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Small Business Funding for Women You Must Know

Starting and running a small business can be very challenging, especially for women. Funding is very vital for any business and can be in form of loans from banks or individuals, grants from private organizations and government assistance. In order to access any of these funds, you need to be committed to your business and have a clear vision to succeed.

You should spend your savings and a considerable amount of your cash flow on your business at the initial stage. This will let your potential investors know that you are serious about achieving the goals you set for your company. At the initial stage, you can get loans from family and friends so that you can to avoid stringent conditions of banks at that crucial stage. Your relatives can also use their connections to raise funds for you in order to start your business.

Furthermore, you can access state aid and your local offices of the Small Business Association (SBA) will be able to assist you in getting smaller grants that are targeted at women. The association can also assist you to connect with investment groups or find local programs that are ideal for women entrepreneurs. There are also SBA-supported micro-loan programs where non-profit intermediaries are involved in disbursing loans to women business owners.

In addition, there are special departments in banks working with women business owners to assist them in making use of the right financial services at the right time. It is important to build a healthy relationship with your banker before asking for a loan and your banker must be kept in close contact to know the health and strategy of your business.

You can also open an Individual Development Account (IDA), which is a matched savings program designed for the provision of funding resources for minority- and women-owned businesses. The IDA program can be accessed at local banks and government will match deposits to the IDA if the business owner meets milestones and go for financial training courses. The monthly account contributions must be on schedule, depending on the size of the asset goal of your business.

It is advisable to consult a trusted financial adviser so that it will be easier for you to get the right funding for your business. A financial adviser will have the necessary information that will guide you in choosing the right funding program and the proper method of applying so that you application will not be rejected.

SMBs Can Compete With The Big Businesses Using Attractive Web Design

It has always been hard for small-to-medium businesses (SMBs in short) to compete with their larger counterparts. The reason is that a big business has better resources and greater manpower, which make sure that it always gets considered as the “supreme power” in the market. However, all is not lost for the small businesses. There is still one sector where they can show their expertise, and overtake the big boys by a large margin. Do you want to know what that is? An attractive website with powerful features can help a small business take the cake away.

An effective website is simple, yet consists of the latest and the hottest trends. The website of a small business must make sure that visitors leave with satisfaction and have reasons to return often. After all, it is the conversion rate which counts, and a higher rate of conversion than a big business can work wonders for a small business.

Let’s look at some of the things a small business owner must keep in mind, and make it a point to incorporate in the design process of his business’s website:

Go for Single Page Design

It’s time to create a website suitable for novice Internet users who find it difficult to navigate through various webpages. How about negating all the pages from your website and going for a single page design? This design method creates only one webpage which has content areas split into multiple sections. Navigation is extremely smooth, as all a visitor has to do is scroll up or down.

Suitable Typography Options

Why keep images in your website if they serve no purpose at all? Replace them with beautiful and attractive fonts. Do not forget that smart use of typography can determine the effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. You’ll find lots of fonts which are not only engaging but also very pleasing to the eyes. Follow the latest typography rules which have become successful in recent years.

White Space & High-quality Images

A website with cramped up content is never appealing. It’s advisable that you use enough white space to give breathing room to your visitors. An adequate use of white space will make the layout of your website more appealing. And when it comes to images, always go for the high-quality ones. The use of these images will make sure that your website gets the value that it deserves.

Adopt the Latest Trends

Latest web design trends like flat design and responsive design are a must if you want to make your website the most-valued fighter against your competitors. These trends make the user experience a lot more easy, fun and memorable. If you are looking for some added zing, introduction of the parallax scrolling feature is your best bet.

Last but not the least, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary information included in your website. Do not forget that your visitors are looking for information, and your inability to provide it will make them away. It’s important that the content is crisp, engaging and completely to-the-point. If you keep these points in mind while designing your website, your small business will surely give a tough competition to its bigger counterparts.

How to Double Your Profits With a Simple Exercise to Increase Your Business

One thing I have noticed when I coach with small business owners is that as they take the time to identify who their ideal customer is they start to see an increase in business – not just in new business, but in business from current clients. Let me describe to you a tool and a process that I use to work with my clients to double their bottom-line profits. This is simple if you realize that an increase of a little as 10% has the potential to double your profits.

I usually have my clients with existing businesses make a spreadsheet of

  • all current customers

It is important that you keep track of all your existing customers using a tool such as CRM (customer relationship management software) that tracks every interaction – sales, service, questions, follow up, etc. with all customers. All of these interactions provide valuable insight for building your business.

  • products and/or services used by existing client

By adding a column that lists all the products and services each of the current customers are using you are able to see in one view where there might be gaps in products or services that naturally go together. This will give you a view for a potential upgrade, downgrade or cross sell for other products or services.

  • potential for upgrade, downgrade, cross sell

This column is essentially the list of products NOT being used by a customer which then becomes potential for upgrade, downgrade, or cross sell.

  • income or revenue range

If your customers are B2C you will need to know what their income bracket is to help you target price range of products or services as well as ability by income to do additional business with you. If your customer base is B2B you will need to know what their annual revenue is to target their ability to afford your services.

From this spreadsheet we identify

What does the small business owner want to do more of?

Of all the products and services that you offer what do you or your employees really like to do? What is easy and quick to do? What is cost effective with a good mark up? By focusing your marketing efforts on these products or services you or your employees natural passion and enthusiasm will attract more business.

What does the small business owner want to do less of?

Many times you might find that you or your employees actually avoid the products and services you want to do less of. Identify these so that you can make some decisions as discussed below.

Of the work that the small business owner wants more of – what are the attributes (demographics / psychographics) of clients would be ideally suited for these services based on the current customer base?

Who are the customers that you serve with your favorite products or services? Analyze the attributes of these customers to discover what attributes contribute to their decision to do business with you. Once you know these attributes you’ll be able to identify your best clients before they become your best clients.

Of the work that the small business owner wants to do less of – what can be

  • automated
  • delegated
  • eliminated

You may have a particular product or service that you would like to do less of in the course of doing business. Sometimes small business owners procrastinate in areas of product or service where they feel less passionate. That’s a good time to decide and take action to automate, delegate or eliminate the product or service.

What is the next logical product or services not currently being used that should be promoted to existing customers

By creating a list of what your current customers are using as well as what they are not using of your products or services you can create a plan to upsell, down-sell or cross-sell another product or service.

Identify your entry level products or services that offer extreme and easily identifiable value to your ideal prospect. Potentially this could be a “passive” or at least steady stream of income that you could fill your pipeline with whether or not these customer hire you for anything else or not. Over time you will have developed knowledge of their potential needs for other products or services while at the same time developing trust so that the owner will now discuss your other products or services.