Tag Archive: Entrepreneurship

Small Business Grant Money: Get Your Grants for a Business Now

Small Business Grant Money: Get Your Grants for a Business Now

Small businesses are the backbones of the community. Even the government understands that. For this reason, several different kinds of grants are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs. These millions of dollars worth of grants are open for anyone to apply for, and they can be a valuable resource for a business owner or entrepreneur that needs a little boost with their business. By learning a few important tips, individuals will have a better chance of receiving small business grant money.

Contact the Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration or SBA can be a valuable resource and ally for individuals seeking small business grants. This highly reputed organization was created by the government as a way for individuals to stay in touch with the latest funding and grant opportunities available from the government. The SBA keeps individuals informed on the latest business grant opportunities and also offers low to no interest business loans that can really help put a business on its feet. The SBA has branches in each state, as well as an official website where individuals can learn more.

Consider Community Benefits

Those businesses that will offer benefits for their community may have a better chance of receiving government grants. Grant review panels look at all aspects of the business, as well as the benefits that will result. For instance, if a business will provide several more jobs for the community, it may have a better chance of receiving a grant than a business that will offer only one or no jobs for the community. Individuals should seriously consider the benefits their business will offer, so those can be conveyed to the grant review panel.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan can greatly help focus a business owner, and can be beneficial for conveying benefits as well as obtaining funding for the business. Business plans are like guide books to the business. They outline important information about the business, such as the products or services, target market, expected costs associated with the business, projected profits and much more. Business plans are often used in lieu of grant proposals for businesses and can be very effective in helping the business win a grant. Individuals can learn how to write business plans or hire a professional writer to take care of it for them.

Use the Internet to Find Grants

There are a number of helpful websites that allow individuals to find grants for business. While individuals should proceed carefully, as there are many scam websites on the internet, it can also be a valuable resource. One should never have to pay for grant information, since it is available for free on websites like Grants.gov and Business.gov. These websites maintain up to date listings of government grants for business and other needs. These should be book marked and checked often as new grants are posted and old ones are removed.

With the above information, individuals can find and apply for government business grants that will help them find success.

Small Business Key Points to Consider Before Borrowing Money

Small Business Key Points to Consider Before Borrowing Money

Borrowing money has been around for generations; back to when the banks and other financial institutions first came about. But unlike the present times, procuring a loan then was deemed a well-mannered negotiation.

Prospective borrowers made a formal appointment with the local bank manager in which few questions were asked and the debtor’s history with the bank was reviewed. The bank was much a part of the societal activity, and the process was accepted that way.

Recently, potential borrowers rarely set eyes on the bank loan manager. With the advent of the credit cards, and their proliferation, so much has changed that sometimes it hardly seems like people are borrowing at all, what with the credit cards that provide instant gratification. But whatever it is thought to be, there is no denying that it’s all about borrowing money.

 For the small business owners planning a business start up, immediate questions spring to mind when planning to borrow money, questions such as: How can I borrow money? Where can I borrow money? How do I get a small business loan? What are the loan rates?

Three Loan Options

Usually, the interest rate is expressed as a percentage per annum. Three Loan options are:

  • Fixed Interest Loan – does not change throughout the course of the loan
  • Variable Loan – the interest rate can be changed by the lender
  • Secured Loan – guaranteed by a mortgage or other assets.

List of Questions Small Business Owners Need to Ask Before Borrowing Money

  • Is it worth incurring this debt?
  • Will I have the cash to pay for it accordingly?
  • What percentage does this loan represent to my available cash outlay?
  • Have I clarified with my chosen lender the true/actual cost of the loan? (This might need to include, for example, charges that effectively add to interest payments)
  • Are there other expenses to be considered that I might have overlooked?
  • What are the contingencies I have allowed for in planning my business startup?
  • Have I taken a financial advice of the type of loan I’m going to avail?

Although borrowing money can present great opportunities for investment and financial growth, it is a roller-coaster ride with the possible nightmare of inability to pay off debt. Business owners, as well as personal debtors, often want to get their loans approved with a sense of urgency. The diversity of the kinds of loan and looking for the needs that best fit the business, should be carefully studied and weighed.

If uncertain with issues about borrowing money, small business owners should consult a business loans consultant who can assist with the lending application process and explain key points that banks will evaluate in lending money.

Starting Up and Running a Successful New Business Affordably

Starting Up and Running a Successful New Business Affordably

Becoming an Affiliate Marketer

A third and more affordable solution for the aspiring business owner is to set himself up as an affiliate marketer, selling the goods and services of other companies in exchange for a commission. Many top companies have their own affiliate program, such as Amazon and Ebay. Other leading brands are members of an affiliate marketplace network, in which the business owner can register for multiple companies and get paid in one regular commission check at the end of each month.

Similar to the business owner who wants to sell something they have expertise in, the affiliate marketer should choose products based on a niche and/or sub-niche they wish to explore. They will already have a computer and be able to do the research online to find affiliate programs they can join. Once they register and enter their bank details and are accepted to at least a couple of programs, they can start building links with their special code through the affiliate program. These links will be special only to them in order to make sure that they are credited for each sale they drive to the site/s they are affiliated with.

An affiliate marketer should also have a website of their own, a business bank account, and a PayPal account to be able to accept and process secure payments. Iceland in 8 Days is a perfect example of a fully operational and active affiliate site. They might also wish to have an email marketing program to help capture email addresses of people who visit their site, in order to send them a free newsletter and other promotions containing their affiliate links. They can also spend time rather than money by producing free special reports to give away in exchange for the email addresses. Finally, they may wish to write reviews of the products that they are selling, especially if they have personal experience of them.

Marketing a New Business Affordably

Marketing a new website usually takes more time than money, through link building, referral links they can post on forums, blogs and in their email signature files. For those who can afford a marketing budget, Pay Per Click through a large search engine like Google can help drive qualified traffic very quickly. This can help test the market and how well the sales pages on the affiliate site will sell.

For high-ticket items in particular, there may be a great deal of competition and the cost of the ads will be higher. Yahoo, Bing and Ask PPC prices tend to be a fair bit lower per click but there will not be as much traffic. However the key is conversions to a lead (email address) or sale, so if the sales letter page is not showing any results after a day or two, turn off the PPC, adjust the page and try again with new ads.

However, if there are still no sales, then try to re-write the sales letter to make it more compelling and post to one’s own site and drive traffic there instead of the affiliate’s sites, for better tracking of results.

A new small business can be an investment in terms of money and time but thanks to the opportunities offered by the internet, new business owners can get started running their own company quickly and affordably no matter what they decide to sell. They can certainly also market their company affordably by making the most of all the tools on the Internet to drive traffic and gain customers.

Free Online Resources for Small Businesses

Free Online Resources for Small Businesses

Operating a small business is not easy, but you don’t have to do it all alone. There are excellent resources available through the internet that won’t cost anything but time. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of others who have put together guidance for small business success.

Business.gov from the Small Business Administration

This site offers a wide range of business information for businesses of all types to help them understand legal requirements and locate government services. Find out how to organize or form a corporation. Find out what business licenses are necessary for different industries. Get statistics and market research data. Learn to how to bid on government contracts. See what grants or loans may be available for your business. This website has links to many different government departments and agencies. Visit the website at Business.gov.

 Small Business Training Network

Another initiative from the Small Business Administration, this resource offers a variety of online courses on topics such as how to write a business plan, technology, marketing, and dealing with a slow economy. Courses require a simple online registration and take about 30 minutes to complete. The site also offers publications, podcasts, business forms, and newsletters. Visit the website at sba.gov.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

The more than 12,000 experienced and well-informed members of this volunteer organization are current and former business owners and managers with a wealth of knowledge to share. They donate their time to help small business owners overcome the obstacles to growth and profitability. Contact them online or make an appointment for a personal meeting. Attend a workshop or webinar. Sign up for a business newsletter. With more than 300 offices across the United States, SCORE is likely to have a branch near you. Visit the website at SCORE.org.

The Small Business Page at OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guidance to small businesses about safety and health training and programs, guides for OSHA standards, and OSHA “eTools,” interactive Web-based training tools on safety and health topics. OSHA provides many publications that can be ordered online and compliance assistance to help business owners understand which OSHA standards apply to their businesses. Visit the website at osha.gov.

Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

The Internal Revenue Service provides information for businesses to comply with tax laws. View a virtual workshop to understand federal tax obligations. Download forms and publications for employers and employees. Register for a federal tax identification number. Find an A-Z index of tax topics to answer questions on just about any aspect of federal taxation. Visit the website at irs.gov.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ just over half the nation’s private workers and include almost 30 million individual businesses. The government wants small businesses to succeed, so it has created a variety of resources to help. Take advantage of these free resources to support and grow your small business.

Small Businesses Must be Tougher with Mobile Phone Suppliers

Small Businesses Must be Tougher with Mobile Phone Suppliers

A survey of 1,000 small business leaders reveals that many walk away from negotiations with mobile phone or cell phone suppliers without trying to haggle, despite ongoing needs to control costs. The new research suggests that SMEs and other smaller companies can do more to get a better deal from mobile phone companies if they are prepared to negotiate hard.

The survey, conducted by T-Mobile, and released on Wednesday May 5th 2016, shows that 63 per cent have walked away from a supplier who has quoted an unreasonable price and a third of small business leaders do not see themselves as natural negotiators. Added to this, 71 per cent of small business leaders believe suppliers often offer better deals to large enterprises

Opinium Research carried out the survey of 1,069 UK SME Business Owners/ Senior Managers from Thursday 18th to Wednesday 24th March 2016 on behalf of T-Mobile.

Businesses Need to Negotiate on Mobile Phone Contracts

Nearly a third of small business owners or managers do not see themselves as naturally strong negotiators while 38 per cent of small business leaders expect suppliers to quote an unreasonably high first price and 63 per cent of small business owners or managers have walked away from a supplier who has quoted an unreasonable first price.

Alexander Ehmann, Head of Enterprise Policy, Institute of Directors, in a press release issued with the findings: “UK commercial growth remains fragile and small businesses continue to face serious pressures. In order to survive and grow their companies, business leaders need to keep control of their costs, which often involves negotiating with suppliers. If this is not an option, then it is up to suppliers to offer the best deals possible to support small businesses, which form the backbone of the UK economy.”

T-Mobile’s Head of Business Marketing, Max Taylor, commented in an interview: “It is understandable that business leaders find negotiations a drain on their time. However, it must be frustrating for them to miss out on the best deals available. If we can sidestep the negotiations process, it relieves managers of this additional pressure. This is why it is important for suppliers to offer good value, upfront deals to the UK’s small businesses. At T-Mobile, we offer a mix of straightforward business plans that do not restrict people from doing business in the way that best suits them.”

Good Mobile Phone Packages are Available

Where they have been prepared to haggle, SME have got some good deals from mobile phone contractors. The most impressive business deals include: £1,500 worth of free photography, a saving of £5,000 on annual office rent, a conference room within a hotel negotiated from £200 for three hours down to £40, rent brought down by £7,000 a year, free printing of marketing materials worth approximately £400 and full hospitality at British Grand Prix.

With the effect of the recession still being felt by many small and large businesses and profit margins still narrow, it is clearly essential that companies get the best deal they can. This research clearly indicates that SMEs can get a better deal on their mobile phone or cell phone contracts if they work a little harder.

Free Accounting Programs for Small Business

Free Accounting Programs for Small Business

If you are an owner or manager responsible for accounts and cash in a small business, you’re probably looking for a way to save money. Although you could purchase expensive software packages or do all of the math by hand, downloading free accounting programs online may make a lot more sense.

Tracking Accounts and Expenses

Businesses must be able to track accounts and expenses at all times in order to identify trends and reduce costs. If you are a CPA, you may want to keep the books by hand as a cheaper option than purchasing software, but bear in mind the amount of time required to research tax updates and calculate interest, among other things. Regardless of cost, however, your goal is to find a method of accounting that provides for the bookkeeping needs of your business. If you choose to use software, look for features such as local and cloud data backups, the ability to access information from multiple computers, data security and real-time updates of tax information.

 Accounting Software for Businesses

Business accounting programs, such as QuickBooks, Quicken and Microsoft Money, are robust compilations of various software functions. Most packages include telephone support and yearly upgrades. Common features include:

  • Online software updates: Install software patches or other updates with an Internet connection.
  • Online tax rules updates: Update employee and sales tax information as necessary via the Internet.
  • Mobile access from a PDA or SmartPhone: Get access to account information, invoices or any other necessary data remotely with an authorized device.
  • Invoice templates: Create professional invoices for your customers.
  • Alerts as bills become due: Don’t miss another payment – let the software let you know before you’re late.
  • Budgeting templates: Let your software walk you through creating a budget, and start saving money.

Free Accounting Software Packages

There is a middle ground between doing all of your books by hand with bookeeping templates and purchasing a top-of-the-line accounting package. Quickbooks and Quicken both offer an online version of their software at no cost with many of the same features as the regular version of the software. Although Quicken only offers its personal money management software in an online version, Quickbooks actually offers a free online money program for small business. There’s no download, just click to sign up.

Small Business Accounting

There are a number of factors that can affect your decision as you choose a method of accounting for your business. Weigh the cost of the program, the time of setup or maintenance and the ongoing effort it will require against other factors, such as data security and ease of access, to determine which program will work best in your situation. Remember, you can always change your mind later.