Rhetoric about the importance of small business to the U.S. economy abounds. Yet our politicians continue to create policies and programs that make life difficult for those who run, or are trying to start, such a venture. Raising capital and maintaining profitability rank among their most frustrating – and debilitating – challenges.
Help is out there! It just takes some creative thinking and willingness to look beyond traditional methods of financing. Following are 5 Wise Tips to stimulate your thinking and produce lucrative leads:
- Use the SBA to best advantage (which isn’t cash): No – the SBA is not going to give you a loan. And it does not award government business grants to entrepreneurs. It does provide valuable information, assistance and direction — often at the local level. Learn more about their site and their services to use your time well.
- Take advantage of free services for small business owners: To be competitive as a small business you must have a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy but it does need to exist. Lots of organizations, including major companies like Google, are offering free resources to small business to accomplish that goal. You don’t have to be technical — just take the time to see what’s out there and get online!
- Enter Local Competitions: All over the country there are examples of local corporations and other organizations like libraries that are offering serious cash awards to entrepreneurs. Do regular internet searches for such opportunities, watch for small business competitions in your area, and visit websites that offer current information about these opportunities. Even more importantly, keep an open mind about new ways to raise money
- Consider Crowd-funding: Why not turn to the public to help fund your good idea? Recent legislation has added to the awareness and availability of this type of funding. If you have a good story to tell you can raise considerable amounts of money on crowd-funding sites. There are a variety of sites to choose from depending on what sort of business or project you are promoting.
- Hire Wisely: Taking on employees is a great thing to do but it can also be a financial and paperwork burden. By hiring qualified veterans you can take advantage of recently extended programs providing tax incentives to employers who hire veterans. And President Obama’s goal in the 2014 budget is to make these tax credits permanent so you may be able to budget with a higher degree of certainty about the future.