How to Advertise Your Small Business

With the influx of businesses
competing in the same market and large companies broadcasting inspiring and
memorable advertisements every other week, creating a marketing strategy that
allows your business to stand out can be difficult. Whether you have a new
business and are looking to create your marketing strategy for the first time
or you have an existing business and you want to try a new strategy to increase
profits, it’s worthwhile to explore the best ways to get noticed by your target
market.

In this post, we lay out some of the ways businesses can
market their products or services to customers and cover a few important
factors you should consider when choosing how to advertise a business.

Preparing to Advertise Your Business

From the expert accountant who relies solely on
word-of-mouth to the e-commerce company that uses a wide range of digital
marketing tactics to reach its customers, nearly all businesses use some form
of advertising and promotion to attract new customers and earn a profit.

Choosing the proper advertising method for your business can
come down to a number of factors, including:

  • Your business needs. Determining what your business needs are will help you choose the right advertising strategy. For instance, an experienced attorney with a long list of potential clients to call back may not need a detailed marketing strategy, but a new startup likely will.
  • Your budget. You may be interested in setting up several methods for promoting your business, but if you don’t have the budget to afford them, you may be out of luck. From radio ads and TV commercials to paid Google ads or billboards, it typically costs money to promote your business, which is why it’s important to review your advertising budget and consider it when forming your marketing strategy.
  • Your target market. This could also be described as your target audience, and it includes knowing details about your customers, such as their age, level of education, relationship status, and more, and how these details impact their shopping practices. It can also include the methods your target audience uses to find information (such as online, by newspaper, word-of-mouth, etc.) or how your product or service may be perceived by your potential customers (like whether it would be considered a necessity or novelty, expensive or cheap, and more). Building your advertising strategy (as well as your branding strategy) around a specific target audience is a common and useful marketing strategy.

For many, it may be ideal to evaluate your marketing strategy by starting with a Business Plan. A Business Plan is a planning document that new or established business owners use to outline their company goals, objectives, internal structure, marketing plan, and more. It helps owners map out their business’ needs and profit strategy in a clear, easy-to-read format, so they can make changes or decisions, secure investor funding, or create a well-rounded marketing strategy.

How Do I Advertise My Business?

There are several methods a business can use to advertise,
for example:

  • Word-of-mouth. When someone tells their mom to try a new detergent or their friend to buy a certain facial moisturizer, this is word-of-mouth marketing (sometimes called WOMM). WOMM is sometimes disregarded or forgotten because of how informal it can seem, but it is still an effective way of publicizing your products to potential consumers. In fact, studies show that nearly 85% of individuals trust recommendations for products from friends and, even more surprising, over 90% of individuals trust endorsements from strangers.
  • Print ads. This can include ads found in a newspaper, brochures or handouts provided at an event, direct mail flyers, and more. The costs for these ads can vary depending on the type of ad you want (visual, text-based, or both) and how you plan on disseminating it to customers (in person, by mail, etc.).
  • Outside ads. This includes billboards, bus shelters, and other advertisements found offline and out in the real world. Although consumers aren’t viewing billboards and bus ads the same as they did before the internet, there are ways (such as using short, impactful phrases and evocative, unobtrusive imagery) to have your outdoor advertisement stand out and be successful.
  • Radio and television commercials. Radio and television advertisements are an effective way of communicating to potential customers at certain times of the day, like on their ride to or from work or while potential consumers are watching an evening news program. However, online (and sometimes ad-free) digital music services and TV and movie streaming sites may mean this form of advertising doesn’t have the reach it once did, and it may be best if business owners supplement radio and television ads with other marketing methods.
  • Social media marketing. Social media marketing involves advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. It can take the shape of a general post or tweet about a product, an overview of your company, or a specific promotion, like a contest, free giveaway, or an event. Keep in mind, engagement on social media posts has dropped over recent years, so using social media marketing as the sole way to promote your business is not recommended. 
  • Paid ads on a search engine platform. CPC (sometimes called PPC) stands for cost-per-click and this refers to a type of advertising provided by search engines like Google and Bing. It involves websites paying for keywords so that their ads will show to users when they search for those words in a search engine. Although CPC is good method for finding new leads, businesses using CPC can end up paying hefty amounts to secure quality, related keywords for their advertisements, and it may not be a good method for those with a smaller budget.
  • Search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is similar to CPC in that it uses keywords to appear on search engines like Google and Bing and to attract customers. The difference is that SEO is free to those who take the time to learn how to do it. This is a great strategy for many businesses who need to advertise at a lower cost. However, it can be challenging to implement without some understanding of digital marketing best practices.

Choosing a Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Depending on the type of business you own, current market
trends, your target audience, and more, some advertising methods may be more
suitable at promoting your business than others. Choosing the right marketing
and advertising strategy for your business is a delicate balance between
considering your business’ needs, goals, target market, and budget to find the
best combination of methods that work for your business.

The post How to Advertise Your Small Business appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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These 11 Tips Will Help You Get Financing to Start a Small Business

For entrepreneurs, obtaining the right amount of funding can mean the difference between success and failure when launching a small business.

But for newbies, knowing how and where to find working capital can be an intimidating process. So, where do you start? There are several ways entrepreneurs can obtain money to fund the launch, expansion of day-to-day operations and cash flow of their small businesses.

Each method comes with its own pros and cons based on several factors, including the age of the business and the financial history of the borrower.

11 Ways to Obtain Small Business Funding

Below is a list of 11 ways entrepreneurs can obtain small-business financing. This ranking is based on ease of access, as some options might not be available to business owners with no prior experience or to people launching startups.

1. Bootstrapping

A woman counts money

With bootstrapping, entrepreneurs launch their businesses using as little external capital, such as loans, as possible. The funds come from either personal finances, such as selling assets, using savings or credit cards or from using revenue from the business once it gets going.

This is a very lean method of running a business, as entrepreneurs find the least expensive way to make a viable product or service. If you do choose to empty your savings or use credit cards to fund your business, be careful because there is no guarantee the business will pan out.

Nikki Larchar and her business partner, Tina Todd, bootstrapped their company by pooling their finances and launching the human resources consulting firm SimplyHR about 2 1/2 years ago. She believes bootstrapping her business instead of getting a loan is a significant reason why she was able to turn a profit within a year after launching.

“For us, it’s been monumental being able to grow the business how we want to grow it and not have a looming loan over our head,” she says.

Pro: Avoids starting your business in debt.
Con: Not an option if you don’t have assets to sell or personal savings to use.

2. Crowdfunding Platforms

Due to the rise in popularity of sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, crowdfunding sites have become a more mainstream way to gain capital for a business, service or product.

Here’s how it works: Entrepreneurs and small business owners create a 30-day fundraising campaign seeking investors in the company or project instead of going to a bank for money.

Usually, business owners reward individual investors with some kind of gift, product discount or, sometimes, equity in the company.

Last year, Larchar used Kickstarter to raise $ 10,200 to fund a comic book that human resources departments could use to teach employees about sexual harassment policies. They met their goal and launched in January 2019.

“[W]e were able to fully jump into the project a lot quicker than we would have otherwise,” she says.

Pro: Can generate buzz for your business while raising funds.
Con: No guarantee of hitting your desired funding goal.   

3. Product Pre-Sales

An easy way to acquire funds if you’re operating a small business selling products is to hold a pre-sale in which customers pay for goods up-front. The business owner can use the money raised to fund the manufacturing of the initial batch of products.

“Product pre-sales is such a great strategy because you’ve just proven the customers want your product,” says Kedma Ough, the statewide innovation director for America’s Small Business Development Centers in Oregon.

Pro: Can help alleviate some of the upfront costs of making the products.
Con: Not a viable option for service-based businesses.

4. Friends and Family

Friends and family may be a potential source for financial capital for your small business, but be warned: If the business doesn’t make it or falls on hard times, it might destroy the personal relationship.

Ough says she’s witnessed many cases where family members stopped speaking to each other because they went into business and things went south. “It doesn’t mean it can’t work, but I’ve seen enough in my lifetime [that] it’ll break your heart,” she says.

Pro: Easily accessible.
Con: May ruin relationships if the business fails.

5. Partners

Two businessmen hold a meeting.

Taking on a business partner can be a way to secure funding in exchange for equity in your company. Depending on the arrangement, the partner might be an employee, someone not involved with day-to-day operations or just an investor.

If you are considering taking on a partner, write down every detail of the business partnership, preferably with the help of a lawyer. Define clear expectations and boundaries of what each partner can expect while running the business and worst-case scenarios of how the business would dissolve in the case of a partner dying or wanting to be bought out of the business.

“Make sure all that is dialed in before you go into partnership,” Ough says.
Pro: Can offer funding and business support without family connections.
Con: All partners need to have defined roles and expectations to avoid conflicts.

6. Small Business Grants

Small business grants come from a variety of sources, including government agencies, nonprofit and for-profit companies. Government agency grants tend to have the most narrow eligibility requirements, as they often focus on businesses in the science, technology or energy industries that will bring direct growth to the community.

Grants from nonprofits may focus on specific types of business owners, such as women, minorities or veterans. Grants from for-profit companies often have the widest eligibility requirements and may be given out based on merit or by completing an application.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may have information on small business grants available in your area. The only catch is everyone wants free money, so these grants can be hard to come by.

“[Government grants are] definitely not something that most small businesses are able to get funding through,” says Priyanka Prakash, a senior staff writer at Fundera. “But if you think you meet the requirements, definitely spend time putting the application materials together because if you win, you get free money and it’s an amazing way to start out.”

Pro: Who doesn’t love free money?
Con: Highly competitive.

7. Angel Investors

Just as the name suggests, the idea of having a wealthy investor come in and fund a startup can sound like the answer to an entrepreneur’s prayers. Angel investors can be affluent people or groups looking to fund startups.

P. Simon Mahler, a small business mentor with Score, a non-profit that advises small businesses, says people can search for angel investors by industry and by location — one such way is by browsing Angel Capital Association’s national directory of angel investors and firms.

Once you find a potential investor, it’s a long, thorough interview process with the entrepreneur and that person’s entire business team to make sure the business is viable.

“They’re very conservative, very selective as to who and why they invest in certain businesses,” Mahler says. “They want the sure thing.”

Pro: Having a benefactor can alleviate funding headaches.
Con: Can be a slow, difficult process to get the money.

8. Venture Capital

Similar to angel investors, venture capital firms also provide funding to small businesses and startups early on in development. The difference is the speed with which they operate and what they ask for in return. But that speed comes at a price.

Mahler says venture capital firms are very niche in what they invest in and are aggressive once they decide to invest. For example, angels may offer advice with their funding, while venture capitalists may ask for equity in your company and request specific changes in your business model.

“You’re giving away a lot to get a lot,” he says. “That’s what a lot of people struggle with is that it sounds good to have VC [venture capital] money, but you’re giving away a huge chunk of the ownership stake in your business.”

If you think your business may be of interest to such firms, start by asking your network for personal recommendations. You can also opt to make a profile for your business on AngelList — a national platform for job seekers, angel investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike.

Pro: May be quicker than using an angel investor to obtain large amounts of money.
Con: May have to give up a big piece of ownership stake to get the funds.

9. Online Alternative Lenders

Online alternative lenders have become a popular business financing option versus getting capital from traditional bank loans. Online alternative lending companies, such as Kabbage, OnDeck or BlueVine, are a convenient and fast way to get funds. There is no need to go to a bank to apply as everything is done online and funds can be deposited in a couple of business days.

Just like loans, online alternative lenders also offer business lines of credit, where instead of providing one lump sum of money up-front, you can use as much or as little as you need within your limit.

But the downside to using one of these lenders is that doing so can be an expensive way to borrow money. Prakash says the interest rate of a bank loan may be 7%-8% while these online lenders may charge up to 60%-70% in interests.

“It’s definitely a trade-off between how quickly or badly you need the capital versus how much you’re willing to pay for it,” she says.

Pros: Easy application process, faster way to get funds.
Con: High-interest rates.

10. SBA Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a program to help business people get financing after they demonstrate success for a few years. SBA loans come with a guarantee that the loan will be repaid to the lender. If the business fails to pay back the loan, the government will pay the lender, which could be, for example, a traditional bank.

“It’s a way to take some of the risk off the lender, and it encourages banks to lend to more small businesses,” Prakash says.

The only catch is these loans are rather difficult to obtain for startups. “If your business is a couple of years old and generating good revenue and is close to a profit, then it’s a much more viable option for a small business loan,” she says. You can go to SBA.gov to find out if you qualify for an SBA loan.

Pro: Takes the pressure off the small business if the loan can’t be repaid.
Con: Not easy to get for startups.

11. Banks

Buildings with bank names are pictured

For entrepreneurs with not much experience under their belts, the most obvious place to obtain a business loan might not be the place to go.

Traditional banks want to make sure they’ll get their money back, so they’ll only work with what they’d consider a sure thing. This means unless you’ve been in business for a few years or have a track record of successfully starting small businesses, banks may not consider you for a loan.

Pro: Lower interest rates than online lenders.
Con: May not lend to newer businesses or startups.

What if You Have Bad Credit?

For people with a not-so-stellar credit score, there is still hope for launching a small business.

Funding options such as bootstrapping, loans from family and friends, crowdfunding and online alternative lenders might be the route you have to take because bank and SBA loans could be off the table initially.

You may have to pay more now, which is the case when using an alternative online lender with a high interest rate, but more affordable options may become available in the future.

Matt Reinstetle is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Adam Hardy contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Get Your New Small Business Noticed With These 13 Marketing Tips

So you’re in the early stages of launching a small business. You’ve got a great product or service and obtained funding to get the company off the ground, but what about marketing? Do people know your business will be opening soon?

Getting noticed is one of the biggest challenges facing new small business owners. There are many different ways to market your business, such as using internet ads, social media pages, content marketing, in-person networking and more.

Some methods may be more effective than others, depending on your industry. But two areas all businesses need to excel in are internet-based marketing and in-person networking.

We’ve compiled a list of small business marketing tips, strategies and ideas that will help get your business noticed before, during and after opening.

13 Small Business Marketing Tips, Ideas and Strategies

Below is a breakdown of different tips, strategies and approaches on small business marketing. These tips and ideas are ranked based on when you should consider implementing them during pre-launch or in the early days of your business.

1. Create a Marketing Budget

For small businesses operating on a shoestring budget, it can be tempting to save money by not setting aside funds for marketing. But if your marketing strategy is to rely on word of mouth to promote your business, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Josh Rubin, CEO of Post Modern Marketing, tells small business owners they have to create a marketing budget, and the value of that budget can’t be an amount that will break the company if it doesn’t produce immediate results.

In the early days, you’re going to be spending time determining your company’s identity and figuring out what messaging connects with new customers. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error. “So set a budget that you’re willing to lose,” Rubin says.

2. Secure Your Company Name

You have an idea of what to name your small business and think it will connect with your target audience, but is that name available online?

“I see a lot of business owners that think of the name of their company but then don’t think about reserving a URL with [that name],” says Sherry Bonelli, owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing. She is also a small business mentor with Score, a volunteer group supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration that connects business owners with mentors from similar fields.

Having a website address that matches your company name is important, as people are doing more business online. It might be difficult for potential customers to find your website if they don’t match.

Once you have a business name in mind, go to a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains, to see if the web address is available. Prices start at $ 12 per year to reserve a domain name using Google Domains.

3. Create a Logo and Brand

If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you’re going to need to look the part. It might be tempting to create a generic logo and use a website template or stock photos when launching, but that isn’t necessarily good in the long run.

“I think many small business owners skimp on this step, and that’s a big mistake because if you don’t look like a real company, customers and clients are not going to trust you,” Bonelli says. Freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork and 99designs connect business owners with graphic designers who can create a custom logo, color palette, business cards and overall design for your business. This can cost anywhere between $ 300 and $ 500.

4. Build a User-Friendly Website

Once you have your logo ready, it’s time to build your website.

The way people search online has created many changes to website design. Having a site that looks good on smartphones and tablets is more vital than ever.

Website builders like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Wix, come with mobile-friendly features. They offer multiple templates, customization options and support for a monthly fee. Think like a potential consumer when building your site and make sure it has all the features and information you’d want to see.

5. Make Your Website SEO Friendly

Now that you’ve built your website, you should make it as easy as possible for people to find it when searching the web. Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is the process of getting web traffic from search engine results. SEO plays a crucial role in helping local and small businesses get discovered online.

Several factors determine a website’s search engine ranking. These include posting well-written blog pages that establish your topic credibility on a regular basis and using correct keywords associated with your business. To learn more about best SEO practices, check out free resources on sites such as Moz, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

If you’re planning on opening a physical location such as a restaurant, store or office, don’t forget to create a business profile on Google My Business, a free business listing service, that provides your essential info,such as a street address, phone number, hours of operation and business description.

One of the primary benefits of Google My Business is that it drives the “Map Pack” on Google search results, which may increase your visibility, in-store visits or calls This service is only available for local businesses with a physical address, not internet-only companies.

6. Create Social Media Pages

A woman with curly hair and glasses types on a computer in her office.

Now it’s time to create social media pages on platforms your audience uses.  You can count on using the major platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — to promote business news and engage with your customer base.

At all stages of your company’s life, you should also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing with their social media platforms. “If a competitor is using Pinterest and it seems like they’re gaining a lot of engagement, then Pinterest might be a place you want to go,” says Kim Randall, owner of KiMedia Strategies, a small business marketing firm.

7. Find Free or Low-Cost Business Services

Money is going to be tight in the early days of starting your small business, so it helps to use free or low-cost services to help your marketing. Below is a list of programs that can help you save money running your business.

  • Buffer is a social media tool that allows users to schedule posts in advance or post the same content to different platforms at once. It has free and paid versions, starting at $ 15 per month.
  • Google Alerts are free and will help you keep up with what people are saying online about your business or keep up with specific keywords.
  • KeywordTool.io is a free service that allows business owners to do keyword research for their website and ads.
  • Apps such as Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor can be useful when writing blogs or content on your website. These will help you write more succinctly and catch grammatical errors. Grammarly has a free version and a premium version that includes features such as a plagiarism detector, vocabulary enhancement and genre-specific writing-style suggestions. The premium versions costs $ 29.95 per month (or a discounted rate of $ 139.95 when paid annually).

8. Buy Online Ads

Once your business has opened, it’s time to start advertising. Google Ads, which appear when you search on Google, is an obvious place to start because of the search engine’s popularity. According to Google, businesses generally make an average of $ 2 in revenue for every $ 1 they spend on Google Ads.

Bonelli says the problem with Google Ads for new small-business owners is that it can be expensive. To make it effective, she says to include your ad the information that users seek when they search on Google.

For example, if someone is searching for “wedding gown alterations,” the web page your ad sends users to must emphasize that your business specializes in wedding gown alterations.

9. Set Up Email Marketing

People who sign up to your email marketing program tend to be the most engaged members of your audience. These members generally read more articles after opening the email and are more likely to buy your products or services. That’s why it’s important to provide content and information your audience cares about in every email blast you send.

“If you’re mailing out to a random [email subscription] list you didn’t build, that’s where you’re not going to be effective. But if you mail out information that people are interested in, that’s where it’s really effective,” Bonelli says.

Include a button on your website that allows people to sign up for your email campaigns. A free version of MailChimp can help build your email list — it allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers. The paid version allows you to send an unlimited number of emails to an unlimited number of subscribers. The cost of the membership increases based on the number of subscribers.

10. Craft an Elevator Pitch

Before you start meeting potential customers and attending networking events, do you have your elevator pitch ready? An elevator pitch is a speech lasing 30 to 45 seconds that tells the listener who you are, what you do and how your business will be better than the competition. With some practice, it may lead to a potential customer. Learn more on how to develop a great elevator pitch.

11. Become a ‘Thought Leader” in Your Field

A woman listens as a man asks a question.

When your business is off the ground, think about establishing yourself as a thought leader. A “thought leader” is a marketing term for a recognized authority in a field who is sought after as an expert.

Every business owner is a thought leader without knowing it yet; there is a reason you started your business, so let people know what you know. For example, if you’re a photographer, write blogs offering tips and tricks on how to take better iPhone photos or suggest “three things to look for in a wedding photographer.”

Randall used this strategy in the early days of social media marketing. “When I gave my thoughts, tips and everything else away and became a thought leader within the social media space, I gained a lot more clients,” she says.

Early on when people are not yet visiting your site, consider becoming a guest contributor on another established website in your field so you can promote your knowledge on the subject and point people in the direction of your website to learn more.

Another way to become a recognized expert is by meeting your target audience. Meetup.com is a great way to find local groups who are interested in topics related to your business. For example, if you run a knitting or sewing store, you might look to see whether any knitting or sewing events are happening in your area and offer to give a free demonstration.

12. Get Involved With Your Chamber of Commerce

Not all marketing is done online. Getting involved with your local Chamber of Commerce will enable you to meet fellow business owners during in-person networking events and other chamber functions. Over time, you’ll expand your professional network and be able to utilize their resources.

Rubin says his Chamber helped his company get featured on a local news segment. Once you start to support other businesses, they’ll do the same when you have a big event or project.

“All it takes is your time and your energy,” he says.

13. Find a Business Mentor and Continue Learning

As a new small business owner or entrepreneur, it’s never a bad thing to seek guidance from people who have been in your shoes. There are both local and national nonprofits devoted to helping business owners.

Score offers their mentoring service free of charge. Rubin, a Score volunteer, says if you want to know more about marketing, Score can connect you with retired marketing executives or other knowledgeable people who can help you grow your business.

“I’ll scream their praises from every rooftop because everyone always thinks that you have to pay for this kind of business support, and it’s out there for free,” he says.

As you progress and figure out what marketing material connects with your audience, don’t stop learning new things. Small business marketing is a topic that is difficult to master because strategies that work now will change and marketing fads come and go.

Luckily, there are a lot of free blog posts, courses and resources out there to teach business owners about SEO, social media marketing, internet advertising and more.

You can sign up for a massive open online course (MOOCs), keep up with the SEO sites listed above or follow marketing professionals you admire on LinkedIn or other social media.

“There’s so much information out there now that if business owners spend an hour a night just searching the web and teaching themselves how to do small business marketing, they’ll be successful at it,” Bonelli says.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Hey, small business owners: These tax software programs make filing (almost) painless

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As a small business owner (SBO), you can handle the occasional hiccup or headache like it ain’t no thang. It’s basically part of your job description. In fact, the thrill of it all is probably part of the reason why you decided to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. You relish the challenge of doing it all yourself. You’re not just a businessman (or woman) — you’re a business, man.

There’s an impressive amount of gutsiness that’s associated with small business ownership, one that’s essential to your company’s growth. But research has shown that if there’s one aspect of the gig that intimidates you, it’s getting your shit together come tax season. Read more…

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Living Large in a Small Condo

Photo by Larry Arnal

UNDERSTAND HOW YOU LIVE and how you will utilize your space. If you always eat at the kitchen island, maybe you don’t need a kitchen table. Work from home? Then maybe a desk is more important than a kitchen table.

BUY FURNITURE that is the right scale for your space. That means measuring every room. Hiring a designer or decorator will help you with space planning to ensure every inch is properly utilized.

MULTI-FUNCTIONAL FURNISHINGS are key. Look for beds with additional storage underneath or sofas that convert to a guest bed.

CONSIDER A LUCITE or glass coffee table that give off the illusion of space.

BRIGHT LIGHTING will open up the space. Conserve floor space by adding sconces instead of floor lamps.

INCORPORATE PRETTY STORAGE baskets and bins to hide magazines, throws, cushions and any seasonal items to reduce clutter.

Tip by Designer Christine Da Costa, www.decorbychristine.com

The post Living Large in a Small Condo appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Scouted: QuickBooks Is Essential for Any Small Business Owner, and This $19 Master Class Can Help Get the Most Out of It

Quickbooks has quickly become one of the most popular programs to keep small businesses’ expenses and budgets in check, but it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. This 7-hour class can help you and your business find your footing during this tax season and for the rest of 2019.

Using Quickbook’s data, business owners can easily create reports, summaries, and analyses to keep track of customer data, vendor information, and employee progress. This class can help make all of that data more easily digestible and can even help you make sense of the financial reports and bank statements that are logged in Quickbook’s program. It’ll even help you unlock some of the newest powerful features in the 2019 version of the software.

You’ll be able to create and access important information easily, which will make the process of understanding your business’s profits, tracking loans, and staying ahead of the curve for tax season a piece of cake. Let this course untangle that web of spreadsheets for you.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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WATCH: World News 02/04/19: 5 Killed When Small Plane Crashes Into California Home

Top US general: Political talks with Taliban are ‘positive’; Liam Neeson shares story about looking for a black person to kill
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Small plane crashes into residential neighborhood in Southern California

ABC News

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

1.25.19 Small business tax law changes; Clark Stinks

Clark talks about how the new(ish) tax law will affect small business owners; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here

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The post 1.25.19 Small business tax law changes; Clark Stinks appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Back To School Sale – Get up to 40% OFF stylish footwear at Payless.com

Higher Health Insurance Costs for Small Businesses Coming in 2019?

A recent ruling by a Texas federal judge insisting the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—otherwise known as Obamacare—is unconstitutional is potentially bad news for millions of small businesses, the national advocacy group Small Business Majority maintains. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with an alliance of 20 states that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance nullified the overall ACA.

‘Obamacare’ will continue to remain in effect for now. The case could be appealed and possibly reach the U.S. Supreme Court, observers say. They say that process could take months or even years.

The ruling occurred a day before the deadline for Americans to sign up for coverage in the federal insurance exchange created under the ACA. Roughly 11.8 million U.S. consumers enrolled in 2018 healthcare exchange plans, the federal agency Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported.

The ruling has “no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan,” Seema Verma, the administrator for the Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees ACA, tweeted.

Former President Barack Obama posted on Facebook that Obamacare will “likely”  survive the judge’s ruling. He urged people to proceed with open enrollment and get coverage.



President Donald Trump saluted the decision as “great news for America,” boasting that Congress will now create a “great” healthcare plan, though that will likely be difficult if large numbers of the pool of uninsured Americans opt not to pay for insurance.


However, the Small Business Majority says the ruling’s impact could hit entrepreneurs, including black small businesses owners soon.

“While this federal court decision does not change the status of the ACA right now, it injects a degree of uncertainty into the ACA marketplaces that many entrepreneurs depend on for quality, affordable health insurance,” Simon Brown, a spokesman at Small Business Majority, told Black Enterprise.

“That uncertainty could cause consumers to leave the marketplaces, meaning prices could rise for those who continue to buy insurance through ACA marketplaces.”

John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority founder & CEO, added through the ACA’s individual mandate penalty was previously repealed, its remaining components must be upheld in full because the law is absolutely critical to the success of small businesses, their employees and solo entrepreneurs.

Before Obamacare became law in 2010, the Small Business Majority says small businesses and their employees represented a disproportionate share of uninsured workers, and small business owners paid 18% more on average for coverage than larger companies.

Yet, the growth in small business healthcare costs slowed dramatically since 2010, occurring after regular double-digit gains before the law’s enactment. The law made health insurance more affordable for smaller firms, resulting in many entrepreneurs launching their own businesses.

More than 5.7 million small business employees or self-employed workers are enrolled in the ACA marketplaces, and more than half of all ACA marketplace enrollees nationwide are small business owners, self-employed individuals or small business employees, the Small Business Majority states.

Plus, the advocacy group says the law has enabled most states to expand their Medicaid programs, allowing low-income small business employees and entrepreneurs to obtain health coverage.

Arensmeyer says ending the ACA would be an unmitigated disaster for America’s entrepreneurs.

“For the good of America’s job creators, the constitutionality of the ACA must be upheld, and we hope this decision is immediately appealed.”

 

The post Higher Health Insurance Costs for Small Businesses Coming in 2019? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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12.28.18 Foster kids at risk; Warning for small biz owners; Car leasing costs going up

As foster care kids reach adulthood, difficulties mount; A warning to small business owners about expired URL’s and how they can be commandeered; Leasing a car is getting even more costly than it has been.

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clark.com

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How To Shop Small Business Saturday

If Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s emphasis on consumerism is just too much for you, there is a viable option to search for unique Christmas gifts while supporting local, small and Black businesses. The less popular Small Business Saturday option encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses, whether in person or online. Here are a few tips to make the best of the day.

Stay local:

Small businesses tend to depend on foot traffic as opposed to the big advertising budgets that big box stores and department stores can command. Seek out the stores in your city or are that are part of the main street or shopping area instead of the mall.

These stores are often either run by craftsmen and women local to the area, or they buy from them. Jewelry, personal care gifts and clothing are usually what they have to offer, so focus your shopping for those items on those stores instead of the big retailers.

Buy Black:

Black-owned retailers often struggle to get the attention of consumers in a crowded marketplace. With super sales going on through the holiday weekend, it’s hard for smaller businesses to find their audience.

If you can, this is a great time to support them, whether in person or online, as many of these smaller businesses don’t have brick and mortar stores. Also, don’t forget Instagram, where a number of online retailers have handmade crafts, jewelry, fitness, clothing and food businesses. Try the hashtag #blackowned to see what might be available.

Here’s one list of Black-owned businesses. 

Eat at a local restaurant, not a chain.

All this holiday shopping can work up quite an appetite. But instead of going to your local Applebee’s, check out a local small restaurant instead. Most folks know the Black-owned restaurant in their area, and if you don’t, you can usually find them via the city’s visitor’s center. Philadelphia, for example, has a listing of the city’s Black-owned businesses, including restaurants. If you call the local visitor’s center in most cities, they can identify the local Black-owned businesses as well.

Give to charity, business or support a cause.

Although it’s technically not small business, there are local and national charities that could use your help. As it’s getting close to the end of the year, it makes fiscal sense to give. You can choose to give to a small business by using Kiva, a micro-lending service that helps small businesses directly.

You can look through a bunch of pitches both locally and around the world and find a business you want to support, with as little as $ 15. You can also support a GoFundMe – recent ones have included money for Jamel Roberson’s family and Aisha Fraser’s daughters,

You can also give to deserving causes like the Tom Joyner Foundation, which supports HBCU’s, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or The Innocence Project, which helps wrongfully convicted prisoners get new trials.


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Life & Style – Black America Web

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The best towns and small cities in the US: Ithaca, New York state

This progressive lakeside town has gone its own way since the hippy years: we showcase its best bars, live music venues and restaurants

In this series: Eugene, Oregon | Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Portland, Maine | Ventura, California | Missoula, Montana

Outside City Hall is Ithaca’s smallest park. It’s the size of a parking space: the mayor’s parking space, to be precise. When the 24-year-old Svante Myrick was elected five years ago, he gave up his car, decorated the spot with benches and plants and welcomed all and sundry to use it as they pleased.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Spread the Local Love and Shop Small On Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24

Let’s be honest with ourselves: Black Friday is flat-out tiresome.

You wake up way too early — when you should still be sleeping off your Thanksgiving food coma — to go stand out in the cold and pray you don’t get elbowed in the face for a TV that is barely discounted.

Allow me to present an alternative for your holiday shopping: Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday takes place on Nov. 24 this year and is exactly what it sounds like: an annual day that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize their local small businesses.

American Express first launched the day in 2010 to help bolster local businesses that were hurting due to the recession. It gained momentum quickly, and by 2011, representatives in all 50 states were participating in the “Shop Small” movement.

A survey by American Express estimates that upwards of $ 85 million has been spent at local, independent businesses since the event’s inception, and 90% feel that it has positively impacted their communities.

So this year, tell Black Friday, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and circle Saturday on your calendar.

How to Participate in Small Business Saturday

Cards are displayed at a local shop.

Whether you’re a consumer, small business owner or simply a local business supporter, there are plenty of ways you can contribute to Saturday’s Shop Small initiative.

If you’re a local shop owner and want to get involved with Small Business Saturday, head on over to the official website. You’ll find downloadable posters, event flyers, email templates, planning checklists and more — they’re customizable and free!

Don’t forget to use social media to your advantage. The Small Business Saturday site has downloadable social posts. Or, you can freestyle and do your own thing — just be sure to use #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags.

The site also offers how-to videos for inspiration and ideas for special events you can hold to attract customers.

And just because it isn’t Black Friday doesn’t mean you can’t offer deals to bring in business. Feature a special Shop Small discount or showcase your most holiday-shopping-worthy items.

People who don’t own a shop but still want to support local business have options, too. Small Business Saturday has official “Neighborhood Champions.” Their job is to spread the word, assist local businesses with participation, organize events and pass out Shop Small swag to passersby.

In 2017, over 7,200 individuals and organizations signed up to serve as event champions.

You can check out your local volunteers here if you’re interested in reaching out for information about events in your area. And while the application period to be an official Neighborhood Champion for this year has ended, you can unofficially spread the word and then sign up next year.

Lastly, if you’re just a consumer looking for the perfect gift for Dad, get out on Saturday and shop local!

Skip the Starbucks latte and grab some caffeine from your neighborhood café. Venture out in your neighborhood to find a new, funky boutique that offers something you wouldn’t find in the mall. And finish your day of shopping at a locally owned restaurant.

Keep an eye out for those Shop Small posters in store windows, or check out this map to find participating businesses in your area.

And don’t forget to show off your purchases on social media with the official hashtags (as if you weren’t going to do that anyway.)

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She only participated in Black Friday once and decided to never do it again — but Small Business Saturday is definitely her jam.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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How to Make Small Windows Appear Larger

If your home has multiple high egress or small windows, it can be difficult to leverage natural sunlight and distract from your interior design. Many homeowners have this struggle. Small windows are a frequent feature of homes built in the ’60s and ’70s. But like shag carpet, this trend is no longer stylish.

There are multiple options to disguise, reframe, and dress windows that can dramatically impact your home. Color, trim, and cleverly hung treatments can all improve a room with small windows.

Ditch the Dark Curtains and Shades

If you have a room with less-than-luxurious windows, you need to maximize the natural light available. Avoid dark curtains and shades, which can block out or absorb light. This can make your windows appear even smaller. Opt for sheer or light-colored curtains to let the light shine through.  

Manipulate Height and Width  

There is no hard rule about hanging curtains three inches above the frame. Create a floor-to-ceiling effect by installing long drapes just below the junction where the ceiling meets the wall. You can also add more width using a longer curtain rod, and hang the drapes at each end. Both effects play tricks on the eyes, making it difficult to decipher where the window starts and ends.

This tactic can also be used with blinds. Look for blinds that measure three to four inches longer than the window on each side. This technique is a great choice for odd-sized windows, especially if you want a material that can’t easily fit custom spaces, like woven blinds.

Add Embellishments to Moldings and Trim

Decorative window moldings, like an entablature and side casing, help add gravity to diminutive window styles. If Victorian is not your style, consider a wide Craftsman molding or flat, ranch-style casing. Both provide a more subtle and minimalist look that still allows your windows to pop.

Install Plantation Shutters Over the Window

Installing a set of tall, wooden interior shutters over a small opening fools the eye into thinking there is actually more space. Try this trick on very small windows where other window treatments wouldn’t work— like a basement access window or a small privacy window in a bathroom.

Play With Patterns

Horizontal stripes in clothing are not ideal if you’re trying to appear extra svelte, and the same principle applies to your window treatments. If you want a window to look taller, opt for long, vertically-oriented patterns that will draw the eye upward.

Want to make a window appear wider? Select horizontal patterns that will give that extra-wide, luxurious appearance.

Harness the Power of Mirrors

One of the biggest disadvantages to tiny windows is that they can put a damper on your room’s light. Reflect the sunlight you do receive by installing a large mirror beneath or across from the window. The glass reflecting the light tricks the eye into thinking that there’s more, creating a lighter and airier space than before.

Place Furniture Wisely

A small, high window can appear out of place without the proper furniture surrounding it. Placing a desk, hallway table, or bureau just below the window helps frames it and makes it look like the window is exactly where it belongs.

Paint Trim the Same Color as the Walls

Contrasting trim is a staple in most homes, but with smaller windows, painted trim can shrink the appearance of windows. Instead, choose a color that matches the wall. This will give your wall a more fluid, integrated feel. Without multiple elements breaking up the space, it will seem larger overall.

Purchase New Windows

You don’t need to settle for teensy windows in your home. Window openings can usually be expanded to accommodate larger models that will provide a wider, more expansive feel. Large picture or casement windows will add more sunlight to your home, and improve the overall value of your home as well.

The post How to Make Small </br> Windows Appear Larger appeared first on Modernize.

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Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections

When it comes to the midterm elections in November, small business owners will be more registered to vote than the overall population.

That, at least, is among the findings of a new survey by Thumbtack, an online service for small businesses. The survey indicated 85% of small business owners surveyed report being registered to vote, versus 70% of all Americans signed up to vote.

Further, 93% of small business owners who are registered to vote say they “definitely” or “probably” will do so, while only 88% of registered voters nationwide say the same, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.

The survey showed 17.1% of small business owner respondents reported the No. 1 issue in determining their vote this November is the economy and taxes. Some 5.8% named healthcare as their top issue, making those the most important issues for nearly one-third of small business owners. There are roughly 30 million small businesses in the nation.

“Small business owners continue to tell us they want their representatives to focus on the issues that impact their businesses and their families like the economy and healthcare,” said Thumbtack Head of Public Policy, Kellyn Blossom stated in a press release.

“Small business owners are going to be a crucial constituency for every campaign this November. They care deeply about what affects their communities and plan to turn out in large numbers to vote.”

Thumbtack surveyed 980 small business owners from late August and early September nationally in hundreds of categories, including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, and wellness professionals to name few. Entrepreneurs were asked about their voter registration status, plans to vote in the upcoming election, and the issues guiding their political preferences.

Additionally, Thumbtack and the Small Business Roundtable are partnering to make sure business owners’ voices will be heard this election.

The Small Business Roundtable is a membership-based group comprised of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association for the Self Employed, U.S. Black Chambers Inc., National Small Business Association, and Asian / Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship.

 

The post Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Lifestyle | Black Enterprise

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