Apps represent a significant step forward in the range of technologies that can allow a business to remain connected to their customers. Never before in history have consumers been able to access so much information so effortlessly. Via smart phones, much of the US is able to be constantly connected to the internet, as well as their favorite services via the proliferation of mobile apps. While apps can be expensive for small business owners to develop, they can also be highly worth it for those who work them into their business plans in a clever way. The benefit of providing your customers with an app is that they can order your products or services with the touch of a button at any time or place. By loaning your customers an app, you put your store in their pocket. In order to determine if the development of an app is the right move for your small business, here are a few guiding questions to consider. Do

Content is king goes the mantra, repeated countless times within different pieces of content, promoting content promoting other content. However, if something is said enough times by enough qualified people, it becomes more than a simple fad and deserves to be given real attention. Content writing should not be scoffed at as a passing craze; since when is it a fad to loan actual value to your clients and followers? Generally speaking, one of the reasons why content marketing strategies fail to produce results is because the content the is being created is either poor quality, or it does not get enough views from the right people. If you have one and not the other, you are not going to be getting the best results possible. It’s like trying to make a sandwich with only one piece of bread. You need two, otherwise it’s not a sandwich. With content marketing, you need to loan your audience quality content, and work to build that audience as

2013 was not without its challenges for small business owners, who had to contend with a variety of man made and natural obstacles in order to make it to the new year. In the recently released Insperity small business survey, around half of small business owners surveyed loaned their voices to the growing crowd of those planning on hiring, which represents a significant increase from the numbers reported last fall. Additionally, compensation rates for employees went up by 2.9% on average, exhibiting confidence on the part of small business owners that they can  continue to recover and support more dedicated staff. Small businesses as a whole are looking forwards to the new year. The optimistic stance that these business owners have adopted reflects on the longer term recovery of the economy, although that’s not say that there are no more logistical and external issues looming down the road. In New York, for example, Eweek.com reported that there is a healthy chunk of business owners who are

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

The Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, has received mixed reviews on the part of small business owners. For some, the new regulations on what kind of coverage must be provided to employees does not currently apply because they have a low enough head count. For others, they must work on complying with the regulations by a deadline that has been recently moved back a year to 2016. CNBC reported that there was also an announcement of looser requirements on the percentage of employees at firms. Instead of being required to offer coverage to 95% of their workforce by 2015, the quota was moved down to 70%. The official word on the less severe changes required is that in order for Obamacare to begin to take effect in a constructive way that does not overly punish small business owners, it must be phased in gradually, hence the more lax deadlines in place. The administration also pointed out that the majority of businesses set to be

Within the small business financing world, there are many variations of business loans, all of them working slightly differently. These business loan products also display a fairly wide range of basic sizes and restrictions, with bad credit scores, business age and revenues all playing a part in whether or not a business owner will be able to successfully apply for them. While there are bad credit business loans out there, for the overwhelming majority of small business owners with a bad credit score, traditional loans from banks are simply not an option. Enter merchant cash advance. Merchant cash advances have been written about a fair amount of late as their popularity has continued to grow. Surrounding the product are two general camps; those who think that they are a good thing by virtue of providing a second chance at obtaining capital, and those who think that they are a negative product and victimize businesses who have no other options. It is true that the cost

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,

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

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

Whether you think the millenial generation is entitled and depersonalized by over exposure to the internet, or the greatest new wave of thinkers in decades, the truth remains that this demographic of those born between 82′ to 93′ is becoming an increasingly important one as the boomer generation retires. Not only are millenials a larger generation than the Boomers, numbering around 777 million as reported by a recent Forbes article, but they are gaining purchasing power as they start to move up in the workforce. Small business owners should take the growing importance of millenials and their influence on consumption habits within the US as a signal to start thinking towards the future, defining how their brands can grow as their customers change. Understanding the millenial generation is the key to creating brand appeal for your small business. A report by the US Chamber of Commerce on the millenial generation defines them as optimistic, diverse and generally accepting, as well as driven by a deep understanding

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