Article | August 12, 2021
Starting a small business is challenging due to tough economic times in this pandemic. However, this time is both a blessing and a test to conquer.
The world economy has suffered significantly because of COVID-19. Additionally, the tough times exposed company owners to unforeseen and unfathomable difficulties and compelled them to devise novel business methods. As a result, starting a firm became more accessible, as new owners could enter the market with specific recession-savvy equipment and techniques.
Crucial obstacles to beginning a new small business during challenging economic times include:
A sluggish economic recovery.
Uncertain consumer spending.
Funding was becoming scarce due to tight credit markets.
According to The Wall Street Journal, numerous major financial institutions, including Bank of America, Chase, and Capital One, have tightened lending rules in response to the uncertain financial environment.
Despite the challenges mentioned earlier, a new small business can succeed with proper preparation and business strategy.
According to New Business Statistics, applications fell to slightly more than 1.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2020 before increasing to 1.37 million in the first quarter of 2021. Then the figure increased to 1.44million in the second quarter. More than 448,000 new company applications were lodged in June 2021 alone. Mentioned statistics show that launching a small business during this economic downturn is also possible, albeit with some caution.
This article will put forward a few tips to be considered when going for a new small business in tough economic times.
Create A Well-Researched Business Plan
2020 was one of the challenging economic times in history. The success of every firm is contingent upon its business plan; small business owners must have a well-researched business plan. Therefore, small business survival is heavily reliant on a sound and well-planned business strategy.
Since tough economic times have altered market demands significantly, you should build your company plan accordingly. Work on many business factors such as marketing costs and tactics, budget planning, pricing strategy, sales strategy, personnel capacity, and needed infrastructure, among others.
Difficult economic times may work to your advantage as well since fewer competitors mean less competition and lower overhead expenses.
Consider all the obstacles associated with the pandemic's time and tailor your business plan accordingly. If you intend to pitch your firm to investors, your business plan does not have to be complex.
Securitize Capital for Investment
The economy received a significant blow due to COVID-19, and many financial lenders tightened their lending requirements by demanding a higher credit score and income verification.
Numerous financing alternatives exist, including personal savings, personal or small business credit cards, bank loans, venture capital, crowdsourcing, and angel investors. Before considering pursuing any of the mentioned options, consider having your business plan examined by expert advisers, close friends, or a loan officer.
With a well-planned company strategy, it is feasible to securitize funds for investment. However, before getting funding, ensure that you have a financial backup plan in place for both your business and personal affairs. Then, budget carefully to ensure that you can afford the other critical payments.
Credit cards are the most often used form of financing amid tough economic times.
Enlightened Market Savvy
Evaluate your redesigned company plan and develop game-changing new marketing components that include innovation. By narrowing your focus, you increase your chances of success.
Keep a careful watch on your competitors to develop an intelligent marketing and promotion strategy and budget for marketing. Competitive assessments educate you about your competitors' strategies and advertising tactics. In addition, competitive analyses can provide you with the vision necessary to develop polished and intelligent marketing strategies.
You need to make a list of what you're giving. For example, what is the nature of your product/service? Who is your target audience for your business? Which social media platform would you utilize to promote your business?
By segmenting your clients, you may increase the effectiveness of your marketing. For instance, if your firm sells sports items, you should target young clients interested in pursuing a career in sports. This will ensure that your marketing approach is highly effective.
Utilize Cutting-Edge Technologies
Cutting-edge technology in businesses is the newest trend in reaching out to customers in a tough economic time. By leveraging contemporary technology, you may automate several areas of corporate operations, resulting in cost savings.
Utilize cutting-edge digital technologies such as cloud-based apps and software to streamline company processes while being cost-effective.
Online marketing, namely online advertising, may help you reach out to the relevant audience and offer your products and services.
Several advantages of contemporary technology include the following:
Increased brand visibility.
Additional payment options.
Easy remote operation.
More in-depth market research.
Act with Consummate Customer Service
When you give outstanding customer service, you may build stronger customer relationships. Conversely, as is frequently stated, one negative review from a client may jeopardize your entire existing customer.
It is critical to provide timely and pleasant service to your consumers, especially in tough economic times. Excellent client relationships do not arise by accident; they require much effort.
You can give excellent customer service and keep your clients satisfied by following the below tips:
Make your consumers feel valued for their patronage.
Anticipate and resolve client issues before they become a significant issue for your organization.
Attend to their inquiries and respond. They are deserving of being heard and appreciated.
Provide an excellent support network and a diverse array of client resources.
Anticipate what services the consumer will require in advance.
Develop A Robust Networking Infrastructure
Networking is pivotal for reaching out to consumers during tough economic times to start a small business. Connect with other entrepreneurs, meet your competitors, visit your suppliers, and keep a contact list of everyone you know.
Expanding your network enables you to establish relationships with people; in exchange, they may suggest clients to you and vice versa, thus assisting in the growth of your organization.
You can join a local business networking organization, attend business seminars, or become a member of professional associations. Exchange business cards, exchange information about your product/service supplied and seek out their experience or perspectives, which they will share with other small business owners, assisting you in expanding your network.
Often, the small business owner's networking activities provide the most extensive returns in their firms.
How can you start a small business with tough times?
You may establish a small business during difficult economic times and succeed. The key to success is building a well-researched and solid business plan, getting adequate finance, designing an intelligent marketing strategy, and cultivating vital networking.
How do you deal with tough economic times?
While difficult economic circumstances can make any company owner anxious about making choices, it is critical to be mindful of the economy and cautious with long-term planning. Concentrate on rivals' methods and entice clients away from them. Try to learn from their successes and mistakes and provide your consumers with something more or different from what your competitors provide.
How can small businesses engage customers in tough economic times?
Provide your consumers with unique discounts on your products/services. Respond quickly to their questions or concerns, establish a customer loyalty program, and engage them on social media.
"name": "How can you start a small business with tough times?",
"text": "You may establish a small business during difficult economic times and succeed. The key to success is building a well-researched and solid business plan, getting adequate finance, designing an intelligent marketing strategy, and cultivating vital networking."
"name": "How do you deal with tough economic times?",
"text": "While difficult economic circumstances can make any company owner anxious about making choices, it is critical to be mindful of the economy and cautious with long-term planning. Concentrate on rivals' methods and entice clients away from them. Try to learn from their successes and mistakes and provide your consumers with something more or different from what your competitors provide."
"name": "How can small businesses engage customers in tough economic times?",
"text": "Provide your consumers with unique discounts on your products/services. Respond quickly to their questions or concerns, establish a customer loyalty program, and engage them on social media."
Article | March 9, 2020
Small budgets and small businesses tend to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the tools you need to manage your digital marketing campaigns successfully tend to eat away at that budget. These seven must-have tools from Google each fill a critical need at a low cost, and some are free.
Article | June 23, 2021
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented demand for digital marketing irrespective of large businesses or small-medium businesses. Along with it, the pandemic brought the ever-increasing demand for tech stack in business. Business tech trends are important for small business owners in 2021 that play a vital role in the growth and efficiency of their business. Growing business and start-up tech stack issues for small businesses differ from large enterprises.
Tech stack has been in marketing for ages, yet it was the most neglected aspect by small business owners. However, the emergence of the pandemic brought business technologies for small businesses into action. Embracing technology is crucial to enable your company to equip with the right tools to find the solutions for the ever-changing demands and expectations of consumers.
Small business technology trends will be substantial/significant in 2021, and here are the best 7 small business tech stacks to reshape your business.
What is a tech stack?
A Tech stack is a set of technological tools used to build applications for web or mobile, software, and other operational tools. Tech stack is also called a solutions stack, technology infrastructure, or data ecosystem. As more and more businesses have started operating through computers and mobile devices, the tech stack has become a necessity to the app, web, or software development process.
About 89% of companies are going digital; thus, adopting it as their first strategy for business, the demand for technology is also growing. The technology stack is used for various reasons: sales, human resources, finance, digital marketing, operations, and analytics.
Why businesses need tech stacks?
Tech stack helps small business owners leverage capital in more effective and smarter ways. You will benefit from building your tech stack, whether you manage a large company, a start-up, or a solopreneur, and automate some processes. Your tech stack defines how different parts of your business fit together and interact. The right tech stack can streamline all your processes and help your team increase efficiency, improving your bottom line.
Top 7 Small Business Tech Trends for 2021
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning is a significant trend and has transformed the way businesses are operating today. Most of the solutions are now implementing AI technology, where small business owners can include them in new and existing processes in 2021. Soon artificial intelligence (AI) will be widely adopted by small businesses in 2021 as it offers more personalized experiences to their customers by automating manual tasks and saving time. AI acts as an automation tech stack in business operations. AI will be implemented into new and existing processes and on a broader scale in 2021, from voice assistance to personalized customer experiences.
AI-based tools offer various benefits, which includes:
• Reducing time spent on tasks
• Increasing results
• Lowering costs
• Reducing risk
• Improving flexibility and responsiveness
Here are a few existing AI solutions that can help your small businesses.
AI-infused CRM is a marketing and sales tech stack for businesses. It helps to improve sales and marketing. Customer-relationship management is nothing but a system designed to collect customer data through communication channels such as phone, emails, and social and thus helps to automate and boost the sales process. It is a significant small business tech stack that helps small business owners to identify and focus on audiences based on the customer feedback received through all those communication channels. Based on this information, you can adjust marketing and lead generation activities through implemented AI-infused CRM. AI-infused CRMs can be utilized to gather marketing and sales-related insights
AI-infused CRM can be the best marketing tech for small businesses.
AI-powered Chatbots is one of the effective small business tech trends. It automates customer communications. Many small businesses do not have strong customer service or sales teams. In such a case, AI-powered Chatbots can ease the pressure by working 24/7 without taking any breaks. Furthermore, AI-powered chatbots handle inquiries, improve customer experience, troubleshoot, and provide immediate support, and so on, all at the same time.
Streamline human resource tasks
The most unexpected arena that AI has made an entry is into human resources. AI tools streamline the hiring and onboarding process and acquire feedback from the new employees about improvisation required in the HR process. It saves time and money from manually interviewing every applicant. According to small business trends, 84% of small businesses still manually manage inventory and record data.
5G is a super-fast new global wireless fifth generation of cellular capability replacing 4G LTE connection. 5G promises faster data transmission speeds, a better and more consistent user experience, and improved network reliability, eliminating delay in data transfer between different devices’ communication. Small businesses can leverage IoT sensors of 5G by optimizing their workflow with automation, operating CCTV cameras, or placing a motion detector in a store during after-hours. According to Statista 2021, there will be more than 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide by 2024. 5G is a significant innovation for small business tech.
Comprehensive HR Technology
The need for comprehensive human resources software and tech by small and medium-sized businesses gained importance in 2020 due to the remote work in practice. By adopting this technology, small businesses can track their employees and their needs. This trend will continue in 2021, too, and can bring change in small business tech.
HR tech comprises the tool that HR managers will need to deliver a better employee experience. HR tech allows to store data, automate daily activities, reduces human errors, and maximizes productivity. A centralized HR system will help your employees to communicate better. Comprehensive HR tech helps to train your employees online and offline and allows you to track your employees regularly.
As a result of the pandemic and lockdowns, the major business shifted to mobile tech, online shopping, and mobile scheduling payments to establish a contactless shopping experience to their customers. However, this trend of making payments and shopping will continue in 2021 as well. Many retailers and small businesses rely heavily on online shopping, delivery, and mobile payments giving rise to popular eCommerce tech trends such as voice-activated payments, omnichannel shopping, augmented reality shopping experience, and mobile tech among the few. Tech-assisted shopping can benefit small business tech trends as it emphasizes convenience.
More Automation for Small Businesses
Automation was a buzzword for small businesses until 2021. Automation for small businesses saves enormous amounts of precious time and money on manually completing the tasks. The largest of the budget of small businesses will be spent on automation in 2021. Automation investments will increase as small businesses include online pricing automation and inventory management systems to conveniently solve their problems. Estimates say that there would be a boom in companies looking out for utilizing automated solutions for small business activities.
Additionally, automation tools improve sales, revenues, communication, create and manage invoices, increase customer experience, and much more. Automation increases the efficiency and productivity of small businesses. It is one of the core aspects of small business tech.
More Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is new-age marketing. It is also known as social media influencers, wherein you use the people having a strong influence on a brand’s industry or target audience. Influencer marketing is a dynamic form of the marketing strategy of 2021. Small businesses cannot afford to use a big celebrity or a high-profile influencer in influencer marketing. In such a situation small business can find a blogger, Instagrammer, or YouTuber that most of the audience relate with and join forces with them to recommend or promote their services, products, and brand. Besides, you can personalize the marketing strategy that will help you effectively connect with your customers, improve marketing campaigns, and create a niche within your industry. Thus, influencer marketing is the best marketing tech for small businesses.
With the modern workplace and innovation of more and more tech solutions, small businesses are also adopting new technology tools, thus giving rise to the need for software integration. Integration platforms allow any software to connect well with any other software. It brings various software together to make one unified software. Companies use various software to connect teams, manage customers, send important documents and store company information, respectively. The small business adds technology tools as they appear, which are necessary to complete the aspects of daily operations. Tech stack includes many components such as CRM, content performance and search, customer experience, social, and digital analytics. All these need to be accessible while working together. In such a situation, integration makes the tech stack streamline all the processes and enable team efficiency.
Technology integrations allow more data, eliminating errors speedily, and is also a low-cost technology. The key aspect of a tech stack is how seamless, and integrated technologies are.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How small business owners use technology to improve the business?
The use of technology enhances small businesses. Small business owners use technology to connect with people, provide better customer services, resort to remote workplace methods, automate tasks to save time, and much more.
What technology do small businesses need?
Small businesses must have some popular technologies such as HR software, Cloud computing, CRM, data and information security technology, mobile applications, etc.
Why do small businesses need technology?
Technology helps to save time and physical space for small businesses. The use of technology brings efficiency to operations. Technology helps small businesses to leverage their capital smartly and more effectively.
What are the 3 tools for small businesses?
The tools that can benefit small businesses are task management tools, email and social marketing tools, and scheduling meeting tools. These tools help small businesses to save time and money for their business to grow.
"name": "How small business owners use technology to improve the business?",
"text": "The use of technology enhances small businesses. Small business owners use technology to connect with people, provide better customer services, resort to remote workplace methods, automate tasks to save time, and much more."
"name": "What technology do small businesses need?",
"text": "Small businesses must have some popular technologies such as HR software, Cloud computing, CRM, data and information security technology, mobile applications, etc."
"name": "Why do small businesses need technology?",
"text": "Technology helps to save time and physical space for small businesses. The use of technology brings efficiency to operations. Technology helps small businesses to leverage their capital smartly and more effectively."
"name": "What are the 3 tools for small businesses?",
"text": "The tools that can benefit small businesses are task management tools, email and social marketing tools, and scheduling meeting tools. These tools help small businesses to save time and money for their business to grow."
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.