The term “bootstrapping capital” refers to the practice of small business owners scraping together the funds they need to get started, and it’s a term that many visitors to the SBA’s forum on Loans and Grants are introduced to after posting about their need for financing. A typical message on the boards will start out with a business owner speaking about their unique model, touting the benefits that it will bring to their community, and then asking if there are any grants that exist that can help them to develop their project. The answer to their inquiry is usually “no, there are no grants for for profit businesses.” While Federal grants do exist, they are primarily set aside for non-profits and medical research, leaving business owners, in particular female, minority and veteran entrepreneurs wondering what is available for them. While it is a misconception for business owners to think that there is free money for their enterprise available from the Government, the SBA does have

All small businesses have to pay attention to where their products are selling, and where they have potential to grow. Sometimes, business owners have to take a step back and re-imagine who their products appeal to and where their demographic is in the best position to notice and purchase them in order to continue to grow their sales. A perfect example of small business owners discovering a strong new market for their products, almost unintentionally, can be seen in an article from the Concord Monitor, which details cases of small businesses expanding sales through innovative techniques and product placement. One of the cases examined related the discovery of a strong niche for the product “sinus plumber”, a strong nasal spray originally marketed in health food stores. By placing sinus plumber by checkout areas within hardware stores where impulse buys often occur, the product was able to sell much more strongly. Wondering at the robust sales, which represented 40% stronger demand than non-hardware and auto stores, the

The world of small business isn’t so small anymore, thanks to the power of the internet to create massive exposure when brand information is loaned the chance to appear within the right channels. The internet is also a powerful reconnaissance tool that small business owners can and should use in order to keep track of their competition and stay up to date on the newest technology within their industries. Since the biggest constraint in the small business world is often finding the time to work on projects, the shorter amount of time it takes to stay up to date on these projects, the better off small business owners will be. If your business is removed from industry news, you will be late to the party every time. Strategy loans a lot to a small business’s ability to outmaneuver competition, and one of the best strategies is being an early adopter. Identifying industry news channels can be accomplished easily through using a search engine, such as google,

Video is one of the best investments small business owners can make in their marketing, since the benefits of video are so great. For one thing, a video holds attention better than copy and better than a photo, since it incorporates sound, image and movement into one package. Another reason why video is great is because of the potential SEO benefits it can give to a small business’s website. Important metrics like time on site can be boosted by providing some content for your visitors to consume, and video also has the potential to be highly share-able, which also makes it perfect for social media marketing and “viral video” styles of promotion. Here are some things to get out of the way before a film crew arrives on your doorstep the day of your shoot. Have a script. Even if the video that you are going to be filming will only require a short amount of dialogue, in order to make sure that everything that needs

One of the major advantages of a small business is the fact that it is generally able to adopt a much more agile strategy, changing marketing techniques or aspects of business processes more quickly than corporate competitors. However, the advantage of being nimble can be lost without creative thinking behind it. For that reason, small business owners should foster their employees ability to think creatively, encouraging discussion and experimentation within guiding structures so that they are able to come up with constructive new ideas. Here are three ways that you can loan some “idea time” during the day to getting more and better suggestions out of your employees. Follow up on projects. As a coda to a major project, small business owners should strike while the creative iron is till hot and have a 10-15 minute wrap up meeting. Within the meeting, you should encourage your employees to share any ideas they had during the project on how they could have made their processes more effective,

As you may or may not be excited about, Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching. For some small business owners, the day is little more than a reminder of love through a barrage of candy hearts and pink and red decorations, but to others, particularly in retail and certain types of service based businesses, the day can represent a big sales day, and deserves to have business owners loan time to preparing for it. While getting new business in the door on Valentine’s day is important, small business owners should think a step ahead and not only try to post bigger numbers the day of Valentine’s day, but also give their new customers a reason to create a long term relationship with their service. Attract Valentine’s day traffic by accentuating your business’s appeal. Bringing people in on Valentines’ day is easier when you give them a deal. Fear of losing out is a classic factor in closing sales, and a limited edition product or offer can help

We’re happy to announce the pending release of a brand new Horizon Business Funding website layout. The new look of our site will make it much easier to navigate, introducing a drop down menu system, more social media integration, and clearer language options in order to better support the small business owners who chose to work with us. The new layout will bring Horizon’s digital presence into a new chapter, featuring a modernized look with an emphasis on functionality. The Horizon newsletter will also be much easier to sign up for, for our clients who want to stay in touch with what’s new at Horizon and read select articles from our blog in the convenience of their inbox. The new layout is slated to roll out next week, so be sure to check back and take a look at the changes we have planned. We hope that you will like what you see!  

When it comes to applying for small business capital, it can be tough for small business owners to know where to start looking for advice. Many will hesitate to go through a broker, looking to avoid paying extra for their financing, but in this scenario they must be extra vigilant to ensure that they find what they are looking for. As in many things, the best way for small business owners to approach the questions surrounding their business’s funding options is by being proactive and taking stock of the situation before they find themselves needing options without the time to explore them properly. Here are three more reasons why business owners should understand what products are available to them, even if they’re not looking for a line of credit or a business loan in the near future. You cannot fully predict for cash flow and unexpected costs. Having a backup plan ready in the event that your business needs a business loan or loan alternative just

As a small business grows, it can go through some growing pains as it enters new arenas and must deal with a different class of competitors in order to sustain momentum. One of the potential stumbling blocks that business owners face in particular is the question of how to deploy their marketing dollars on top of their other small business financing concerns in order to get the highest return for their investments. Without perspective on how to deploy their resources, business owners run the risk of chasing unrealistic goals or prioritizing certain strategies over others to their detriment. Ask yourself the following questions about the direction of your business in order to gauge what the best strategy is for you. Do you need to focus on short term lead creation? If you are looking for a strategy that will provide you with quick results, then optimizing a PPC campaign might be the right place for you to start. The website searchenginewatch.com recently put out an article recommending PPC

February is a month of transition, if not always weather-wise, at least mentally as thoughts of Spring’s thaw start to get more frequent and Valentine’s Day trappings appear in store windows. While Spring is still relatively far off, the preparation that a bad credit business loans itself now can yield dividends as the weather begins to get warmer and for many business starts to pick up. Spring cleaning imagery is often based on physically tidying up, but in February, setting a mental game plan is more important, especially for seasonal business owners. This foundation will be carried with you, and should be created now so that new ideas can be tested out and expansion planned for, if necessary with required capital accounted for or at least ready to be applied for and put to use. Here are some of the priorities that business owners should put high on their lists in order to plant the seeds for a productive end to the Winter months. Recalculate

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