Small Business And Millennials

Many people have said Millennials are an entitled generation.  They are lazy, lack focus, and believe they should be paid more for the work they actually do.  But, many people believe Millennials are a generation where they embrace change and failure, where they believe in possibilities, and the high certainty of accomplishing those possibilities.  The old rules and habits of Generation X and baby boomers are not something Millennials embrace. So, when we see articles about Millennials and small business ownership, the fact is nobody should be very surprised.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Millennials and small business go well together, study says

Millennials — Americans born between 1980 and 2000 — may be the most entrepreneurial generation ever. A new study shows Millennials have more experience with small business and greater desire to start businesses than previous generations. But the study also demonstrates a continuing need for help for entrepreneurs if they’ll create the jobs America needs.

The study, released Wednesday by America’s SBDC, the association of the country’s small business development centers, shows that people in their 20s and 30s are eager to launch new companies and be their own boss and that they trust themselves to provide their own financial security more than they trust others.

This entrepreneurial yearning isn’t idle dreaming. Even though they’re younger, Millennials are already more likely to have started a business than Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and mid-60s) or Gen Xers (mid-60s to 1980). They’re in a hurry, wanting to start businesses soon. But they know they need help.

“We are very encouraged that millennials are strongly inclined to begin the entrepreneurial journey,” said C.E. “Tee” Rowe, CEO of America’s SBDC, a network of nearly 1,000 SBDCs providing free consulting and low cost training.


9 Trends That Explain Why Small Businesses Are Thriving Now More Than Ever

70 percent of businesses are going to change hands in the first five years.

According to a recent Gallup Surveyoptimism among small business owners is the highest it’s been in eight years. In fact, “the percentage of small-business owners expecting company revenues to increase over the next 12 months rose from 48% to 58%.”

What’s causing this optimism? It probably has something to do with the following nine trends that are explaining why small businesses are thriving now more than ever.

1. Small business owners are motivated for the right reasons.

After surveying more than 1,000 of its small business customers from all 50 states, Guidant Financial found that “dissatisfaction with Corporate America” ranked as the main reason why respondents pursued business ownership in 2016. However, that motivation doesn’t exactly explain why small businesses are becoming successful.


Workers wanted: Skilled-labor shortage hinders business boom

If economic trends continue as expected, Friday’s all-important jobs report will show further strengthening of the labor market and a declining jobless rate across the nation. 

With national unemployment at a 10-year low, the U.S. economy has arrived at a pivotal moment. In conversations with small business owners in my role as executive vice president and head of business banking at U.S. Bank, I hear a renewed sense of economic optimism. While many are still recovering from challenging times, small business owners in the 25 states where we operate feel more positive about the U.S. economy than they have in years and, importantly, are making plans to expand, invest and hire.

Every year, U.S. Bank surveys small business owners, and this year’s findings confirm the optimism is real: Nearly 80 percent say their own business is stronger than ever. Forty percent say they plan to make a capital expenditure to expand their business in the next year and about one-fourth expect to increase the number of people working for them, both eight-year highs in the survey.


 

Is Online Advertising Working For You?

For some small business owners, online advertising seems to be a no brainer.  You can use Facebook ads to advertise your business or products, you pay the fees, and you wait for the results to start coming. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  Facebook advertising takes work.  You must consistently test what is working for your particular business, before you can actually get any results.  It is true that for some businesses you do not have to do too much for the ads to work, but for the majority of small businesses, testing your ads to see if they are reaching the right audience, seems to be the only way to go. 


62 Percent of Small Business Owners Say Facebook Ads Don’t Work

Are Facebook ads ineffective, or is the problem user error?

In January 2017, Small Business Trends released the results of a survey of over 2,600 small-business owners, revealing that 62 percent of them believe Facebook ads are ineffective. With complaints of little-to-no ROI, these entrepreneurs say they will not use Facebook advertising again. Some experts, however, challenge this viewpoint, saying that properly targeted Facebook ads do indeed provide results.

“When businesses don’t see the results they hope for, it’s usually because they haven’t done enough testing on their ad copy, visuals, and the ideal combination of information to target the right audience,” says Vitruvian Digital Advertising founder Kristie McDonald.

Jeanine Blackwell, founder of The Launch Lab, agrees, saying that marketers aren’t asking themselves the right questions to determine an effective target market for their ad campaigns. “The problem is that most advertisers only use the simplest of criteria to let Facebook know who they want to see their ads, such as gender, age, and income,” says Blackwell.


The Best Accountability For Small Business Owners

When Beth Savage became the owner of PQ Systems, the first thing she did was put together an outside board. “Why not have a board that is there for the sole reason of helping you and your team succeed?” says Beth.

Many business owners are reluctant to create an outside board. Some believe that their company is unique, and a board of outsiders wouldn’t work for their company.

Others rationalize that they already get enough advice from employees, family members, and paid advisors—such as their attorney, accountant or bankers. Still others can’t see the purpose, and they want to hold on to what they see as their autonomy.


Abrams: Sexy small business start-ups

Looking for a small business start-up idea? You might want to look to the bedroom. Because, and I know this may shock you, sex sells.

Romance has been around since, well, Adam and Eve. Businesses related to romance continue to do well and are increasingly mainstream. This past Valentine’s Day, even Burger King got in the act. For a very limited time and only in Israel, the fast food chain included a sex toy in an “Adult Meal.” The story spread like wildfire on social media because who can resist anything to do with sex?

While most sex-based businesses are small businesses, they typically seem seedy and are, often, exploitative. But here are some sex and romance-related small business ideas you that can still tell your grandma about and that won’t land you in jail:

1. Online dating site profile writer. Ask people how they met their partner, and the most frequent response you’ll hear is “online.” But few people know how to write appealing dating site profiles. My senior editor, however, met the man of her dreams on OKCupid. “Before we write anything at work, we research,” she said. “I thought I better do the same thing.” So she figured out how to write a witty, quirky profile, which attracted her perfect match. Friends then started asking her to write their profiles. “This could be a full-time business.” If your customers break up, they need to update their profiles, which means repeat business.


 

Social Media For Your Small Business

By now, millions of small businesses have been using social media to boost their sales, their recognition, or their brand awareness.  Many of those businesses are very successful and continue to promote their business and engage their customer base using social media platforms to accomplish their goals.  Are you using social media to your liking?  Are you comfortable engaging and answering questions from customers using Facebook or other media outlets?  For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Should you be using Facebook Live for your business? Is it worth your time and effort? According to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), videos (live and otherwise) are viewed more than four billion times per day. And with Facebook giving priority to live videos in the news feed, you certainly may want to consider this service for getting your business message out.

So how can you make use of Facebook Live to engage with the platform’s over 1.1 billion active daily users, or at least those users who are likely to be customers? Here are a few tips.

Ways to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Give an Inside Look at Your Business

As with Instagram Live or Periscope, you can use Facebook Live to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how it works.

You can also use the service to focus on an aspect of your business that your audience would be interested in.


Small Business: How do you become a ‘Social Media Maven’?

Stephanie Boyette Nelson, owner of SBN Marketing, calls herself a “Social Media Maven.” She is highly skilled in social media and search engine optimization (SEO). We met at Earl’s Grocery to talk about how keyword-rich contents help match people to a business. SBN Marketing capitalizes on the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to rank websites.

Nelson, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from UNC Chapel Hill. After graduation in 1997, she started in a sales position with Philip Morris tobacco company, but quickly realized that it was not for her. She moved through several positions in corporate America, all the while developing her marketing skills through seminars and hands-on experience. Nelson noticed how the marketing world was changing from the traditional hard copy mailers to online platforms.


2 Ways Small Business Owners Can Reclaim Time Through Technology

It’s common knowledge that small business owners wear multiple hats. It’s part of the excitement and challenge of building your own business. But while it’s fun and rewarding to develop a strategy, work with clients, carry out marketing plans, improve your offerings, and track finances, it’s also time-consuming. Sure, most entrepreneurs can move mountains, but the last time I checked, there were still only 24 hours in a day.

Finding enough time in the day to check off important tasks is a huge challenge for small business owners. Prioritizing and trusting your intuition to determine what needs to be done (and when) is a constant juggling act. Still, even the most intrepid, energetic entrepreneurs can’t keep all those balls in the air forever. Sooner or later, they realize that there’s too much work to be done and not enough time to complete it.



 

Focus In Your Business For A Better Year This Time Around

Procrastination is not  a friend for the small business owner. As flawed human beings, we tend to put off chores till we can no longer do so. We try to “delegate” the things we do not like to do, and we make excuses as to why certain things didn’t get done on time.  Focus for the small business owner is too important to treat it lightly.  Focus can mean more sales, or a better strategy for the long run and the prosperity of the business itself. For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How To Maintain Your Small Business Focus

Like most people, I thought I understood what Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was all about. After all, the conversation about why some kids have a really hard time settling down and focusing in the classroom has been going on since the 1980s.

Over the years, I’ve had classmates and colleagues who were diagnosed, and through interactions with them I thought I knew what the situation was. It wasn’t until I started living with my beau, Rob, who has ADD, that I began to truly appreciate the magnitude of the condition and how it impacts everyday life.

ADD isn’t about a lack of focus. Rob can be exceptionally focused. However, his intense focus only lasts for a brief period of time. Then, in what feels like the blink of an eye, Rob’s focused on something else … and then something else, and then something else: it’s easy to see why it’s hard to get things done. The constant change in focus means using up a lot of energy without seeing a lot of results.  Luckily, there are treatments for ADD. It’s absolutely amazing what a difference medication and behavioral strategies have made in Rob’s life. With them, he can control his focus and achieve his goals.


Cramer admits he was wrong about the impact of small business on stocks

Jim Cramer was convinced last week that a jump in small business optimism would have no influence on the stock market.

“I was wrong,” the “Mad Money” host said.

The monthly National Federation of Independent Business survey of small business optimism report this week indicated that December had greatest surge in optimism since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected.

The survey polled 619 businesses, and showed a jump to 105.8, the highest since 2004. The survey was heavily skewed toward the notion of expansion with the notion that more optimism leads to more hiring and job creation, which translates into economic improvement.

“I can’t emphasize how important this all is because right now there is a perception in the media that there is nothing but trouble ahead with Trump’s nominations, with his plans, with his style,” Cramer said.


Abrams: 7 steps to small-business success in 2017

It’s closing in on mid-January, and what happened to all those new year’s resolutions you set with such enthusiasm 10 days ago? Resolutions often quickly get forgotten. How can you turn your good intentions for your small business into real action? Turn those resolutions into “small business success goals” for 2017.

How do goals differ from resolutions? Resolutions are intentions. Goals are specific, realistic, measurable objectives. They give you clear, practical targets. They help you achieve success. After all, one of “Rhonda’s Rules” is “you can’t reach a goal you haven’t set.”

Most small business owners, however, often feel they’re too busy running their companies to take time     to develop a specific list of goals. Besides, if you’re like me, you have a sense of your goals in your head, so why write them down? But “mental goals” tend to be either too big (“Be a millionaire by the time I’m 30”) or more likely, out of our control (“Land five new clients this week”).

Yes, developing a list of achievable goals requires a bit of work. You don’t want to sit down and just write out a whole laundry list of desires. That’s going to result in a frustrating number of unachievable targets.


 

Small Business Lending

According to the FDIC website, as of September 30, 2016 there were 5,170 FDIC insured commercial banks. They gave a total of 8,544 loans as of the third quarter of 2016.  You might think that with so many banks, and loans given every year to business, there would be a surplus of loans for the small business owner.  That is not always the case. Some small businesses have a lot of  trouble getting a small business loan, even though news around the country claim small business borrowing is increasing.

For more about this and other news, follow the links below.

 


13 top U.S. microlenders for your small business

What is a microloan, and is one right for your small business?

If you’re a small-business owner on a quest for capital, there are several smart reasons to turn to nonprofit microlenders. These lenders go beyond making small loans to entrepreneurs and provide some benefits that traditional lenders don’t:

Profit is not their objective. Many microlenders are called mission-focused or mission-based lenders. They offer loans from government or nonprofit programs geared to helping disadvantaged communities, including areas that are struggling economically. Some microlenders also operate internationally, helping entrepreneurs in developing nations.

Many microlenders and nonprofits provide pro bono consulting and training, including helping small businesses build credit.


US small business borrowing rises as Trump elected president

Borrowing by small U.S. firms ticked up in November, data released on Thursday showed, as Americans unexpectedly elected Republican Donald Trump as their next president and investors bid up U.S. stocks on bets that tax cuts will boost profits.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 129.9 in November from a downwardly revised 119.8 in October. Measured from a year earlier, it was the first increase in six months. Movements in the index typically correspond with movements in gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead.

“Right now we’ve got this post-election bounce, because we know who will be in office,” said Bill Phelan, PayNet’s chief executive and founder. “Is this going to continue into a new era of growth or no? That’s unclear.”


Small Business Health Reimbursement Accounts Resurrected For 2017

Stand-alone HRAs are back for 2017. Employers don’t have to wait for the repeal of Obamacare to fund stand-alone health reimbursement accountsthat employees can use to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the individual market. Tucked into the year-end 21stCentury Cures Act, Congress resurrected these HRAs (“qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements”) for employers with fewer than 50 employees.

“I’ve been contacting small employer clients, telling them, ‘It looks like we can bring your plan back to life,’” says Amy Gordon, an employee benefits lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “This was an unexpected surprise.”

Stand-alone HRAs were banned under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) because they didn’t meet credible coverage rules (HRAs tied to high-deductible health plans and limited HRAs which cover retiree medical expenses or just dental and vision weren’t banned and are still viable). Employers had to freeze stand-alone HRAs and not make any more contributions to them.


 

Looking For A Business Loan?

59948705Many entrepreneurs have launched their small business with a loan from a parent, uncle, or any other relative willing and able to afford lending a small sum, and perhaps not getting their money back for many years. Not everyone has the means to do that, and that’s why getting a small business loan from a bank is so important for many entrepreneurs, or even the small business owner already established.  Many analysts believe the lack of small business loans available to small business owners has decreased over the years, and the terms of the loans are not very favorable to the small business owner or entrepreneur.  Looking at different alternatives seems the only way for anyone looking for a loan to launch their business idea.

For more about this topic, follow the link below.


Four Smart Ways To Finance Your Next Big Idea Or Small Business

If you’ve ever wanted to start a business of your own, there’s likely been one big hurdle getting in your way: getting the money to finance your big idea.

Fortunately, the internet has made this process a whole lot easier. In the mid-90s, I was able to self-fund my business through the first few dollars I made online, then kept scaling and putting money back into my business over time.

Like most online businesses, my startup costs were extremely low. But not all business models are created equal: Some may need more investment money and funding than others. To help with this process, I’ve listed four different ways you can start raising money or obtaining a financial loan for your next big business idea.

Pre-Sell Your Product Or Idea Before Launching

Wouldn’t it be great if you could prove your model worked before starting your business? In the offline world, this is quite expensive and hard to accomplish. But on the internet, it’s happening every day.


‘Fintech’ fast-cash loans are like ‘wild west’ for small businesses

If you run a small business, you’re likely seeing a flood of offers for easy-to-get loans — through direct mail, pop-up ads, even TV ads — promising fast money to pay your bills or buy new equipment. But that new world of fast cash can come with some costly catches.

“It’s been the wild west,” said Karen Gordon Mills, co-author of a just-released Harvard Business School study exploring the promise and challenges of alternative small-business lending. The sector has exploded in the last few years as a new industry emerged, referred to as “fintech” (for financial technology).

Typically, to get a loan, a small-business owner needs to provide a bank with tax returns, personal and business financial statements and a pile of other documents and data.  “You have to wait weeks or months,” said Mills, who co-wrote the report “Small Business Lending: Innovation and Technology and the Implications for Regulation” with Brayden McCarthy.

Moreover, there’s been a persistent “credit gap” — a dramatic lack of funds available for small businesses needing smaller amounts of money, less than $250,000.


Here Is What Small Business Needs From the Trump Administration

The nation’s 28 million small businesses and tens of millions of self-employed freelancers need a voice the President will listen to.

As President-Elect Trump is busy at work filling his Cabinet positions, the one area that may be among the most important, but is among the least talked about, pertains to small business.

Small business and entrepreneurship are at the center of creating jobs and growing the economy, which are key pieces of Trump’s stated focus. While previous presidents, including President Obama, have raised the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to a Cabinet-level position, Trump should continue his out-of-the-box thinking and make a small business Cabinet position even more front and center in his own administration.

As a leading small business advocate for the greater part of the past decade, I’ve identified several key areas that Trump’s appointee should be able to navigate in order to add full value to the administration, as well as the 28 million small businesses (and tens of millions of freelancers) currently at the center of our economic engine.


 

Small Business Saturday

small-shopNovember 26, 2016, is Small Business Saturday.   More than 16 billion dollars were spent last year at small retailers across the nation according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and this year many believe will be bigger.  If you are a small business, this holiday weekend is sure to provide you with the extra sales you were hoping for and the extra income many small businesses need.

For more about Small Business Saturday, follow the links below for more information.


8 Ways To Boost Sales Using Social Media This Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, was created to shift attention from big box stores to the smaller mom-and-pop shops offering carefully curated product selection and gift ideas you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a celebration of everything that makes small businesses special.

To take advantage of the spotlight being shone on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, 2016, make sure your business is leveraging social media to get the word out. Here are eight tactics to use:

1.Use The Hashtag #ShopSmall

On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #ShopSmall to allow customers to easily find information about your business and to alert them that you’re participating in Small Business Saturday. And use the hashtag yourself to search social media for other ideas for promoting your small business during this busy time of year.


Small Business Saturday is expected to be busier than ever

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Politicians and the Small Business Administration’s District director visited several small stores in Lakewood on Monday, a grass-roots marketing effort to bring attention to Small Business Saturday this weekend.

“We were in Lakewood to highlight Small Business Saturday which comes after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday because we want to encourage people to shop small this coming Saturday,” said Gil Goldberg, the SBA district director. “But we could have been in any town, city or village in Northern Ohio to illustrate the support that merchants in the community provide.”

Goldberg was joined by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers.

Last year, Small Business Saturday packed a big punch to the U.S. economy: 95 million consumers shopped in small and local retailers and restaurants and spent $16.2 billion, nearly triple ($5.5 billion) what consumers spent  with small retailers in 2012, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The shopping day was first started by American Express. The idea came about during the recession in 2009, and officially launched a year later. At the time, the nation was still recovering from the financial crisis, and eventually lost about 200,000 small businesses.


Rosenberry: Shop small business Saturday

Black Friday is almost here, which means the Christmas shopping season has officially begun.

More power to you if you want to fight the traffic and the crowds. But don’t forget: You also can get deals on Small Business Saturday — which happens just one day later.

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to scope out a small business that’s new to me, someplace I’ve never been; and I found the perfect place — a cute little craft store with a big heart.

Craft Bits & Pieces is located in Fairport’s Village Landing plaza. Unlike most places you may shop this holiday season, Craft Bits & Pieces’ sole purpose is a charitable one. It raises money for Perinton’s Senior Options for Independence, care management and transportation programs.

The shop relies on more than 50 volunteers to collect, sort, clean, package and shelve thousands of items donated every week. The shop has three part-time managers and is overseen by Joanne Haag, executive director of the Fairport/Perinton Senior Living Council.

True to its name, Craft Bits & Pieces is a crafter’s dream store, stuffed with fabric, notions, buttons, scrapbooking supplies, yarns, needles, dried flowers and more. Plenty of delights for non-crafters also line the shelves, including home decor items, glassware, jewelry, puzzles and books.


 

Small Business News For This Election Day

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Today is Election day.  With the uncertainty in the economic climate of the United States, and the global economy, people cannot not participate in this election.  We have choices, and for better or worse as United States citizens, we have a constitutional right to vote. Indecisiveness does not help the economic climate, nor your small business. The small business policies the next president will institute in this country affects us, and the economy.  Think about it. Go Vote!


Survey: Small business owners worried about election impact

Small business owners are concerned about the impact the election could have on their companies but hold mixed views of how supportive the candidates are on different issues, according to a survey by researchers at Pepperdine University.

In the survey done by the Graziadio School of Business and Management, more than three-quarters said they were concerned about the election effect, with about half of those considering themselves very concerned.

Between the two candidates, 66 percent of the more than 1,350 business owners surveyed said Republican Donald Trump was more supportive on tax issues. Sixty-four percent called Trump more supportive on regulatory issues. When asked about equal pay for male and female workers, 59 percent said Democrat Hillary Clinton was more supportive. Fifty-eight percent said Clinton was more supportive of family leave.

The survey covered randomly chosen companies in Dun & Bradstreet Corp.’s database that had annual revenue of $5 million or less.


Indecisiveness Can Be Costly To Small Business Owners: Here’s How To Fix It

Major bottlenecks in businesses are often caused by indecision. It could be that a business owner is waiting on more data before making a decision on a big ticket purchase. They could be too busy to stop and make up their minds on something that needs to be done or perhaps they’re easily distracted by new options that are presented to them. But avoiding the tough decisions that need to be made can paralyse a business, leading to lost opportunities. Here’s some advice from small business expert Dr Greg Chapman to help business owners tackle the problem of indecisiveness.

Over at Australian Small Business Blog, Dr Chapman noted that while many bottlenecks like delays in issuing invoices or suppliers not honouring their commitments may create real costs for a business, being unable to make tough decisions in a timely manner could be even more costly:


Ohio’s tax policy rated one of worst in U.S. for business

COLUMBUS — While Ohio has bragged about being open for business, a Washington-based tax policy think tank ranks the Buckeye State’s business tax climate among the nation’s worst.

The Tax Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit research center, judges states on how well it believes their tax structures encourage or hinder economic growth. Its 2017 report ranks Ohio 45th, ahead of only Minnesota, Vermont, California, New York, and New Jersey.

Ohio trails all of its neighbors. Indiana ranks eighth; Michigan, 12th; West Virginia, 18th; Pennsylvania, 24th; and Kentucky, 34th.

“Ohio has done some good things in recent years, particularly in lowering the individual income tax rates,” said Jared Walczak, policy analyst with the foundation. “But structurally, the state has a more complex tax code and one of the least neutral tax codes.”

Ohio lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich’s office have preferred to point to other business climate rankings, such as this month’s latest from Site Selection magazine. The magazine gauges corporate opinions and tracks announced project sitings.


 

The State of Small Business Borrowing

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A loan pre-approval offer for your business to expand, invest, or cover payroll may not be on the table any longer. Small businesses are dealing with a lot of rejection this time around when looking for a small business loan, and banks seem unwilling to go forth with loans that were pre approved only a few month ago. “The loan is no longer available to us because that was a special offer a few months back, and the bank is not offering it now.” A small business owner claimed. The companies that are struggling to pay past loans are high, and that can be an indication why banks are unwilling to acquire more debt int he form of loans made to small businesses.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


U.S. small business borrowing falls, delinquencies rise

Borrowing by small U.S. firms slipped in September, and the percentage of firms late on repaying existing loans rose to its highest in nearly four years, data released on Tuesday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell to 128.9 from a downwardly revised 132.8 in August. Measured from a year earlier, it was the fourth straight monthly decline, with the index at its lowest point since January.

Companies also struggled to pay back existing debts, PayNet data showed. Loans more than 30 days past due rose in September to 1.64 percent, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest delinquency rate since December 2012.


Bank turned down your small business loan? Now it must offer an alternative

From today, the UK’s nine largest banks will be legally required to help entrepreneurs find funding elsewhere, thanks to the bank referral scheme

Katrin Herrling felt she had nowhere to go when, in the midst of the financial crisis, her bank suddenly changed its lending terms. She had inherited a dairy farm and needed support with her cash flow during the four months of the year the cows weren’t producing milk. “Nothing in our position had changed but the banks felt they had to rebuild their balance sheet,” she says. “I didn’t know where to turn … I [knew] that just going to another bank where I didn’t have an established relationship wasn’t going to solve the issue. Outside of banks, I had no idea.”

From today, entrepreneurs should not find themselves in Herrling’s position. As part of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, the UK’s nine major banks will be legally required to refer those SMEs they refuse to finance to an alternative provider, under the bank referral scheme.


Study: Women Small Business Owners Being Shut Out of Major Government Contracts

Jane Campbell

Jane Campbell is the director of the National Development Council’s Washington office and president of WIPP.

When Komal Goyal started her IT company, 6e Technologies, in 2003, she knew she had what it takes to run a successful business. She’d made a name for herself in the IT services space and had a robust list of contacts in the commercial arena. What she didn’t have was a hefty government contract—something that could propel her business to new heights—so she set her sights on locking one down. Thirteen years later, she’s still trying to nab one of the large umbrella contracts with the federal government that could double the size of her business in just a few years.

The problem is that most of these super contracts—the kind many federal agencies favor because they create a pre-approved list of businesses that can supply unlimited goods or services during a specified period, of up to 10 years—have requirements to allow various socio-economic groups to compete, but not for women.“The contracting officers putting together a list of possible vendors must ensure certain groups have access to these contracts,” Goyal said. “If women-owned businesses aren’t one of those boxes to check off, we don’t even get the chance to compete.”


 

Branding Your BusinessThe Right Way

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As a small business owner, the branding of your business may not seem important enough for you to worry about it just yet.  Getting the business off  the ground seems to take all the time you have to worry about branding your business, or the social media aspect of it.  But, remember that having a brand that customers identify quickly, can be a great boost to your business.  Having your business logo, colors and fonts form a cohesive image that translates to social media can help customers identify your business online, and perhaps begin a relationship that can last for many years.

For more about branding, follow the links below.


Despite being a branding company, how we failed and sailed with our internal branding

We all know that a brand is an intangible asset. It’s a heavy word though. Branding is what makes or breaks a brand, isn’t it? Well, it’s certainly an exercise that can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors. For instance, with consistent advertising, and a decent product, you can create a brand image that is way above your competitors. It can help you make your brand aspirational. What’s more? It can influence people to associate with your brand. Even if that means they have to pay a premium to associate with your brand. So, the power of branding cannot be ignored.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we think that branding is all about external communication only. But to cut a good picture externally, companies tend to forget that branding is a lot about what’s done internally too. It’s only after burning our hands that we tend to really understand the power of internal branding.


Branding feelings: Why marketing leaders do it

A name. So you think that a brand is about remembering a name. A company, product, or service. True, but there is more. When you hear a name, how do you feel? Strong brands evoke strong feelings. Including the “I gotta have it” urge that propels buyers to the checkout counter. What about other feelings?

Trust. Trust is the foundation feeling. We bond with businesses, products, people, and places we trust.

“Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is the most important characteristic, which is trust.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

Feeling dominoes

One good feeling leads to another. When we trust a brand, other feelings are added. Positive feelings about quality, special features, usability, service, and overall value.

Loyalty. That is the sticky feeling that keeps us coming back for more. The stronger our composite feelings about a brand, the more we are inclined to continue buying from that company and their products. Even when a competitor has strong offerings.


6 Ways Personal Branding Is Your SEO Secret Weapon

Search engine optimization (SEO) has a lot of potential angles and strategies associated with it. Though there are some universal best practices you’ll need if you want to rank higher (such as cleaning up your technical on-site SEO and building natural inbound links), there are variable approaches you can take to find success in your own niche.

For example, you may adopt a local SEO strategy to gain more traction against your larger competitors, or you could opt for niche, long-tail keyword targeting to get a faster rise for lower-volume queries.

But there’s one angle—my personal favorite—that can propel almost any SEO strategy forward, and I don’t see nearly enough companies and organizations using it to fuel their ongoing efforts. Personal branding is your secret weapon, and it’s time you integrated it into your campaign.