Are you a veteran-owned small business and thinking of selling to your former boss – the U.S. federal government? Part of the mission of the SBA is to provide assistance to veterans and service-disabled veterans who return home to start, resume or grow their businesses. In addition to supporting veteran business owners through entrepreneurial training, and providing access to capital, the SBA also provides resources, tools and support to help veterans start and grow businesses through government contracting. If you are a veteran-...
Thinking of becoming a freelancer or hoping to make this year’s freelancing more fiscally fruitful than last? Freelancing is a money game and cash flow is king. And while there may be times when your cup runs over, there will no doubt be other times when it looks ominously dry. To be a successful freelancer—in addition to being good at what you do—you need to be agile, tenacious, a consummate planner and equipped to deal with fiscal downtimes. Here are some money-saving and business growth strategies that you can use to...
Do all your sales reps sing off the same hymn sheet? Are they all equally knowledgeable about your products and services? If you’ve ever worked in retail sales, you’ll know how difficult it is to remember your training and apply it in critical moments. After all, products are constantly evolving and inventory is always shifting. This is why it’s critical that small business owners ensure their sales teams are well trained and knowledgeable. It can make the difference between winning and losing a sale. Thanks to the Internet...
Are you doing enough to safeguard and protect your small business data? Small businesses are widely adopting data back-up practices to ensure data is retrievable should a disaster occur, but gaps remain. According to a July 2012 study by accounting software company Sage, the bulk of small businesses are backing up key data such as financial information, but most businesses back up that data on-site only. Furthermore, the study found that only 38 percent of surveyed small businesses have a formal emergency or disaster preparedness plan. Given...
There’s no doubt that social media marketing is a proven and established platform for connecting with customers, building a community and generating business. Yet, despite the evidence of its effectiveness as a marketing tool, surveys and studies say few small businesses are making active use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to promote products and services. A report by eMarketer found that just 24 percent of small businesses have integrated social media in a structured way in their businesses. The report also...
Want to secure your first million-dollar deal in 2013? Crossing that threshold will probably mean that you'll have to start selling to large corporate clients for the first time. It can be tough for small businesses, but not impossible. So what does it take? Here are some tips for upping your ante and selling to big, corporate customers. Do Your Homework Breaking into a new market or new client base requires planning. Start with identifying your new target market and then defining the value your small business can offer them. Use online...
The federal government offers many tools to help small business owners understand their markets, but where do go to find that data, and how do you use it once you’ve got your hands on it? First, conducting market research doesn’t always have to involve hiring a research firm or commissioning focus groups; much of the information you need may be at your fingertips. This research can impact and inform all areas of your business, from where you locate your business to the color of your logo. Even a small amount of analysis can...
Having a business plan is a must for small business owners, but finding the time to put pen to paper often means putting them on hold until the very last minute, such as right before that big meeting with a loan officer or bank manager. But business planning does not have to be that way. Every smart entrepreneur and business owner should already have a firm grasp of key information about their business and on what will influence the path they take and decisions they make over the course of 1-3 years. Putting this information together into a...
Are you thinking of breaking into the federal government contracting marketplace in 2013? This lucrative market is worth nearly $100 billion in sales to small businesses each year, but selling to the government is quite different than selling to the commercial sector. For example, the government applies standardized procedures to buy products and services it needs from suppliers that meet certain qualifications. But how agencies across the government actually make those purchases (or “contracts” them) can vary enormously....
The old adage “time is money” is perhaps one of the most pertinent statements that you can apply to small business owners. Whether you’re starting a business or managing a growing one, entrepreneurs and business owners wear many hats and have many questions: What laws and regulations apply to my business? How do I start to write a business plan? Where can I get help with X, Y and Z? Many of us invariably turn to our networks and the Internet to find answers. But how can you trust that the information you are...
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