Every year, there is a week that sees business across the country take a sharp dip. Known as the lost week, the days between Christmas and New Years see many take off for vacation, spending time with family or spending the week simply relaxing. The lost week refers to a loss in productivity, but perhaps that moniker is ill deserved, as this time of relative business limbo offers some distinct advantages for small business owners who still have their goals on their minds. Trying to hit sales goals is out, unless you are in the retail business, in which case you may find that there is more, rather than less opportunity to attract new customers who are on vacation or looking for post holiday deals. In the absence of working on new sales volume, the lost week offers small business owners a relatively rare and powerful opportunity. The lost week is your time to recenter and refine your goals. Consider this week as a pit stop

The question of who to hire carries an added amount of weight in the world of small business, where the fewer number of employees often means that each one must pull more weight and make a larger impact on the culture of their company. According to an article from the Democrat and Chronicle, small business owners often let diversity fall to the bottom of their priority list as they focus on creating revenues by whatever means necessary. However, there is a lot to be said fro the promotion of real diversity in the workplace, as well as a culture that emphasizes the benefits . When the population of an office is heterogeneous, each different perspective has the potential to improve the overall processes behind the business. Conversely, when hires are largely taken from the same demographic pool, there is less varied perspective on the team with a potential loss in innovation as a result. In order to bring a more diversity conscious approach to your

There is large number of small business owners in the US who, due to one reason or another, have poor credit scores. While credit can affect a wide range of things in a person’s personal life, including the rental of an apartment to things as wide ranging as the ability to find a spouse or get hired, it does not mean that life is over for the person who has it. On the contrary, small business owners with bad credit actually have more options open to them than many of them realize. The ability to obtain financing to grow a small business is incredibly important, and while some banks will fund bad credit business loans, usually backed by the SBA, many will find that the traditional banking institutions that they would typically approach when trying to access credit will turn them away as a result of an extreme aversion to risk. Some of the typical reasons that business owners seek bad credit business loans and their

While the government shutdown may be over, the effect that it has had on the small business lending landscape is something that will not easily be forgotten. Small business lending has already gone through many trials over the last few years, as banks raised their requirements in order to remove elements of risk from their portfolios during the economic plummet towards the end of the first decade of the 2000’s. The government shutdown’s effect on the already shaken traditional lending world now compounds on issues that have already existed for small business owners seeking access to credit from banks. For one thing, the SBA shutdown meant that business owners were cut off from an average of $96 million per day in funding that would have been backed by the governmental organization. The backlog of unprocessed loan applications will most likely take months to process and get funded. This sudden loss of a major source of funding has put many small business owners into tight spots, and

As a business owner, your cash flow is like your pulse. At all times it should be kept strong through a knowledge of responsible spending as well as a cohesive plan for obtaining capital should the need for expansion, wage payments, or other pursuits that require liquid cash arise. The economic climate of the last few years has been a tough one for many businesses; bad credit, devalued property and assets and increased requirements on the part of banks have made small business lending into one of the most hard-hit parts of the financing world. The ability to easily apply for credit from banks used to allow small business who wished to grow the option to access capital at will. Today, when a business owner goes to those same banks, they are much more likely to be turned away. An additional problem that faces many business owners goes beyond the increased lending requirements that they face. High risk industries as designated by banks include some

Here’s some food for thought: according to a 2012 Nielsen report, Hispanic consumers are projected to increase 167% from 2010 to 2050. The number of Hispanic small business owners is also projected to grow rapidly, with the total purchasing power of the Hispanic market projected to increase to $1.5 trillion by 2015. An example of how Hispanic businesses and cross-cultural appreciation are becoming increasingly important in the world of small business can be found in Durham, where Hispanic owned businesses are increasing and local small business owners are busy trying to accommodate this growing demographic of customers. The story was reported by newsobserver.com, which showed how Ramirez Reese, a Hispanic female business owner, was able to consult for her local grocery store and expand their Spanish food section after initially being disappointed by a lack of options. Small business owners should take note of the increasing importance of the Hispanic market, and take steps to improve the services that they are able to offer these

Small business owners should be wary when it comes to unsolicited promises for financing, especially when they come from what seem to be governmental institutions. An increase in reports of scams targeting would be entrepreneurs is exploiting a general lack of knowledge about who is able to obtain grants in order to hoodwink people into paying fees for a supposed payout in the form of a grant. The scheme targets business owners and those who would like to start a business, using the letterhead of the Small Business Development Center and stating that after an initial deposit of $24,500, a payout of $280,000 in the form of a grant would be given to the victim. Many small business owners and those who would like to start a business don’t fully understand the differences between grants and small business loans, and therefore are susceptible to schemes impersonating government organizations including the SBA. Here are some facts about grants that can help small business owners avoid falling for

As reported in a recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek, the number of Hispanic owned businesses has doubled to 3.2 million since 2002. In addition to this, Hector Barreto, former SBA chief, stated that he believes Hispanic women are starting business at the triple the rate of other demographics. One of the most pressing questions surrounding the growth of the demographic is how these entrepreneurs will be able to obtain financing for their small businesses, which, according to Barreto is “the air that small businesses breathe when they’re starting and growing.” Fox News Latino has put out an article warning of the dangers of using small business credit cards to finance, which don’t have the same consumer protections that personal credit cards do. This means that the interest on existing debt can be raised arbitrarily, potentially restricting continued business growth in the face of an expanding burden of debt. Many small business owners are unable to obtain traditional loans because of stricter requirements in the wake

The government shutdown currently underway threatens the slow economic recovery that has been progressing since the Great Recession. Small businesses, which are among the main drivers of job creation in the US, have been put in hot water by the failure of the government to compromise and reach a budget decision. All government programs considered to be non-essential for the safety and order of the nation have been put on hold, meaning that the many small businesses that have contracts with the government will be unable to be paid and resume their contracts until after the budgeting issues are resolved and congress can reach an agreement. Another large problem for small business is the temporary closure of the Small Business Administration, or SBA. A quote from Representative Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) featured in a recent story on thegrio.com warns of the problems a lack of SBA operations could represent for minority entrepreneurs, stating, “Black businesses are impacted at a higher number than the general population.”

The government shutdown that took effect midnight last night will have some dramatic effects on small business owners that could leave them scrambling for alternative sources of financing. The shutdown will effectively turn off the budget of all government organizations and programs considered to be non-essential to the safety and continued operation of the United States. Among the bodies considered to be “non-essential” are the SBA, the Small Business Authority that backs small business loans with government money. This agency provides guarantees for business loans in order to increase the ease with which small business owners are able to procure capital. Due to the SBA shutdown, the many small business owners that pinned their hopes on their applications will find themselves once more looking for ways to secure the financing that many of them need in order to continue operating the businesses that they’ve worked hard to build. An increased reliance on alternative sources of funding has marked the post-recession financing landscape for small businesses

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