#small business websites
Small Business Web Design
Your website is an essential part of your small business, it is important to give it the attention it deserves. We repeatedly see good websites deliver excellent results for small businesses which would previously have wasted a lot of time and money on ineffective marketing. Read the report below about the 11 essential elements we have seen work magic on small business websites. For more info on our small business web design services click here .
11 Elements for a Successful Website
1. Perfected Small Business Elevator Pitch
Studies show that website visitors spend an average of seven seconds or less on 90% of the websites they visit. This means you only have a few precious moments to convey who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why you re the best choice. Make sure you nail your pitch and get in front and center on your homepage.
It s important to spend time honing your core marketing message and ensuring that your logo design. tagline and the initial two sentences of your website copy are clear and present your brand with credibility and impact succinctly outlining your specialty and target niche. There s a lot to communicate in very little time so your pitch must be concise and compelling.
2. Clear Call to Actions
When small business owners ask, “Why isn t my website converting?” the answer is most often a lack of call to actions. Common call to actions include phone numbers and “Buy Now” buttons, but they may also be more subtle actions encouraging visitors to a next step. Call to actions are designed to engage your visitors and guide them down the path to a conversion. Visitors to your website need specific information before committing to a purchase or enquiry, smart call to actions preempt the visitors next step and gently lead them through your website in the way you want them to experience your website while delivering the information they are seeking.
On the most basic level make sure your phone number is in the top right of every page of your site. Put your contact info on the footer of every page along with quick links to your most valuable content. This is even more important for mobile websites where prospects are often just looking for a quick phone number, hours or address.
3. Track Your Conversions
We mention conversion tracking up the top because it s so often neglected, yet it s one of the easiest strategies to implement particularly for a small business. It is vital to know how many enquiries and sales that you receive through your website, where those website visitors come from and what the cost is to acquire them. This allows you to accurately measure your marketing spend, evaluate the success of any improvements or modifications in your website design or online marketing, and ultimately measure the underlying success of your website.
4. Engaging Small Business About Us Page
The two biggest mistakes made with small business About Us pages is that they are often boring, and they re not about the customer. It may seem counter-intuitive to write an About Us page that is more about your customer than your company, but there s a good reason for it.
Your company exists for your customer. So by logical extension, your About Us page is also about your customer. That s not to say it shouldn t create an engaging portrait of the personalities behind your organisation because your prospects want to know who they re working with, but they also want to know how those people are going to make their lives better. Your small business About Us page, like the rest of your website, should present all information in the context of how it benefits your visitors.
5. Deliver High Quality Content
Quality content is vital to your marketing efforts and without it you can t tell your story, attract your target market or explain the problems you solve and how you solve them. Everything from your website copy to your email newsletter should be useful, informative and engaging. Make it easy to read, delivered in portions and frequencies that match the interest of your customers.
Your content is a vital tool to lead visitors towards the purchase and it should work together with your design and brand to provide a seamless and compelling experience. High-quality content demonstrates authority and integrity and visitors are more likely to purchase from businesses that invest the time and effort into sharing their message in an intelligent and appealing way.
6. Gorgeous Visual Design
Visitors will be more inclined to remain on your website if it s aesthetically appealing and visually interesting. They will also be more likely to return and to share your website with others. A visually compelling web design immediately establishes the quality of your company and your product.
Visual design has a significant impact on a visitor s emotional response to your small business. If your website has a below average visual appearance visitors will consciously and subconsciously perceive your company to be below average.
7. Logical User Experience
If your small business website is built around a visitor s objectives and point of view, it will encourage their interaction and improve your conversions. Ask yourself why did they come to your website in the first place? What questions are they hoping to answer on your website. Try and see your website from their perspective to create an experience that anticipates their needs and delivers the right solutions.
You need to make it easy for visitors to access the content they need, whether it s contact information, product specifications or prices. At its highest level, user experience is about providing what your prospects need before they even know they need it.
8. Mobile Friendly Design
25% of people on the internet at any given moment are using a smartphone or tablet. What s more, research shows that tablet users are converting at higher rates than desktop users. This proves that your website needs to be not just viewable, but optimised for mobile devices.
Responsive design insures that no matter what device someone uses, your website delivers content in the most effective way. For complex websites, custom mobile website design may be necessary, however in no instance should mobile visitors be left with the standard desktop version. Desktop websites are awkward on mobile devices making it difficult to navigate menus, click links and find what users are searching for.
9. Robust CMS and Stable Structure
The platform upon which your website is built will have a huge impact on it s usability as well as how efficiently you are able to update content and interact with visitors. We can t overstate how important this structure is to the performance of your website. This is particularly important for an ecommerce website. Without some of the following critical features you ll waste time when posting content, optimising for search engines or fixing errors.
When choosing a content management system (CMS) with your web developer look for the following:
- Simple content editing accessible from all devices
- Quick load times
- SEO -ready
- Large community of users and developers (i.e. like a WordPress website )
- The software is actively supported by the developers and is being frequently updated
10. Plan Your Small Business Marketing Strategy
An online presence alone isn t enough to generate enquiries and sales. You need a strategy to work out how best to broadcast your content, attract search traffic and convert visitors into customers. There are a lot of options available to you including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media. Depending on your small business and industry some strategies will work better than others.
The key is to find your sweet spot by experimenting with all the available channels. Ultimately it s a process of trial and error while you discover what is most effective for your target audience.
11. Your Small Business Web Design Company
A great small business web design company will be your partner in implementing everything we ve discussed. You don t have to know how to write, design or market your website. You ll save time in the short-term and money in the long-term.
Before hiring a web designer, ask how well they know these essential elements, how they propose to incorporate them and how they ve succeeded in the past. Use a critical eye when checking out their website. Look for an experienced company that is well established and that has a comprehensive history and portfolio of working with similar small businesses to your own. By partnering with the right small business web design company you are putting yourself in the very best position to ensure that your website is a successful one.
Providing locally based and experienced Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney web design and web development services, Magicdust is Australia’s go to full service digital agency and WordPress Developer. Trusted by over 4,100 businesses, Magicdust is 100% owned and operated providing in house technical support and hosting. Our core service offering includes quality open source websites, graphic design, ecommerce and online marketing solutions. We make the process of finding an experienced and local web design company easy, sourcing the best local talent to offer you some of the best Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney web design solutions.
Small Business Law
Starting and running a small business requires a very broad skill set and nerves of steel. It’s not for everyone, and even successful entrepreneurs encounter failure from time to time. In order to help you stay ahead of the curve, FindLaw’s Small Business Law section covers everything from obtaining financing and hiring employees, to choosing the right insurance policies and filing taxes. Those who operate small businesses typically wear many different hats, but also must know when and how to seek help from others.
What Makes a Business a “Small” Business?
A small business owner may operate a convenience store, a plumbing service, a salon, a fast food franchise, or virtually any type of business in a given field. While there is no clear definition, small businesses share some common characteristics. They are independently owned and operated, organized for profit, and are not dominant in their field, as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The vast majority of businesses in the U.S. are considered small businesses, which employ roughly half of all workers in the country.
What Legal Issues Do Small Business Owners Typically Encounter?
All businesses will encounter certain legal matters, such as questions about taxes or drafting contracts. But a small business owner’s legal obligations and risks generally depend on the type of industry, business model, inherent risks involved, state laws, and a host of other considerations he or she faces. It’s always best to consult an attorney before opening up shop, but anyone starting a small business will likely be confronted one or more of the following legal issues:
- Choosing a legal structure (such as a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation);
- Hiring and managing employees in accordance with state and federal employment laws;
- Protecting inventions and trademarks through intellectual property law;
- Extending credit and collecting on past due amounts in accordance with federal laws;
- Complying with health and safety regulations when constructing or preparing a work site;
- Maintaining the required level of workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
How Can an Attorney Help My Small Business?
While small business owners act in a number of capacities, the successful entrepreneur knows when to ask for help. This is especially true of legal matters, which can sink a business if handled poorly or ignored altogether. Certain things can sometimes be done without a lawyer, such as creating a legal partnership agreement, submitting necessary tax forms, and drafting contracts with partners.
But some issues are too time-consuming, too complex, or too high-stakes to handle without the care and expertise of a business lawyer. These include defending against wrongful termination claims by former employees, making a “special allocation” of profits and losses, or negotiating for the acquisition of another company’s assets. Again, your legal needs will be unique to your business.
And while seeking counsel for complex legal issues is smart, retaining an attorney to help prevent legal problems from occurring in the first place may be even smarter.
#small business advice
Small Business Advice Programme
This project is a voluntary response by the business community to the challenges that recession brings for small business across the country. We have assembled a panel of people, with significant business experience, who are volunteering their time to give practical advice to small businesses. Your business can benefit from tapping into this pool of knowledge by applying for an advice meeting through this site.
No long application process.
Just practical advice from experienced people who are volunteering to help keep your business in business.
Tuesday, March 27 2012
Small Business Support Programme Expands Into The Dublin Region
On 28th March 2012, John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business will lauch the programme in the Dublin region.
Small Business Support Programme Expands Into Mid-West Region
‘Minister Peter Power launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’
A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the Mid West Region (Clare, Limerick and Tipperary), it was announced last night in Thomond Park, Limerick.
The move follows the success of the programme in Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford over recent months. More than 60 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 150 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launched in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.
Tuesday, May 11 2010
Small Business Support Programme Expands Into South-East Region
‘Minister O’Keeffe launches voluntary programme to help small businesses’
A programme designed specifically to come to the aid of small businesses and help them ride out the recession is being expanded into the South East Region (Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow), it was announced last night (Monday, May 10) in Waterford.
The move follows the success of the pilot in the Cork region over the past six months. More than 35 volunteer advisors with different skill sets have helped over 70 companies since the smallbusinessadvice.ie launch in late 2009, giving specific confidential help on the problems facing small business in a downturn.
#small business payroll
5 Fantastic Small Business Payroll Services Compared
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If you didn’t have to hire, manage, and pay employees, life would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, that plan ends up with you sitting alone in a dark room, trying to do everything for your business while slowly losing your mind. Luckily, you can pay someone else to take care of this stuff. Payroll services will take the burden off you, give your employees a regular paycheck, and some can even manage your payroll taxes.
For many companies, hiring someone to manage HR operations like paying employees and managing benefits is cost prohibitive. Payroll services cost substantially less than hiring a new employee and can take a lot of work off your plate.
Here are five small business payroll services to compare.
Inuit’s full-service payroll option covers basically everything. All you do is enter the hours to pay your employees for, and Intuit does the rest. In this case, “the rest” includes direct deposits, tax preparation, and even tax filing. The company also offers smaller options, which still manage payments, but which require you to do more work on the tax end.
Intuit also supports a wide range of secondary payroll features. You can add in health insurance contributions, 401(k) deductions, IRA payments, and other retirement plans. Pay period deductions can be modified with catchup payments for your older employees, as well.
Intuit’s options range from $25 per month to $99 per month, depending on how much handholding you’d like. All the options cost an additional $2 per month, per employee.
OnPay is one of the newer payroll service providers on the scene, but reviewers and users have been happy with its offering. Like Intuit, OnPay can manage payments, payroll taxes, and can pay your employees by direct deposit or print-on-demand checks.
OnPay is geared toward the smaller end of the small-business spectrum. It lacks support for retirement and some other more advanced deductions.
OnPay costs $39.95 per month, and for that price you get ten employees. Beyond ten, you’ll pay $1 more per month, per employee. Direct deposit functionality costs an additional $8 per month.
Paychex is one of the biggest payroll processors around. The company claims that it “pays 1 in 15 US private sector workers.” Paychex Flex is the company’s online, payroll service option.
Paychex offers a lot of optional features. You can have checks issued, use direct deposit, or even use prepaid debit cards to pay your employees. The service can also administer retirement plans, do your taxes, and garnish wages when the IRS comes after your vice-president of sales.
Most reviewers have suggested that Paychex is best suited to companies with under 50 employees and it excels at managing complex payment systems, like if your business spans state lines. Paychex doesn’t advertising its pricing model.
A relative newcomer, Wagepoint is a simple, clean option for small business payrolls. The company offers automatic deductions for 401(k) contributions, health insurance, and union dues, along with a whole host of other options.
Wagepoint has been adding new features along the way, so the service of 2016 may look very different from the service of 2015. I met the folks who run the show at a conference in New York earlier in 2015, and I was very impressed.
The CEO told me that in the first days of the company’s operation, they experienced a glitch which resulted in some employees being mispaid at one client company. To make things right, Wagepoint paid the employees of the affected company out of its own pocket. That’s how you respond to a customer issue.
Wagepoint costs $15 per pay period, plus $2 per employee, and is running smooth and glitch free, these days.
ZenPayroll lets your employees enter their own information when they join the business, saving you the manual data entry. The one last hurdle – removed. ZenPayroll also allows your employees to donate to charities and they’ll get neat little explanations of their pay breakdown on each paystub. It’s cool.
In addition to the self-onboarding process, employees get a login once they’re added in the system. They’ll have access to their own paystubs from any internet device, they can manage charitable contributions, and they can update their tax withholdings.
It also offers the usual stuff – direct deposit, taxes, etc.
ZenPayroll is $25 per month, plus $4 per month, per employee.
Like most business software, payroll services aren’t black and white, good and bad. Depending on the size of your business, your payment frequency, and the number of benefits you offer, you’re going to have very specific best options.
If you need more, check out Capterra’s full payroll software directory. We can point you in the right direction, and get you spending more time on growing your business.
Image by Abby Kahler
Looking for Payroll software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best Payroll software solutions.
#small business resources
Small Business Resources
Whether you are starting out or already running a small business. you will need to comply with numerous federal and state small business regulations and requirements. Below are links to the federal and state resources that can help ensure that you comply with those obligations.
The 50-State Resources section provides links to each state’s and the District of Columbia’s official website for everything from the Secretary of State’s office to the state tax agency to state license and permit information. There are also links to your state’s SBA and other state offices that have valuable free information and resources for small business owners. The Federal Resource section has information and resources on federal small business requirements, including IRS, OSHA, EPA, and others.
For more help with your small business, see Nolo’s Small Business articles. or our full list of Small Business products .
Get Informed Articles Information
50-State Resources for Small Businesses
50-State Resources for Small Businesses
Links to the Secretary of State’s office or business filing office for every state.
Links to the state tax agency website for every state with information on tax filing requirements, tax rates, forms and other state tax resources.
Links to the sales and use tax divisions or seller’s permit agencies.
Links to information on each state’s business license or permit requirements.
Links to the state agencies with information and forms for complying with state securities laws requirements or exemptions from registration.
Links to each state’s agency that handles employer payroll tax, unemployment, and other employment matters.
Links to each state’s local SBA office with Information on small business loans and other resources for small businesses.
Links to local SBDCs that provide free information and other resources for small businesses.
#most successful small businesses
Chris Brogan says the Most Successful Small Businesses Do THIS
Many people work 9-to-5 jobs for 30 years — praying only for the day they can retire.
And they complain the whole time on Facebook about how much they hate their jobs.
Yuck! I can’t fathom that.
I love working for successful small businesses. And luckily, I don’t have a regular job.
But what does it take to REALLY succeed as an entrepreneur?
Chris Brogan says the Most Successful Small Businesses Do This
And during a recent interview with MSNBC, Chris dropped some serious knowledge about staying weird making your customers feel like they belong to your tribe.
Pay attention here:
One of Brogan’s best small business tips is that you’ll attract opportunities by standing out being different.
Follow outgoing examples from free-spirited entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, he says.
Here are 4 other juicy nuggets from this stellar interview:
1. Business is About Belonging
People want to be part of a tribe or community.
2. Share the Passion Not Just the Product
Passion drives folks to do what they love. How can you leverage that passion for your business?
3. Make Your Buyer the Hero
Discuss how your product or service makes your customers heroes — not too promotional, though.
4. Tell Their Story, Not Yours
Our product helped Johnny make $100k this year.
#small business tips
6 Smart Budgeting Tips for Small Business Owners
If you run a small business, it s likely that you re operating on a relatively limited budget. Whether you bootstrapped your business or are trying to pay back loans you took out to cover your startup costs, it s in your best interest to conserve money wherever you can.
Without a thorough budget plan, however, it can be difficult to track and manage your finances. This is especially true for any unexpected business expenses that may come up, as they often do. A 2015 survey by small business credit provider Headway Capital found that although 57 percent of small business owners anticipated growth this year, nearly 19 percent were concerned about how unexpected expenses would impact their business.
If you want to keep your business operating in the black, you ll need to account for both fixed and unplanned costs, and then create and stick to a solid budget. Experts offered their advice for small business owners looking to keep their finances in order. [4 Tips for Reducing Startup Costs]
Define and understand your risks
Every business venture has a certain degree of risk involved, and all of those risks have the potential for a financial impact on your company. Paul Cho, managing director of Headway Capital, said that small business owners need to consider their long- and short-term risks to accurately plan for their financial future.
How will changes in minimum wage or health care requirements impact your workforce? Cho said. Do you operate in a geography at high risk of a natural disaster? Do you rely heavily on seasonal workers? Understanding the potential risks facing you on a short- and long-term basis is important for all small businesses. Once you ve mapped out the threats to productivity, a clearer picture can be built around emergency planning, insurance needs, etc.
Overestimate your expenses
If your business operates on a project-to-project basis, you know that every client is different and no two projects will turn out exactly the same. This means that often, you can t predict when something is going to go over budget.
Every project seems to have a one-time cost that was never anticipated, said James Ontra, CEO of presentation management company Shufflrr. It usually is that one unique extra item [that is] necessary to the job, but [was] not anticipated when bidding the job.
For this reason, Ontra advised budgeting slightly above your anticipated line-item costs, no matter what, so that if you do go over, you won t be fully unprepared.
I go by the cost-moon-stars theory, he said. If you think it will cost the moon, expect to pay the stars.
Pay attention to your sales cycle
Many businesses go through busy and slow periods over the course of the year. If your company has an off-season , you ll need to account for your expenses during that time. Cho also suggested using your slower periods to think of ways to plan ahead for your next sales boom.
There is much to be learned from your sales cycles, he said. Use your downtime to ramp up your marketing efforts while preventing profit generation from screeching to a halt. In order to keep your company thriving and the revenue coming in, you will have to identify how to market to your customers in new and creative ways.
Plan for large purchases carefully and early
Some large business expenses occur when you least expect them a piece of equipment breaks and needs to be replaced or your delivery van needs a costly repair, for instance. However, planned expenses like store renovations or a new software system should be carefully timed and budgeted to avoid a huge financial burden on your business.
Substantial business changes need to be timed carefully, balancing the risk with the reward and done with a full understanding of the financial landscape you re operating within, Cho told Business News Daily. An up-to-date budget and data-driven financial projections are important components that help guide when to make large investments in your business.
Remember that time is money, too
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is forgetting to incorporate their time into a budget plan. Ontra reminded business owners that time is money, especially when working with people who are paid for their time.
Timing underestimation directly increases costs, Ontra said. For us, the biggest underestimation is allotting time for client feedback. It is a Herculean effort sometimes to meet a deadline with lots of people focused on a single task. Then, the client needs to give feedback for us to proceed. If the client is distracted with other issues, feedback planned for a three-day turnaround, can become a week or longer. Not only do you start to lose time to the delivery schedule, your team also loses momentum as their collective thought shifts focus to another project.
Ontra recommended treating your time like your money, and set external deadlines later than when you think the project will actually be done.
If you believe the project will finish on Friday, promise delivery on Monday, he said. So, if you finish on Friday, deliver the work early and become a star. If for some reason time runs over, deliver on Monday and you are still a success.
Constantly revisit your budget
Your budget will never be static or consistent it will change and evolve along with your business, and you ll need to keep adjusting it based on your growth and profit patterns. Cho suggested revising your monthly and annual budgets regularly to get a clearer, updated picture of your business finances.
Regularly revisiting your budget will help you better control financial decisions because you will know exactly what you can afford to spend versus how much you are projecting to make, Cho said. Take into account market trends from the previous year to help you determine what this year may look like. Once you have a clear understanding of your business s budgetary needs, you can accurately forecast what can be set aside for an emergency fund or unexpected costs.
Nicole Fallon Taylor
Nicole received her Bachelor s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email. or follow her on Twitter .
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#small business tips
11 Success Tips From Small Business Leaders
Whether it s about how to use social media, getting through the early dark days of a startup, or about marketing your business, getting advice can help you succeed.
The video below contains success tips from 11 business leaders. It was shot at ICON14 in Phoenix, Arizona. ICON is the Infusionsoft customer conference that attracts 3,000 attendees, most of them small businesses or serving small businesses like yours and mine.
I was there on behalf of Small Business Trends capturing some man on the aisle interviews from presenters and attendees.
And out of all the success tips, what s my favorite? Well, it s from Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, who sat down and talked frankly about the brutally tough early days of the company he co-founded over a decade ago. Infusionsoft, which got $54 million in venture capital from Goldman Sachs, bootstrapped its way for years before earning that large injection of growth capital.
Mask says that in the early years, every single day was a struggle for survival. And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking. This is what gets you through the struggle.
Below is the video (accompanied by a brief recap of key quotes):
Tip 1: In Social Media, Be Where Your Customers Are
“Know where your customers are hanging out online. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” Laurie McCabe, Partner SMB Group, SMB-GR.com
Tip 2: Never Stop Networking. Don t Give Up
Never stop networking, never stop pushing. It’s easy to give up when everybody around you is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. You have to be around positive people. Then push on. (Starts at 1:08) Tom Force, Owner, ICE Keytags
Tip 3: Twitter Provides Powerful Market Research
Twitter is the best thing that ever happened to small business owners. You can listen to your competitors or customers, and they don’t even know you’re listening. (Starts at 2:01) Melinda Emerson, Author of Succeed as Your Own Boss
Tip 4: It s all About Mindset and Positive Thinking
Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking. (Starts at 2:43) Clate Mask, Founder and CEO, Infusionsoft
Tip 5: Wearable Tech Keeps You Fit
The ‘wearables’ tech trend is keeping people fit, keeping them active, and keeping them in toe with their fitness goals. (Starts at 7:10) Tishin Donkersley, Editor in Chief, AZTechBeat.com
Tip 6: A Handwritten Thank You Note Will Wow Customers
One simple way to ‘wow’ customers is thank-you cards a handwritten note, a thank-you card saying ‘thank you for buying from me’. (Starts at 8:09) Ramon Ray, Technology Evangelist, SmallBizTechnology.com
Tip 7: Share Information on Facebook That is Great for Your Customers
“Having a Facebook presence as a real estate professional is vitally important. Buyers and sellers are there. Make sure you are sharing information that is great for the consumer, not just real estate people.” (Starts at 9:09) Bill Harney, CEO, Keeping Current Matters
Tip 8: To Get PR, Offer Yourself up as a Thought Leader
If you are a local small business, look at local media for PR. Read those publications, forge relationships, find out what types of stories the journalists are covering, and offer yourself up as a thought leader on a topic. (Starts at 9:49) Laura Collins, PR at Infusionsoft
Tip 9: Put Processes in Place in Your Business to Ask for Referrals
“Put processes in place in your business that ask for referrals. And make sure the customer experience is above expectations.” (Starts at 11:21) Jonathan Graves, President, Graves Organization, Inc.
Tip 10: Your Sales Pipeline Should Qualify Leads at Every Step
“You need to set up a process to convert the most leads possible. Put them in a sales pipeline and add checkpoints to determine those who are qualified, versus those who aren’t.” (Starts at 11:52) Justin Roberts, Infusionsoft Expert, Infusionsoft
Tip 11: Entrepreneurship is Lonely. Reach out to Mentors and Peers
“Entrepreneurship is one of the loneliest professions in the world. The entrepreneurs that are really successful reach out in networking groups and peer associations or just to one person. They need that thought partner.” (Starts at 13:00) Jeff Mask, Vice President, Infusionsoft
Deborah Shane is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Top Small Business Podcast, Top 50 SMB Influencers on Twitter 2015 (Dunn and Bradstreet), career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly and her book, “Career Transition: Make the Shift” is available through all major book sellers.
Latest Trending Business News
Vets First Verification Program – Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization #business #bankruptcy
#business loans for veterans
Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Vets First Verification Program
Temporary Change in Document Submission Policy for Current and New Verification Applications
During the month of September the Verification Program is undergoing a major transformation in response to feedback provided by the Veteran-Owned Small Businesses community. The modifications and enhancements will result in significant changes to our application process to improve the Veteran experience as we establish MyVA Verification. Document Submission Policy Changes
Help Desk: (866) 584-2344
8:00am to 8:00pm (Eastern)
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has special authority for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB and VOSB) set-aside and sole source contracts.
Public Law (P.L.) 109-461 entitled Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 provides VA with unique authority for contracting with SDVOSB and VOSB. A new procurement hierarchy within VA for open market procurements was created which places highest priority with SDVOSB then VOSB. These small business groups are followed by 8(a), HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business, then all other small businesses. This procurement authority, and its subsequent implementation, is a logical extension of VA s mission to care for our nation s Veterans. VA refers to this program as the Veterans First Contracting Program. See VA Acquisition Regulation Part 808, Required Sources of Supplies and Services. for the priorities in acquisition.
In order to qualify for participation in the VA Veterans First Contracting Program, eligible VOSB owners must first be verified. Start Verification
Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) Transformation
Candid feedback from SDVOSB and VOSB stakeholders indicated that CVE needed to increase customer service touchpoints within the existing Vets First Verification process. The MyVA Verification Application Transformation Trial outlines this organizational transformation and the improvements to Verification processing.
Verification Guides and Popular Fact Sheets
- Initial Verification Application Guide – Outlines regulatory requirements in 38 CFR Part 74; assists applicants to comply with when applying for Verification.
- 4 Steps to VA Verification – Provides snapshot of steps associated with Verification process.
- What documents do I need to apply? – Lists required documentation necessary to apply for Verification.
- Verification Application Required Documents Rationale – Provides insight on what documents are needed for Verification and how CVE reviews them to process Verification applications.
- Reverification Process Fact Sheet – Read more about the Reverification process.
- Average Verification Processing Time – View the average processing time of Verification applications over the last three months.
Verification Webinars and Town Halls
- Verification Webinars and Town Halls – CVE hosts recurring training for interested SDVOSBs/VOSBs on different aspects of the Verification process.
Verification Assistance Program
VA has developed a Verification Assistance Program to help Veterans understand Verification policy and processes. The goal of this program is to reduce the risk of denial due to lack of understanding and misinterpretation of the regulation. Partnering Veteran service organizations and small business support organizations can provide assistance to Veterans who are interested in applying for the Vet First Verification Program.
VA Certified Verification Counselors
VA Certified Verification Counselors are trained by VA OSDBU to provide Verification application assistance to SDVOSBs/VOSBs. Counselor assistance is available at no cost to the Veteran and available throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Additional counselor assistance features include:
- Provide insight regarding the interpretation of regulation 38 CFR Part 74
- Review a firm s business model
- Answer questions on how to use the Verification Self-Assessment Tool
- Status Checks on where an applicant is in the Verification process
If you are a SDVOSB/VOSB applicant in need of assistance, visit the list of VA Certified Verification Counselors.
Verification Assistance Counselor Training
VA continues to offer its Understanding the VA Verification Process training series to certify Verification Counselors nationwide. Interested Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Counselors and Veteran Partner Organizations interested in becoming VA certified to counsel Veterans are encourgaged to participate. View Upcoming Training Dates and Register for Training
Laws and Regulations
- 38 CFR 74 – VA Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification Guidelines
- 38 CFR 74 RIN 2900-AO49 – Interim final rule regarding the two-year Verification eligibility term for SDVOSB/VOSBs (See page 1, Center Column )
- 38 U.S.C. 8127/8128 Veteran Benefits
- P.L. 111-275, Sec. 104 Small Business Verification Act
- 48 C.F.R. Parts 802, 804, 808, 809, 810, 813, 815, 817, 819, 828 852 Veterans First Contracting
Center for Verification and Evaluation Standard Operating Procedure (Last reviewed on September 29, 2015)
VA Moves Against Non-Compliant and Fraudulent Firms
CVE has established a process to report firms alleged to be non-compliant with one or more of the regulatory requirements for the Vets First Verification Program. Report firms believed to be non-compliant of 38 CFR Part 74 .
The VA Office of Inspector General is committed to protecting the rights of SDVOSBs/VOSBs by vigorously investigating and seeking prosecution of those who deprive Veterans who have earned the right to set-aside government contracts. Report fraud to VA OIG Hotline .
Veteran Franchising Opportunities – Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization #cheapest #business #cards
#business loans for veterans
Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Veteran Franchising Opportunities
Investigate which franchise opportunities align with your small business objectives. Access an ever-growing list of franchising resources available to Veteran entrepreneurs.
International Franchise Association (IFA)
To improve and streamline the franchise ownership process, IFA serves as a conduit between Veterans and participating franchise systems. IFA does not engage in negotiations, nor does it provide financing or financial guidance. However, many franchise systems offer financing, while others help prospective franchisees locate the necessary capital to acquire a franchise. Learn more
- IFA VetFran Directory
VetFran s ranks have grown to include more than 500 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives to Veterans seeking to become franchise small business owners. Due to the wide variety of franchises, the criteria for financial incentives is determined by the franchise system in a manner that allows the greatest flexibility for the system and, at the same time, offers Veterans a better deal than is offered to otherwise qualified investors. Typically, VetFran participants offer discounts of their initial fees, but that is not a requirement. Through VetFran, more than 6,300 servicemen and women have become franchisees and, more are being added every month. Learn more
- IFA VetFran Toolkit
The VetFran Toolkit includes a free Franchising 101 online course, a finance assessment, a workbook for prospective franchise owners, and a fund to help Veterans without the equity to access loans and partner links. If you are a U.S. Veteran, you can also access the VetFran Mentor Network and get advice from an experienced franchise professional. With its training, structure, and focus on operational excellence, franchising can provide an ideal career path for returning Veterans to become leaders in our civilian economy. To find out about the franchise opportunities that might be right for you, start using the VetFran Toolkit today.
Little Caesars Veterans Program
The Little Caesars Veterans Program provides honorably discharged veterans with a business opportunity when they transition to civilian life or seek a career change, and thanks them for the sacrifices they and their families made for our country. The minimum requirements from Little Caesars are: $50,000 in liquid, unencumbered assets (cash available, no lien or loan on money), VA Rating Letter or DD214, the county you are interested in opening the franchise, and a minimum net worth of $150,000. Your net worth would be assets minus liabilities. If you meet the minimum requirements, please contact the Little Caesars VetFran Program at 1-800-553-5776. Learn more
Top Franchises for Veterans
Franchise Business Review (FBR) is the leading market research firm in the franchise industry specializing in franchisee satisfaction and performance. FBR is the only researcher to look at which franchise opportunities are the most Veteran-friendly based on franchisee satisfaction and performance perhaps the most telling data of all. The FBR Veterans and Franchising Report looks at Veterans in franchising, including the best opportunities for military-trained franchisees based on a survey of more than 3,500 Veteran franchisees. This is the true story behind what franchise brands say they will do for Veterans and what they actually do. Learn more
Valpak is a direct marketing franchise system that provides mobile, online, and print advertising solutions to businesses across North America. Since the company s founding in 1968 with our flagship Blue Envelope, Valpak has evolved into a sophisticated direct marketing system that helps businesses reach their target audience via direct mail, online coupons, mobile apps, e-commerce, targeted e-mail, SMS Text Messaging, Savings.com and more. Valpak s model features no royalties, no inventory, low start-up costs, multiple revenue streams, exclusive territory and promotion marketing support. Learn more
- Valpak Veterans Franchising Program – VetFran Incentive
Veterans may qualify to have their startup costs, including franchising and training fees, waived 100% and receive help obtaining operating capitol.
Veterans Business Services (VBS)
VBS Franchise Accelerator system offers Veterans tools to conduct feasibility analysis and due diligence on multiple franchise opportunities and also offers special Veteran discount programs. Learn more
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External Links Disclaimer
This page may contain links to pages and/or documents outside the Department of Veterans Affairs Domain. These are annotated as shown below. We hope your visit was informative.
Non-Government Sites You will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs web site by accessing links annotated with this graphic. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked web site.