Navigating the financial landscape that comes with running a small business is often difficult, and it’s made even more tough by the presence of certain potholes and mirages. One common scam that small business owners should be aware of is the grant scam. How does a grant scam work? This type of scam is kept alive by a simple misdirection. Business owners will either stumble across or otherwise be made aware of a grant that their business is able to apply for, which, should they receive it, will give them what essentially amounts to free money. This should be the first logical red flag, but many business owners are willing to take the existence of grant programs at face value as fact. Once the business owners are sold on their grant applications, the next phase of the scam kicks in. You will be sold (or attempt to be sold) an expensive audit of your business plan, additional help filing your request, a one time fee, or

The “credit crunch” that has seen many traditional small business lending programs increase their underwriting criteria means that for many business owners, bad credit business loans are no longer a reliable or readily available option for financing their expansion. One of the biggest obstacles surrounding their applications is a lack of acceptable collateral to use as backing for the funding issued by their banks of choice. Collateral can take the form of a cash percentage of the business loan, a piece or multiple pieces of valuable equipment, such as a truck, a bulldozer or a specialty oven, or a piece of property such as a business or residential location. The problem is that many business owners either don’t have sufficient collateral to match the amounts they are looking for, or if they do, don’t feel comfortable signing an agreement with the possibility that they could lose their assets in a worst case scenario. A lot don’t know that there are alternatives that exist that can

While the last bit of nippy weather is finally fading away, small business owners everywhere are waking up to the promise of Spring, and a brand new busy season for many industries. Even as volume picks up and orders for seasonal products and services start to roll in, it can be helpful to get you and your employees energized and in a different frame of mind in order to make the most of the new season. An overhaul of your company culture isn’t necessarily in order, but doing something to celebrate the season and inject a sense of excitement into the office can be a good idea, especially if there have been morale issues on your team due to slow business, the cold, or both. Here are three simple ideas for greeting the Spring season that any small business owner can do. Try a classic activity, such as hosting a company picnic. Sure it’s cliche, but a company picnic is both simple to organize, low cost,

We have often said that relationships are the key to successful business. Creating strong alliances with people who you can trust to be there for you makes doing the tough job of managing an enterprise that much easier. Keeping things easy is only one aspect of what makes relationships important, however. Small business owners should also consider the fact that they can actually save money by promoting stable long term  relationships with their vendors. The vendors who supply your business with the essential products that it needs to function should be considered to be more than just people who sell you things you need. Look at your vendors as an extension of your business. Just like the equipment you use to be productive and the employees you coach to perform their best, the vendor relationships you have should be actively maintained. Stronger vendor relationships save time. For one thing, it takes time to shop around. Comparing and contrasting pricing, product quality and customer support all take time and

Small business owners with bad credit must pay close attention the the cash flows of their businesses, as not only are they vital for making payroll, obtaining supplies and financing any number of operational necessities, they also are a major factor in applying for bad credit business loan alternatives which can be important growth boosters in lieu of traditional loans. In the hustle and bustle of a typical office day, small business owners can have their attention fought over by many conflicting commitments, all equally vital to the overall health of the enterprise. However, a real danger that can potentially set a business back is pursuing sales, but slacking when it comes to the often tough work of making collections on outstanding payments. Business owners can fall behind on their collections for any number of reasons, from allowing extensions on payments, forgetting about them, to being distracted by other areas of their business that specifically demand their personal attention and expertise. Whatever the case may

As the minor improvements in the approval rates of small business loans have been reported on, one less happy trend has also gained some media scrutiny: the dip in loan volumes approved for african american owned businesses. While this may partly be due to a tightening of credit and collateral requirements on the part of banks issuing small business loans, the fact remains that both female and minority entrepreneurs face greater challenges when it comes to obtaining financing for their businesses. Female and minority owned small businesses are a vital source of economic renewal, especially considering a growing population of business owners would contribute to the creation of more jobs in the small business sector, which is widely regarded as one of the most powerful engines of the recovering US economy. These business owners should consider searching for guidance from sources such as local business development centers, SCORE programs, and finding the right mentors that can help them achieve and push forward more business development.

High growth start-up companies are hugely popular and trendy at the moment, most of them based around technology, many featuring a deep integration with mobile platforms and other new technologies that make them highly viral and of huge interest to already established corporations. These small, yet nimble companies are often responsible for major disruptions in already established markets, and the fact that they are willing to think big can yield high level rewards for those involved. Whatever small business owners feel about these trendy young companies and their ability to create influence beyond their size, they can appreciate what is able to work for them and apply the best aspects of their strategies to their own businesses in order to grow in fresh and productive directions. Add a twist to a familiar product or service. Many high growth companies are able to achieve fast acceptance by eliminating steps surrounding an already widespread service, or by taking something that they know people like and adding a twist

Bad credit business loans and alternatives to loan products are increasing in popularity. Funding companies providing these services are seeing rapid rates of growth, provided that the companies themselves are able to underwrite their products responsibly and ensure that the relationships they nurture with their merchant clients are mutually beneficial. Using bad credit business loans effectively, small business owners are able to expand their businesses with the application of working capital that they would otherwise not be able to access because of financial issues such as a bad credit score or recent bankruptcies. The popularity of these services as the are becoming more widely available means that bad credit business loans and their alternatives should be something that small business owners strive to understand in order to gauge whether or not they are effective options for their business. Why are bad credit business loan alternatives increasingly popular? A short piece on accountingweb.com summarizes the reasons for the growth of the industry quite well. These products fill in a large gap left

While written content is of vital importance for SEO purposes, and small business owners engaged in digital marketing should be creating engaging and readable material, a lot of the time a simple picture can say a whole lot about their brand and create a lot of engagement on the right platforms. Social media seems to be increasingly moving towards more visual mediums, with breakout apps like Vine  proving the allure of even a few seconds of looped video to content hungry viewers. Why are visual mediums so interesting to consumers? The answer most likely lies in the fact that video and images are extremely simple to consume, not requiring even the effort of reading a few lines of copy. Video and images are also much more dynamic to look at then text, explaining why a single vine or instagram post has the power to attract many repeat viewings. In fact, a Moz.com article demonstrated through analytics data a marked drop in time on site when they removed a

The title of this article is seemingly obvious; of course small business owners offer training to their employees, right? Well, according to a recent study by Kurlan & Associates, around 75% of sales people are not able to effectively do their jobs and one of the major reasons is that they don’t get enough training. While in general, recognizing a problem employee is better than allowing a staff related issue to persist, it’s better to simply take the time to hire talent and be thorough the first time around. Outside of the hiring process, however, even a talented and motivated employee needs to be brought up to speed on your company culture, the nuances of their specific position, and the techniques that they should be using to manage the tasks they have. Coaching can be one on one, or in groups. The point of hands on instruction is to give a finer level of detail and nuance to the way your employees perform their jobs by

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