Article | September 5, 2021
Doesn't free money for small businesses sound wonderful? Thus, free money to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) is the core purpose of small business grants. As a small business owner, you are constantly looking for funding opportunities for small businesses to expand your enterprise. This requirement became even more desirable during the coronavirus pandemic.
The following are the top challenges facing small businesses:
Cash flow is limited or inconsistent
Lack of capital raising
No provision for unforeseen expenses
Inadequate tax compliance
Absence of a budget
Combining commercial and personal finances
“It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.”
– Richard Harroch, Venture Capitalist and Author
How About We Figure Out What a Business Grant is?
A grant is a sum of money provided to a business for a particular purpose. There are several financing possibilities for small enterprises when applying for start-up business grants. You only need to know where to find it. Government (federal and state), charities, and private institutions all offer small business grants.
Unlike small business loans, small business grants do not need a repayment. In addition, unlike loans, you are not required to provide security, are not charged late fees or interest, and are not required to give away any ownership of your business. As a result, grants for small businesses are an appealing source of finance for businesses.
Small business grants are frequently awarded based on specific areas, industrial sectors, community groups, or types of enterprises. Grants come in various forms, including those granted by the government, those supplied by private firms, and those directed for specific groups such as women, veterans, or women. In addition, considering the current pandemic crisis, a new grant has been established to assist individuals negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government does not provide start-up business grants; instead, its grant programs are often directed toward non-profit organizations or other government agencies that face financing challenges.
COVID-19 Small Business Grants
Several types of COVID-19 small business grants are available to mitigate the loss caused by the coronavirus to small businesses. First, government grants for small businesses provide economic relief from the loss of revenue.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) administers federal small business funds for coronavirus recovery under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-profit Organizations, and Venues Act.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
Small Business Administration (SBA) provides financial help by introducing financial assistance programs like Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) concluded on May 31, 2021. Even after the termination of the program, you can still qualify for loan forgiveness. This program was a significant part of COVID-19 small business grants. As of May 10, 2021, the SBA has authorized $782 billion in PPP loans.
To qualify for loan grants, you must establish the following:
Maintaining employee and pay levels
The revenues of the loan are used to cover payroll costs and other allowable expenses
At least 60% of the earnings are used to cover payroll expenditures
COVID-19 Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
The Federal government recognized the coronavirus's impact and introduced many COVID-19 small business grants, and Targeted EIDL was one of the leading financial assistance programs offered.
The SBA makes targeted economic injury disaster funding available to small companies in low-income regions that have suffered revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is more of a donation than a loan, as it is not returnable.
The targeted EIDL offers up to $10,000 in advance if your firm is:
Located in a low-income neighborhood
Has sustained a higher than 30% economic loss
Employ no more than 300 people
Due to COVID-19, small business owners and qualified agricultural companies in all 50 states and territories of the United States are presently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan.
Shuttered Venues Grant
As of August 2021, the Shutter Venues Grant program is ended. However, later that month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) planned to establish a supplemental Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application for 50% of the initial amount, up to a maximum of $10 million.
The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-profits, and Venues Act established the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, modified by the American Rescue Plan Act. The initiative, managed by the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance, would provide over $16 billion in subsidies to closed venues.
Eligible candidates may receive up to 45% of their gross earned revenue in the form of a grant. The maximum grant is ten million dollars.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses impacted by the pandemic.
This program compensates restaurants for income losses caused by the pandemic, up to a maximum of $10 million per firm and no more than $5 million per physical location.
As of now, RRF is closed for new applications.
Government Grants for Small Business
Numerous government grants for small businesses have been made available for free by the federal, state, and municipal governments. However, accepting free government money entails a considerable bit of paperwork and is time-consuming and technical at the same time.
Federal Government Grants for Small Business
The federal government offers many other additional grants for small businesses along with COVID-19 assistance. Federal government grants for small businesses are generally available to firms engaged in research, technology, or health.
The government agencies that support small company grants are the SBA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Agriculture.
Let us find out which are the most competitive government grants for small businesses.
Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)
Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)
U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
State Government Grants for Small Business
State offers government incentives to a small business that address the state's social or economic issues. However, due to the minor application set for state funds, competition may be less severe and easily accessible.
Federal agencies occasionally award grants to state governments, which then distribute the monies.
Below is few resources body that offers funding opportunities for small businesses:
U.S. Economic Development Administration
State Business Incentives Database
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
Private Small Business Grants
While government grants are beneficial to small companies, the financing levels are insufficient. Occasionally, private corporations and charities step forward and provide small business grants. On the other hand, private business grants need separate applications and may have eligibility limits confined to specific industries.
Numerous corporate-sponsored small business grants require applicants to compete in pitch competitions or something comparable. Unfortunately, few major private corporations provide substantial financial incentives to small businesses for joining (and winning) contests or pitch competitions. However, even if you do not win, you may receive a runner-up reward or exposure for your business.
Below are few private small business grants available
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE)
Visa Everywhere Initiative
Wells Fargo Community Investment
Nav's Quarterly $10,000 Business Grant
Patagonia Corporate Grant Program
Start-Up Business Grants
A start-up business grant is money provided by the government or another entity to assist small businesses and organizations in establishing and developing their businesses. Initially, small business grants are often not accessible to launch a firm; nevertheless, they are available for specific businesses and owners.
The following is a list of different sorts of businesses eligible for start-up small business grants:
Women, veteran, or minority-owned businesses
Here is an example of small business start-up grants
4.0 Schools fellowships
Jack Daniel's pitch distilled
As the information above indicates, there are several small business grants available. However, applying for grants is time intensive and may result in your firm not receiving the money needed. Finally, explore the small business grant, whichyour business is eligible for.
If small business grants are not a possibility for you, several alternative funding choices are available that fit your budget.
What can a small business grant be used for?
Small business grants are used for a variety of purposes: to establish a business, to stimulate minority entrepreneurship, to support research and development in a particular industry, to bring innovation, and to assist businesses in the domains of science, technology, and health, the list goes on.
How can I get a grant to start a small business?
There are several websites and organizations where you may obtain small company grants, including the following:
USDA Rural Business Development Grants
Small Business Development Centres
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
What distinguishes grants from small business loans?
The primary distinction between small business grants and small business loans is that grants are not returned (with certain circumstances), but loans need to be paid back. In addition, grants are generally reserved for small firms, requiring more time to process and receive the funds.
Article | September 5, 2021
Businesses can’t survive without excellent communication and collaboration. Team members need to stay connected so that they can share knowledge, work together on complex problems, and keep the company running smoothly. Indeed, 98% of executives believe that lack of communication is the cause behind the biggest failures in their business. A unified communication or “UC” system provides today’s enterprises with all the tools they need to encourage positive interactions between team members, in a space that’s easy to monitor and manage. However, it can be very difficult for companies to determine which UC strategy they need when there are so many vendors out there claiming that their tools are the best. The following tips will help you to ensure that you’re choosing the right SME UC system for your needs.
Article | September 5, 2021
Adapting to virtual life is cool in some ways. You get to work in your pajamas and eat a lot (a lot) of snacks. On the other hand, there are a lot of unforeseen challenges that can arise, making a simple task done in the office something that crashes and burns, temporarily inspiring you to throw your computer out the window. We’re all having both of these experiences, and despite the snacks not always fixing our problems, they do a great job of making us feel better—even if only temporarily. As businesses are adapting to virtual life, we’re starting to see patterns in the small businesses who are navigating these unknown waters.
Article | September 5, 2021
We have more upcoming business challenges for 2021 now that the year 2020 has passed. Therefore, we ought to be prepared with some power-packed small business marketing ideas for the upcoming year.
Starting a business, no matter how big or small, is easy; the real challenge is keeping it running smoothly and efficiently. Marketing is critical to the smooth operation of a business. Marketing is an essential component of any business for it to thrive. Marketing allows you to establish and promote your brand, generate sales, generate leads, and so on. It isn’t easy to implement the right marketing strategies for a business. Furthermore, due to limited resources, implementing the right marketing ideas for small businesses is more difficult.
Whether you are starting a new business or already have one, it is critical to have an online presence for marketing and brand awareness.
Before we get into the meat of this blog, let me clarify a few concepts for a better understanding of business marketing.
Importance of marketing for small businesses
Marketing is critical for the success of small businesses. Without proper marketing, your reach is extremely limited. Marketing has a long-term impact on your company. It increases sales, helps businesses grow and engages customers. All this necessitates careful planning. Planning entails deciding on the best platform and tools for marketing your company.
Develop a marketing plan
A marketing plan is a detailed plan that outlines the advertising strategy used to generate leads and reach the target customer and market. It collects various marketing strategies used to promote a company, its products, or services. Thus, preparing a marketing plan is very important to set small business marketing ideas. Knowing your audience, spelling out marketing and promotional strategies, creating buyer personas, generating leads and demands, generating web traffic, , and converting leads to sales, are all part of a marketing plan. It is of utmost importance to keep marketing trends in mind and carry out a marketing plan.
Benefits of a marketing plan
A marketing plan brings everyone on the same page.
Makes marketing strategy documented and easy to consult.
It makes it easy to evaluate new opportunities.
It gives a better understanding of your marketing strategy.
Helps in making the right decision for your business or marketing.
Having a plan implies that your objectives are measurable.
It enables your business to be proactive and aligned with its vision and goals.
There are plenty of small business marketing strategies available for your business. I will assist you in selecting the best ones for your business's success by providing you with a few small business marketing ideas.
Top 8 small business marketing ideas
Know your audience
How would you identify your business's target audience? Any marketing technique aims to attract customers to their brands, but not everyone can be a buyer. For your product or service, you must concentrate on a specific target audience. However, this necessitates some market research, which will assist you in identifying your business's niche.
Market research entails gathering information from customers, such as what motivates them to make a purchase decision? What are their requirements? What do they expect from a service provider or a product vendor?
Emphasize search engine optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) optimizes the content on your website. . It is popular and preferred by business owners because organic content is a free source of high-quality traffic and internet searchability. You can bring in more traffic to your content and more leads only through SEO. Top ranking achieved through SEO promotes your website 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where Google searches occur 60,000 times per second. However, reaching the top ranking necessitates a significant amount of effort. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy with remarkable long-term returns.
Here are few tips to be kept in mind for the success of optimizing your content via SEO:
Produce high-quality content on hot topics in your niche.
Create content that focuses on relevant and valuable keywords.
Optimize your header tags so that search engines capture your pages.
Include your primary keywords in all your website's landing pages, titles, meta descriptions, and so on.
Use internal linking that helps search engines crawl and index your pages.
Optimize meta descriptions.
Reduce page load time by optimizing your website's images.
Concentrate on generating backlinks.
Use engaging videos to connect
Customers are getting video savvy on the social media platform. Videos develop a personal connection with the viewers or clients, and in this age of social distancing, it has proved to be a blessing for business marketers. Videos play a key role in brand awareness of the business. People with short attention spans are drawn to videos (everybody). Video marketing is also done with a limited budget; therefore, it is one of the best small business marketing ideas.
Marketing teams use video marketing as a strategy to create, curate, and use videos for marketing their products or services to their target audience. However, the goal is to keep audience members engaged with the brand in a simple and easy-to-digest manner.
YouTube receives five billion video views per day. Besides, the average viewing session is 40 minutes per day, a 50 percent increase year over year. Other platforms for live videos, such as Facebook and Instagram, are also very popular. Facebook live videos have a 4.3 percent engagement rate, while non-live videos have a 2.2 percent engagement rate.
People watch 16 hours of online video per week on average, a 52% increase over the last two years.
Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video versus 10% when they read it in text.
Social video generates 1200 times the number of shares as text and image content combined.
Optimize your marketing technology stack
The marketing technology stack is a collection of technologies used by marketers to optimize their marketing processes throughout the customer lifecycle. Implementing a marketing technology (Martech) stack allows you to leverage and improve your marketing activities.
Benefits of optimizing Martech
Marketing teams can streamline workflows.
Martech tools reduce internal friction.
Allows all departments to work together towards common goals.
Marketing technologies help simplify complex processes, measure the impact of marketing activities, and drive more efficient spending.
Make social media significant for the promotion
Social media networks have transformed the face of marketing and are one of the powerful marketing business tools.
According to Global WebIndex research, approximately 53.6 percent of the world's population uses social media. The average daily usage is two hours and twenty-five minutes. The social media platform is the cheapest and most effective for small business advertising. Social media helps you increase your domain authority, brand awareness, improves search engine ranking, and offers higher inbound traffic, among many more.
As a small business owner, you just need to invest your time and effort into it.
Use relevant hashtags in the post.
Visual content (high-quality and eye-catching) along with text.
Encourage comments on your posts.
Find your brand voice.
Make use of influencer marketing.
Social media proved to be encouraging small business marketing ideas.
Automate your important marketing channels
When it comes to simple marketing ideas, automation is the best solution because it streamlines marketing processes. Thus, businesses need to leverage the automation of marketing channels to reduce manual tasks and save time.
Marketing automation is done by:
Repetitive tasks such as email and website actions can be automated.
Marketing process effectiveness measurement. This results in increased operational efficiency. Also helps to increase your revenue.
Creating a schedule for social media posts.
Marketing automation integrates all business channels and outreach into a single customer database. Automation turned up as one of the key trends in B2C business. Marketing automation makes small businesses competitive.
AI is also a part of marketing automation and is often used in marketing efforts where speed is essential. Marketing automation is feasible for small business ideas. Looking at all the above advantages, there is a growing need for automation as a small business marketing idea.
Optimize your content for voice search
Voice search uses voice technology that allows users to perform searches on a device simply by speaking into it; the device could be a smartphone, a computer, or a smart home assistant (like Amazon Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google home). Voice search has grown in popularity in recent years. For instance, voice input now accounts for 50% of all searches. As a result, now is the time to optimize your web pages for the same.
The year 2020 predicted the widespread use of voice search, but 2021 is when consumers are using this technique via voice-enabled devices during the pandemic. Small businesses have a real opportunity to capitalize on a local search through voice. Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve in digital marketing are already implementing a voice search strategy. Small business owners can take advantage of such popular marketing technology trends.
Send and respond to review the request and perform referral marketing
Customers trust and rely on the reviews and customer’s feedback. Thus, encourage customers to share their experience with the products or services that the company is offering. Customer feedback acts as social proof that your customers trust. The reviews or testimonials could be positive or negative, but it surely helps businesses to improve their business or marketing strategies.
Send review requests via text or email that will make the process easy for customers. However, it is equally important that you also respond to the reviews. Responding to reviews can help your business rank higher in search engines.
Small businesses often think referral marketing is not their cup of tea and is meant for large businesses. However, small businesses have a lot more to gain from it as it is one of the best ways for lead generation. A referral is nothing but someone you know recommending the product or service to their known or friends. This marketing idea acts as a promotional channel for small businesses.
Everything is going online, and digital marketing is booming. Since you are now aware of marketing ideas for small businesses, you are only one step away from putting them into action and reaping the benefits of the above marketing ideas.
What are the best marketing ideas for a small-scale business?
The best marketing ideas for a small business include social media, search engine optimization, referral marketing, market automation, etc.
Why is marketing strategy important for small businesses?
How you communicate your value to others is defined by your marketing strategy. Small businesses must improve their positioning. A marketing strategy will help you make sound decisions.
How to calculate the online growth of small business?
Companies should have year-over-year growth of between 15% and 45 percent as a general benchmark. According to a SaaS survey, companies with less than $2 million in annual revenue grow faster. When you have a diverse audience base, you have all necessary processes in place that show the online growth of the small business.
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