Category: Business Resources

December 22, 2015 Content Marketing Tips from Your Receptionist… Bringing Value to Your Brand

You didn’t know your receptionist did that, did you? Well, a receptionist can be a surprisingly good source of content marketing strategies and inspiration.

This is because these front line agents know what your customers are concerned about and they probably have it written on a sticky note somewhere. Customer feedback is extremely valuable. Why wouldn’t you use that information for good?

Receptionists Provide Real – Time Analytics

If your business doesn't have the right online image, you could miss out on money. A virtual receptionist could actually help things run much smoother.
If your business doesn’t have the right online image, you could miss out on money. A virtual receptionist could actually help things run much smoother.
Image Source: Smith.ai

This term is thrown around a lot online. It refers to tools that collect information and delivers it to you as it happens. It’s common in any type of content marketing strategy, and it is an absolute necessity for any effective marketing campaign.

Where does the information come from?

  • It comes from things such as follower counts, comments, and page views. It is the stuff you should care about if you are trying to grow your image online.
  • Your receptionist can collect useful information as well. Especially if it’s a virtual receptionist like the ones at Smith.ai. With individualized service, they can collect custom information from your callers and send you a daily report.
  • Want to know what is on your customer’s minds? Post your phone number online. Don’t worry- you won’t have to talk to them. Your receptionist can take down all of the messages.

Speaking of Business Phone Numbers

If you are planning a content marketing strategy for your business, you probably aren’t thinking about promoting your phone number. You should be. If they can’t find your number, how will they call?

If you have a phone number on your website, that is not enough. What happens while your site is not showing up in a search yet? The result is people who cannot find that number. There’s no reason why you couldn’t promote the number on its own!

In my blog post, 5 Ways to Optimize Your Smith Number, I discuss ways to help you do just that so that people can find you. To do this online, I suggest creating business profiles on Yelp and Google that include your phone number. However, that’s not the only way.

When using a receptionist, you can place your phone number at the bottom of blog posts or articles as well. Talk about not being afraid to connect with your readers!

Your Receptionist Can Bring Value to Your Brand

These are just some of the ways that show how a virtual receptionist service can improve your content marketing strategies. Depending on your creativity, the possibilities can be endless.

See, your receptionist is more valuable than you may have realized! If you don’t have a receptionist or thought you couldn’t afford one, I’d be happy to set you up with a free trial of our service. Let’s discuss more ways a virtual answering service could help your business goals.

Author Bio:

Jenn Marie is a product specialist at Smith.ai, a call answering service based out of California. She writes about virtual receptionist services, online marketing, and productivity for busy professionals. Read more of her articles at the Smith.ai blog.

September 3, 2015 11 Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses – Part 2

Thanks for joining us for part 2 of this 2-part series. (5 Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses) Let’s continue with the last 6 private grants for women-owned businesses.

6 More Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

  1. Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project: Google has partnered up with Chase to create private grants for women-owned businesses. Together, they award winners with $3 million in small business grants. In 2014, grant winners received $150,000 each to help expand their small businesses. The lucky winners also received:
    • $2,000 coupons to help with Google Consumer Surveys market research studies
    • Google Chromebook laptops
    • Trips to the Google headquarters
  2. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR): This program, which is award-based, includes a partnership between 11 different federal government agencies. The program helps small businesses owned by women explore the potential of their technological products and services.
  3. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR): This program focuses on federal research. It’s in place to help fund development in order to provide women-owned businesses with funding opportunities specifically for research and development.
  4. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition: This grant is organized by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and Capitol One. For this competition, you’ll have to present a 2-minute pitch to judges. You’ll be competing for the chance to take part in a 9-month business accelerator program.
  5. Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative (WEE): Yes, Wal-Mart offers private grants for women-owned businesses. These grants are for both US-based businesses and international companies. The small business funding opportunities are part of a very big Wal-Mart initiative. Over the next five years, awards will increase to $40 billion.
  6. Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money: Is your woman-owned business based within the state of Utah? Then, this may be the small business grant for you. Awards of $3,000 each are given out each year, across six different categories, with business being one of them.
Check out these 6 private small business grants for women-owned businesses.
Check out these 6 private small business grants for women-owned businesses.
Image Source: Edu-Schools

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The EntreMarketing Group will help you build your business brand so that your award money doesn’t go to waste. Contact The EntreMarketing Group about helping you grow your woman-owned business into a brand your target market knows and trusts.

September 2, 2015 11 Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses – Part 1

Looking for private grants for women-owned businesses to help you launch your start-up or grow your company? Well, The EntreMarketing Group is here to help. In this 2-part series, we’ll explore 11 different small business grants specifically designed for companies with female ownership.

5 Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

Here are the first five on this week’s list of 11 private grants for women-owned businesses. Check them out:

Check out these private grants for women-owned businesses in the US.
Check out these private grants for women-owned businesses in the US.
Image Source: Tommy Toy
  1. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program: Each year, five grants are awarded to businesses that are 100% women-owned. The principles behind the company must include innovation, sustainability and social consciousness.
  2. Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants: Dedicated to the development and advancement of innovative products related to motherhood. Award winners receive grants of up to $15,000 and resources to help them advance product development and small business startups.
  3. FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program: Award winners share $75,000 in grants. Applicants share their visions, which are judged by votes from the general public to become finalists. This small business grant allows you to promote your business as you compete for votes.
  4. Idea Café Small Business Grant: This is a freeway online gateway that gives you access to various small business grants all hosted on one website. Currently, it’s promoting the 16th Small Business Cash Grant. The grand prize is $1,000, which will be awarded to the woman-owned business with the most innovative idea.
  5. InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge: This is one of the private grants for women-owned businesses sponsored by the SBA (Small Business Administration) Office of Women’s Ownership. In the end, three awards of $30,000 each in prize money will be given to the three businesses that make major impacts on the lives of women.

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The EntreMarketing Group will help you build your business brand so that your award money doesn’t go to waste. Contact The EntreMarketing Group about helping you grow your woman-owned business into a brand your target market knows and trusts.

Next, We Explore 6 More Private Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

June 19, 2015 Small Business Tools for Women-Owned Companies

Business ownership for women is becoming more and more competitive these days. As new startups continue to sprout up, women find themselves competing with male counterparts for small business loans and funding sources. That’s why so many women have turned to networking with other businesswomen, both online and offline. This is one of the most effective ways to learn about small business tools specifically designed for women-owned companies.

SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership

The Small Business Association’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership was established for networking purposes. Its mission is to launch and manage an entire network of Office of Women’s Business Centers (WBC) across the country.

Women-Owned Companies need tools designed specifically for growing businesses owned by females.
Women-Owned Companies need tools designed specifically for growing businesses owned by females. Image Source: Pixabay

Women business owners gain access to small business resources needed to help companies grow. WBC provides female entrepreneurs and business owners with technical assistance and management tools.

Women entrepreneurs, especially those considered to be socially or financially disadvantaged, can receive comprehensive counseling and training. Participants learn about a wide variety business-related topics. All the resources were designed to help women start new businesses, as well as help established women-owned companies grow and succeed.

InnovateHer Women Business Challenge

InnovateHer is a business challenge for women-owned ventures. It was created to help businesswomen uncover innovative services and products that empower and impact women and the families they lead. Now that women make up about half of the American workforce, these types of challenges are critical to the US economy.

With the InnovateHer women business challenge, female entrepreneurs can:

  • Impact the lives and productivity of other women and their families
  • Learn more about and take part in commercialization
  • Fill various necessities already existing within the workplace

DIY Corporate Credit Series for Women-Owned Companies

DIY Corporate Credit Series

Finding funding and small business loans can be a bit of a challenge for women-owned companies. That’s why networking with women entrepreneurs is so important. Network with us and ready our DIY Corporate Credit Series to learn about resources to help your woman-owned business grow and succeed today.

June 15, 2015 Looking for a Zero Interest Small Business Loan? Community Sourced Capital May be Your Answer

Ever heard of a business-oriented crowdfunding platform called Community Sourced Capital (CSC)? Many small business owners and entrepreneurs haven’t. But, according to my research, it just may be another answer to your small business funding problems.

What is Community Sourced Capital?

Through Community Sourced Capital, you can become a member of a collaborative network. This network was created with the sole purpose of helping small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive with the assistance of local communities. You’ll be connected to “mission-aligned funders”, other small business owners and community members coming together to build “meaningful relationships around money.”

What makes CSC so different from so many other crowdfunding platforms?

  • It focuses on connecting small businesses in need of funding with local community members interested in investing in local ventures
  • Entrepreneurs and small business owners can obtain loans from $5,000 to $50,000 with zero interest
  • Funders buy into investments by purchasing squares for $50 each, up to $1,000 worth per campaign
  • Loans are due and payable, interest-free, within three years

How to Make the Community Sourced Capital Small Business Funding Cut

Each CSC campaign application is reviewed for “financial integrity and community connection.” The CSC team actually spends time helping each business build its campaign.

Genki-Su is expanding into new stores thanks to Community Sourced Capital small business crowdfunding.
Genki-Su is expanding into new stores thanks to Community Sourced Capital small business crowdfunding.
41 Squareholders participated in this loan. $13,300 loaned to this CSC campaign.
Image Source: Community Sourced Capital

Once your campaign is approved, it will run for free for up to four weeks. If you don’t reach your campaign’s minimum funding goal, you don’t get any of the funds. So, the goal needs to be to create a realistic campaign, worthy of the support of your friends, family, affiliates, co-workers, associates, community members, etc…

Chief Executive Rachel Maxwell of CSC gave his take on how the platform works:

“We’re looking for whether the capital is useful, responsible and connected.

It’s useful if it’s for a purpose that will help strengthen the business. It’s responsible if the loan is an amount the business will be able to pay back, and it’s connected if the business has a community that will support it.”

How Much Does Community Sourced Capital Small Business Funding Cost?

There’s a one-time fee of $250 to launch your small business venture campaign. Plus, there’s a $50 membership fee due each month that your loan is outstanding. Once it’s paid in full, you no longer have to pay a monthly fee to remain a member of Community Sourced Capital.

The nonprofit community development financial institution Craft3 matches every single dollar raised on the CSC crowdfunding platform. With its help, CSC has helped to facilitate 58 different small business loans totaling more than $1 million.

According to Craft3 Chief Executive John Berdes:

“We are in a very close relationship. We are not only being mentors and supporters, but we are matching their squares throughout the region.

We really think they are on to something.”

The typical company using Community Sourced Capital for small business funding are food-related companies and neighborhood ventures such as local gyms, salons, day care centers, etc… These local businesses are generally “built around strong communities”, says Maxwell.

Marketing Your Crowdfunding Project

Have a crowdfunding project you need to promote? Well, at the end of the day, potential investors want to be sure that your project belongs to a brand worth funding. Be sure they know what your brand is all about, and who the mastermind is behind that brand. A responsive website will get the job done for you.

The EntreMarketing Group creates responsive websites and blogs for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Get a customized crowdfunding marketing package created just for your brand. Call The EntreMarketing Group at 888-507-2191 or click here to contact us about helping you promote your crowdfunding project today.

June 11, 2015 DIY Corporate Credit Series: Your Company’s Profile, Banking, Assets, Revenue and Insurance

Lenders, credit cards companies, vendors and other potential creditors will review your company from various angles before granting credit. Establishing corporate credit means establishing your company’s profile. Today, in our DIY Corporate Credit Series, we briefly discuss the following:

  • Business Bank Account
  • Company Assets
  • Corporate Revenue
  • Business Insurance

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Read DIY Corporate Credit Series: How Does Business Credit Scoring Work?

Your Company’s Profile and Business Bank Account

Creditors will look at the age of your business bank account. As far as creditors are concerned, you began conducting business the day that first account was established. So, establish a business checking account as soon as possible, and maintain it throughout the life of the company. And, make sure the business information on the account matches the rest of your company’s identity documents and sources identically.

Many business credit experts recommend having an average minimum balance of no less than $10,000. It should be in your company’s primary business checking for at least the last three months.

Your bank rating is not as complicated as you may think. This is how business bank rating works in general:

  • The scale is Low, Medium and High
  • It’s based on the amount of digits in your average minimum balance

So, let’s say the average minimum balance is $1,000. That’s the low end of 4-digits, making your bank rating a “Low 4.” However, if it’s $50,000, which is the medium portion of 5 digits. So, the bank rating would be a “Medium 5.”

Your Company’s Profile and Company Assets

Does your organization own assets? Then, congratulations! You have a much better chance of obtaining corporate credit and the capital you need. That’s because many assets can be sold or leveraged in order to obtain working capital. Assets also give you access to more lenders willing to work with you, as well as more favorable loan terms.

Your Company’s Profile and Corporate Revenue

Your Company’s Profile is Very Important to Establishing and Building Corporate Credit
Your Company’s Profile is Very Important to Establishing and Building Corporate Credit
Image Source: mancai/Deviant Art

You’ll need to show creditors and lenders that your business is capable of managing debt. That means having verifiable revenue. And, the best way to support the consistency of this corporate revenue is by making timely payments. This shows that you not only bring in enough revenue to manage the company, but you manage the revenue itself properly. Creditors and lenders weigh this greatly as you try to build corporate credit.

Your Company’s Profile and Business Insurance

If you’re seeking bank financing or loans, most will require proof of various types of business insurance. These institutions want assurance that debts will still be repaid in the event of unexpected catastrophes.

For example, if your personal health fails, you can’t run the business. If you’re in an automobile wreck, and you’re uninsured, you stand the chance of being sued. And, if a customer or employee is hurt on your premises, that could be disastrous for you and the company.

So, banks may require proof that you have personal health insurance, automobile insurance, business liability insurance, maybe even disability insurance. These are very important for establishing corporate credit with banking institutions.

Your Company’s Profile Online

You need to establish your company’s profile online as well. That means having a responsive website, regularly published, unique blog posts and social media marketing for your business brand. Ready to get started? Contact EntreMarketing Group about customizing a business brand building package for your business today.

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This concludes our DIY Corporate Credit Series. Would you like to review this series all in one place? We’re putting together an eBook for you to download. Come back next week to get your free eBook download DIY Corporate Credit Series: How to Establish Business Credit for Your Company.

June 2, 2015 DIY Corporate Credit Series: How to Apply for Your EIN

Building Corporate Credit Using Your Business Credit Identity

 Read DIY Corporate Credit Series: Separate Your Business Structure from Your Personal Identity

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Building corporate credit the right way involves never merging it with your personal credit profile in any way. That means using a Federal Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN or Tax ID Number, instead of your social security number to apply for business credit. In this part of our DIY Corporate Credit Series, we walk you through how to apply for your EIN.

What is an EIN? It’s essentially a social security number for your business, company, corporation, organization, etc… When applying for business credit, it’s always wiser to use an EIN instead of your social security number. It ensures that your corporate credit and personal credit profiles remain completely separate from each other.

Click here to learn why this is so important.

Use IRS Form SS-4 to Apply for Your EIN online, by mail or by fax.
Use IRS Form SS-4 to Apply for Your EIN online, by mail or by fax.

3 Options to Apply for Your EIN to Obtain Business Credit

All Federal Employer Identification Numbers must be obtained from IRS, even if you hire an agency to help. In most cases, you can apply for your EIN on your own, and obtain it the very same day. Here are the general options for getting a new EIN from the IRS without the help of a 3rd party:

  1. Obtain EIN by Fax – Download the IRS Form SS-4. Print it out, complete it and fax it to the IRS for processing: 859-669-5987 (See form to verify current fax number.)
  2. Obtain EIN by Mail – Download the IRS Form SS-4. Print it out, complete it and mail it to the IRS for processing using the address on the form.
  3. Apply for EIN Online – Click here to apply for your EIN online. In most cases, you can receive your new Tax ID Number in a matter of minutes.

Need other options or assistance related to a new, old, misplaced or unneeded Tax ID Number?

No matter what phase your small business is in these days, you still need online marketing to get the word out about your products and services. The EntreMarketing Group helps new startups go viral online with responsive websites, content marketing and social media marketing tools. Contact The EntreMarketing Group for a free small business marketing consultation today.

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Read DIY Corporate Credit Series: Verify Your Business Entity Information

November 12, 2014 V-Wise Encourages Women Veterans to Become Independent Business Owners

Becoming a female entrepreneur requires creativity in order to get your new business venture off the ground. One group of women tend to have a hard time becoming independent business owners, and that’s retired female veterans. Why? Well, women who retire from active military duty have spent their careers working in very strict environments, under defined chains of command.

But, V-WISE (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), offers a program to help these women transition from a career in the military to being successful independent business owners. V-WISE not only helps retired women vets, but their spouses as well.

Featured Image: V-Wise Helps Women Veterans Become Independent Business Owners. Image Source: Trends Photos

What is V-WISE All About?

There are three main phases to the V-WISE program for women vets who want to become independent business owners:

Phase One: 

    Participants endure a 15-day online learning course. It teaches these women vets business language and helps them develop their business ideas for the market. V-WISE also helps them create an effective business plan and network with other independent business owners.

  1. Phase Two: The future independent business owners attend a 3-day conference, where they engage with experts. This networking forum helps the women vets in the V-WISE program learn subjects related to running a business successfully, such as social media, business finance and business marketing.
  2. Phase Three: This is what V-WISE calls the Implementation Stage. Participants put the finishing touches on their business plans to become independent business owners, and follow-up support is provided. These women vets get access to business mentors and resources for support and advice.

Challenges of Women Vets Hoping to Become Independent Business Owners

After retiring from military service, women vets face an influx of challenges. In many cases, one of those challenges is figuring out how to get back into the job market at their ages, most being over 40 at time of retirement. Some prefer to take their retirement money and savings accounts, and invest them into becoming independent business owners. V-WISE helps to make this dream come true.

Are you a woman veteran hoping to start your own business soon? Or, have you already started your business venture and are looking for effective ways to bring in more business? Online marketing is the key successfully reaching your target market. Through online marketing, you’ll reach many more prospects at a much faster rate than with traditional marketing techniques.

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November 4, 2014 4 Must-Haves for Every Woman Entrepreneur with a Start-Up Business

As a woman entrepreneur, starting your own business is never a super-simple task. There are always people who are skeptical about your business succeeding. Plus, important resources are needed that you may not have access to immediately. But, there are certain resources you must have in order to run a successful start-up company as a woman entrepreneur. These must-haves are exactly what we’re discussing today.

4 Must-Haves to Run a Successful Woman-Owned Start-Up Business

That being said there are four must-haves women entrepreneurs need for their businesses, but might not even know it:

1. Women in Business Must-Haves: A Lawyer

There are many legal issues that can arise when becoming an woman  entrepreneur. In order to be well prepared, it is always good to have a business attorney around so that he can handle those legal issues for you. This is one of those must-haves you shouldn’t question, even if you simply have one on retainer.

One of the common problems that can arise is an issue with the name of your new business. It could be similar to another business. Therefore, you can easily receive a cease and desist order telling you to stop using that name. A business lawyer who is well versed in legal business lingo will help you determine how to move forward.

It is important to get a knowledgeable lawyer who specializes in business law. This might be a bit expensive. But, cheap ends up being expensive anyway, when you have to backtrack to correct costly mistakes. So, take time to look around and find a business attorney who will meet your needs, to check this off the list of must-haves.

2. Women in Business Must-Haves: A Well-Informed Accountant

As a businesswoman, you think you know how to handle the financial aspects of things, until disaster strikes. Unless your business is accounting, it’s very important to find an accountant, preferably one who specializes in start up businesses. This is one of the must-haves many women entrepreneurs never even think about until it’s too late.

Your accountant will keep track of your finances and help you avoid shock during tax season when you find out just how much you owe. Find an accountant who will help you plan out your finances well. It is always good to do your research and not necessarily hire one just because they are affordable.

3. Women in Business Must-Haves: Dedicated Employees

As a business owner, it’s extremely important to hire employees who are motivated and driven. Who you hire to work for you will greatly impact the success, or lack of success, within your business. Hiring employees who care enough about their careers to strive to bring value to your company if one of the mandatory must-haves for both start-ups and well-established companies.

4. Women in Business Must-Haves: Networking is Crucial

It doesn’t matter where you are. Everyone you come across in the world is a potential client. Therefore, you should always be ready to inform them about your business and its solutions. Networking is one of the business must-haves that help you in many areas of managing your company, including marketing, advertising, referrals, education and so much more.

Identify business networking events that will help you advertise your brand. As a woman entrepreneur, ensure that your list includes networking events specifically for women in business. You will have to put in time out of working hours to network and meet potential clients in order to expand your business.

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