Day: November 12, 2020

Democracy Dies in the Open

Beijing crushes the remnants of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Georgia's Reassuring Vote Recount

An audit looking at every ballot will boost confidence of a fair vote.

How to Do SWOT Analysis For PPC

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to drive customers to your site.

But it can be hard to make money through PPC ads. It’s all too easy to make common mistakes that can wreck your campaign.

Luckily for you, I’ve got plenty of tips that can help.

And there’s one strategy I’ve borrowed from my business analyst friends, which I’m going to share with you today.

It’s called a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis can help you see a different side to your PPC campaign and improve its performance in the process.

This article will help you carry out your own analysis and take your PPC campaigns to another level.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a corporate evaluation technique that can be used to assess anything from an entire company right down to a single PPC campaign.

So, what does SWOT stand for?

It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, things you control. Opportunities and threats are external factors. These are happening in the market right now, whether you like it or not. You may not be able to change them, but you can react to them.

Typically, SWOT analysis is used at an operational level to help business leaders assess a company’s current position in the market and highlight areas for future growth.

It can also be used to assess your PPC campaigns. A SWOT analysis can show you how well your campaign is performing, what’s holding you back, and how you can improve.  

Why Your Company Should Do SWOT Analysis for PPC Campaigns

A SWOT analysis should be considered essential if you don’t want your PPC campaigns to fail.

Too often, when brands try to optimize their PPC advertising, they look at their campaigns in isolation. They only analyze their own keywords, bids, and landing pages. But your PPC campaigns don’t exist in a vacuum.

You are competing with hundreds of other brands for the same cherished three or four spots.

A SWOT analysis will help you to understand external factors that may impact your PPC campaigns. Things like competitors, the economy, and the state of your industry can all affect the performance of your ads and the likelihood that someone will buy when they click them.

You’ll also identify new opportunities for your campaign. That could be doubling down on what you do well, or it could be fixing one of your weaknesses. When you lay out what’s working and what’s not, it’s much easier to put together a plan that involves more than just raising your bids.

Ultimately, it will help you to look at your PPC campaigns in a different way. Despite the wealth of advice out there on optimizing PPC campaigns, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine of researching keywords, testing new ad copy, and creating new landing pages.

There’s much more you can be doing to improve your campaigns, and a SWOT analysis will help you take your PPC campaigns to the next level.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis of Your PPC

All you need to do is sit down and brainstorm each of your campaign’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. They are typically displayed in a 2×2 grid.

PPC SWOT Analysis Chart

But you can just make a list below each header if that’s easier.

It can help to have a goal in mind when starting your SWOT analysis.

By focusing on your PPC campaigns, you have already narrowed your focus, but can you get an even clearer picture of what you want to achieve?

Maybe you want to figure out why your PPC campaign isn’t driving as many sales as your Facebook ads, for instance. Or find ways to maximize what is already a profitable channel.

It’s best to do a SWOT analysis with more than one person. The more views and opinions you can capture, the more complete a picture you’ll be able to develop. You can brainstorm together or complete the analysis individually, coming together at the end to share your thoughts.

Finally, try to keep things as even as possible when brainstorming. If you have 10 strengths, find 10 weaknesses. Find a threat for every opportunity. You get the picture.

SWOT Analysis S: Strengths

Start by making a list of all the strengths of your PPC campaign. Strengths are all the internal positive factors about your PPC efforts.

For instance, maybe you have an excellent ROI or a high Quality Score. Covering hundreds of relevant keywords could also be a strength, as could your CTR or bounce rate.

Think about the advantages you hold over the competition, too. That could be the PPC agency you partner with, for instance. It could even be the quality of your products or the strength of your brand. There’s no reason to limit your strengths to things that are specific to your PPC campaign.

Don’t be modest, here! Now’s the time to boast if ever there was one.

PPC SWOT Analysis Strengths

SWOT Analysis W: Weaknesses

Next, examine your PPC campaign’s weaknesses. These are things you are in control of that are stopping you from increasing your ROI and generating more revenue. They could also be things your campaign currently lacks, like A/B testing.

But they could also be broader weaknesses like a small budget or a lack of PPC experts.

Remember to only include things you have control over in this category. Having a bigger, better-funded competitor is not a relevant weakness of your campaign. Operating in a very competitive market is, on the other hand. You can’t control your competitor, but you can choose not to compete. Or at least not compete directly.

When in doubt, look at your strengths section and think about the opposite.

PPC SWOT Analysis Weaknesses

SWOT Analysis O: Opportunities

Now consider any external positive factors that could improve your PPC campaigns in the future. You could be launching a new advertising campaign, for instance, that would increase the demand for your product.

Maybe a competitor is on the verge of bankruptcy or is pivoting their business model.

Take into account the time frame of these opportunities. A new marketing campaign may only increase demand for a few months, whereas ongoing market growth (like the acceleration of e-commerce) may last for years.

Don’t forget to combine what you’ve done so far by including weaknesses that can be turned into strengths.

PPC SWOT Analysis Opportunities

SWOT Analysis T: Threats

Finally, look at threats to your PPC campaign. These are also external factors that you have little to no control over. And this is where you’d list those bigger, better-funded competitors who are constantly outbidding you.

It’s not just your competitors you need to consider, however. What’s the market like for your current product? Are consumers shopping somewhere other than Google? Could anything change that would impact your success, like one of your employees taking a new job?

It can help to think about your company and your industry at a broader level, too. Does your product risk becoming obsolete, for instance? Or could changes to the market weaken demand for your offering?

PPC SWOT Analysis Threats

Visualizing and Displaying Your SWOT Analysis

There are several different methods to display your SWOT analysis.

As I have shown above, the most common format of a SWOT analysis is a 2×2 chart. This makes it easy to visualize your analysis as a whole, as every section is displayed in relation to each other.

But it’s not the only way you can display your SWOT analysis.

There are plenty of ways to make your analysis more digestible and visually engaging.

Check out this graphic analysis of a Nike SWOT by Business Strategy Hub.

Nike SWOT Analysis

Or this creative McDonalds SWOT graphic by Creately.

McDonalds SWOT Analysis

If design isn’t your forte, Lucidchart has a SWOT analysis generator you can use instead.

Making Your SWOT Analysis Actionable

One problem with a SWOT is that it doesn’t produce actionable results. It only helps you understand where you currently are.

You need to make your analysis actionable.

Start by looking at the relationship between each section. For instance, ask yourself whether you can use your strengths to create new opportunities, or whether you can remove threats by improving your weaknesses.

Let’s start by looking at how you can turn your strengths into new opportunities. Basically, this means doing more of what you are good at. In the example above, we highlighted landing page creation as a strength.

You could turn this into an opportunity by creating more landing pages for your ad groups. Doing so could improve your quality score, decrease your bounce rate, and increase your conversion rate.

Next, identify how you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. Again, in the example above, I listed a lack of a dedicated PPC account manager as a weakness. Assuming you have the budget to hire a new employee, this is a pretty easy one to fix. Alternatively, you could work with a digital marketing consultant.

Now let’s look at opportunities. Is there any way you can capitalize on the opportunities you’ve identified? We listed e-commerce growth and new products as opportunities above. One option is to increase our budget to take advantage of the growth in e-commerce. Another would be to create new ads and landing pages for our new products.

Finally, look at the threats. You probably won’t be able to change any of these directly, but you figure out ways to mitigate the threats. For instance, if you have a larger competitor with a bigger budget, you can maximize your ROI as much as possible or target longer tail keywords.

Examples of SWOT Analysis for PPC Campaigns

Are you ready to start your own SWOT analysis? Hopefully, you can use my examples as a jumping-off point. But just in case you need more guidance, here are a couple of other examples of SWOT analysis for PPC campaigns.

The first is by White Shark Media.

White Shark Media PPC SWOT Analysis

You can see they get very specific listing ad KPIs in both the strengths and weaknesses columns. They also do an excellent job of balancing strengths with weaknesses and opportunities with threats.

The second is by SEMrush and Hanapin Marketing.

SEMRush PPC SWOT Analysis

This is a much broader approach to PPC SWOT analysis, including things like product prices and availability. They also do a nice job of matching up strengths with weaknesses and opportunities with threats.

Conclusion

A SWOT analysis is a great way to get a different perspective on your PPC campaign. Remember, your campaigns don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither should your optimization efforts.

By thinking about your ads in the context of the broader market and economy, you can optimize your campaigns at a level your competitors can only dream of.

Why stop at creating new ad copy and running A/B tests when you can find out ways to capitalize on new consumer sentiment or shifts in the market.

What have you uncovered with your SWOT analysis? Let me know in the comments!

The post How to Do SWOT Analysis For PPC appeared first on Neil Patel.

Top 200 Tattoo Instagram Influencers most followed in 2020

Top 200 Tattoo Instagram Influencers most followed in 2020 Promote Your Instagram Profile Get more people to visit your Instagram profile by featuring it in the list below. Helps you grow your business, your influence, or your audience. Email your instagram profile with a brief description at anuj@feedspot.com for us to review. Email us Tattoo […]

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Grants for Small Business Startup: Will It Be Enough?

Do you know how to find grants for small business startup? There are a number of grant programs out there for those wanting to start a business.  Even those already operating but still in the startup phase can benefit.  However, grants for small business startup are highly competitive.  Funds are often limited. It’s rare to get enough from a grant to fund an entire startup without needing other options.

There are Grants for Small Business Startup, But You Need More

What are options other than grants that offer free money?  I mean, that’s the best thing about a grant.  You do not have to pay the money back.  Also, bad credit doesn’t matter when it comes to grants. There are not a lot of other options that great.  However, there are a few.  

Why Use Grants for Small Business Startup

The truth is, grants for small business startup are rarely enough.  You are going to need more funding.  That said, you definitely should apply for any grants you might qualify to get.  Just be careful.  Be sure you meet the eligibility requirements before you begin the application process. 

The process of applying for grants can be tedious and lengthy.  That isn’t always the case, of course, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time on something you have no chance of getting.  By being intentional and finding the opportunities you can actually take advantage of, you increase your chances of approval and decrease your chances of wasting time. 

Any amount you receive, even if it is a few hundred dollars, can help reduce the amount of debt you have to take on.  Also, winning a grant can help your business look more viable to lenders. 

So, which grants do you qualify for? It depends.  Many grants are designed specifically for a certain type of business or business owner.  Some are not.  Here are a few possibilities to help get you started, along with some resources to do your own research.

grants for small business startup Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Available for All

There are grants options that can work well for anyone.

FedEx Small Business Grant

This grant is the company’s way of working to strengthen small business innovation.  There are 10 grants the company awards each year.  They range from $15,000 to $50,000, and if you’re a minority owned business with a cutting-edge product, this could be the grant for you.

A business must use the FedEx website to submit entries. There are a few questions to answer about your business.  In addition, there is a requirement for an elevator pitch about what makes your business special.  Also, you have to explain how you would use the grant funds. A 90 second video submission is optional.

NASE Growth Grants

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has small business Growth Grants of up to $4,000. They are for micro-businesses, and proceeds can be used for a number of things.  They can be utilized for marketing, advertising, expansion, and even to hire employees. These grants are open to everyone.  However, you do have to be an NASE member to apply.  Membership fees vary based on the membership level chosen. 

USDA Value Added Producer Grant

The USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program offers grants for small businesses.  It includes minority owned business.  Grants range up to $250,000.  They are specifically to help agricultural producers with activities that add value to their products. As a result, grants are open to those in rural areas.  They must be operating as one of the following: 

  • Cooperative
  • Farmer
  • Rancher
  • an independent agricultural producer
  • or an agricultural producer group

Grants for Small Business Startup: Minority Business Owners

Here are some minority grant options to consider.  There are certainly others out there.  However, they are not always well advertised.  This means you need to be sure to do your own research. 

First Nations Development Institute Grants

The mission of this group is to offer grants that help Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Americans.  They offer assistance in the application process in addition to funds.

Not only that, but there are a wide range of opportunities from the First Nations Development Institute.  New ones initiate as old ones retire. There is a mailing list you can join to receive information about new opportunities as they become available.

National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

Also known as NBMBAA, the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge has cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.  The associate states its purpose is to help newer businesses that have an African founder that maintains equal ownership.  

A business must be a member of the NBMBAA to compete.  There is a $10 monthly membership fee.  After that, there is an online application.   If chosen, you must submit a three-minute pitch. Then, finalists go on to compete at the NBMBAA annual conference.

Grants for Women Business Owners

For female business owners, there are several grant opportunities.  These are just a few. 

Eileen Fisher Women Owned Business Grants

The clothing brand Eileen Fisher awards $100,000 per year to 10 women-owned businesses. To qualify, a woman must have at least 51% ownership, and the business must be in operation for at least three years. Also, it must bring in less than $1 million per year in revenue and have a focus on environmental or social change.  

Amber Grant 

The Amber Grant awards $500 to $1,000 per month to a woman-owned business. One of the recipients also receives an additional $10,000 grant at the end of the year. Applicants only need to tell their story and turn it in with a $15 application fee.

#GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant 

Specifically for woman-owned businesses in fashion, music, and art, the #GIRLBOSS small business grant awards $15,000.  They also offer exposure via the Girlboss website and social media platforms. Judges rate those applying on creativity, business savvy, planning, innovation in the field, need, and where they plan to work.

grants for small business startup Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award 

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is $100,000 for first place and $30,000 for second place.  They award the grant to 18 female business owners from around the world each year.  Women business owners who are just getting started may qualify.  Look over the complete application for more information.

All of the finalists get to attend the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship 6-Day Executive Program (ISEP). They will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops on entrepreneurship and business coaching seminars, as well as be exposed to networking opportunities.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Other Grant Resources

Of course, new grant opportunities open all the time.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, many local agencies have stepped up to help small businesses, including offering grant opportunities.  Sometimes, more funding becomes available allowing for new grants to open.  Here are some resources to help you find more grants for small business startup.  

Other Debt Free Options

Of course, debt free is best, so you are probably wondering if there are other options, besides grants for small business startup, that will help you fund your business debt-free.  Yes, there are. However, much like grants, they are a long shot and do not always fund your business completely. 

The two main options you have are crowdfunding for startups and angel investors.  Crowdfunding basically involves convincing several micro-investors to fund your business a few dollars at the time.  If you have a successful crowdfunding campaign it can be very effective.  Also, it’s not as easy as it sounds.  

Angel investors are not a new idea.  If you can find one, you are golden.  These are just one or two, or a small group, of investors that invest large sums.  They usually do so in return for equity in your business, meaning they want some of the future profits.  That means it’s not totally free money, but it is money for your business that you can get without being tied down by debt. Anyone can be an angel investor, even your mom!

An Awesome Non-Grant Option

Now, the truth is, it is virtually impossible to start a business debt-free.  Financing in some form is almost always necessary.  What you need is the most effective and flexible option for financing with the lowest interest rates.  

If you have top notch personal credit, that is probably going to be a traditional business loan.  However, many capable business owners do not have the personal credit score necessary.  Not only that, but you don’t want your personal credit to bear the brunt of your business debt.  You need business credit as well. There is a debt option that you can access with a lower personal credit score than what is required by traditional lenders.  Furthermore, it will help you build business credit at the same time. 

Credit Line Hybrid

A credit line hybrid is essentially an unsecured line of credit.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  The funds can be used for many things, including startup costs. 

 It’s super easy to qualify.  You need a personal credit score of at least 680, which is lower than what is required by many banks. Additionally, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months you should have less than 4 credit inquiries.  You should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards as well.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit in addition to personal credit.

Here is the beauty of it.  If you do not meet all of the requirements, it’s okay. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding. 

Benefits to Using a Credit Line Hybrid with Grants for Small Business Startup

There are many benefits to using a credit line hybrid.  First, it is unsecured, meaning you do not have to have any collateral to put up.  Next, this is no-doc funding.  That means you do not have to provide any bank statements or financials.  

In addition, typical approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Often, you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months.  This allows you to put that savings back into your business. 

With the approval for multiple credit cards, competition is created.  This makes it easier to get interest rates lowered and limits raised every few months. The process is generally quick, especially with a qualified expert to walk you through it. Also, you can build fast business credit because some of the accounts involved report to the business credit reporting agencies. 

SBA Loans

While federal grant money is preferred, other types of federal funding are available. This is another option for startup funding when grants for small business startup are not enough.  The Small Business Administration offers federally guaranteed loan programs that can help fund a business at any stage.  The applications are processed and funds disbursed through traditional lenders.  However, the requirements are easier for many businesses to meet.  This is because of the government guarantee that they have.  

You can find a lender that offers SBA loan programs using the lender match tool. Here are just a few of the programs they offer.  Which one may be right for your business will depend on a number of variables. 

7(a) Loans

The minimum credit score to qualify for this one is 680, just like the credit line hybrid.  There is a down payment requirement of at least 10% if you are using the funds for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. The minimum time in business is 2 years, but if you are a startup, business experience equivalent to two years will fill the requirement.

504 Loans

Funds from 504 loans can buy machinery, facilities, or land. Generally, these are used for expansion.  They work especially well for commercial real estate purchases.

They require a minimum credit score of 680 as well, and they are collateralized by the asset being financed.  There is also a down payment requirement of 10%, which can increase to 15% for a new business.

There is also a requirement you be in business at least 2 years, or that management has equivalent experience if the business is a startup.

grants for small business startup Credit Suite

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Microloans

These loans work well for starting a business, purchasing equipment, buying inventory, or for working capital. Community based non-profits administer microloan programs as intermediaries, with financing coming directly from the Small Business Administration.

The minimum credit score is 640, and the collateral and down payment requirements vary by lender.

The thing to remember about all loans and lenders, including those related to the Small Business Administration, is that details such as interest rates, terms, and eligibility requirements can change frequently.  Be sure to check with individual lenders for the more up-to-date information.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Are They Worth the Time and Energy?

If you find one for which you meet all the eligibility requirements, yes, absolutely it is worth it.  Any amount you get that reduces the amount of debt you need to fund your business is worth it.  That said, remember it is unlikely you will get out of having to use financing at all. So, be sure to find the type of financing that will work best for you.  The credit line hybrid will work for almost anyone, and has many benefits, including helping to build business credit!

The post Grants for Small Business Startup: Will It Be Enough? appeared first on Credit Suite.

Shasqi (YC W15) Hiring Directors of Translational Sciences, Medicinal Chemistry

Director of Translational Sciences https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/2227380667/?refId=WOv9NhH… Director of Medicinal Chemistry https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/2234535257/ Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25060126 Points: 1 # Comments: 0

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Stacker (YC S20) Is Hiring Product Engineers and Designers

Article URL: https://static.stacker.app/hiring Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25056137 Points: 1 # Comments: 0

The post Stacker (YC S20) Is Hiring Product Engineers and Designers first appeared on Online Web Store Site.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Will It Be Enough?

Do you know how to find grants for small business startup? There are a number of grant programs out there for those wanting to start a business.  Even those already operating but still in the startup phase can benefit.  However, grants for small business startup are highly competitive.  Funds are often limited. It’s rare to get enough from a grant to fund an entire startup without needing other options.

There are Grants for Small Business Startup, But You Need More

What are options other than grants that offer free money?  I mean, that’s the best thing about a grant.  You do not have to pay the money back.  Also, bad credit doesn’t matter when it comes to grants. There are not a lot of other options that great.  However, there are a few.  

Why Use Grants for Small Business Startup

The truth is, grants for small business startup are rarely enough.  You are going to need more funding.  That said, you definitely should apply for any grants you might qualify to get.  Just be careful.  Be sure you meet the eligibility requirements before you begin the application process. 

The process of applying for grants can be tedious and lengthy.  That isn’t always the case, of course, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time on something you have no chance of getting.  By being intentional and finding the opportunities you can actually take advantage of, you increase your chances of approval and decrease your chances of wasting time. 

Any amount you receive, even if it is a few hundred dollars, can help reduce the amount of debt you have to take on.  Also, winning a grant can help your business look more viable to lenders. 

So, which grants do you qualify for? It depends.  Many grants are designed specifically for a certain type of business or business owner.  Some are not.  Here are a few possibilities to help get you started, along with some resources to do your own research.

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Available for All

There are grants options that can work well for anyone.

FedEx Small Business Grant

This grant is the company’s way of working to strengthen small business innovation.  There are 10 grants the company awards each year.  They range from $15,000 to $50,000, and if you’re a minority owned business with a cutting-edge product, this could be the grant for you.

A business must use the FedEx website to submit entries. There are a few questions to answer about your business.  In addition, there is a requirement for an elevator pitch about what makes your business special.  Also, you have to explain how you would use the grant funds. A 90 second video submission is optional.

NASE Growth Grants

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has small business Growth Grants of up to $4,000. They are for micro-businesses, and proceeds can be used for a number of things.  They can be utilized for marketing, advertising, expansion, and even to hire employees. These grants are open to everyone.  However, you do have to be an NASE member to apply.  Membership fees vary based on the membership level chosen. 

USDA Value Added Producer Grant

The USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program offers grants for small businesses.  It includes minority owned business.  Grants range up to $250,000.  They are specifically to help agricultural producers with activities that add value to their products. As a result, grants are open to those in rural areas.  They must be operating as one of the following: 

  • Cooperative
  • Farmer
  • Rancher
  • an independent agricultural producer
  • or an agricultural producer group

Grants for Small Business Startup: Minority Business Owners

Here are some minority grant options to consider.  There are certainly others out there.  However, they are not always well advertised.  This means you need to be sure to do your own research. 

First Nations Development Institute Grants

The mission of this group is to offer grants that help Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Americans.  They offer assistance in the application process in addition to funds.

Not only that, but there are a wide range of opportunities from the First Nations Development Institute.  New ones initiate as old ones retire. There is a mailing list you can join to receive information about new opportunities as they become available.

National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

Also known as NBMBAA, the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge has cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.  The associate states its purpose is to help newer businesses that have an African founder that maintains equal ownership.  

A business must be a member of the NBMBAA to compete.  There is a $10 monthly membership fee.  After that, there is an online application.   If chosen, you must submit a three-minute pitch. Then, finalists go on to compete at the NBMBAA annual conference.

Grants for Women Business Owners

For female business owners, there are several grant opportunities.  These are just a few. 

Eileen Fisher Women Owned Business Grants

The clothing brand Eileen Fisher awards $100,000 per year to 10 women-owned businesses. To qualify, a woman must have at least 51% ownership, and the business must be in operation for at least three years. Also, it must bring in less than $1 million per year in revenue and have a focus on environmental or social change.  

Amber Grant 

The Amber Grant awards $500 to $1,000 per month to a woman-owned business. One of the recipients also receives an additional $10,000 grant at the end of the year. Applicants only need to tell their story and turn it in with a $15 application fee.

#GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant 

Specifically for woman-owned businesses in fashion, music, and art, the #GIRLBOSS small business grant awards $15,000.  They also offer exposure via the Girlboss website and social media platforms. Judges rate those applying on creativity, business savvy, planning, innovation in the field, need, and where they plan to work.

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award 

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is $100,000 for first place and $30,000 for second place.  They award the grant to 18 female business owners from around the world each year.  Women business owners who are just getting started may qualify.  Look over the complete application for more information.

All of the finalists get to attend the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship 6-Day Executive Program (ISEP). They will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops on entrepreneurship and business coaching seminars, as well as be exposed to networking opportunities.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Other Grant Resources

Of course, new grant opportunities open all the time.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, many local agencies have stepped up to help small businesses, including offering grant opportunities.  Sometimes, more funding becomes available allowing for new grants to open.  Here are some resources to help you find more grants for small business startup.  

Other Debt Free Options

Of course, debt free is best, so you are probably wondering if there are other options, besides grants for small business startup, that will help you fund your business debt-free.  Yes, there are. However, much like grants, they are a long shot and do not always fund your business completely. 

The two main options you have are crowdfunding for startups and angel investors.  Crowdfunding basically involves convincing several micro-investors to fund your business a few dollars at the time.  If you have a successful crowdfunding campaign it can be very effective.  Also, it’s not as easy as it sounds.  

Angel investors are not a new idea.  If you can find one, you are golden.  These are just one or two, or a small group, of investors that invest large sums.  They usually do so in return for equity in your business, meaning they want some of the future profits.  That means it’s not totally free money, but it is money for your business that you can get without being tied down by debt. Anyone can be an angel investor, even your mom!

An Awesome Non-Grant Option

Now, the truth is, it is virtually impossible to start a business debt-free.  Financing in some form is almost always necessary.  What you need is the most effective and flexible option for financing with the lowest interest rates.  

If you have top notch personal credit, that is probably going to be a traditional business loan.  However, many capable business owners do not have the personal credit score necessary.  Not only that, but you don’t want your personal credit to bear the brunt of your business debt.  You need business credit as well. There is a debt option that you can access with a lower personal credit score than what is required by traditional lenders.  Furthermore, it will help you build business credit at the same time. 

Credit Line Hybrid

A credit line hybrid is essentially an unsecured line of credit.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.  The funds can be used for many things, including startup costs. 

 It’s super easy to qualify.  You need a personal credit score of at least 680, which is lower than what is required by many banks. Additionally, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months you should have less than 4 credit inquiries.  You should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards as well.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit in addition to personal credit.

Here is the beauty of it.  If you do not meet all of the requirements, it’s okay. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business.  If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding. 

Benefits to Using a Credit Line Hybrid with Grants for Small Business Startup

There are many benefits to using a credit line hybrid.  First, it is unsecured, meaning you do not have to have any collateral to put up.  Next, this is no-doc funding.  That means you do not have to provide any bank statements or financials.  

In addition, typical approval is up to 5x that of the highest credit limit on the personal credit report. Often, you can get interest rates as low as 0% for the first few months.  This allows you to put that savings back into your business. 

With the approval for multiple credit cards, competition is created.  This makes it easier to get interest rates lowered and limits raised every few months. The process is generally quick, especially with a qualified expert to walk you through it. Also, you can build fast business credit because some of the accounts involved report to the business credit reporting agencies. 

SBA Loans

While federal grant money is preferred, other types of federal funding are available. This is another option for startup funding when grants for small business startup are not enough.  The Small Business Administration offers federally guaranteed loan programs that can help fund a business at any stage.  The applications are processed and funds disbursed through traditional lenders.  However, the requirements are easier for many businesses to meet.  This is because of the government guarantee that they have.  

You can find a lender that offers SBA loan programs using the lender match tool. Here are just a few of the programs they offer.  Which one may be right for your business will depend on a number of variables. 

7(a) Loans

The minimum credit score to qualify for this one is 680, just like the credit line hybrid.  There is a down payment requirement of at least 10% if you are using the funds for the purchase of a business, commercial real estate, or equipment. The minimum time in business is 2 years, but if you are a startup, business experience equivalent to two years will fill the requirement.

504 Loans

Funds from 504 loans can buy machinery, facilities, or land. Generally, these are used for expansion.  They work especially well for commercial real estate purchases.

They require a minimum credit score of 680 as well, and they are collateralized by the asset being financed.  There is also a down payment requirement of 10%, which can increase to 15% for a new business.

There is also a requirement you be in business at least 2 years, or that management has equivalent experience if the business is a startup.

Credit Line Hybrid Financing: Get up to $150,000 in financing so your business can thrive.

Microloans

These loans work well for starting a business, purchasing equipment, buying inventory, or for working capital. Community based non-profits administer microloan programs as intermediaries, with financing coming directly from the Small Business Administration.

The minimum credit score is 640, and the collateral and down payment requirements vary by lender.

The thing to remember about all loans and lenders, including those related to the Small Business Administration, is that details such as interest rates, terms, and eligibility requirements can change frequently.  Be sure to check with individual lenders for the more up-to-date information.

Grants for Small Business Startup: Are They Worth the Time and Energy?

If you find one for which you meet all the eligibility requirements, yes, absolutely it is worth it.  Any amount you get that reduces the amount of debt you need to fund your business is worth it.  That said, remember it is unlikely you will get out of having to use financing at all. So, be sure to find the type of financing that will work best for you.  The credit line hybrid will work for almost anyone, and has many benefits, including helping to build business credit!

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