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Tag: Small Business

Better Business Bureau Releases List of Scams Small Businesses Need to Avoid

NEW YORK - For small businesses today, scams are a major and growing problem, often perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals possessing delicate information and seeking to separate hard-working entrepreneurs from their money. However, the Better Business Bureau recently released a list of the most common scams targeting businesses today, something that is vital reading for pretty much anyone, whether they work for themselves or someone else.

Staying informed about the most common scams going around and getting familiar with the different techniques involved is the best defense for any small business owner not looking to become a victim, and when armed with the information provided by the Better Business Bureau, identifying these vile charlatans and avoiding them is now easier than ever.

Most scams nowadays involve people who have acquired a business’ publicly-available contact information and, with a bare minimum of research, will reach out to that company posing often as an authority figure or charitable institution while requesting money. Scams of this nature can really devastate a business if successful, and it's vitally important for any entrepreneur to be prepared when they become the target of a phone or email scammer.

Some of the most common small business scams include the following:

  • Businesses receiving fraudulent invoices requesting payment for goods and services that were never provided. These individuals will often attempt to have the bookkeeper or other authorized payment representative wire or transfer large amounts of money to an unverified account. Typically, the amount of money requested begins as relatively small in an effort not to raise concerns; however, if the scam is successfully carried out, often more invoices will follow requesting greater amounts.
  • Businesses should beware of people claiming to be representatives of a local print or online Yellow Page directory requesting to update their business listings. Often, the business is billed large amounts of money for fake listing services, including ads that they were led to believe would be displayed in their local Yellow Pages; of course, these ads will never materialize.
  • Some scammers will actually contact consumers, claiming to be a legitimate, existing company in an attempt to rip them off in one way or another. While the actual company they are claiming to represent doesn't suffer financially in these types of situations, their reputation certainly does, as they are often associated with the scam in question, and are often held responsible.
  • Other scammers will contact a company claiming to be representatives of a charitable group or institution while requesting donations for various causes. While many of these organizations are real, there is always the threat of con-men and charlatans mixed in who are looking to separate you from your hard-earned money. If you're unsure whether or not a charity that has contacted you is legitimate, it pays to reach out directly to the charity they're claiming to represent and confirm their identity before writing any checks.
  • Phishing scams are more recent phenomenon that involves emails that appear on the surface to be legit, but often contain links that will download a virus to your computer when you click on them. These links will subsequently gather personal information located on your computer that can be used against you in a variety of ways. Of course, always make sure that any anti-virus and anti-phishing software on your computer is up to date, and if you receive an email from an unfamiliar source, always treat it with a very high level of scrutiny before interacting with it in any way.
  • Some businesses will receive a contact from an organization about an award they have allegedly won, and are requested to pay a certain fee up-front before receiving the award. In addition to potentially paying for an award that doesn't even exist, a business may also find themselves paying phantom membership fees on an annual basis that they never agreed to if they supply credit card information. Much like when receiving requests for charitable donations, always do some detective work and confirm the legitimacy of any organization that offers you an award before accepting.
  • And finally, there's the over-payment scam. This involves a fraudulent customer attempting to purchase goods or services from a given business; they will send a check that is greater than the amount that said goods or services will cost, and will then request a refund in the amount of the difference. However, the company will soon become aware of the scam when the original check eventually bounces, leaving them in the hole for the full amount.

Scammers are more plentiful than ever before thanks to the abundance of information available out in the wild combined with the anonymity provided by the Internet. Therefore, as a small business owner, it's vital for you to stay on top of what's happening and to use caution and common sense when dealing with anyone you don't know. It's hard enough getting a small business off the ground these days, but if you use your head – and stay on top of the latest scams – it'll make your job that much easier.

The Importance of Getting Your Business Phone Number Properly Listed

NEW YORK - In today's economic climate, starting your own small business can be a risky proposition; however, it can also be an immensely profitable one if you take the right steps to give your business the exposure it needs. Online reviews, a clever marketing campaign, an attractive and easy-to-use website, and numerous ads – both in print and online – can certainly get you attention. However, there's one thing many tend to overlook when establishing a new entrepreneurial endeavor, and that's getting the phone number for your business properly listed in order to achieve maximum exposure of your brand, and ensuring that your potential customers can easily reach out and touch you, as the old phone company jingle goes.

In the old days, someone would simply crack open a print Yellow Page directory when they were looking for goods and services in their area; however, this was before the Internet came along and changed things forever. In addition to online Yellow Pages directories, things have also changed drastically overall in the modern telecommunications industry. Where in the past, there were only one or two major phone companies, today the industry is decentralized and comprised of multiple carriers, and this means there are many, many different directories out there. Depending on the scope of your business and how far across the country it reaches, you need to ensure that your phone number is listed in every market applicable to you.

The general rule of thumb is that if a customer can't find you, then it's not possible for you to serve them. You need to give your business the most exposure by making sure your phone number is available to potential customers in multiple markets and venues. Thankfully, if you know what you're doing, this is a generally easy and low-cost – often free – process, when done in its most basic form.

Shockingly, in this day and age, there are still individuals who turn to the print phone book when they need to look up a business, so even though it's something you may generally overlook, it still is worth your while to make sure your business is listed there. Most often your listing would be included for no extra charge when you sign up for a landline for your business, but if you're actually using your home phone number instead be prepared to be woken up at all hours. Also, bear in mind that your listing will be appearing instead in the White Pages – not the Yellow Pages – which will make it more difficult for potential customers to track you down. In addition, home landline numbers are often the victims of spam calls more often than business numbers; with this being the case, it only makes sense for someone starting a business to invest in a business phone line. Again, this typically includes an automatic listing and your carrier’s local Yellow Pages – both print and online – so it makes sense.

However, when it comes to getting your business phone number out there, online directories are really the way to go. After all, telephone books generally come out annually – or bi-annually at best – and as a result, much of the content within its pages becomes obsolete quickly. With this being the case, if any of your contact information has changed, no one that uses print directories is going to know it for at least six months to a year. Meanwhile, online directories are typically updated every day – or multiple times a day – which ensures that consumers always have access to the most up-to-date information.

Making sure you're located in all of your local online directories is important as well, as often consumers will search local zip codes in order to find businesses either local to their home or nearby places they're planning on being in the near future. With a paper phone book, they would have to go through page after page in order to find a business that suits their location; with online sources, it's simply a matter of typing in your ZIP code. So again, making sure that your business is listed in as many online directories as possible is essential, and typically free as well.

Google My Business, for example, allows you to create a listing for your company, including your phone number, address, and any other information pertinent to your customers. Google is the world's number one search engine, so it's very important to get your business listed there, and to ensure that the information you put in is correct.

However, while Google may be number one for the foreseeable future, it's not the only place you should list your business. For free, you can also add your business to Yelp for Business, Bing Places, Facebook, Yellow Pages Goes Green (of course), and several others. Once you have your information imputed it into these sites, you'll have yourself thoroughly out there for any customers looking to potentially engage your services. To see how your listing appears you can use this tool to scan your listing across multiple sites at once and look for errors.

Again, having a business phone line is the most effective, but nonetheless there are still those out there who choose to use a private line, and others still will actually use their cell numbers for their business. This option can certainly complicate matters for you, mainly because of the fact that many telephone service providers don't make cell numbers available to directory assistance. Cell phone numbers are not listed in public directories by default, but it is possible to use websites such as Express Update or List Yourself, which allow you to add your business information – including a cell phone number – to a number of directory assistance providers and publishers in the country.

Any new business owner looking to get an edge in a crowded and very competitive market will take every advantage they can to possibly gain an advantage, and while a snazzy advertising campaign or bright and inviting sign above your shop may get some foot traffic in the door, making sure you have your listings in order – especially in regards to your business phone number – can go a long way to spelling success for your endeavor.

Thryv℠ Small Business Software Partners with Amazon’s Alexa to Bring Voice Activated Location Services to Small Businesses

 

DALLAS - Thryv℠, the leading small business management software, announced today a partnership with Amazon’s Alexa via a deep integration with Yext. This integration allows America’s small businesses to appear in voice search on the leading voice-activated platform, Alexa.

 

“Small businesses across America can now update their business information on their smartphone and have that information found by consumers searching with their voice on Amazon’s Alexa,” said Gordon Henry, Chief Marketing Officer at DexYP, which owns and operates Thryv. “Thryv helps small businesses to compete more effectively because consumers using Alexa will know where, when, and how to find them.”

 

In the past, consumers often found local business information on the Internet, such as business hours of operation for scheduling appointments, to be wrong or out of date, because updating information was difficult for business owners. Thryv simplifies this task, enabling small business owners to update their information via their smartphone, and that information will now be searchable via voice on Alexa.

 

“We are thrilled that Thryv has now voice-enabled small businesses on Alexa,” said Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, which recently announced a global integration with Amazon. “Thryv, via Yext and Alexa, will enable consumers to get the most up-to-date facts about businesses—locations, contact information, hours of operation, and more—straight from the source: the business itself.”

 

 

“All the basic behaviors within Thryv are now extended to an additional platform, Alexa, requiring no additional work for these small business owners,” added DexYP’s Henry. “This partnership allows our over 50,000 Thryv clients to have their business information to be found quickly and accurately on the largest and fastest-growing voice search platform.”

 

Henry added, “We found in the past that many small businesses were unsure how to accomplish these tasks. Thryv continues to innovate and deliver powerful tools like this—at no additional cost—helping our users eliminate cumbersome business tasks and operate their business more efficiently.”

 

About DexYP

DexYP™ provides small business software and marketing services to more than 500,000 local businesses across America that enable them to compete and win in today’s on-demand economy. We provide the digital tools and management sophistication that big businesses utilize, arming local businesses with the deep resources they need to survive and thrive. Our flagship product—Thryv℠—provides small business owners with an all-in-one software that allows them to modernize essential business functions performed manually in the past, or never performed. These include building a digital customer list, communicating with customers via email and text, updating business listings across the internet, accepting appointments, sending notifications and reminders, managing ratings and reviews, generating estimates and invoices, processing payments, and issuing invoices and coupons.

 

DexYP also provides consumer services through our market-leading search, display and social products—and connects local businesses to the over 50 million monthly visitors of DexKnows.com®, Superpages.com® and yellowpages.com search portals; and local print directories The Real Yellow Pages®. For more information about the company, visit dexyp.com.

 

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