Looking to Grow Your Business? 5 Funding Options to Consider
Jan05

Looking to Grow Your Business? 5 Funding Options to Consider

You’ve spent the past few years establishing your business, and the time has come to expand. There’s only one problem: The necessary funds to take operations to the next level simply 9781630687038-Perfect-Outlines---CopyV3aren’t available. Must you turn to a bank for a loan, or should you explore other options? The answer depends on your personal financial situation, but these nontraditional sources of funding are worth considering:

Crowdfunding

Does the idea of asking strangers to fund your expansion leave you a bit unsettled? It shouldn’t, as it could be exactly what you need to get things off the ground. There are many people around the world with the same core values as you who are willing to support your cause. Plus, it won’t cost you anything out the gate to put your vision out there. Just be sure to read the fine print to determine the fees that accompany successful and failed campaigns. Also, inquire about any funding restrictions that may apply; select platforms have stringent barriers to entry, while others are open to the public. For a list of the top crowdfunding platforms, read this Forbes article.

Self-Financing

This is another viable funding option, assuming you have the resources on hand. In fact, third-party lenders may ask, “What do you have to lose?” before considering your application, to see how much you believe in your business. And the first consideration may be the contributions you’ve made from your personal assets. Consider borrowing against the cash value on your life insurance policies, retirement fund or taking out a home equity loan. It’s important to note that not repaying an IRA or 401(k) account in a timely manner could result in an early withdrawal penalty of 10 percent and assessment of taxes. Before you borrow against your 401(k), ask yourself these four questions from U.S. News & World Report.

Structured Settlement Payouts

Are you receiving distributions from a structured settlement? Although the proceeds may be generous, it may not be enough to fund your business’s growth. Consider selling your future structured settlement payments for a lump sum to help fund your expansion. To learn more about selling your future structured settlement payments, visit JGWentworth.com.

Venture Capitalists & Angel Investors

If your company is growing at a good clip, venture capitalists may be willing to take a chance on you. But there are definitely a few risk factors (and if you watch “Shark Tank,” these should could as no surprise). Along with the laundry list of stipulations to get them on board, venture capitalists will want their piece of the pie—and it could be in the form of a chunk of ownership. Simply put, they’re in it to win it, and money is the motivation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, as you’ll more than likely have access to their brain and network.

Angel investors provide funding to entrepreneurs, whether they know them are not, who exemplify a willingness to do whatever it takes to attain success. Simply put, they derive pleasure from giving back to up-and-coming entrepreneurs—with few strings attached. For more on the difference between venture capitalists and angel investors, read this post from Business Insider.

SBA Loans

This last option isn’t that nontraditional, but it’s still worth mentioning. The most common among these federal offerings is the 7(a) Loan Program for small, U.S.-based for-profit entities. Applicants must be able to prove they’ve attempted to self-finance their operations and a funding gap still exists. Businesses in select industries aren’t eligible for inclusion, so review the guidelines to determine if you qualify. Visit the Small Business Administration for more information.

 

by Allison Martin
Allison Martin is a writer, financial mentor and business consultant to mommy-preneurs. Her work has been featured on ABC News, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, Fox Business, Credit.com and Money Talks News. When she’s not writing away, Allison enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

 

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Creative Holiday Ideas for Small Biz from SBA
Dec07

Creative Holiday Ideas for Small Biz from SBA

[repost from SBA]

 

33 Creative Ideas for Small Business Holiday Marketing

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: October 7, 2014

The holidays are coming, and we all know what that means for retailers. But retailers aren’t the only ones who can get in on the holiday shopping game. Whether you own a store, restaurant, service provider or even a B2B company, smart marketing can boost your holiday sales, too. Here are 33 marketing ideas to get your holiday sales sizzling.

  1. Invite B2B customers to a thank-you dinner or other special event.
  2. Invite B2B prospects to a “getting to know you” party.
  3. Stand out by holding your holiday party before Thanksgiving, or after the New Year when customers are more business-minded and thinking ahead to 2015 budgets.
  4. Stand out (and save money) by holding a holiday breakfast or luncheon instead of a full-scale evening party.
  5. Join forces with other small business owners in the area to hold a weekend “sidewalk sale.”
  6. Cross-promote your business with cards, brochures and flyers in complementary businesses’ locations.
  7. Put discounts or coupons for other nearby businesses’ products or services in customers’ shopping bags, and have them do the same for you.
  8. Hold a special sale for your best customers only, at a time when you’re normally closed.
  9. Choose a charity to get involved with, and get customers involved too. Offer a discount or free gift card for customers who volunteer a certain amount of time to the charity or donate a certain amount.
  10. Join other businesses to host a gift-giving tree. Find a local charity, put a tree in the business district or shopping area, post Christmas wishes on the tree, and have customers pick a wish and buy the desired gift.
  11. Exhibit at holiday shows. See if local crafts fairs or gift shows accept commercial vendors and, if so, rent a booth.
  12. Hold a Black Friday sale for your B2B business. (It doesn’t have to be on the real “Black Friday”—pick another Friday during the holiday season.)
  13. Send real holiday cards, not e-cards. They’re more likely to get noticed.
  14. Send Thanksgiving or New Year’s cards. They’re also more likely to get noticed than cards sent during the Christmas season.
  15. Hold a holiday open house for prospects. More relaxed than a regular party, it offers an opportunity for them to drop by at their convenience and learn more about your business.
  16. Capture customers through their kids. Hold a kids’ contest like a make-your-own-ornament contest or holiday coloring contest. Give a big prize or just give everyone small prizes, like candy canes.
  17. Make any business kid-friendly by providing a kids’ space with toys or books to keep tired, fussy children occupied while parents shop.
  18. Get listed in local bloggers’ holiday gift guides. It’s too late for most print gift guides, but there’s still time to get your products or services spotlighted by relevant bloggers. Reach out with a free sample.
  19. Feed the crowd. Hand out free cookies or beverages to energize tired shoppers.
  20. Make them comfy. Provide seating so shoppers’ companions can sit down if they don’t want to shop.
  21. Give it away. If your business is located in a mall or shopping area, station an employee outside to give away free samples of your product or service to passersby.
  22. Hire masseuses to give shoppers free foot or shoulder rubs in your store if they buy something.
  23. Have Santa come to your business. If you’re in a shopping district, join with other businesses to hire a Santa. You can even set up a photo booth and have photos taken with Santa and ask for donations.
  24. Hold a “12 Days of…” sale, event or contest. Give away a different prize every day, offer a different discount every day or spotlight a different product every day.
  25. Give away useful items with each purchase, like good-quality tissue paper or ribbons for gift-wrapping. Put your business’s name on it and you’ve got a marketing tool, too.
  26. Give away gifts with purchase. Offering items that can serve as stocking stuffers makes customers more likely to buy so they can get the gift.
  27. Try a two-for-one sale. This works great for subscription items; offer customers a free gift subscription or half-price gift subscription when they renew their own membership or subscription.
  28. Get personal. Instead of holding a big party for clients, take them out to lunch individually during the holidays (or early in the New Year if they’re too busy).
  29. Provide entertainment. Hire musicians to play in your store or restaurant, or right outside to attract customers in.
  30. Display holiday-themed art by local artists in your restaurant, coffee shop or bar and offer it for sale.
  31. Sell gift cards for shoppers who can’t make up their minds. Be sure to keep them by the point-of-sale as a last minute impulse buy.
  32. Create personalized food gifts by printing your business logo on M&Ms, candy bars, cookies or candy wrappers.
  33. Print a personalized 2015 calendar to give out to your clients. A restaurant could include photos of popular dishes; a dog wash could showcase cute dog breeds.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades
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3 Tips to Ward Off Small Business Disaster
Sep08

3 Tips to Ward Off Small Business Disaster

Small business owners are the life blood of America. In 2007, the Small Business Administration calculated at least 2.3 million businesses in the mix, a number likely to keep growing shutterstock_132934481as the economy slowly recovers from recession.

However, as a small business owner, you run the risk of filing for bankruptcy if precautions are not taken to prevent hurdles big and small. According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, over 1 million businesses filed for bankruptcy in this year alone. So, how can you prevent your business from being included in this mess?

Avoid Data Loss

There is nothing worse than keeping meticulous records on your earnings, client information and other receipts only to have it destroyed in an accident or be mismanaged by one of your employees.

You can protect and secure your company’s documents by using cloud storage, which allows you access to anything you might need without tying the information to a specific device. This can minimize any damage caused by a fire, virus or loss of a device because everything is secured offsite. Companies like Mozy offer custom cloud storage options, which can provide a secure place for documents and make file sharing easier.

Prevent Customer Dissatisfaction

Technology might scare you or you are simply in your business comfort zone, and you are doing just fine. However, in order for you to appeal to the current consumer, you need to consistently evolve to meet their needs, which means that you need to be Internet savvy.

This can be as easy as setting up accounts for your business on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. As Mediabistro reports, 87 percent of small businesses found that social media has helped their business. Getting tuned into the market will only help you grow as a business and make a wider circle of connections.

Be sure to listen to your customers on social media, and make improvements and adjustments based on their concerns. Experian reports that 91 percent of online adults use social media, so this makes it the perfect place to reach your target market and send them surveys and questionnaires. In addition, if you take the time to respond to your customers, they will return and bring their friends with them.

Save Money for Later

There are many ways that businesses of all sizes can save money. Going green is one of the latest trends in saving money and helping the environment. According to Energy Star, the nation’s small businesses spend $60 billion a year on energy. Even simple things like turning off lights when rooms are not in use, bundling electronics on power strips and unplugging battery chargers when finished can really reduce your energy bill. These minor fixes can save your business money that can be saved for later in case of an emergency or used on something more productive for your business. Small businesses can’t afford to waste money, so be sure to check out different, green ways to save.

The tips above will surely ensure a long lasting life for your business, and will help you grow into a thriving enterprise that can take on any unforeseen disaster, big or small.

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Tips for Franchising your Business

Your business is successful and you may be thinking, “how do I franchise my business?” If this is a road you’d like to travel (or even just ponder for a few minutes), these tips will help you get started! Usually it starts with family and friends suggesting you should consider taking the next step to grow and popularize your brand.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Do I know how to franchise my business? How do I get started? What does it cost?” This article will answer some of those questions. While this strategy has worked for many businesses to become a successful franchise, they may not work for everyone.

Franchising works by opening the doors for investors to come in and purchase rights to use your brand and create, for example, a second store, using the franchise name and trademark. You will receive a franchisor fee for doing this. You may also receive royalties based upon average sales of this new store, usually between 4 and 10% to help with training, marketing, sales, operations and the like.

The best part of selling the rights to your brand is the franchisee puts up all the money required to start their new business and all the risk is on their shoulders. Other attractive features include owning and operating these locations yourself. Compared to more mainstream methods of expansion, here you can enjoy the benefits without many of the losses, not assuming risk if the expansion doesn’t work out.

The first thing we will need to look at is your capital. If you’re a small company with only one or two units, banks may not be willing to help give you a loan needed to start on your own. They will need some kind of collateral or a long history of success to make it worth their while. If you are a young business, no matter how successful your start up may be, the odds may be too much against you.

Also, with your current business, do you have enough staff able to handle hiring, supervision and training the new employees on their own? Those things can take time and a good amount of money. You can only be at one place at one time. How many times have you had employees leave due to one situation or the next? Keeping good employees can be a tough task in itself.

For these reasons, more and more business owners are deciding to franchise their business and expand without spending too much capital and taking on risk. Let’s take a closer meeting at what franchising means for your business.

Before deciding if it is right for you, you need to determine if it’s the right move and strategy for your business. Questions to ask yourself:

-Does the market for your business transcend beyond your current location? You may need advice from a franchise consultant to see the bigger picture without bias. You may ‘know’ you have a hot idea, but a franchise consultant will be those eyes and ears into whether or not your niche has a market outside your area.

-What makes your business special? It doesn’t necessary have to be a ‘never before seen’ idea, but it should be unique and attractive to investors and ultimately the public.

With these tips, hopefully you will be able to decide if franchising is for you and how to get started.
Author Bio: This post comes from Aew, who works for Naked Business Consulting. Recently having completed her MBA, Aew enjoys her job in marketing, spending time with her family and going away on the weekend.

Author Bio:  This post comes from Aew, who works for Naked Business Consulting. Recently having completed her MBA, Aew enjoys her job in marketing, spending time with her family and going away on the weekend.

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Press Release – TEW2
Jul10

Press Release – TEW2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


 

The Entrepreneur Within You Movement Continues with the Release of Volume 2

Chicago IL July 9th, 2014Following up on the success of The Entrepreneur Within You and the subsequent following the first book helped garner, book creator Julie M. Holloway book-adhas directed another edition in the series.

The Entrepreneur Within You: Volume 2 (220 Publishing) is the second title in the series containing a collection of real-life stories from 18 living, breathing, inspiring entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneur Within You series is an inspirational business anthology that not only shares with the readers how their path to business ownership began, but, also includes diverse and encouraging personal stories of challenges conquered.  The book is filled with tips and tools aspiring entrepreneurs can use to accomplish their goals despite facing their own obstacles.  “The experiences that our writers share concerning how they have overcome things while pursuing their passions will motivate all who read it” quoted Holloway about the recent release.   “We are fulfilling our destiny by allowing real entrepreneurs a platform to share their trials and their triumphs.”

Holloway left her 16-year career as an executive assistant at various fortune 500 companies to pursue her dreams becoming a creative designer.  JMH Cre8ive Solutions, the brainchild of JMH “the artist” is operated by Julie and her husband Darnell, with assistance from her “kidpreneurs” Jasmine and DJ.

The official release celebration of The Entrepreneur Within You 2 will be held August 9th, 2014 at Bites Asian Tapas in Chicago.  Attendees can RSVP through Eventbrite.  For more information visit the web site at www.tewyou.com.

 

Media Contact:
Myisha Harvey

info@220communications.com

1.866.533.9884

 

 

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