Which small business credit card is best for your biz?

One of the most important choices you’ll make as a business owner is which small business credit card to use. In this article, we review four great options and make a recommendation about the best credit card for your business needs.

Finding an awesome virtual assistant, switching your email service provider, scanning your receipts, keeping up with social media… Let’s face it, as a small business owner, you have puh-lenty on your plate without having to scour the Internet trying to find the best small business credit card.

That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. First, we thought about what small business owners need most in a credit card, and came up with the following criteria:

  • Flexible spending: You have business expenses that need to be taken care of today, not three months from now. You need a card that offers you a generous credit line for emergencies and the regular costs of running your business.
  • Rewards: A good small business credit card should have a stellar rewards program that offers you points every time you spend.
  • Perks: In addition to rewards, we wanted to see additional perks such as the ability to secure credit cards for your employees, 0% introductory APR, no annual fees, etc.

Next, we sifted through hundreds of small business credit cards in order to weed out the duds and present you with the studs. After a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (okay, there wasn’t any blood), here are our top four candidates for the best small business credit cards out there:

AmEx SimplyCash

Our favorite thing about AmEx SimplyCash for small business? You get 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories. You can choose the category that works best for your business to ensure you maximize your cash back. Categories you can choose from include U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and shipping in the U.S.

Want even more cash back? Lucky for you, SimplyCash also gives you 5% cash back at U.S. office supplies stores and on wireless telephone services through U.S. service providers.

Another great perk is that you’re automatically entitled to 24/7 service and support through dedicated business consultants to help you solve the specific problems your business is facing. You’ll also receive other great benefits, like access to purchase protection, extended warranty and more.

You might be wondering, “How could it get any better?” Well, on top of all of that, SimplyCash has no annual fee and 0% APR for nine months. Pretty awesome, right?

Terms and restrictions apply.

AmEx Blue for Business

There are serious benefits to using an AmEx Blue for Business card. Stay with AmEx Blue for a year and receive an “anniversary bonus” in the form of extra rewards points, which will be the equivalent of 30% of qualified purchases.

AmEx Blue gives you the flexibility to distribute your points to your employees, clients, or any other area of your business that needs a little TLC.

AmEx Blue for Business also offers an introductory rate of 0% APR for 9 months (like SimplyCash). After this period, Blue for Business offers an APR of 11.24% – 19.24% variable.

Terms and restrictions apply.

Chase Ink Cash Business Card

This card gives you $200 cash back when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months after opening the card. It’s not as high as AmEx SimplyCash, but Chase Ink Chase offers 0% introductory APR for 12 months, regardless of your credit score. After that, you’re looking at a 13.24% APR that will vary with the prime rate.

So what about rewards? This card will give you 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend on office supplies and office utilities like internet, cable and phone services.

You’ll also get 2% cash back on restaurant purchases and gas (up to $25,000). Once you’ve spent $25,000 in these areas, you’ll continue to receive 1% cash back, and all other purchases in other categories will also receive 1% cash back.

Because the introductory APR and ongoing interest rate are not based on credit worthiness, this could be a great business card choice for small business owners with less than perfect credit.

Terms and restrictions apply.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

What if you don’t want to worry about what you’re spending based on categories like office supplies, gas and so on?

Then Capital One Spark Cash is the small business credit card for you. This is a great introductory card for new business owners. It doesn’t offer the big introductory cash back bonuses of the other cards ($100 vs. $250), but it doesn’t require you spend as much either ($1,000 in the first 3 months instead of $3,000).

The best feature of this card is its “rewards across the board” promise. Instead of earning 5% cash back on some purchases and 1% on others, you simply earn 2% cash back on all purchases, all the time. There are no spending limits, either – the 2% reward stays in place no matter how much you spend, and what you spend it on.

There are two drawbacks to this card when compared with the others: no 0% introductory rate (you’ll pay between 13.9% and 20.9% based on your credit), and there is an annual fee of $59 (although it’s waived during the first year).

Terms and restrictions apply.

Our Recommendation

Choosing the best card for your small business is a personal choice, and depends a lot on the type of small business you’re running, how much you spend each month, and what types of rewards program would benefit you most.

After reviewing the top four cards, we think AmEx SimplyCash is the best small business credit card for the majority of small business owners.

This card gives you the opportunity to earn the most cash back short-term and long-term. It also gives you 9 months with 0% APR, a low long-term interest rate after the first year, and great business-related perks through the OPEN savings network.

Do you use a credit card for small business? Which one? What do you like/dislike most about it?

*This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Advertiser. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser’s affiliate programs.

How to Start Tax Season 2014 Off Right

Another year has come and gone, and that means another year’s worth of taxes are due soon. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to start tax season 2014 off right.

Can you believe it’s already 2014? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been writing 2…0…1…3 *shoot! scratches out* 4 all year.

Anyway, another year has come, and that means another year of taxes will be due before you know it. And remember, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be finished and waiting on a refund check! Here are some tips to help you tackle tax season 2014 in record time.

1. Make a list

For many small business owners and freelancers, the hardest part of getting started with taxes is determining the dozens of moving parts that make up your taxes. Instead of keeping vague words like “expenses” and “income” circulating in your head, write down a specific list of things you need to complete the task at hand, like “Travel write-offs from that conference in San Francisco, receipts from Shoeboxed, get a copy of that receipt from Susan,” etc.

Using a list means you’re much less likely to lose something important– or worse, miss a deduction! The list will serve as your guide to navigating your taxes. If you get all of your papers (or even better, digital versions) organized beforehand, you’ll have everything at your fingertips whenever you need it.

2. Go digital

Hiring a bookkeeper and paying them to sort through your piles of paper can be quite expensive, but at the same time, you don’t want to be stuck without copies of your important documents in the case of an audit. What’s a savvy small business owner to do?

Go digital, of course! Electronic versions of your documents are much easier to manage than hard copy ones, so this tax season use a service like Shoeboxed to digitize your records, or perhaps invest in a ScanSnap and go DIY style.

If you’ve kept digital records throughout the year, you’re already one step ahead! For those of you who are just now moving towards a paperless lifestyle, now is as good a time as any to get rid of the clutter and step into the 21st century. The IRS has accepted digital documents since 1997, so it’s about time to go paperless and make your life easier (and your office less cluttered)!

3. Get those deductions

Around tax time, there’s one thing that small business owners are sure not to forget about: maximizing their tax deductions. No one wants to pay more than they have to, right? Make sure you factor in enough time to determine which deductions you qualify for so that you don’t miss an opportunity to save money.

If you’re a small business owner, check out our free white paper, “Five Proven Methods to Reduce Small Business Taxes.” It’s full of helpful tips and tricks to make sure you take advantage of all possible deductions!

4. Don’t miss the deadline

The tax deadline this year is Tuesday, April 15, 2014. If you aren’t going to make the deadline, don’t just skip it– check out this guide to filing a small business tax extension.

Are you ready to rock your taxes this year? Let us hear your best tax tips and tricks in the comments!

Small Business Marketing in an Hour

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Here’s how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

This post is brought to you by VerticalResponse.

When you’ve got a small business, juggling all of your competing priorities can feel exhausting. But what if you could market your business in an hour or less? You could attract new customers and help retain the ones you have. Well, this isn’t one of those too good to be true tales… it’s reality, and in today’s post we’ll walk you through how to market your business online in less time than in takes to get a decent massage or cook a nice dinner.

Start with Your Website (20 minutes)

As you add new products and services to your business, you most likely update your company’s website. These additions are fresh content, which is great for lots of reasons. First and foremost, when a visitor comes to your website, they see new things that may cause them to make a purchase (ka-ching!), or you may pique their interest in something they haven’t purchased from you in the past. Fresh content is also a signal to search engines like Google that your site should be crawled, which can help your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and help your overall search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. When your site is optimized for both people and search engines, your site will be found more often in search results, leading more qualified visitors to your site, which should lead to more conversions (sign ups, purchases, donations or whatever your “success metric” is).

Email Marketing for the Win (20 min)

Now that you’ve got some fresh, optimized content, you’ve got to go out and tell the world about it. Well, maybe in this case, start with your email marketing list subscribers. Using an Email Service Provider (ESP) like VerticalResponse, you can quickly and easily send out an email to your list in under 30 minutes. Most ESPs have predesigned email templates you can use that are simple to customize with your company logo and content. Most also allow you to share your email content with your social networks with just a click or two, expanding the reach of your message to a broader audience. Your ESP will also provide you data about how your email performed, such as how many people opened your message or clicked on the links so you can make changes accordingly.

With the holidays right around the corner, there are heaps of opportunities to market your business and get new customers. VerticalResponse created an Everything Holiday site to help you. It’s got predesigned holiday themed email templates, festive call-to-action buttons you can use in your email marketing or on your website or blog, a fun email subject line generator that creates 18 subject lines for you in just a few seconds, plus lots more. It’s perfect for the time-crunched small business owner looking to market their business during the busy holiday season. Make a note that, during the week of Thanksgiving, there are five occasions to market around including Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. That’s a ton of marketing opportunity for your business!

Social Media is the Gas to your Content Fire (15-20 min)

With your website updated with fresh products, services and content, and your email marketing sent out, you’re ready to tackle the social media front. Half the battle with social media is making the time to do it, and the other half is having something to share with your fans and followers. If you create your content up front, you’re golden. And just because there’s a new social media network every day, it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. Spend your time nurturing the networks that make the most sense for your business. For instance, Facebook is a natural for most businesses since there are over 800 million active users, but Pinterest is growing rapidly and is a natural fit for businesses that would benefit from the image-centric social site that also allows you to add prices to pinned images and drive traffic directly back to your site. So, consider your social options and focus your energy and time on the ones that fit your business and customers best.

Do you still think you don’t have time to marketing your company online? Think again, because in less than an hour you could be driving new visitors, prospects and customers to your business!

verticalresponseThis post was contributed by Kim Stiglitz. Stigllitz is the director of Content Marketing at VerticalResponse. VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketingsocial mediaonline event marketingpostcard marketing and online surveys. You can connect with Stiglitz on Twitter @Stiggy1.