#green business ideas
Green Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs
Updated August 11, 2016
What is a Green Business and what are the advantages of starting one?
A “green” business strives to have a positive impact on the environment and community. It develops and practices business strategies that go beyond regulation and demonstrate commitment to a healthy and sustainable future (earthshare.org ). German-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants estimates that the global market volume for environmental technologies will reach a projected $2,740 billion by 2020.
As someone thinking of starting a small business. a green business has two advantages over other kinds of businesses. First, environmentalism is growing rapidly so you will be targeting a growing market. Second, starting a green business can be particularly satisfying as you get to make your own contribution to making the world a better place.
Here are what I think are the best green business ideas for entrepreneurs .
1) Help them grow it.
Gardens for Small Spaces
The growing concern about where our food comes from and what s been done to it is translating into increasing numbers of people who want to grow their own food, wherever they live.
One green business idea is to produce garden-paks , small collections of seeded plant trays that would fit on the smallest balcony and allow people to grow their own vegetables.
On a larger scale, as a garden designer you could specialize in rooftop garden installations.
Or you could develop a green business focusing on products that will help people grow their own food, such as greenhouses suitable for residential homes or ecological pest controls. Growing food is one trend that’s only going to. um. get bigger (excuse the pun).
Worm farming and organic compost sales are other green gardening business ideas that might work for you.
2) Help them cut energy costs.
Solar Power Generation and Solar Water Heating Systems
I think it s a safe bet that the cost of traditional energy going to go up – making green business ideas related to saving energy and cutting energy costs also a safe bet.
Solar water heating systems can provide significant energy cost savings (providing up to 70% of a family s hot water when properly installed, according to some distributors).
Between 2008 and 2011 solar panel (photovoltaic) electrical generation had an annual growth rate of 147%, helped by rebates and subsidies that vary from province to province. The installation of rooftop solar panels and the tie in to household/commercial electrical systems requires a lot of expertise and businesses that provide this service are flourishing.
If either of these green business ideas appeals to you see Natural Resources Canada s Solar Thermal and Solar Photovoltaic Energy information sites.
3) Help them clean it.
Eco-friendly Cleaning Products
From laundry through vehicles, things have to be cleaned.
But people are a lot more sensitive to what s being poured down the drain and want to be able to get the sparkle without the environmental strain. One green business idea to help them accomplish this is to sell environmentally friendly cleaning products. This is another green business idea that could work well as an ecommerce site. (See 8 Easy Ways to Get Your Small Business Into Ecommerce ).
Going green is also a great marketing strategy for a cleaning business. Commercial and residential cleaning businesses are still hot business ideas as the demand for cleaning services is still growing. Using only eco-friendly cleaning products in your cleaning business could give you a competitive edge.
Note: Also watch for the commercialization of virtually waterless cleaning. Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine.
4) Help them find it locally.
Books like the 100-Mile Diet have inspired many people to think carefully about where their food is grown and the negative environmental effects of consuming products that may be shipped from thousands of miles away.
People want local eco-friendly alternatives to the products they ve been using. To service this need farm markets have been proliferating in North America, selling everything from locally raised beef, pork or poultry to locally made soaps and cleaning materials. Talk to your local farm market association or butcher store about selling your product locally. (And of course you should read How to Make a Bundle at the Farmers Market before you set up your stall.)
5) Show them what needs to be done.
As the price of energy goes up and being green becomes increasingly popular, more individuals and businesses want to become greener but don t know what the best course of action is. So green consulting is a business idea whose time has come.
Green consultants put together an action plan for their clients by examining their client s environment and analyzing their environmental strengths and weaknesses. For instance, a home or business may be using a lot more energy than necessary for heating or cooling because of a lack of weather-stripping, insulation, or improperly installed HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems.
Some green consulting businesses also offer event management. The green business idea is that the consulting company will see to it that every aspect of the event, from advertising through waste management, is handled in the most environmentally friendly way.
6) Help them get there.
Scooters and Bikes
Transportation is another venue of change for many people, whose need to go green is strengthened by increasingly high prices at the pump. Scooters and bikes are a very appealing all-in-one solution; as a scooter or bike rider you get to save money, be environmentally friendly, and, if you get the kind of bike that needs pedaling, improve your health, too!
I have to admit that s not the kind that appeals to me; my favourites are the Vespa and the three-wheeled Piaggio MP3. Becoming a dealer might be the business idea you ve been looking for.
All kinds of electric and gas scooters and electric bikes are going to increase in popularity though. Daymak Canada has a good range of green vehicles, including mopeds, scooters and electric bikes and offers franchises.
If you live in an urban area, renting out bikes and scooters might be a profitable green business.
7) Help them build green.
Green building is a trend rife with possibilities for starting new green businesses. Construction companies, architects, designers and contractors can specialize in green building. For instance, a contractor might become a LEED certified professional; a designer might focus on elements and materials that are the least environmentally destructive.
And green building calls for all kinds of green products that could become the foundation of your new small business, from water-saving toilets through salvaged wood (and solar water heating systems).
Learn more about LEED Canada (the environmental rating system used as a standard for new construction and major renovations) at the Canada Green Building Council website.
Green Businesses Deliver More Than Profits
Hopefully these green business ideas have got you excited about the possibilities. You may not get rich, and to be honest, you probably won t. But you will have the pleasure of running a business that helps people lead greener lives and combining what you do with what you believe in.
Where to From Here
For even more business ideas, visit the Business Ideas section of this website.
In a competitive market place, every second your brand spends in the spotlight is crucial. Whenever you send a letter or invoice, make sure your business stationery works hard to create the right perception of your company.
Strong corporate identity plays a key role in business success – so consistent, quality business stationery is essential in building your reputation.
At Copy Color, we can provide branded notepads and folders for you to take to client meetings, headed paper for official letters and invoices, plus compliments slips to include with any outgoing mail.
With fast turnaround business card printing available too, you can have your full suite of business stationery delivered and ready to use as early as tomorrow.
The only printer you’ll need for all your business stationery
Across the board, we provide premium grade materials and cutting-edge digital print technology to ensure consistency in all your stationery. We are able to take care of your marketing campaigns, as well as your business stationery requirements.You’ll only ever need to deal with one printer.
Whether you’re an established firm that’s just re-branded, or you’re just starting out on a brand new business venture, trust Copy Color to get your professionalism down on paper.
#business website design
Think of your company’s website as a first impression for potential future clients. Is it easy to navigate, and does it clearly convey your business’s products and services? If not, visitors may lose interest and abandon your site, which will not add up to repeat customers.
Scott Prindle, VP/Executive Creative Technology Director, and Winston Binch, Partner/Managing Director of Interactive at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the famed Miami-based advertising and design agency, offer their advice to small business owners on how to design the best website for their small business, and ensure that visitors keep coming back.
Small Business Website Design: Make It Clear to Visitors What Business You Are In
Since you only have a few seconds to engage your visitors and keep them on your site, it’s important that your value proposition and intent be clear the instant customers hit your homepage, says Binch. Great visual design, animation, and pretty pictures can always enhance a website, but you need to take your business’s message into consideration, too.
‘Don’t underestimate the expressive power of simple language,’ Binch says. ‘For example, take a look at Facebook’s homepage; they do a really good job of making their service obvious the moment you arrive. Since the first text you see on the login page proclaims, Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. it’s pretty hard to confuse what they’re selling.’
Small Business Website Design: Make Your Website Easy to Use
If you’re building something from scratch, the first step is to ensure you have the right minds working on the project. Most importantly, it’s crucial you have both information architects and technical developers front and center of the creative development process. They will be there not only to contribute conceptual ideas but also to help you present users with an experience that is efficient and pleasant from a user flow, navigation, and technical perspective.
‘The Internet is cluttered with bad websites,’ Binch says. Make yours one of the most usable, and you’ll attract an audience and form lasting relationships with your customers.’ He recommends that your website focus on easy-to-use site navigation and on creating pages that achieve quick download times. Readable text throughout, and share functionality (which will allow a user to post something from your site on Twitter or Facebook) is a helpful addition, too, he adds.
Dig Deeper: Has Your Business Outgrown Its Web Developer?
Small Business Website Design: Don’t Underestimate SEO
According to Prindle, if you’re site is not search-engine optimized, you’re basically cutting off almost all possibility for organic traffic or chance encounters with your brand. If you let your idea ultimately guide the technology solution, that’s a start, but you’ll want to make sure it works well with leading search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing. At a minimum, be sure that you’ve generated a site map, and your title tags, heading titles, and site description are filled out appropriately.
‘If your budget allows for it, get an SEO company or a consultant to do a quick audit of your site,’ Prindle advises. ‘There are always optimizations to be made, and you should always be looking at ways to improve your search ranking.’ Additionally, if you are a new company, you should consider buying sponsored link placements through popular search engines. ‘It’s a good way to attract new users right out of the gates,’ he says.
Dip Deeper: How to Improve Your Website’s Search Ranking
Small Business Website Design: Give Your Brand A Soul
Many corporate websites lack soul. They tend to use stock imagery, business jargon, static content, and generic web design – all of which undermines the user experience. That’s a serious problem, Binch says, because your site plays a crucial branding role, serving as the digital interface between your customers and your company, product, and services. The best way to create a positive branding experience is to be yourself: Be transparent, speak to your customers on a real-time basis, and let them connect with each other through your brand.
‘A company like Zappos is not just selling a solid e-commerce product,” Binch says. “It is also selling a culture of innovation and exceptional customer service, and the team at Zappos use the their digital presence as the primary means to do that. Luckily, with social technology, like Twitter and Facebook, it has become pretty easy to make your Web presence interactive and collaborative.
Small Business Website Design: Don’t Forget the Mobile Web
Not too long ago, we considered mobile sites a nice-to-have add on. That is no longer the case. At present, approximately 5 percent of traffic to CP +B’s site comes via mobile phone, Prindle says. And over the next year, as more smart phones hit the market, and carriers continue to enhance the capability of cellular wireless standards, Pindle says he expects that number to dramatically increase.
‘What that means is that you and your company need to be there,’ Prindle says. ‘Our mobile web strategy centers around creating designs for three screen sizes: PC, smart phone, and the basic (or WAP) phone. Once you’ve covered the basics, monitor your site metrics, and if you have a growing and engaged mobile audience, think about getting into the application game.’
Small Business Website Design: Use Analytics to Track Everything
According to Binch, your website redesign should never be over. ‘Make sure you identify clear and realistic brand and business goals for your site so that you have numbers to optimize against after you go live,’ he says. ‘Then, you’ll want to think about the different parts of the experience you want to track in order to support your company goals.’
If you’re challenged from a budget perspective, Binch suggests using the free Google analytics package: ‘In addition to the more expensive solutions, such as Omniture and WebTrends, we use [Google analytics] across all of our client work.’ Once you’ve confirmed that all of your tags are working, make sure you pull weekly reports and start looking critically at how people are using your site. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to observe trends, but it’s still important to be relentless in your pursuit of delivering an optimal user experience, he says.
Dig Deeper: Improving Your Sense of Site
10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up – Tommy Car
#car wash business
10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up
As a 40 year veteran car wash equipment manufacturer and site developer, we’ve seen it all. We know what a daunting and potentially confusing process starting a new car wash can be. What comes first? Prospecting site locations? Securing financing? Assessing your market? How soon should you begin marketing? How long will the process take?
While we certainly can’t cover everything you need to know to start a car wash in a single post, we can take a few words to cover what we feel are the 10 most important steps to launching your own car wash business.
1) Location is Everything Go Scouting
Car washes aren’t automatically successful. Great care must be taken when selecting the location on which you want to build. Our Site Model Pages have in-depth descriptions of location criteria to consider (including population, competition, street types, car counts, and more) and our site development services can help you select and approve the best locations available in your area.
Start by driving around your target area, paying close attention to the relative traffic, types of local businesses, and anything that looks for sale. Get a feel for your potential market. You should also visit a commercial real estate MLS like Loopnet.com or many others. Be sure to take your time and never rush into a purchase.
2) Review the Competition
Try to get a feel for the local car washes in the area. How many customers do they have and how aggressively are they marketing? What will they do when you open your wash? Can they afford a multi-million dollar renovation to bring their wash in line with yours? Are they debt free and can they cut prices to outcompete you (with your interest payments) in the short term? Are their customers frequent users and very loyal—or are they waiting for something better?
Entrenched local competition can be dangerous, even for Totally Tommy buildings, and selecting a location with some elbow room between you and competitors is important. But don’t worry too much about single stall automatic car washes or local fundraisers—you’ll be working in a completely different weight class.
3) Do the Paperwork
Find out what local city or county department handles business licenses and request an application, as well as information on local utility usage codes, insurance requirements, tax rates, and other requirements for opening a business. You will also need a Taxpayer Identification Number and you should use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to check your brand then register to claim it.
Each area and city has different rules, so make sure you take the time to understand everything and keep your business in line. If you can, also get information on local sanitary sewers (for your waste water), utility prices, water usage limits, and other regulations.
4) Planning and Approval Process
Set up a meeting with the city planner. Show them a rendering of your concept and try to get verbal approval of the design—or a list of probable issues to address. If you have approval you can set up a formal meeting to present your plans and have them voted on at a city council meeting. With luck, your Totally Tommy building with its modern style, efficient design, and great investment potential will blow them away! Try to be friendly, optimistic, and down to earth. If the city gets on board with your project it can make the whole process move along more smoothly.
5) Research Car Washes
Tour as many successful car washes as possible to see what makes them tick—especially if you haven’t been in the business very long. Check out automatic car washes, partially automatic, express, detailing, and other washes to see how they differ from one another. Operations, promotions, pricing, services, demographics… Try to learn as much as you can and develop as deep a background as you can with operations, staffing policies, equipment repair, and customer management (aka, complaints ).
To help out, our team has training available to teach you everything you need to know BEFORE you’re trying to run your wash on hot days with long lines.
6) Operations Decisions
Will you run your car wash independently or will you have a franchise, LLC, or S-corp? There are many models, each with pros and cons. Franchises offer support at the cost of a residual. Solo operations offer total freedom but deprive you of much-needed backup and brand awareness. How much personal involvement are you looking for? If you plan on hiring a manager instead of handling things yourself, make sure he or she has the necessary qualifications and is heavily invested in your future success.
7) Make a Business Plan!
Your car wash business plan (click for outline) should focus on both long term and short term operations. Use a professional service and remember that the more detailed, thorough, and researched your plan is, the better it will look to investors or your bank. Include costs (up front and overhead costs), planning for building to long-term revenue management, and marketing strategies (launch and long-term). Professional proforma companies are ready to help and our team is also standing by with years of experience to back up our advice.
8) Get Financing
This is likely the most challenging step, and your success here will largely depend on how well you’ve researched and prepared your business plan ahead of time. A solid revenue model can help convince investors to put up the capital for your new car wash business, so be prepared to demonstrate that you need enough funding for a truly high quality car wash facility and equipment with great return potential. You will also need a convincing resume with business and/or car wash experience, and a solid marketing plan.
9) Build the Right Wash
Car washes thrive when they capture the attention of the local market and are designed to make turning in, purchasing a wash, and moving through the tunnel as quick and easy as possible. The Totally Tommy building is the best way to do just this, drawing huge numbers of passing customers with a great looking building, perfected layouts, and a full and fast service menu. Proven in scenarios around the country, every component of this facility design has been carefully thought out to create a single, cohesive investment that pays off. From our towers to our pay system, deceleration lanes, glass walls, stainless steel equipment, and clear roof, everything is designed to project sophistication, professionalism, and value. So why waste money reinventing the wheel, and why risk building a second-best wash when a Totally Tommy wash is waiting for you?
10) Market your New Business
Customers don’t know what they don’t know, so don’t just expect them to line up without any effort on your part. Make sure to let the community know about your wash ahead of the grand opening with onsite advertising as well as print, radio, local web, and possibly TV advertisements. You’ll begin to build a curious customer base who will drop buy and tell their friends and family afterwards. $15,000 or $1 / car for initial marketing including billboards, mailings to 5 mile radius, promotional washes, and radio commercials is a good place to start at your launch and $.10 / car is a standard ballpark long-term rate for the future. One or two day Social media campaigns (incentivize customers with free washes for best results) can also be highly successful. Be prepared to collect feedback and adapt your marketing program for the greatest possible effectiveness moving forwards.
Launching any business, and especially a brick and mortar car wash filled with high-end technology, is a complex and daunting prospect. But don’t worry. The team at Tommy Car Wash Systems has hundreds of washes behind us with thousands of installations and developments. We know the steps you’ll need to take to get your wash planed, approved, built, and operational, and we’ll help you turn a fantastic business opportunity into an even better reality.
Tommy Car Wash Systems
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Thank You for Your Service – 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans #ideas #to
#business loans for veterans
Thank You for Your Service – 4 Business Funding Programs for Veterans
September 24, 2014
There are more than 2.4 million businesses operated by veterans nationwide, according to the SBA 2012 Veterans Report. Despite this growing trend towards entrepreneurship, funding options that specifically benefit veterans are difficult to find. Here are four unique funding programs if you are a veteran starting or expanding your business.
1. Self-employment grants for service-disabled veterans. Service-disabled veterans can connect with a self-employment program offered through the Veterans Administration.
Participants are required to submit a feasible and complete business plan for any funding considerations. As part of the process, veterans are assigned to either Category I or Category II. Those categories determine the level of self-employment funding may be available.
Veterans designated Category I have the most serve service-connected disabilities and self-employment is considered a viable option. Category II is designated for veterans with serious employment challenges but not considered severe.
Depending on the category, veterans can obtain a grant to fund purchase of equipment, inventory, supplies, training, licensing fees and marketing. Veterans interested in the program can contact their local VA office where a counselor will help them qualify for the self-employment program. Funds allocated for start-up enterprises are grants that do not have to repaid.
2. Angel investment group supporting veterans. Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group funding early-stage investments in start-up companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. military academies. The company generally invests $250,000 to $1 million in a single round.
A company seeking larger rounds can actively look to other investor groups in the Hivers and Strivers network for additional funds. Their goal is to support veteran entrepreneurs through a successful exit with a return 10 times the initial investment. Veterans can learn more about Hivers and Strivers and complete an application available on the front page of the company website.
3.Venture capital fund serving veterans. The Veterans Opportunity Fund (VOF) is the first venture capital fund formed to invest in businesses that are started, owned and/or managed by veterans of the United States armed forces. The investments range up to $3 million.
The fund focuses on companies based on the East Coast. The industries of interest include technology, healthcare, business services,and specialty manufacturing. The stage of interest is at early revenue or after a product or service can be evaluated.
Veterans interested in pursuing an opportunity with VOF can submit a business plan directly through the company website.
4. Online lending platform for veterans. Street Shares is an online lending platform designed to connect investors and small business owners to support veterans starting or expanding their business. Veteran-owned businesses can apply online in about 10 minutes.
The online auction periods have ranged from five to 30 days. Business owners pitch directly to lenders for loans of $5,000 to $50,000 with one, three, of five-year terms. Accredited investors can fund any portion of up to 90 percent of the requested loan amount with bids as low as $25 per business. StreetShares takes the first 10 percent. Co-founder Mark Rockefeller describes the platform as Shark Tank meets eBay.
While each of these programs follows standard due diligence in their funding, their social-driven goals include increasing the number of veteran-owned businesses nationwide.
#start up business grants
10 top government grants for start-ups
Government grants are notoriously hard to snare for start-up businesses and can involve completing a mountain of time-sapping paperwork in the application process.
However, it appears the system isn’t always as stringent as it should be. A damning report tabled in the Victorian Parliament last week showed that 50% of all businesses awarded grants had failed to properly meet the criteria .
Before you rush off your application in the belief that it’s open season on grants, it’s worth remembering that countless more start-ups are still rejected for grants than are accepted.
To help you navigate the complex web of grants, we have partnered with Victoria’s Small Business Festival to hold an instructive, free webinar, no matter where your business is located. You can sign up to the webinar by clicking here .
But it’s also worth getting a good handle on what grants are out there for start-ups. The most obvious candidate for new ventures is Commercialisation Australia. which offers matched funding up to $2 million for proof of concept, early-stage commercialisation, skills and management support.
But there are others that you may not be quite so familiar with. We’ve picked out 10 of the best, but maybe little-known, grants available to small businesses.
For information on each grant, click on the tabs below:
1. Enterprise Connect
An offshoot of the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, Enterprise Connect is perhaps best known for the free business review it performs for entrepreneurs.
But the network also oversees several start-up focused programs that have cash attached.
The Researchers in Business Grant provides 50% of salary costs, to a maximum of $50,000, for university researchers to work on new idea within a business for between two and 12 months.
There’s also the Tailored Advisory Service Grant, which stumps up half the cash needed, up to $20,000, to engage a consultant to make improvements in your business.
Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP – Small Business
#grants for small businesses
Winning grants and free support for your business: It’s a RAPP
There are many opportunities for businesses to obtain free support and grants, both at start-up and during growth and development.
However, keeping up to date with what is available is a task in itself, with schemes appearing and disappearing on a regular basis.
Competition is high and success does not come easy.
If you follow the RAPP process when applying for grants and support, you will improve your chance of success.
The RAPP process
R esearch – find out what grants and support are available.
A pplicant suitability – when you identify an opportunity, ensure you meet the criteria or conditions required for the funding before spending time on an application.
P reparation – take time to prepare and tailor the application to meet the specific criteria and conditions. Alternatively, P can stand for a professional who has the skill set and knowledge of the type of grant you are seeking.
P atience – take time completing your application (but without missing deadlines) and be patient waiting for the result!
Financial support in the form of grants can be found at three levels. National grants primarily focus on growth and capital investment, such as the government’s Growth Accelerator scheme, while regional grants come from a local board specifically set up to help a region that has government and local authority support.
Local grants may be available from a local council, for example subsidised rents for new start-up businesses or funding to help tidy up a high street retail unit.
There are also European grants and funding support, details of which can be found at UK Trade and Investment .
Where you live or trade may significantly increase your chances of success of getting funding, particularly if your business is in an area defined as economically disadvantaged.
It is not unknown for businesses to set up in or move to an area where regional or local assistance is more readily available.
When looking for or considering grant options, four points generally apply.
1. Nothing is free; typically you must be prepared to put in some of your own funds. It is extremely rare for a grant to finance the total cost of, say, a start-up or project, unless it is for a very small amount. Many grants require match funding ie you need to match the funding from the grant provider.
For example, Growth Accelerator is a government-backed scheme providing mentor support, coaching and workshops for businesses looking for rapid growth.
The business has to pay a contribution towards the assistance; the amount depends on the size of the business, with the government contributing to the overall cost of the support.
A grant does mean that you are not giving up part of the ownership of your business, as you would if you were seeking equity funding or repaying the money and interest as you would on bank borrowing.
2. Grants are generally available for a specific project, for example development of a new product or job creation.
Therefore your application needs to meet the criteria for which the grant or support is being provided. Grants are not generally available for just starting a business.
3. The grant scheme provider will have objectives, strategies or aims which the funding supports, for example helping with youth employment.
Understand what the objectives or aims are when completing the application.
4. You must have a business plan that explains what you require the funding for and which is tailored to the grant provider’s specific criteria and conditions.
A blanket application or plan is not going to work. On most occasions, your business plan will have to be entered into the provider’s prescribed application form.
Do not just think of grants and support as financial support. Other types of free support can come in many guises.
For example, when opening your business bank account you may be offered free book keeping software, and many local councils and chambers of commerce offer free training seminars on topics such as social media.
The type of product or service for which you are seeking funding supporting has a major impact on your chances of success. Key areas for which grants and support are readily found are:
There are a wide range of schemes and support to encourage research and development. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) provides grants and support to help develop new products and services and put them in a position to be brought to market.
Energy and environment
here are schemes specifically for developments that will improve energy efficiency or reduce environmental impact. Natural England lists a number on their website .
There is plenty of funding and support is available to develop skills, including those of the business owner, as well as support for new employees where the business will be providing training and development.
For example, the National Apprenticeship Service provides advice and support on starting a subsidised apprenticeship. Alternatively, it could mean taking on an intern from the local university for the summer with the university providing match funding to pay the student’s salary.
Politicians’ emphasis on exports driving the economic recovery have led to considerable support and assistance for businesses looking to export the goods they manufacture. UK Trade Investment provide funding and subsided advice and services to help business export their products.
Business grants are notoriously hard to come by, but there is assistance out there if you know where to look. Follow the RAPP and hopefully you will be one of the successful ones. Good luck!
Further reading on grants
How small and medium businesses can take on flexible working
Some 57 per cent of employees say the availability of flexible working in their workplace is important to them, according to Sage data. This guide to Sage 200 Online shows why more and more businesses are turning to the cloud.
Controlling Cash Flow – Learn to master your money
Find out how five small businesses met the challenges of raising finance, from drawing up a business plan to securing investment. Complete with expert guides and tips to help you through the process.
The Vitesse Network
Vitesse Media Plc, 14 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX T. 0207 250 7010
2016 Vitesse Media Plc
2016 Vitesse Media Plc
#business email address
Tips for choosing your professional email address
Andréa Coutu wrote recently about 7 terrible secrets revealed by your email address (and how to fix them). Her advice is good, and I recommend reviewing each of her points before you decide on your “official” email address.
If you’re in business as an IT consultant, you have no excuse for not having your own domain name. If domain registration and hosting breaks your bank, then you shouldn’t be in this business. Even if your niche has nothing to do with the Internet (as unlikely as that’s becoming), nothing says “I’m not really serious” like an account on hotmail.com, yahoo.com, especially aol.com, and even gmail.com (unless you’re a Google employee). Not that you can’t also have one of those addresses (except aol.com, what were you thinking?! ), but don’t use it professionally.
When choosing your domain name, you should use the name of your business. If your business doesn’t have a name, get one. Even if it’s just “your name here Consulting,” you should present yourself as a commercial entity. If you feel that your business name is too long for a domain name, you should make sure your abbreviation seems natural and obvious. For example, my business name is “Camden Software Consulting,” and my domain name is “camdensoftware.com”. If I had chosen something like “camdenswcnsltng.com,” then my contacts would always have to look it up to remember how I abbreviated it. Also watch out for unintended words that arise from combining abbreviations. You wouldn’t want to abbreviate “Megara Associates, Inc.” as “megastinc.com” for example.
I’ve seen some independents who treat their domain name like an 800 number: they make it into an ad. Domains like “peoriacomputerwiz.com” may be cute, but unless it’s also the name of your business, your client will have one more thing to remember when they want to contact you. “Was it peoriacomputerguy.com, or peoriapcguy.com? Or wait, isn’t their office in Pekin?”
For the top-level domain (TLD), I think “.com” is preferable. It means “commercial” (you’re in business here, aren’t you?) and despite being US in origin, it has international applicability. It’s also what flies off people’s fingers automatically when they’re typing a domain. If you limit your business to one country or region, then a nation-specific commercial TLD could also be appropriate. The “.org” TLD says “I’m a non-profit!” even though you don’t have to use it for that. The “.net” TLD is a little better, but people tend to infer some sort of online community instead of a business. You should avoid “.biz” and “.info” — the spammers polluted that space years ago, and your emails will get filtered for that reason alone.
There’s nothing wrong with registering the same domain in several TLDs and redirecting them all to the same address, though. In fact, it’s a good way to keep other people from using your business name.
So, how does your email address compare with these criteria?
How to Make a Facebook Page for Your Small Business
If you own a small business, having a Facebook page lets you reach individuals among the 750 million or so users worldwide who are most likely to be interested in your company. Your interaction on the social network gives customers the sense that they know you and your business. which can increase loyalty and make them more likely to recommend your services.
On Facebook you can easily add features that are harder to implement on your website. You can build a custom page, run contests and promotions, and manage a small e-commerce shop. Plus, Facebook is free. Even if you pay for custom applications or a developer’s services, it remains a form of advertising with a small price tag.
The potential reach of a Facebook page is huge, as half of its users log in every day. Facebook studies show that people interact with their favorite brands on Facebook more than on any other social network, are more likely to recommend a brand after becoming a fan of it on Facebook, and are more likely to purchase a product after becoming a fan. In addition, anyone outside Facebook can view your Facebook page because search engines index it.
Establishing Your Profile and Page Admins
Before creating your Facebook fan page, you must establish a personal Facebook profile. The individual in that profile is the creator of the fan page. As a result, the subsequent Facebook business page doesn’t have a separate login from that of the individual user who created it.
Many people are nervous about mixing their personal information with their business information, but the two are conceptually separate. You’ll interact with the business page as the business, and on your personal profile as yourself. Only administrators and the owner of the page can see other page admins. Thus, when I interact on my Facebook page, (Anti) Social Development. I post as that company and not as Kim Woodbridge. People who interact with my company page don’t see my personal profile.
If you aren’t going to be the only person working on your business’s Facebook page, you’ll need to select admins. To do this, fill in the appropriate data in the ‘Edit Page’ section under ‘Manage Admins’. The admins either must be Facebook friends of yours, or must be identified by the email address they use for Facebook.
The admins you designate won’t need your login to access the page, and once they log in as admins, they’ll have access to page-editing features. For example, I’m an admin on a number of business pages and can access all of them by logging into Facebook, so I don’t need anyone else’s login data.
Be careful, however, to add only people you trust as admins. Any admin can remove any other admin, even the owner of the page–a structural flaw that Facebook needs to address. If you add a developer or other person to work on your page temporarily, I recommend removing that person from admin status as soon as the job is done.
Facebook does offer what it calls a business account, but this option is very limited and I don’t recommend it. A business account doesn’t allow you to install Facebook apps, so you can’t add a custom page made with iframes or third-party tools, as discussed throughout this article. For that reason, I don’t recommend using a business account.
Creating a Facebook Page
From your Facebook profile page, click the Pages header in the left-side navigation. Next, click the Create a Page button, and select the type of page–Local Business or Place. for example, or Brand or Product. You’ll see a number of fields to fill out, such as your business category, name, and address.
One of the early steps of creating a business page on Facebook is to choose your business type.
Next, click the Get Started button, and Facebook will guide you through the rest of the setup process, step by step. If you skip any of those steps, you can fill them out later on a new page in the Facebook Welcome section, which only page admins will see.
Information to Include
When Facebook walks you through the initial steps, it will request information about your business–a logo for the page avatar, details for the About section, contact information and hours, and the URL of your website.
If you want Facebook to pull in your blog posts automatically, an application such as Networked Blogs can help. Each time you publish a new post to your blog, Networked Blogs will import the post and add it to the Wall of your Facebook business page.
Among the Facebook applications that come with your page by default are Photos, Links, Events, Notes, and Video. You can’t remove the default applications, but you can set them not to appear in the left-side page navigation.
After completing the first steps, you’ll want to customize the public appearance of your Facebook page with a design appropriate for your business.
Next page: Should you build your own custom page, or hire a pro?
Small Business Social Media Survival Guide
How to Make a Facebook Page for Your.
#small business investors
Funding for Small Businesses
Where does someone look for funding if they are a small business? Business loans are only possible if the company has been in business for some time, but most young businesses are looking to expand and so they need other options to raise business capital.
Government grants are another possibility. However, the process of obtaining funding this way is notoriously difficult. The UK government has claimed that this is a sort to test to see how much they need the funding, but the reality is that it is regulated by EU legislation. On the other hand, the EU itself does not fund anything beyond public sector ventures.
There are also sites that offer local grants to small businesses around the UK, including local councils and large companies such as BT and O2, but the latter are usually competitions. Sites such as Business Zone UK list various business grants and awards available to UK entrepreneurs, but the number of proposals and funding amounts are usually quite limited.
More common options for business funding are Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists, both of which will invest significantly higher amounts in your start-up or small business. However, both Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists will want some control of your business and guarantees of a good return on investment in exchange for their money. But at the same time, they offer the experience which could be that factor which allows your business to succeed in the first place.
Remember, the investor is looking to make money just as you are, and so it will be a venture that both sides enter together as a partnership. This means that anyone who invests in a small business will do everything possible to ensure that they are making a sound investment. They will check your business plans thoroughly, and make sure that they themselves believe in your business idea and future plans.
Finding funding for your small business or start-up can take a long time, but the Angel Investment Network can help you make vital contacts with experienced angel investors who are looking to make an investment.
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