Tax Deductions and Small Business Surging Optimism in The Economy

Receipts during this time of year become increasingly more important as small business owners prepare for tax filing.  If you have no receipts that prove your expenses then, you may be out of luck.  But, some of the tax deductions for your small business will be at the hands of your accountant.  Make sure your accountant knows and has all the documentation to give your small business the deductions it deserves.

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


5 overlooked small-business tax deductions

Failing to claim all the small-business tax deductions you’re entitled to is like flushing money down the toilet. Deductions are a legal way to reduce the amount of business income that is subject to tax.

Failing to claim all the small-business tax deductions you’re entitled to is like flushing money down the toilet. Deductions are a legal way to reduce the amount of business income that is subject to tax.Keeping good records is key to backing up the deductions, says Barbara Weltman, author of “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2017.”

“Keep receipts, invoices and other documentation,” she says. “If you don’t have the proof, you could be out of luck.”

 


Small business owners are excited about the US economy – and they’re giving Trump the credit

Small business leaders say they’re more enthusiastic about the US economy, according to a new survey from JPMorgan.

The 2017 Business Leaders Outlook found that small business executives from across the US are more optimistic about the global and national economies and think that the Trump administration will be a positive for the country.

The bank surveyed roughly 1,400 executives, and 80% said they were optimistic about the national economy. That’s up nearly 41 points from the 2016 edition of the survey.

About 68% said they were encouraged about the outlook for their local economies, an 18 point increase from the year before. Only 3% and 5% of these executives were pessimistic about the national and local economies respectively, according to JPMorgan.


Small-business optimism surging, surveys show

Small business owners’ view of the economy is surging and giving them an incentive to hire.

That’s the finding of surveys released last week by two advocacy groups, the National Small Business Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The number of owners who believe the economy is doing better than it was six months ago has virtually doubled from a survey released during the summer, according to the NSBA survey. Forty-three percent of the 1,426 owners questioned had a more upbeat assessment, compared to 22 percent in the summer.

The survey is in line with others showing owners more upbeat after the election and at the start of 2017.

Looking ahead, 54 percent expect the economy to grow during the next year, up from 29 percent.

The more upbeat view is a reason for owners to add jobs, a shift from the recession and its aftermath, when owners said hiring was too much of a risk. Forty-three percent of the owners surveyed by the NSBA said they expect to hire in the next 12 months, up from 33 percent.


 

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.



 

Content Marketing For Your Business For 2017

Are you looking to do something different this year?  Are you changing your marketing strategy to one that involves content marketing?  Then, you are not alone.  Million of businesses across the globe have been implementing content marketing to provide information that is relevant to their customers, and provide a clear benefit to their customer base. To immerse yourself in the world of content marketing, you first have to decide what is the goal your business is trying to achieve.  Then, you have to decide whether videos, podcasts or infographics are your choice instead of blog post.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Small businesses today are competing with a lot of noise.  Consumers are plowing through the clutter as they use DVRs to skip through commercials, install ad-blockers to browse the websites they love without ads interrupting, and customize what shows up in their social media news feeds.

This makes it imperative to find ways to make sure your small business isn’t ignored. Write messages that your target audience will want to see and read.  Whether you are looking for topics for social media post inspiration or ideas to use to make your blog posts draw customers in, it’s essential to reevaluate the way you communicate with customers. Replace the sales pitch with helpful information and the consumers will start to open their eyes and ears.  Market with the goal to make buyers see your brand as a valued information provider — not an interruption.

This type of marketing is called content marketing. Content marketing focuses on communicating with the customer and creating and distributing information with the intent to engage a target audience and promote brand awareness. Information needs to be relevant and value-packed to help your small business attract and retain customers.  Take a look at these 4 ways content marketing can drive results and increase your bottom line.


How Small Businesses Are Cracking the Online Marketing Code

A strong SEO foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.

When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers.

There are a number of ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI.

Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.

Producing strong content

Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing.

At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll.


Content Marketing for Small Business: Does it Really Work?

Does content marketing really work for small business?

That’s a question I hear all the time — and it’s a good one.

You see huge players like American Express and IBM creating loads of amazing content…

…but they have the resources and money to throw at it.

What about the little guys — the solopreneurs or small businesses of two to ten people? Can content marketing work for them?

I’m here to give you an absolute, undisputed YES!!

However, there are a few caveats (there’s always a caveat, right?):

  • You must commit fully to content marketing. Content marketing institute found that just 21% of content marketers in North America are “extremely” committed to content marketing. The other 79%? They’re just wasting their time (and everyone else’s, too).
  • You have to spend more time promoting than creating content. One of the biggest content marketing myths is “create amazing, out of this world content, and the readers will come.” This is FALSE! Unless you promote that content, NO ONE will see it, share it, or convert on it — period.

 

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.


 

Marketing Your Business For Success

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Marketing is essential for any business.  The global economy has made businesses across the globe have a longer reach.  Marketing therefore is an essential part of doing business here in the USA or abroad.  Depending on what your business is selling, marketing can help your business acquired customers all across the United States, making your success a bit more possible. 

For more about this another topics, follow the links below.


The Trump effect on small businesses

Lisa Hall has mixed feelings about Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election.

The New York restaurant owner does not agree with all of his politics, but she feels squeezed by some burdens on her business and is optimistic Trump will help her and other small-business owners.

Trump has vowed to lower taxes for big businesses but also cut back on regulations that are hurting small businesses.

“My small-business owner side says something’s gotta give with all the rising costs, not to mention all the rules and regulations they are imposing on us,” Hall says. “I’m willing to pay my share, but some of our regulations are hurting smaller businesses.”

Dan Rorick, who owns a small fast-food business in Oneonta, New York, says he is unlikely to be affected by Trump’s policies on business taxation, because he does not operate as a corporation. But Trump’s potential changes to the United States trade policies could affect him.

“If he does something where imports are cheaper, or production is done in the U.S., then it becomes cheaper for me to buy products that I use, like ingredients that potentially benefit me,” Rorick says.


Does Your Small Business Really Need a Marketing Plan?

There’s no use in denying it — marketing is a critical component of a small business’ success.

There’s no use in denying it — marketing is a critical component of a small business’ success.

The challenge is that so many small business owners have no idea what it takes to make marketing work for them. They are experts in their business, but they simply don’t have the time to become experts in the ever changing world of online marketing.

So what happens? Rather than taking a strategic approach, most SMB’s marketing efforts are the result of off-the-cuff thinking, and it shows. Their marketing mix looks like a fragmented collection of tactics and tools from a variety of in-house and external sources.  On a good day, the business owner doesn’t truly know what is working.  On a bad day, they feel like blowing it all up and cutting of the marketing investment all together!

If any of this sounds familiar, I highly recommend you take a step back… and that “step back” involves creating a strategic marketing plan. Developing a marketing plan is your best chance at success, and here’s why.


Social Media Marketing: 4 Reasons Your Small Business Should Invest In It

The average American spends 37 minutes per day on social media. That amounts to 217 hours or 9 days — almost a week and a half — over the course of a year.

That alone is enough reason for any business to jump on the social media marketing train; however, it’s important to consider that investing yourself in social media is extremely time consuming. Living the busy life of a small business owner, dedicating the time and resources necessary to successfully advertise your business on social media can be costly.

But that doesn’t mean you should avoid social media marketing for your small business altogether. Doing so would set you back in the digital age and you would be missing out on an entirely new audience.

Still not sold? Consider these four reasons why you should be using social media marketing for you small business:

  1. Develop a diverse set of connections

Social media is unique in the sense that it allows individuals to create connections with people of various backgrounds from one central hub. This is no different for businesses. Since I began developing and implementing social media marketing campaigns, I have helped small businesses create key connections with influential people, businesses, and past, present and potential. These connections go a long way in making your business more recognizable and can generate increased sales in the long-term.




 

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.”


 

Marketing Your Business And Products Using Social Media

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If you are a small business owner and need to market your business, what better way to do it  than to use social media?  Many small business owners have realized than marketing their business using social media is easier than they thought at first. They do not need to be computer savvy to do it, they do not need to understand the code behind a WordPress post, and they do not need to be afraid to try it for the first time.  Using social media to market their business is the best way to reach millions of customers without investing too much time and money to do it.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Almost Half of Small Businesses Marketing Products on Social Media (INFOGRAPHIC)

Small businesses are waking up to the potential for using social media to market their products, a new study has found.

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media

According to the report by SCORE, a nonprofit association for small businesses, 45 percent of these small companies use social media marketing to promote a specific product or service.

Apart from product promotion, small businesses use social media marketing for the following purposes:

To share information about sales and discounts (38 percent).

To gain likes and fans (38 percent).

To solicit/respond to customer feedback (34 percent).

Other purposes include providing videos to highlight products or services (29 percent), sharing a company blog post (20 percent) and establishing their personal expertise (23 percent).


5 Ways To Use Video Marketing For Small Business Growth

The power of video can’t be ignored. It’s the most engaging type of contentavailable today. And it’s never been more affordable to create one. There are many ways in which you can use a video to grow your small business. This guide is going to show you how to do it.

Implant A Video On Your Landing Page

The majority of small businesses will invest in online advertising. These ads will lead to a landing page, where customers can begin to crawl through the sales funnel. Improving landing page conversion rates is always a major matter of concern, but with a video, this is relatively easy.

Studies have shown that a video placed on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. This is because the content is engaging and it encourages people to watch. What you have to bear in mind is that this video shouldn’t automatically play.


Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses: An Interview with Douglas Geller

The following social media marketing industry interview is with Douglas Geller, author of The Dreamer and an experienced PR professional who is currently serving as a Social Media Coordinator for The University of Mixed Martial Arts.

Andrew: Do you think that Social Media Marketing is useful for small businesses? Why or why not?

Douglas: I think social media marketing is extremely useful for small businesses. It allows businesses to not only target a specific audience but engage with the audience as well. It also allows for a connection that can’t be bought through a TV or magazine advertisement. People can make an emotional connection and will remember when the brand reaches out or reacts on social media. Social media also creates the opportunity for content to go viral which other mediums are not able to offer (though this should never be counted on). There are so many positives in my opinion that the negatives such as bad reviews are outweighed and can be turned into positives. Bad reviews simply tell you what is wrong and how to fix it, without social media, you can’t hear what everyone says about you and offers a chance to make adjustments and be recognized for it.