CapitalOne Business CreditWise vs. Nav: Free Business Credit Reports Compared

GERRI DETWEILER | February 20, 2019

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CapitalOne recently announced Business CreditWise, a service that offers business owners a free business credit report and ongoing monitoring. Nav has been offering business owners free business credit reports and monitoring for over five years. How do these two services compare? Here I describe the features of the two services so you can understand what each one offers.  Disclosure: I work for Nav. In addition, Nav offers credit cards issued by CapitalOne in its marketplace. Business CreditWise is available to any small business owner in the U.S.; you do not need to have a CapitalOne account to use the service.  The signup process appears to vary, depending on whether you already have an account with CapitalOne, including a personal credit card, or the consumer CreditWise service which monitors personal credit. However, at a minimum, you will likely have to verify your identity with a phone number and/or email address.

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Tips for small businesses and consumers

Article | March 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges for every business and every individual, creating a new reality. It also provides an opportunity for creative solutions to maximize customer and employee service and value and ways in which each business can individually be of service to others, said Mark Lupo, a consultant with the Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia. “For small businesses, this can be a time to build relationships with customers and employees on a deeper level, by communicating that you care about them and are concerned for their safety,” Lupo said.

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Small Business Grants: Get Free Funding

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) NIH Grants 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: Innovators Rural Businesses Green businesses Women, veteran, or minority-owned businesses Non-profit organizations Here is an example of small business start-up grants 4.0 Schools fellowships Jack Daniel's pitch distilled Final Thought 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. FAQs: 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: SBIR.gov USDA Rural Business Development Grants Small Business Development Centres Grants.gov 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.

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WAYS FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO SUCCEED WITH VIRTUAL EMPLOYEES

Article | August 29, 2021

Although the concept of remote working is not exactly new, it is becoming increasingly more widespread as companies are responding to the COVID pandemic and the digitization of workspace. A year ago, businesses were struggling with the question of whether virtual employees can both receive and give the same benefits that were driving success – but as many of them are now making that decision for themselves, the answer seems to be a positive one. Few organizations feel prepared to implement virtual work on a large scale, but there are steps you can take to make the experience more productive both for your employees and your business. Preparing for this scenario, or optimizing its effectiveness, should focus on rethinking the necessary operational procedures to ensure business continuity. With a few considerations for your new virtual workspace, your employees will be just as engaged and excited to work for your business. Offer Support The unexpected transitions that have impacted both our lives and our work have disrupted our “normal” routines. Employees need to adjust to the new way of working just as much as businesses, so it’s vital to provide the support they need. Modern businesses are becoming increasingly aware that their employees juggle more than one challenge in their lives, both at and outside of work. To ensure that you are supporting them in any matter, you should look at employee assistance program (EAP) providers that specialize in both personal and work-related problems. And, although this should be on the top of your priority list at any time, looking for certain ways to cherish your employees might be especially useful during new and challenging periods. Making your employees feel like they are contributing and working as part of the team even though they are not physically present can help you maintain and boost success. Focus On The Output, Not The Process In a remote landscape, where many people are balancing their work with family commitments around the house, giving your employees the freedom to complete their work in the easiest way for them will keep your productivity numbers high. So, organizations that have solid employee recognition strategies in place and implement employee recognition ideas to create an emotional connection with their workforce during these difficult times, tend to enjoy stronger employee engagement, enhanced employee morale, and lower turnover. Since you essentially won’t be able to see your employees during the workday, virtual work inherently demands that you trust your employees. If you shift your attention away from the process and towards the outcome, you will likely find that flexibility will translate to more success. Essentially, if you trust your employees, they will show you their appreciation by supporting your goals. Remote work is vastly different from the office life most people are used to, which is why finding an optimal work process will likely take some time. The best thing you can probably do in such a situation is to suspend your previous conceptions of the workflow and focus on providing a supportive structure. Once the scales balance, you will likely find your success formula. Communicate Well And Often There is no question that virtual work usually comes with a dose of loneliness. While this may not be true for all of your employees, you should make sure to adopt practices that open the doors for communication, especially for important topics. Your virtual employees can’t enjoy a mid-day cup of coffee in the break room or after-work get-togethers with their coworkers. So, the culture and atmosphere of the organization will largely depend on what you communicate to them. Communicating clear goals and expectations will help you reinforce your organization’s culture and ensure everyone is on the same page. And, while it’s not always necessary to overwhelm your employees with regular check-ups and meetings, you should check in every once in a while and encourage them to reach out if they want to discuss any challenge or topic. Your company culture is a huge determinant of success, and in times when your company is only virtually connected, good communication is vital.

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10 PERSONAL BRANDING TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS TO ELEVATE BUSINESS

Article | June 2, 2021

Personal branding is a prerequisite to building a compelling brand story if you are an entrepreneur. More than your product/brand, people will resonate with your story. Especially if you have a promising business and are looking to scale, this will help you get your business validation from the experts. Building a personal brand is one of the many milestones of your entrepreneurial journey. Consequently, this will improve the brand recall among the target audience. Let’s explore several personal branding tips that will help entrepreneurs build a brand to elevate business.

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