5 Ways to Keep Your Business Going in Hard Times

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Keeping a small business afloat in difficult economic times is challenging, and the coronavirus pandemic has definitely roiled the waters on which owners must sail. Unfortunately, there is no set playbook to follow to ride out the storm and right the ship. Every small business is different, and each carries its own risks and rewards. These differences make copying another company’s turnaround strategy to the letter unrealistic. Still, there are some general strategies business owners can follow to help them stop taking on water and start bailing themselves out.

Key Takeaways

  • Keeping a small business afloat in challenging times can be difficult, but extra attention to detail can help ensure that a business survives.
  • Because every small business is different, and each carries its own risks and rewards, there is no set playbook to follow for survival.
  • Some useful advice that applies across small businesses includes looking at the big picture, inventorying the staff, making sure the business has ready access to cash, sweating the small stuff, and avoiding a sacrifice of quality.

1. Look at the Big Picture

People have a tendency to attack the most obvious immediate problems with vigor and without hesitation. That’s understandable and might make good business sense in some situations. However, it is also advisable to step back and look at the big picture to see what is still working and what might need changing. It’s an opportunity to better comprehend the size and scope of existing problems and further understand your company’s business model—determining how its strengths and weaknesses come into play.

For example, suppose a small business owner discovers that two employees are consistently making mistakes with inventory that cause certain supplies to be overstocked or understocked. While an initial reaction might be to fire those employees, it could be wiser to examine whether the manager who hired and supervises them has properly trained them.

If the manager is to blame, that person could be fired, but this might not be the best approach. If the manager’s relationships with existing clientele have a history of bringing in repeat business and substantial revenue, they are likely someone you’d want to keep. Retraining might be a better alternative than termination.

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While businesses have been hurting financially, Steve Leondis’s air freight company has remained strong and prosperous. .. The Christian Broadcasting Network CBN http://www.cbn.com

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By thoroughly scrutinizing the strengths and weaknesses of the employees, the owner is looking at the issue from a top-down perspective, reducing or eliminating the chance that the problems will recur while avoiding a change that could adversely impact future sales.

Fix a similar kind of lens on analyzing how your product or service fits into the marketplace now, how the economic crisis has affected your customers and suppliers, and all the other key aspects of your business. You need to know how well your business model fits the current environment and forecast what various alternative scenarios of the future might mean for it.

2. Inventory Your Staff

Payroll is often one of the top costs a small business owner has, so seeing to it that the money is well spent makes sense. This may involve a thorough review of the staff—both when a problem arises and during the normal course of business—to make sure the right people are on board and doing their jobs effectively.

Both small business owners and large corporations tend to be penny wise and pound foolish when they hire the least expensive workers. Sometimes the productivity of those workers may be suspect. Hiring one worker who costs 20% more than the average worker but works 40% more effectively makes sense, particularly during periods of crisis. By constantly seeking résumés and interviews from new people, business owners can make changes to staff when needed to increase efficiency.

3. Ensure Access to Cash

Small business owners should take steps to ensure that the company has access to cash, particularly in periods of crisis. Visiting a bank loan officer and understanding what’s required to obtain a loan is a good first step, as is opening a line of credit in advance to fund possible short-term cash-flow problems. Establishing a good relationship with a banker is always useful for a small business. For example, business owners who had such relationships had an easier time accessing PPP loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.1

Small business owners should have other potential sources of capital lined up as well. This might include tapping into savings, liquidating stock holdings, or borrowing from family members. A small business owner must have access to capital or have a creative way to obtain funds to make it through lean times.

4. Start Sweating the Small Stuff

Although it is important to keep an eye on the big picture, a small business owner should not overlook smaller things that may have an adverse impact on the business. A large tree obstructing the public’s view of the business or the company’s signage, inadequate parking, lack of road/traffic access, and ineffective advertising are examples of small problems that can put a big dent in a business’ bottom line.

Considering and analyzing the numerous factors that bring customers in the door can help to identify some problems. Going through your quarterly expenses line by line may also help. Owners should not be checking for one-time expenses here, as those items were most likely necessary charges. Instead, they should look for small items that seem innocent but are actually draining the accounts.

For example, the cost of office supplies can quickly get out of hand if they are ordered improperly. Similarly, if your supplier increases product prices, you should consider looking around for a cheaper supplier.

5. Don’t Sacrifice Quality

Keeping a handle on costs is crucial in tough times. Owners need to stay on the offensive and get employees on board with changes that are being made. However, be cognizant of not sacrificing quality when making these product changes.

Business owners seeking to improve profit margins should be wary of making dramatic changes to key components. For example, if a pizzeria is going through a dry spell, the owner could seek to expand margins per pie by purchasing cheaper cheese or sauce ingredients. Note that the strategy could backfire if customers become dissatisfied with the taste of the pizza and sales decrease. The key is to make cost and other cuts that don’t compromise the quality of the finished product. Perhaps there is a way to cut the price of takeout boxes or paper napkins instead.

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Source: 5 Ways to Keep Your Business Going in Hard Times

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5 Last-Minute Ideas for a Successful Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that celebrates small businesses and it happens every year on the last Saturday of November. Founded in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is a great way to promote your small business because unlike other popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you don’t have to compete with the big guys. 

So, it’s important that you take advantage of Small Business Saturday this year if you want to attract more shoppers to your business and generate more sales. But, how can you stand out on Small Business Saturday and grab the attention of shoppers?

Check out these 5 ideas for a successful Small Business Saturday. 

1. Put up signage

If you want to have a successful Small Business Saturday this year, first you need to remind your customers of the shopping holiday. So, be sure to put up signage in your small business weeks before the big day to inform shoppers and get them excited about the event. 

American Express even offers customizable free signage and marketing materials like decals and posters you can use to promote Small Business Saturday to your customers.  

If your business doesn’t have a physical location, you can “put up signage” on your website. Make sure to display your Small Business Saturday promotions prominently on your homepage and consider creating a dedicated landing page for Small Business Saturday deals. 

2. Create an email marketing campaign

Email is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers—and it’s one of the best ways to promote your Small Business Saturday deals too. With email marketing, you can send your subscribers an invitation to your Small Business Saturday event straight to their inboxes. In the email, tell customers how much they can expect to save, and use words that create urgency like “don’t wait,” “one day only” and “don’t miss it.”

3. Use social media and relevant hashtags

Your audience is on social media. In fact, according to Oberlo, 90.4 percent of Millenials, 77.5 percent of Generation X and 48.2 percent of Baby Boomers are active social media users. So, if you want to have a successful Small Business Saturday you need to be on social media too.

Start creating and sharing Small Business Saturday posts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To widen your reach, be sure to use relevant hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall and #ShopLocal. 

4. Run a giveaway

A great way to get shoppers excited about Small Business Saturday is by running a giveaway. Everyone loves winning a prize or getting a free gift so running a giveaway will give shoppers a little extra incentive to shop at your business on the last Saturday of November. 

Your business could hold an online giveaway where users have to share your post in order to enter. This will help get the word out about your Small Business Saturday promotions faster. You could also run a simple raffle at your business or give away a free gift to the first 25 people that make a purchase. A giveaway is a great way to stir up excitement and turn casual shoppers into lifelong fans of your business. 

5. Share the story of your business 

Lastly, because Small Business Saturday is all about supporting local, small businesses, you should share your story. Sharing the story of your business will help you make connections and build meaningful relationships with your customers. 

So, let your customers know how you started your business and why you started it. You can share your story via signage, social media posts, in your email newsletter and so on. Sharing your story will help your customers get to know the person behind the company and show them why they should support your business.  

Make Small Business Saturday your own

Get ready to have the most successful Small Business Saturday yet. With these tips, you can attract plenty of people that are interested in shopping at and supporting small businesses like yours. 

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Top 20 best small business ideas for beginners in 2020. Start a small business with low cost capital investment in 2020. Also, Subscribe our young entrepreneurs channel for more business ideas in future. Checkout our popular best small business ideas videos. Top 40 Small Business Ideas in India – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Ivo… Top 15 Best Small Business Ideas to Start your small business – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlotQ… Top 10 Profitable Small Business ideas – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fsK…

Black Businesses Receive Tech Industry Push Ahead Of Holiday Shopping Bonanza

The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt Black-owned businesses a tough hand. Stifled by stay-at-home orders, on-again off-again store closures and stricter limits occupancy limits, many businesses are struggling to outlast the seemingly unending virus outbreak.

Although they’ve rebounded slightly in recent months, Black-owned stores have experienced the greatest decline this year, plummeting from 1.1 million businesses in February to 640,000 in April—a 41% drop.

But spurred by a national movement to support Black businesses, which kicked off this summer, a new number of corporations are taking small steps to put the Black in Black Friday.

Black Friday online sales pulled in a record $7.4 billion in 2019— the second largest online shopping day ever and a 19.6% increase over the previous year—while the holiday season overall generated more than $72 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics. Online sales for this Black Friday are projected to generate $10.3 billion.

The surge in digital spending over the holiday season and the heightened visibility that’s been awarded to small businesses through corporate sponsorships could have a considerable impact on Black businesses in particular, sustaining them through the a few more months of the pandemic.

Facebook, for one, launched its #BuyBlackFriday initiative and a corresponding toolkit and gift guide in October as part of a broader three-month campaign to buttress small businesses during the holiday season.

The gift guide features products from Black-owned businesses and was curated alongside the U.S. Black Chambers and several corporate partners. 

“Black-owned businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, closing at twice the rate of other small businesses,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative. She added, “But we know that millions of people want to help.”

The campaign runs through Black Friday on November 27, a symbolic starting gun for the holiday shopping season.

More recently, Google partnered with Grammy-winning musician Wyclef Jean and the U.S. Black Chambers to promote its #BlackOwnedFriday campaign, an effort to make November 27 “Black-owned Friday” and galvanize shoppers to buy Black beyond the Thanksgiving weekend.

The tech giant has also showcased Black-owed businesses on its social platforms since mid-October and now allows users to find nearby stores that identify as Black-owned through its search engine.

“I’ve seen firsthand the strain and struggle that Black-owned businesses face,” Jean said in a statement. “For many of them, this holiday season will be critical to their survival.”

TikTok, the latest viral social media platform, threw its weight behind Black-owned businesses months after facing censorship allegations from Black creatives in June. Earlier this month, the video sharing platform, which has about 200 million monthly active users in the U.S., launched Support Black Businesses, a digital hub to amplify Black entrepreneurs. 

TikTok also announced #ShopBlack, an in-app campaign that allows users to create videos spotlighting their favorite Black-owned businesses or to share their experience as a Black entrepreneur.

As small businesses reel from the pandemic’s economic disruption, many big retailers have had breakaway growth. Amazon’s profits and sales exceeded analysts’ expectations, reporting a 37% sales growth and tripling its third-quarter profits as more shoppers turn to the e-commerce giant during the pandemic. 

But celebrities and influencers alike have started to leverage Amazon’s omnipresence to highlight Black sellers on the platform. Nearly 70% of the products on Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated annual list of her favorite things are created by Black-owned or Black-led businesses this year and all are available for purchase on Amazon.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

The billionaire media mogul has partnered with Amazon on the list since 2015 and her yearly picks have provided brands with considerable gains in sales since the list’s 1996 advent.

Black Americans have developed a growing presence among small businesses owners and could stand to gain considerable sales from dedicated shopping holidays like Small Business Saturday, which raked in an estimated $19.6 billion in 2019. And while physical distancing measures will significantly curb foot traffic this year, more than 112 million Americans visited a small business on that day last year, a record high.

As shoppers increasingly reject winding lines that snake around the store, a trend that’s long been in the making but was exacerbated by the pandemic, they’re also looking to support independent local businesses—a potential boon for niche Black businesses with an online presence this holiday season. Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Ruth Umoh

 Ruth Umoh

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com.

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88 Small Business Grants for 2020

While the overall economic climate is not the most robust at the time of this writing, the grant industry has never been bigger. While applying for grants used to be reserved for niche operations, it is now something that all businesses should consider. Below, we’ll outline the best small business grants so you can get the finance that you need without wasting any time on redundant applications. 

A small business grant is a form of financial remuneration awarded once the applicant meets the criteria of the grant. The difference between a loan and a grant is that a grant does not have to be repaid, while a loan does. There are grants available for every possible field that you can think of. Typically, they are granted to people in disadvantaged areas or from specific groups – veterans, women, Hispanics, African Americans, etc.

Many grants are also industry-specific. If your business is involved in assisting a minority group in some way, or in helping the environment, then there are certainly going to be grants available. Keep in mind that there are local, state, and federal grants. Many grant programs are available for those doing business in rural areas.

It takes a long time to submit a relevant grant application. Do your research beforehand and make sure that you are applying to the right program. Federal grants are listed at Grants.Gov, and you can even track these grants on IOS and Android applications. However, there is no Federal grant for the simple growth of a business unless you are a minority group or hoping to solve a very specific problem.

How to Find a Grant for a Small Business

For Federal grants, the place to look is Grants.Gov. It is the chief repository of Federal grants. To apply for federal grants, you typically need to have something special to offer in comparison to state or local grants. You’ll also need to register through this online portal and submit the application form.

The SBA offers a number of State & Federal grant programs, and this is also an excellent place to look for eligible grants. Veterans, minority groups, and women-owned businesses should look on the SBA grant list page to see the available options. You can also find the eligibility criteria through the same site. Other places to spot State and Federal grants include:

How to Apply for (and Win) a Business Grant?

#1 – Find the Grant(s)
Many grants will have similar application procedures. Search Local, State, and Federal grant databases of all grants that you are applicable for. Once this is done, compile a spreadsheet of relevant grants. It’s best to apply for a number of grants at the same time to increase your chances of success. But each grant should be well-researched and given the utmost attention. Make your proposal as strong as possible for each.

#2 – Read the Criteria
A significant amount of grant applications are a complete waste, as the applicants do not meet the minimum eligibility criteria. Before you go ahead and apply for a grant, ensure that you read over (twice, preferably) all the conditions upon which the financial compensation is to be awarded.

#3 – Choose Your Grants
Where possible, review how many people applied to each grant last year, and how many prize winners there were. If there were 20,000 applicants for a single prize fund of $5,000, it may not be worth it unless you have a particularly strong application. Try to gauge your chances of success and narrow down to the grants that are really worth applying for. It’s definitely a good idea to investigate what kind of businesses have won in the past and see if yours is a match.

#4 – Request Forms and Information
For state grants, you will need to contact the relevant agency and ask to be sent the application forms. For local and commercial grants, the information is readily available and the forms can be downloaded from the website.

If you happen to be applying for a Federal grant, you will first need to register as a member on their website. You will be given a username and password, submitting the information through the Federal online portal.

#5 – Have a Clearly Defined Business Plan
A business plan is something that all businesses (large or small) should engage in. The plan does not have to be long or comprehensive. But it has to be precise, concise, and coherent. It should outline who you are, what you care about, what the problem is, and how your company intends to solve the problem. You can submit this plan along with your application in many instances.

#6 – Write the Grant Proposal
To a large extent, the business plan should sum up your business and can constitution much of the grant proposal. The business plan defines what your business really does. But it will need to be tailored to each grant you are applying to.

Grant proposal writing is a niche area, and you can hire a skilled grant writer if you are going after larger grants. The proposal should detail why your business is best suited to the grant, how it intends to assist, what the numbers and statistics are, the skills of the people running the company, and best policies to tackle unforeseen events.

#7 – Fill Out Additional Forms
While this is not mandatory, all information that you can supply to the reviewers will increase your chances of success. If there are any question marks over your business, then it leaves room for doubt. Increased transparency is always preferred.

#8 – Review
Missing information will reduce your chances of success. Read over the application to ensure that all data is correct. Once you have submitted the application, all you have to do is wait for the results. You will typically be notified by email. For Federal grants, you will be given a tracking number to monitor your application.

#9 – Reapply
If you did not qualify for a particular grant in a specific year, then don’t get too frustrated or doubtful about the process. You are against many applicants. Apply to the same grants next year, and mention in your proposal that you got declined last year, but have done much good in the interim period despite the odds. Grant writing is a skill – the more you do it, the better you get. You could be leaving money on the table if you avoid this industry completely.

Best Small Business Grants for 2020 (by Categories)

If you’re looking for a shortcut on grant applications, we’ve listed the best grants per category to shorten down on the research time needed. But keep in mind that the more popular a grant is, the more applications it will tend to receive – and the better your application will need to be. 

Best General Small Business Grants

1. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Global Challenge

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant Global Challenge

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation global grant challenge is mainly awarded to non-profit organizations created under 501(C)(3) of the IRS tax code. However, this grant is only available to non-profit organizations. The main stipulation is that your business is orientated towards solving health issues. There are a large number of grants available depending on what problem needs to be resolved. The grant prizes vary, but some of the problems include mental health issues in Africa, hormonal health, economic opportunity, child welfare in impoverished communities, etc.

Read more at: https://www.finimpact.com/

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I Allegedly

This is absolutely amazing. Here’s a $20,000 small business grant and three $5000 grants that you can get for your small business. Good luck. #grants#smallbusiness#stimulus#iAllegedly Here are the four links to all the grants in this video. Good luck to you and your family. Share these with your friends and colleagues as well. https://crf.alabama.gov/default.aspxhttps://dced.pa.gov/programs/covid-19…http://www.seattle.gov/office-of-econ…https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Co… Please join our email list. We will send you news as it happens. https://bit.ly/2Y21C19 Please send mail, donations and cards to Dan at iAllegedly PO Box 564 Tustin, CA 92781 Please connect with us on social media. https://www.facebook.com/iallegedly ; https://twitter.com/iallegedlyhttps://www.instagram.com/iallegedly/ iAllegedly@gmail.com Email

Facebook Launches a Free Online Course For SMEs Throughout Latin America

Do you need to take your business to the next level? Facebook presents Connection: Reinventing Business , a digital training event for entrepreneurs and owners of Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs ).

This event in collaboration with the Association of Entrepreneurs of Mexico (ASEM) and Victoria 147 will be held on October 28 and 29 . You can find workshops and content to reinvent the way they do business and find and satisfy their customers in the digital space.

Likewise, Facebook partnered with Endeavor in Colombia and with the Association of Entrepreneurs of Argentina (ASEA) in that country, making Conexion a regional effort.

According to figures from the most recent Global Report on the State of Small Businesses , carried out by Facebook in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank, 51% of the Mexican businesses surveyed said that 25% or more of their sales originated on digital platforms. during the last month, which highlights the importance that businesses, on their way to reopening, recovery and to meet new consumer habits, acquire or reinforce their digital skills.

Digital tools have helped small and medium-sized businesses face the challenges of the unprecedented business disruption facing Mexico and the world. Businesses that manage to build a strong presence and digital services could emerge stronger from the crisis.

In this way, Facebook wants to support SMEs to maintain contact with their customers through online resources at no cost, easy to implement and use, and that can become the tools that local businesses need.

The trainings will provide SMEs with inspiration through other success stories and knowledge to grow their business and adapt their use of the different tools according to what is best for their type of business. The modules will be presented by Priscila Arias , entrepreneur, activist and influencer, who will help participants navigate through the content.

Sessions will be led by program partners to provide training on leadership and gender inclusion (Victoria 147), sales and business model (ASEM), innovation during crises (ASEA) and how to present the business to investors (Endeavor).

Market experts and entrepreneurs will be invited to help participants learn from real life experiences. Each one in a different specialty:

  • Basic Concepts of Finance , by Angélica Castellanos, Konfío Chief Operating Officer
  • Human Resources and Payroll , by Courtney McColgan, Founder of Runa
  • Negotiation skills , Victor Kong, CEO of Cisneros Interactive

To participate for free you just have to register on the site of Connection: Reinventing Business or the Facebook Page for Companies .

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Delivering an online course doesn’t have to require expensive or complicated software and services. You can quickly deliver your online course using the Social Learning type of Facebook Group. It’s easy to organize content into Units, add in a variety of media, livestream, run interactive discussions, and more. This video walks you through the basics and you can read and see screenshots in the following blog post: https://contentsparks.com/80875/ You don’t even need to create your own content for your course from scratch! We have a wide selection of brandable, ready-to-teach courses at Content Sparks. They’re easy to edit, repurpose into different media, rebrand, and deliver as your own. Check out all the topics currently available here: https://links.contentsparks.com/shop

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