This Winter has been a particularly important one in relation to the recovery of America’s small business economy, with indicators pointing to recovery, albeit with only modest gains. It seems that the true strength of a small business recovery is still germinating like a seed within frozen ground, waiting for the proper conditions to develop into a more robust bloom. Currently, the biggest indicator of stronger activity from the small business sector ahead is a pervasive sense of optimism that has managed to ride out issues at the end of 2013 including the Government Shutdown that saw many businesses with Government contracts scrambling to avoid hemorrhaging capital. Other issues, such as the possibility of more Governmental budget wars, the roll out of the Affordable Care Act and the surrounding uncertainty regarding what small business owners must be responsible for and a mistrust of the economy in general on the part of many have small business owners thinking very critically about the pros and cons of

Small businesses often have special relationships with their communities, either by virtue of having been in the area for multiple generations, providing positive impact on the lives of their customers or simply by providing quality service time and time again. In order to create positive relationships with those around them, small business owners should also take active steps towards community building in their areas. The stronger recognition and positive associations built around your business, the better you will be able to build up a loyal base for repeat business as well as referrals, which will help you maintain and grow your revenues. 1) Reach out to potential partner businesses. Your business will ultimately succeed or fail alone, but that does not mean that building up connections within your own industry and complementary industries is a waste of time. Far from it. In  fact, creating strategic partnerships with the businesses in your area can be highly mutually beneficial. for one thing, agreeing to forward referrals to businesses

Social media is now widely accepted to be an important facet of any business’s marketing strategy. Small business owners have countless success stories that can attest to the effectiveness of a well run social media campaign. However, there are many more business owners who don’t know how to get started creating a real digital network, especially if they don’t have prior experience using social media. These small business owners may be turned off from branching out into social media marketing because they feel intimidated starting out, but without taking the first steps towards building an online presence, they are not allowing themselves the chance to ever experience the positive aspects social media presences can bring to a small business. Bad credit businesses in particular can often benefit heavily from a social media campaign, as it represents a way for them to create buzz and leads without investing a large amount of capital that could be allocated to other projects. For small business owners to get

Although the process of a running a small business often takes all the time that one has during the day, there are many business owners who maintain functioning side businesses as a supplemental source of income. While maintaining a side business can take time, if it is properly planned out small business owners can pursue some of their other passions and use it as an outlet for their creative energies. Generally, the businesses that independent entrepreneurs create to supplement their main business are started through a combination of personal creativity and a strong network that provides the connections needed to create the first few leads. If you are planning on creating a side business either for profit or pleasure, here are a few ideas for getting started that can direct your process. Identify your passion. The best side businesses are often ways that business owners can work on their hobbies, and then sell either the products that they create or consultations or other improvement services based

Just because your small business has your bad credit to contend with, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep growing. On the one hand, obtaining alternatives to bad credit business loans can help you by providing funds for unrestricted use. On the other hand, implementing fun, productive changes to your business can also be affordable. Improving a business goes beyond simply hiring new faces and purchasing new equipment. While those are both essential in the long run, here are three ideas for small business projects that you can implement quite easily with even a tiny budget. Increase customer engagement with a contest. Your customer engagement is becoming a more and more important sign of brand health in our media saturated society. If your small business isn’t doing enough to reach out to your customers, that can eventually catch up to you when you are faced with new competition or are looking to conduct deeper market research. A contest is a great way to promote engagement with your

When you go to a trade show, you usually leave laden with a wide assortment of promotional swag, from stress balls to miniature flashlights and everything in between. These branded materials exist in order to remind other small business owners and potential business partners of your brand, ideally so that they will reach out and kindle a business relationship in the future. While generally these gift items are created in order to serve as simple conversation pieces or keepsakes, as a savvy small business owner you’re going to want to think about ways that you can get extra value and effectiveness even out of your promotional giveaway materials. If you are running a bad credit business in particular, it is in your best interest to ensure that every project you work on has the potential to bring in extra layers of value to your small business processes and operations. What is something that your clients are likely to actually use?  While it’s all well and

Direct marketing through emails or faxes is often the first step towards a more comprehensive marketing strategy that small business owners take. The great thing about these strategies is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be highly effective in creating leads and engagement. However, there are dangers present behind these marketing techniques that small business owners need to remain aware of lest they get hit with expensive legal bills or be forced to pay fines. In the case of one Minnesota small business, as reported by Fox, a legal battle lasting 7 years ensued after a recipient of marketing faxes took them to court for not including an opt out clause in their faxes. While the plaintiff had originally requested to be added to the fax list, the fines faced by the small business for their lawsuit range from a possible $16 million to a whopping $48 million, a devastating blow to a small business that pulls in around $1 million in sales per year. Even

Small business owners need access to small business loans, but currently the only governmental organization that facilitates small business owner’s access to credit is the US Small Business Administration. Founded in July 30, 1953, the effectiveness of the organization has been called into question by Republican lawmakers who propose merging it with the Labor and Commerce departments in order to form a department of Commerce and the Workforce. While the proposed super-department would theoretically retain the functions of the SBA, many small business leaders and lobbyists are up in arms against the proposed changes, claiming that the creation of a consolidated department is really a veiled attempt to dramatically reduce or simply do away with many of the programs offered by the SBA. What has these constituents even more flustered is the fact that President Obama has stated his support for the consolidation of similar governmental organizations, as well as the nagging memory of when President Ronald Reagan attempted to shut down the organization in an

While small business owners are generally a tough bunch, there are things that are beyond their control, from the government to natural disasters, that they need to be prepared to face in order to preserve the strength of their business. One of these external issues that can severely effect a business is the extremely cold weather that many parts of the US experience in late winter. Business owners should take note that, before they do anything to protect their small business, they need to ensure that they and their families are dry, warm, and out of the path of dangerous weather, with enough supplies to last them through whatever period of time they may need to stay indoors. If possible, get your business location ready in advance of inclement weather. Things to do in order to prep for extreme cold are checking to see if any of the electrical wiring, water or gas lines to the building are in danger of freezing or being damaged by

Create a pitch targeting them. For example, putting a sign in your window with a funny phrase letting these tardy shoppers know that you have them covered can make a lot of difference when they pass by your location. You can also promote after Holiday specials on your website or through social media accounts. The more you put your message out there, the better response you can expect. Give them a deal. A special offer can attract more frugal shoppers, after all, at the end of the holiday season, people are more likely to have spent their budget for presents already. The perception that they are getting a deal can convince your customers to spend that last bit of their holiday budget. Stress the unique qualities of your products. The reason why people are going to buy from your small business over a big box retailer is because often times they think of small business products as being innately more unique, thus making better and more thoughtful gifts.

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