In 2023, the Minority Business Development Agency (U.S. Department of Commerce) announced the “Capital Readiness Program,” a grant competition that sought applicants who: (1) help socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs build capacity; (2) provide access to capital opportunities; and (3) provide access to networks. WESST pursued this opportunity to significantly increase our technical assistance and microlending capacity and designed the WESST CAP-Ability Project. Of the 1,600 applicants from across the nation, WESST is proud to announce that our CAP-Ability Project proposal was among the 43 proposals selected to receive an award. The CAP-Ability Project will…
One of the best ways to make a personal and lasting connection with people you meet at networking meetings is to remember their name. Over the past several years, I have found that by taking the following simple steps, I have become much better at remembering people’s names:
During this five-part series, we looked at ways a small home-based business can make educated decisions in moving from start-up to mainstream. We’ve covered “Look Before Leaping,” “Ready, Set, Start Up,”Keep on Tracking,” and “Growing with Magic Beans.” Now, we’re ready for “Anchors Away” – taking that leap in moving the business from home to another location.
As every small business owner knows, a large percentage of their day is spent selling something — from initially convincing their family to support their plans to start a new business and, once started, selling their business idea to a lender to obtain a loan, or selling their products and services to prospective customers, and so on. Since the typical sales pipeline involves making a large number of presentations that result in only a few sales, the small business owner’s never-ending challenge is to stay motivated when facing so much rejection.
The fourth article in our five-part series, “5 Key Steps of Home-Based Businesses: Moving from Start-up to Mainstream” is “Growing with Magic Beans.” This step keeps the doors opened, so to speak, and the cash flowing. The “magic beans” required to grow your business through increased sales are marketing, networking and building a customer base.
The third part in our five-step series on home-based businesses, Keep on Tracking, focuses on the importance of staying on top of competition, products, services, operations, and record keeping. This is where entrepreneurs really need to take a step back and view their business with an objective eye (from customers’, accountant’s, and business advisors’ points of view). In essence, this is an analysis step.
In order to compete effectively with competitors who may look better, provide more services, have a bigger marketing budget, etc., every detail should be examined in the home-based business, from image to quality of services. Things like branding, packaging or presentation, availability of product or service; and in general, good customer service (returning calls, following up, making good for any dissatisfaction, putting the customer first, etc.) should be worked out long before opening for business.
Starting a business is often like “feast or famine”. On one hand, there is the entrepreneur who has over-researched, planned, tested, borrowed, and sought out people “in the know” before making the big leap; on the other hand, there is the small business want-to-be who has done nothing but is ready to plunge just the same.
Across the country, traditional media (newspapers, magazines, television and radio) have cut resources to save money. Today’s reporters begin research online and you can help them by providing information they can access 24/7 on your website. In this article, Mary Ellen Merrigan shows you five sectors where you can start getting the word out about your business for free.
It was certainly the case nearly 50 years ago with the unintended creation of the business incubation industry. The international business incubation movement began in New York with a businessman, an empty building and an idea of mentoring young companies through their early years – the most vulnerable period of their lives. That idea has grown worldwide to over 6,000 incubators, 1400+ of which are located in the United States.