistic words, a realistic assessment from The Oracle of Utah.

Here at Aurora Consulting, we’re going to embed the Oracle’s words into our strategic thinking so as to best serve our Small Business Clients. If you want to know more about how we help business owners, please email Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz.