Small Business Loans For the Small Business Owner

In the United States,  small-minority-owned businesses play a significant role in the economy. There are approximately 1 million minority-owned businesses and $254 billion in payroll, an increase of 7% from 2014 to 2015. State government officials want these businesses to succeed because of the importance they play in their local economies.

Funding for some of these businesses is made possible through small business loans that government agencies make available to owners that are unable to secure them through the usual channels. These loans provide critical capital they need to cover payroll or to provide the fuel to start the business.

For these small business owners, an increase in operational costs can affect them significantly.  The constant increase of health care coverage for their employees is a constant source of capital worries.  These loans would allow them to weather the storm or the short deficit they experience due to these expenses.

Through a health insurance survey, small business owners were asked whether health insurance costs are of concern to them. 80% of those business owners said to be afraid of any increase, especially since the trend is an increase of 18% in health care coverage from one year to the next.  They believe an increase of even 10% in health coverage premiums can make it impossible for them to offer their employees any health insurance coverage at all. These loans from state governments would allow them to continue with their business operations without having the constant worry of whether or not they can make payroll that month.

For many small businesses, their competitive edge they need to level the plane field with big companies is their ability to woo and retain talented employees. These businesses offer an array of incentives and other perks that many big companies cannot offer.

One of the many advantages small business owners have over the big firms is the close relationships the small owner can form with their employees. Employees in a small business interact with each other on a more personal level, and that is something many employees look for when looking for a job.

The flexibility small businesses offer their employees is not something to take lightly.  If a small company allows its employees to work from home when there’s an emergency, or a child is sick and they need to care for them, the flexibility is worth something to the employee.

A small company allows more independence and gives their employees more control over their work.  They are not micro-managed every single day or are constantly required to ask permission from upper management if they want to do something outside the “box”.

Small business owners have to think differently if they want to woo and keep talented employees, but it is not impossible to do it if they have the capital to back them up.


Online Marketing Without Breaking the Bank

For a small business owner, having a big marketing budget is out of the question. Having to meet payroll every month and, and having the cash necessary to cover accounts payable, is already a feat in itself.

For many small business owners, their ability to do their online marketing is closely tied to the amount of money they can spend. It also plays an important role in its execution.  Online marketing can be done well without breaking your finances.

Here are some of the best options you have to list and promote your business and start building that relationship you need to keep and attract customers.

  1. Website – Start by having a website that shows what your business does.  Simplicity is a good thing when you start with a website that will promote your business, upcoming events or news in the future.
  2. Google My Business – can allow you to post what’s new in your business, add photos and lets you start building a relationship with your new and existing customers. It’s a free Google listing that will show your business to people searching for your business or business related to yours.
  3. Social Media – There are many social media platforms that you can use to promote your business for free. Try to do it free but if you are able to afford it, pay to advertise locally first and see how the experiment goes.  You can always take the advertising nationally if that’s what you need later on.
  4. Content – Quality, tailored content that speaks about and for your business is a great way to promote it.  Keep the content relevant, and fresh.  Articles that have been posted two or three years ago and are still showing on your website is a sure way to lose prospective customers.
  5. Word of Mouth and Customer Service – Businesses that are local and rely on local customers to prosper, can take advantage of their location by providing excellent customer service to their customers. Word of mouth is a powerful advertising component that many businesses can use to advertise without spending a penny.
  6. Consistency – Consistency is not something you can buy, but if you don’t have the consistency to do your marketing on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter how much you are spending on advertising or other venues to promote your business.  The marketing has to start with you, be constant.

A good business with a good product still needs to advertise.  Perhaps the product will sell itself — eventually — but the business has to promote it to introduce it to their customers or prospective customers.

A marketing strategy that works for a business does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Marketing can be a very specific strategy for a specific industry. Trying a strategic marketing idea to gauge the ROI for your business can be a very first good step, but remember your business does not be married to it. Explore other ideas or other strategies and choose the one that you think is the best solution.


When Hiring An Employee

The challenges small business owners face are a bit different from the challenges the big guys deal on a daily basis. 

The small business owner has the capability and the luxury to meet and know the employees that work for them.  Some of the challenges a small business owner faces when dealing with employees are whether he/she is challenging their employees and keeping them interested in remaining with the company. 

A bored employee that is not being challenged, or is not utilized well looks for a company that will challenge him.  Research has found that Millennials are one of the groups that expect to be challenged and is not afraid to voice their discontent with the status quo if their skills are not being used. If an employee is happy working for your company, don’t be afraid to ask them for any input as to improvements you can make to the internal culture of the business even though he is happy working there.  If an employee is leaving the company, make it your job to find out why and whether there was anything you could have done differently.

Many companies have great salaries and incentives to lure top talent to their business, and although a great salary is one of the incentives you can use to attract them to your company,  it’s not enough to keep them.

There is a lot of research out there that mention the idea of group collaboration and state the fact that many employees prefer and enjoy the challenge of being part of a team.  While this may be true for many startups, every company is different and the goals they want to achieve are not those of a startup.  As a small business owner, the possibility of change is easier for you.  You can implement change in the company and see it through without looking for approval from the top guys, or even input if the changes are working.

As a business student, you learn that company culture is one of the hardest changes to make, and one of the things hardest to monitor.

Having the right company culture begins by hiring the right people.  It is no longer enough to have the computer skills needed for a job, good interpersonal skills have become a prerequisite for many companies for any position within the organization.

As a small business owner, there are many challenges when hiring employees.  Fortunately for you, the power and control are yours.


Small Business Owners Challenges

According to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is defined as an independent business with less than 500 employees, and according to them 99.7% of the United States economy is comprised by small business.

Every year, there are thousands of new business in this country in every industry, but there are many others that go under as well. Whole industries are being created thanks to the innovations and smart decisions many entrepreneurs make every single day, and the capacity of many of these entrepreneurs to think smartly and make decisions that impact their business favorably is outstanding.

But, as with everything else, small business owners make mistakes that can impact their business and profits and can leave them with many unanswerable questions. Sometimes, they can catch those mistakes and move forward with their business, but other times those mistakes can be too costly and cannot be solved quickly enough.

One of the biggest mistakes 90% of owners make is not knowing or understanding the importance of their numbers.  They don’t know if or which of their customers generate a profit, nor do they know how much a profit it is.  They don’t understand a fundamental concept — if you don’t have a profit margin, you can’t sustain a business.

The margin is simply how much out of every dollar a business earns it actually gets to keep.  For example: $1.00 (earned) minus $.90 (expenses) equals $.10 (profit).  The profit margin is 10%.  Many owners keep investing money, not understanding this straightforward tenet, hoping to “get the company on its feet”.  However, there’s no reasonable, mathematical way for that to happen if there’s no profit (margins can be either positive or negative). 

Owners should always know their margins if they’re positive or negative at the very least because the volume of a business doesn’t give an accurate picture of its financial health.  A company with $5 million in revenue can actually be losing money if it has a negative margin.

Another of those mistakes that small business owners do not take into consideration, is their competition.  Every business in the country and around the world has a competitor. Not thinking about the competition can leave a small business owner wondering where it went wrong while leaving their competitor reaping the benefits of their mistakes.

As a small business owner, you do many of the tasks your company or small business needs doing, and the responsibility to have them done come to rest at your desk.  Knowing when you need to hire extra help, and hiring the right people for the job can become an invaluable asset for your business.

It is never too late to start the business of your dream.  Knowing ahead of time that it will be extremely difficult and stressful, but giving you the rewards you always wanted.


The Small Business Owner and The House’s Tax Reform Bill


Well, there you have it, folks.  The House’s tax bill, if it passes will indeed benefit the small business owner. If you are indeed a small business owner, this is good news for you.  According to many analysts and bipartisan groups, for the average American taxpayer, the bill changes very little or none at all. But, according to them, the small business owner does have something to look forward to if the bill passes.

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


Two big reasons the House’s tax reform bill benefits small businesses

The House tax reform bill passed last week is really not much, if any, of a middle-class tax cut. Even the Joint Committee on Taxation — a bipartisan congressional group — concluded “the vast majority” of Americans (92 percent) will either pay less or see little change over the next five years and after that, only 40 percent of Americans will pay less taxes.

But then again, this bill was never really meant to benefit individuals. It was meant to benefit businesses. And to that end, it succeeds. Big corporations should be very happy with its passage, and so should small firms like mine. Why? Two big reasons.

According to the Tax Foundation, 90 percent of small businesses are pass-through entities . . . like mine (meaning the income produced by the business is accounted for in the owner’s personal tax filings). Research from 2010 has shown that the typical small business owner makes anywhere from $35,000 to $75,000 per year — reasonable numbers even today considering that the vast, vast number of small businesses are merchants, restaurateurs and operators of very small mom-and-pop firms, freelancers and independent contractors. The House bill will (after some last minute changes) allow most of these business owners to take advantage of a tax rate of 9 percent on their first $75,000 of income with a cap of 25 percent on the rest.


7 Marketing Automation Tools That Could Change Your Small Business

As every small business owner knows, wearing a lot of hats is how you keep your company in the black. The problem, of course, is that any business owner only has 24 hours in a day. Cramming business development, customer service, marketing, production, financials, and everything else on one to-do list is a recipe for disaster (and a complete lack of sleep).

The best way to overcome the limitation of time is by automating some of your processes — and marketing is one area ripe for automation. The key for small businesses is finding a tool that can automate many components of marketing at once, and these seven platforms take different approaches to automating marketing processes to make entrepreneurs’ lives easier.


Small Business Saturday

Greensburg Square Merchants urge shoppers to ‘Give us a chance’

GREENSBURG – Saturday, Nov. 25 is “Small Business Saturday.” As the kick-off weekend to the 2017 holiday shopping season begins, retail merchants all over the world prepare to greet the throngs of customers whose shopping habits will either make or break their yearly sales goals. In a tough economy, big “box” stores prepare to happily accept almost any form of payment in exchange for those lofty sales figures so important in determining their futures.

Jeff Emsweller, executive director of the Greensburg Chamber of Commerce was asked about Small Business Saturday. “It’s a great program that was started about three or four years ago by American Express.


 

Is The New Tax Bill Favorable To Your Business?

With the ups and downs of small business optimism index this year, October saw a small upward trend again and once again small business owners believe now is the time to expand, and hire.   They believe sales will keep increasing and the economy as a whole.

The retail industry sees an increase in sales due to the holiday season, and as a small shop owner, sales do increase dramatically.  The question now is whether the sales will keep up after the holidays are over and Americans settle to their business as usual, or whether they will again go back to the normal pre-holiday sales. The index may again adjust itself to reflect the normal optimism before this holiday rush.

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


8 small business losers under Republicans’ tax bill

If you’re a small business owner hoping to get a tax cut under the proposed Republican tax reform, pay close attention. While there will be a few small business winners, most owners will see no benefit, and you might be one of the many losers.

While both the House and Senate bills are still subject to revision, both contain a provision directly aimed at small businesses. And it’s got a whopper of a bait-and-switch.

Whenever you hear them talking about lowering the rate on “pass through” income — the kind almost all small business owners report — remember this: It won’t lower taxes on at least 70% of the money you make. It won’t help the overwhelming bulk of small businesses.

How did we get here?

During the Presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump promised to lower business taxes.   But he meant “corporate” taxes — with a new lower rate applicable only to “C” corporations, generally the largest businesses.


NFIB Small Business Survey: Index Inches Up In October

The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for October came in at 103.8, up 0.8 from the previous month. The index is at the 93rd percentile in this series. Today’s number came in below the Investing.com forecast of 104.2.

Here is an excerpt from the opening summary of the news release:

More small business owners last month said they expect higher sales and think that now is a good time to expand, according to the October NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism, released today.

“Owners became much more positive about the economic environment last month, which suggests a longer-run view,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “In the nearer term, they are more optimistic about real sales growth and improved business conditions through the end of the year.”

The first chart below highlights the 1986 baseline level of 100 and includes some labels to help us visualize that dramatic change in small business sentiment that accompanied the Great Financial Crisis. Compare, for example, the relative resilience of the index during the 2000-2003 collapse of the Tech Bubble with the far weaker readings following the Great Recession that ended in June 2009.


Modified House tax bill hits right notes for small businesses

The House is expected this week to pass the most comprehensive tax reform in more than 30 years. The measure is aimed at boosting the U.S. economy, mainly by reducing taxes on businesses. The Senate introduced its plan last week, which leaders expect to pass before the end of the year.

The respective versions will have to be reconciled, and potential obstacles remain, but the elusive goal of tax reform is within reach. Every American has a stake in the success of this effort, for no other public goal is possible, including national security, better public education or a modernized infrastructure, without stronger, faster economic growth.


 

Small Business Tools For Business

In today’s global market, the small business owner wants and is able to compete with the big companies around the world. By effectively using the marketing tools and management software available to them, they can reach customers across the globe to provide the goods and services that make their business a success.

Marketing and business tools that enable the small business owner to compete in a global market are available to them as well as the big guys.  The difference is the scale and availability of the talent around them.

If you have talented tech people around you, the business dealings you need to do will not be postponed because you need to deal with computers, marketing or software that you may not know anything about.  The talented people you hire to do the technical jobs  are there to make that part of your job a bit easier and hopefully a bit more enjoyable.

Some of the business tools small business owners can use to make their job a bit more enjoyable are internet marketing software that allows you to produce;

  • Email software that allow you to monitor the recipients opening rates, and personalized the emails to reach your intended target.
  • Blogging tools that allow you to produce content in an easy to use manner while keeping the quality to a high standard.
  • Lead generation tools that enable you to reach more customers while keeping in contact with the existing customers you have.
  • A CRM that allows you to keep your customers and the relationships you have formed active while keeping their data centralized.

Nowadays, the relationships the small business forms can be the difference between a successful business or one that is barely making it. Yes, there are many businesses out there offering the same  goods and services your business is offering, sometimes cheaper and some times better, but unless the difference is pronounced, the relationship you have formed with that client will keep their business with you because they have come to trust you and perhaps like you.

The small business tools you need are out there  to help you and make your business a bit easier to manage, choosing the most expensive ones is not always the solution, you just need to know what you need and research it a bit to see if that is what you need.


 

 

Small Business News

Facebook advertising has proven to be the way to go for some small businesses.  There are others that swear the ads don’t work. The only thing that most online users agree is the fact that if you have a small or big business, or if you are in the spotlight, politics is the last thing you want to be promoting.

As a small business owner providing goods or services to many clients, the last thing you want to do is promote one political view over another.  Stick to business.  Remember that we want clients to spend money with us, regardless of their party affiliation.

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


Small Business Saturday: Big, and getting bigger

It’s not yet Halloween, but for many small businesses, planning for the holiday season has started in full force. If you own a small business, it’s time to start getting ready for one of the most important days of the year.

In all my years working with entrepreneurs and writing about entrepreneurship, Small Business Saturday — falling this year on Nov. 25 — is the most transformative campaign for small businesses I have ever seen.

Since its inception in 2010, this special day — the Saturday after Thanksgiving— has become the biggest sales day of the year for many small companies. For the big day last year, an estimated 112 million Americans shopped at small businesses and independent restaurants, spending about $15.4 billion, according to American Express. That’s about one-third of the American public buying at small businesses and a whole lot of cash infused into local economies.


What Not to Do on Your Facebook Small-Business Page

More entrepreneurs are tapping into the world’s largest social media network: There are more than 70 million businesses now on Facebook, up from about 18 million in 2013, according to chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg during a recent investor call.

Facebook gives businesses a platform to showcase new products and services, promote specials and provide customer service. But with these benefits comes the potential for mistakes that can damage your brand.

Here are five common small-business mistakes to avoid on your Facebook business page.

1. Don’t post too often

Most industries should aim to post no more than once or twice a day to avoid overcrowding followers’ news feeds, says Cheryl Friedenberg, president of High Key Impact, LLC, a small-business marketing consulting firm.

There are exceptions, though. For example, it’s appropriate for restaurants to post frequently about food specials, happy hours or live music events, or for medical businesses to post about recent health studies, Friedenberg says.

“I don’t think people mind seeing more of those types of posts throughout the day,” she says.


Survey: Small businesses’ appetite for financing weakens

Small businesses’ appetite for financing has weakened in the second half of the year, along with their revenue outlook.

That’s the finding of a survey of small companies released Wednesday by researchers at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Corp. An index compiled from the survey that measures companies’ demand for capital has fallen more than 10 percent in the third quarter, registering at 36.2 versus 40.4 in the second quarter.

The survey, which questioned 1,176 businesses, is in line with other recent indicators of slowing activity at small businesses. The payroll provider ADP reported this month that its small business customers cut jobs during September. While that was due in part to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, companies have generally slowed their hiring.


 

Small Business and Funding

When the time comes for small business owners to finance a part of their business through a loan, things can get quite complicated.  Many banks – especially for small businesses- look into your personal finances to see if you have the credit and trustworthiness to hand you money. Personal credit scores and ending balances for the month in your checking account means something for the banks, and being aware of that fact can make your chances of getting a loan much greater.

For this and other stories, follow the links below.


The GOP says its business tax plan will help workers and small businesses. It won’t.

Instead, it’s a gift to people with lots of capital.

To understand the business tax provisions in the Trump tax proposals, begin with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insight that the rich are different from you and me — they have more money.

In particular, they have more capital. (Ever polite, economists call piles of money that have been invested “capital.”) Business tax reform really is an exercise in how we should tax capital income — that is, returns on investments. And because the rich have lots more capital than do you or I, the benefits of the multitrillion-dollar business tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration’s tax “framework” necessarily will be vacuumed up by the most affluent Americans. Business tax reform has only a modest connection to the economic future of working stiffs, and the small connection that does exist is a second-order effect.


Small business jobs hurt as hurricanes close retailers

NEW YORK — Hurricanes that swept the southern U.S. last month shut many retailers and put hiring on hold at small businesses.

That’s the finding of payroll provider ADP, which said Wednesday that its small business customers cut 7,000 jobs during September. Many small and independent retailers in Texas and Florida had to close before and during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and many suffered significant damage from wind, rain and flooding. That slowed hiring, and employees at some stores were laid off. The Labor Department reported a jump in applications for unemployment benefits following the storms.

The hurricanes also curtailed overall hiring, ADP said, counting 135,000 new jobs at companies of all sizes, the smallest gain in nearly a year. Without the storm, hiring would likely have been closer to the average monthly pace of 185,000 for the last two years, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which helps compile the ADP reports.


7 Things About Funding Sources that Small Business Owners Don’t Know — But Should

Getting funding for your small business is essential but not always as straightforward as you might think. Here are 7 things about funding sources you might not know about but should.

Small Business Funding Facts

You Need to Keep a Positive Ending Balance

Hanna Kassis works for Segway Financial. He says a small business should not only have money in a bank account before they apply for a loan, but a specific amount at month’s end.

“Lenders want to see that you’ve got a positive ending balance,” he says. “Say you’re anticipating needing a merchant cash advance at the end of the month, go put $500 dollars in your bank account.”

Your Personal Credit Score Affects Your Business Financing


 

Marketing Your Small Business The Smart Way

We all probably heard the saying” Think outside the Box” and for marketers and small businesses, that means finding creative, smart and financially achievable goals without spending too much time and money.  Marketing your small business doesn’t mean writing big checks for companies to market your business, or promote your services.  Creativity nowadays is something every small business owner can do without breaking the bank.

Follow the links  below for more news about small business


Think Small Business To Help America’s Middle And Working Classes Win Big

 In spite of a rebounding and more robust economy, many in the lower middle and working classes remain anxious and concerned about their futures. There has been low and slow wage growth and, as we discussed in our last blog, the changing nature of jobs, the middle class and the American Dream have pushed a large part of the workforce toward a gloomy perspective.

There have been various proposals to make the economy work better for America’s workers. The Trump administration suggests that a restrictive skills-based immigration bill (the RAISE act) that considerably reduces the number of immigrants will increase the chances for more and higher paying jobs. The Administration has also asserted that cutting corporate taxes will stimulate job creation and wage growth.


Small businesses expand, invest despite gridlock in Washington

Small business owners are tired of sitting on their hands while Washington dithers.

Despite lingering uncertainty over tax and health care policy, U.S. entrepreneurs are moving ahead with investment and expansion plans that could juice economic growth.

Thirty-two percent of small businesses are planning capital outlays in the next three to six months, the strongest reading since 2006, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’s August survey. And 27% say the next three months is a “good time to expand,” the largest share in 13 years.

A September survey of economists by the National Association for Business Economics, out Monday, predicts that business investment overall — by small and larger companies — will grow 4.4% this year, up from their 3% median estimate in December. Businesses that expand, buy new equipment or build new structures typically hire workers to operate the machines or occupy buildings, while the factories that make the products generally need to staff up as well.


Huge List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business

National Kick Butt Day is coming up. Bet you never heard of that one, did you? Today it seems as if there are national holidays, a national day or national month for everything. In fact, there are over a thousand national holidays, national weeks and national months. Add bank holidays and major religious holidays, and you have one crowded calendar!

National days of observance have become trendy and popular in part because companies have learned to use them for marketing. Just look at social media. Judging from the hashtags for various food days, people days, pet days, medical condition days, military days or industry days — it seems like every single day is a national holiday or national day of observance on Twitter and Instagram.

If you’ve ever wondered, “what national holiday is today?” — we’ve got you covered. Our hand-picked list of national holidays for marketing appears below. But before we get to that list of national days, we have some advice.