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Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.com

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Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comSmall Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comPosted: 30 May 2020 05:22 AM PDT More than 40 Lehigh Valley small business owners Saturday will be offering virtual deals on what they say will be one of their biggest shopping sales annually.Small Business Saturday typically is timed for following Black Friday in November. The nationwide effort for the past decade encourages communities to shop local as it kicks off the busiest shopping season of the year.The chamber is moving this year to hold the event twice -- this time with social distancing -- as many businesses struggle to survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their doors on March 19. Restaurants were then forced to offer menu items by takeout only with curbside pickup or delivery.Lehigh Val…

best small business to start

best small business to start


Why small business owners should flock to Portland - Fox Business

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 07:40 AM PST

Ready to take that leap of faith and finally start that business?

Continue Reading Below

Well, if you have some wiggle room when it comes to location, you may want to consider moving, according to a new study.

GoBankingRates.com analyzed several key factors including state and local tax rates, start-up growth rate percentages and the number of new entrepreneurs to determine which big cities in the U.S. are truly best for small business owners.

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And, even though Portland, Oregon's rate of new entrepreneurs isn't the highest on the list, the fact that the city has no state and local sales taxes, helped it climb to this year's No. 1 spot.

Plus, its rate of overall startup growth in the city dominated the list at a whopping 94 percent.

The personal finance website also noted that another reason why Portland is a good pick for entrepreneurs is that it's home to the original chapter of Zebras Unite --"a group that serves to advocate other ways for startups to acquire funding than venture capital." Those alternatives may include equity investments, profit-based loans and supportive networks.

Here are the study's top 10 list of big cities to start a business.

1. Portland, Oregon

State sales tax: 0.00%

Local sales tax: 0.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.26%

Rate of startup growth: 93.84%

2. Miami, Florida

Aerial twilight in Brickell Miami

State sales tax: 6.00%

Local sales tax: 1.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.56%

Rate of startup growth: 60.30%

3. Austin, Texas

State sales tax: 6.25%

Local sales tax: 2.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.51%

Rate of startup growth: 84.75%

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

Drone Aerial of Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, NC, USA Skyline.

State sales tax: 4.75%

Local sales tax: 2.50%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.37%

Rate of startup growth: 74.01%

5. San Antonio, Texas

Stock photograph of a residential district and the downtown skyline of San Antonio Texas USA at twilight.

State sales tax: 6.25%

Local sales tax: 2.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.38%

Rate of startup growth: 88.42%

6. Las Vegas, Nevada

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, Elvis tribute artist Eddie Powers poses for a photo with newlyweds Rob and Kelly Roznowski after he married them at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign in Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas could have a ripple (AP)

State sales tax: 4.60%

Local sales tax: 3.65%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.42%

Rate of startup growth: 54.10%

7. Houston, Texas

- Houston Texas aerial drone sunrise view cityscape skyline colorful morning downtown - highways , traffic , office buildings and high rises Home sales and modern architecture of the Houston real estate market - new modern homes for sale on Houston T

State sales tax: 6.25%

Local sales tax: 2.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.40%

Rate of startup growth: 78.30%

8. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, USA - November 25, 2013: Walt Disney World main entrance sign as seen driving from the south on World Drive into the park.

State sales tax: 6.00%

Local sales tax: 0.50%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.25%

Rate of startup growth: 59.95%

9. Denver, Colorado

Skyline cityscape from aerial drone view looking west towards Rocky Mountain front range and downtown skyscrapers rise up in mile high city

State sales tax: 2.90%

Local sales tax: 4.75%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.39%

Rate of startup growth: 74.89%

10. Dallas, Texas

Undated file photo of American Airlines Center in Dallas. Dallas cut the ribbon on July 27, 2001 on a new $420 million downtown arena for the NBA Mavericks and NHL Stars, packed with luxuries and high technology that made it the nation's most expensi

State sales tax: 6.25%

Local sales tax: 2.00%

Rate of new entrepreneurs: 0.37%

Rate of startup growth: 77.41%

How To Fund Your Start-Up Business Idea - Forbes

Posted: 25 Feb 2019 01:54 AM PST

Loan counselor working on tablet pc, ensuring loan applications are correctGetty

You've got the idea, the drive, the know-how: how about the capital? Funding is an essential part of any business, as without the seed money you'll be unable to fire the starting gun on your, er, start-up.

Entrepreneurs are an incredibly clever and industrious bunch, but many are in the dark about how best to fund their start-up business, preferring instead to focus their energies on a core offering. One supposes that reviewing funding options can seem like a dull, laborious task when you are devoting time and attention to your genius idea. In any case, great ideas can only fulfil their potential if they are backed by stable investment.

Read on to find out the best ways of obtaining financial backing for your start-up business idea.

1. Pursue a grant

The less monied cousin of a bank loan is a grant. While you shouldn't expect to be cut a massive check, there are dozens of grants available, offered by national and state governments (as well as private enterprises) in the interests of stimulating the economy and growing the jobs market so it's worth checking out your options for funding your startup.

These financial injections can help you save money on premises and fixed rates, purchase cheaper IT or manufacturing equipment and fund staff training. The main drawback, of course, is the fierce competitiveness of such grants, as well as the box-ticking involved: it can be a frustratingly drawn-out process, but that's the tradeoff for retaining equity. In the US, start-up grants are offered by organizations such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) and Idea Cafe.

2. Crowdfund

Person's Hand Protecting Stacked Banknotes Surrounded By Human FiguresGetty

Crowdfunding is a favorite of the digital economy, and probably the quickest way of obtaining finance for a new business. You don't even have to be massively tech-savvy to launch a crowdfunding campaign, but what you do need is a compelling pitch, one which strongly references your start-up's potential for growth, as well as a knack for interacting with your cash-rich community. If all goes to plan, you'll have capital you don't need to pay back, without ceding any operational control. As a side benefit, crowdfunding is a nifty form of advertising, a way of stimulating public interest in your company before it's even made its debut. The difficulty, needless to say, is in getting your voice heard in the vast crowdfunding landscape.

3. Family and friends

The idea of hitting friends and family for cash doesn't sit well with some entrepreneurs, but many of the world's top magnates readily admit to borrowing from their social network early in their careers. As such, you should have no compunction about doing the same. Soliciting short- or long-term loans from friends and family might lead to some domestic squabbles down the road, but you won't usually have to pay them back with interest added. Indeed, you might not have to pay loans back at all, depending on the generosity of your creditor. On the other hand, it's not easy to put together a hefty bankroll relying solely on family and friends; and you have to ask yourself whether you really want to risk straining meaningful relationships.

4. Get an angel investor on board

Don't pray to the angels; seek angel investors. Targeting high net-worth individuals who have a track record of supporting start-ups isn't difficult to do, but the challenge lies in convincing them you're worthy of their investment. There are many online angel investment networks, as well as local investor groups you can pitch to in person, so do your research and start submitting your pitches. Find the right angel investor and not only will you benefit from their financial support but also their wisdom: oftentimes, they offer mentorship as a side dish alongside their capital. On the other hand, they generally offer less financial backing than banks and venture capital funds.

5. Raise money yourself

Entrepreneurs are a hardy, headstrong bunch and many elect to fund their business all by themselves. Breezing past the bank, they sell their possessions, save money from their day job, invest in various endeavors and free up capital by remortgaging (OK, that one does require a hasty U-turn to the bank). By going it alone, you'll retain complete control and be unburdened of the interest and strain of other avenues. And this decision has a precedent: over 90% of start-ups get up and running without the aid of loans or grants. On the other hand, raising money can become a full-time job in its own right – taking your attention from your business. To bootstrap or not to bootstrap: that is the question.

6. Seek venture capital

Finding a venture capitalist who shares your vision, or at the very least believes in your ability to turn your idea into a successful, profitable venture, is a good way of raising cash. Of course, you will need a fine-tuned business model, ideally one that's ready to scale. The main con with this option is that venture capitalists are typically looking for the next big thing, and so many entrepreneurs struggle to convey the scale-ability of their enterprise. Venture capital funds, by their very nature, have a short shelf life as they generally seek to recover their investment, turn a profit then move on to the next fresh start-up.

7. Good ol' bank loan or line-of-credit

closeup of a young businessman using a tablet on a table full of chartsGetty

In the modern age, it almost seems anachronistic to seek a bank loan. But if you've a solid credit history or existing assets which you're happy to offer as collateral, as well as a workable business plan with clear profit forecasts, it's still possible to launch your start-up with an infusion of bank cash. The advantages of this option are that you retain full equity, you can feasibly obtain a large figure and that you can build your credit; the negatives are that you'll need to pay back everything, plus interest, or leave yourself vulnerable to bankruptcy.

8. Ditch the bank in favor of micro-finance

Small-scale entrepreneurs can access capital via microfinance, circumnavigating the bank entirely. This is an especially good option for people with a bad credit score or track record, as micro-finance institutions like Non-Banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs) are more willing to green-light loans to individuals normally deemed high-risk. In essence, such organizations exist to promote financial inclusion and cater for those at the bottom of the financial pyramid. Pros: no need for assets, low interest rates. Cons: modest loans, various documentation (references, financial statements, business plan etc.) required.

Conclusion

Needless to say, all of the aforementioned options require a good deal of consideration. What might be right for one budding tycoon may not be right for another. For example, you may have an excellent bank manager whom you implicitly trust, and a robust line of credit, making a bank loan the perfect option. Or you could have a supportive network of financially-secure family and friends willing to back your idea to the hilt. Perhaps a combination of funding options is best, but only you will truly know. The important thing is to go with a funding option with which you are comfortable and confident so that you can focus on turning your business idea into a success.

4 Business Lessons for Millennial Entrepreneurs - Entrepreneur

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 05:30 AM PST

Go all in.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Millennials think of themselves as the innovation generation but, for all our creativity, we have not quite crossed the divide into the success generation. At least, not in large scale business.

At first, it would seem that individuals like Evan Spiegel at Snapchat and Alexis Ohanian at Reddit are proof of our ambition and startup spirit. However, when you take a closer look, you realize Spiegel and Ohanian are the exception rather than the norm. Research conducted at the Pew Research Center indicates that millennials are actually not very entrepreneurial and fail often.

A study of 2014 data by the U.S. Small Business Administration revealed that fewer than 4 percent of 30-year-olds are actively in entrepreneurship, compared with the 5.4 percent of Generation X-ers and 6.7 percent of baby boomers at the same age.

Related: Get on the Floor; The Business Fix for Millennial Founders

Here are a few lessons for millennials through the lens of entrepreneurs who have had inspiring success. These individuals are not just inspiring, but teach vital lessons that we can use to change the trend and change it fast.

1. Stop giving it a try -- go all in!

Statistics show that millennials are less entrepreneurial and fail more often, but deeper research shows the reason. Many of us are just shooting some hoops, trying to get one in the basket. Many millennials say they would like to be their own boss, but far fewer take the plunge. Although there is far more support available in the form of incubators, cultural acceptance and recognition of entrepreneurs "there is still a gap between the ambition the [millennial] generation actually have and those that go on to start a business," says Robert Osborne of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, a think tank in London.

So what would you do if you have a bubbling entrepreneurial vision but also a bucket load of student loan debt and $200 cash? If these things stop you, you have invested a lot of time in excuses when you should have been investing in your vision. Mogul CEO Tiffany Pham found herself in the exact same situation, and as a young woman in the entrepreneurial space, it was even more difficult. However, she had only one way to go -- forward.

"If I didn't have those millions of dollars to hire a team of engineers then how could I make a difference myself? Maybe I could just teach myself how to code and build this platform myself," Pham opined. She wasn't kidding either; she took several day jobs while learning to code at night.

Pham depicts the spirit that we all wish more millennials would incorporate. In her words, "I invest where it's really important right now, so every dollar goes into Mogul." As a result, Mogul has grown rapidly as a social enterprise providing women in 196 countries and 30,470 cities with information access, economic opportunity and education.

Related: How I Overcame Imposter Syndrome and Became the Leader I Was Meant to Be

2. Innovate around innovations.

 "The entrepreneur of this age is one who discovers where the world is going and goes there first." This quote is often attributed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. It has been adopted by many millennials in their bid for entrepreneurial dominance. While we are often seen as the innovation generation, looking too far into the future has become another source of the business lethargy among us.

Not everyone is going to make something out of nothing. Sometimes, you only have to watch what has been made and make something new out of what is. For instance, rather than create the world's next Samsung, why not invest in creating the best music app on the Samsung Galaxy?

Since the turn of the century, the conversation in the automobile industry began returning to electric cars and hybrids, while all the big brands were launching into manufacturing. FLO, alongside other creative and smart companies, launched into making home and commercial electric car chargers and charging points. 

FLO is just one example of companies that thrive around innovation. They built their brand and product around an already existing innovation. Perhaps if millennials started thinking of innovation in these terms, they would find it to be less of a Herculean task and will get more involved in entrepreneurial innovation.

In the words of Louis Tremblay, president and CEO of FLO and another millennial entrepreneur, "FLO is at the forefront of innovation, and we take pride in leading the way to make EV charging more accessible and more convenient."

Sometimes, innovation just means making it easier for people to use an already existing product.

Related: Corporate America Needs to Understand These 4 Keys to Working With Millennials

3. If it's all about you, you probably won't last.

The first question I ask millennial wanna-be entrepreneurs is, "Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?" The response varies from the vague "to change the world," to the more common "to make a lot of money." The problem is, most people are focusing on the possible end results of entrepreneurship rather than vetting their inner motivations, which are often key to reaching those results.

Nick Pena admits to being in this circle until he suffered a massive sports injury. The injury gave him time to reflect about life and time to read. One of his friends died during this time period as well. Pena started reading about investment and slowly began unveiling its mysteries. However, the passion that was born from all of his study was not the shallow desire to make it big, but a desire to educate as many as possible to infiltrate the investment market and succeed. He credits his massive success to his need to empower others, not himself.

Fast forward few years later, and Nick is not just very successful as an investor, he has become an Instagram sensation and influencer and spends his time doing what he loves best -- teaching others via his company, The Trade Academy. All he does is in keeping with his ideals. "Never make entrepreneurship all about you or you would not last very long," he says.

Millennials haven't quite gotten this message.

4. Success is never self made.

There is no self- made business or self-made millionaire instead. Millennials need to drop the idea of the self-made and start seeing business as a space dominated by strategic partnerships and affiliations. I was fortunate to be on a panel that vetted some business plans submitted by some aspiring millennial entrepreneurs. We were grossly disappointed by the number of millennials trying to build do-it-all businesses.

In this age and time, it is unnecessary to build such companies. There are way too many companies that specialize in ancillary roles like marketing, content creation, web management and graphics. While it is true that a company can grow to create all these departments, the inability to have them right at the start is no crime.

Related: 6 Money Tips From Self-Made Billionaires

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the 27-year-old cofounder of Andela and Flutterwave, calls his story of success a story of "failure, success and collaboration." He unashamedly attributes the success of Andela to the Facebook partnership they succeeded in acquiring. 

Millennials must learn to create profitable partnerships and business relationships while they are still trying to kick off their entrepreneurial journey. If that means you are not self-made then you are great company because no one ever is.  

While the business climate is a bit different than it was for the generation before us, we also have way more tools and platforms than they ever had at our age. It's high time we ditched the excuses and started taking advantage of them.

Business Digest: Small Business Center helps write business plans - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 06:01 AM PST

APTOS

Small business center teaches how to write business plans

The Small Business Development Center will host at business plan seminar, "Build Your Business: Writing Your Best Business Plan" from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 5 at Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Drive, Room 314. The seminar, led my small business consultant Keith Holtaway, will teach about starting or expanding a business, marketing basics, strategic plans, financing and more. Cost: $35. Advanced registration is required. Register by calling 831-479-6136 or visit  santacruzsbdc.org/calendar. All counseling services the SBDC provides are confidential and free of charge.

To view previous business digest items, visit santacruzsentinel.com/tag/business-digest/. Send your business news items to eingalls@santacruzsentinel.com or call 831-706-3253.

The Best Ways to Advertise Your Business in Singapore - TechPluto

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 09:32 PM PST

Have you started a new business in Singapore? Are you confused about how to advertise your startup business? Off course you are!

For a new business, it is impossible to achieve success without advertisement of products and services. If you want to ensure that the customers see your brand and buy your product or services you should put your time, energy and even money most of the time.

There are too many ways which you can use to advertise your business in Singapore depending on your niche and target audience. There are two major categories of advertising, i.e. online and offline advertising. In Singapore, 82% of the population uses the internet.

Singaporeans use the internet to search all type of their works, e.g. searching for hotels, travel, tuition, transport, businesses etc. Therefore, online advertising is going to be useful for a new business in Singapore. Offline advertising is the traditional way but still an active way of advertising.

Are you unable to think clearly about where to start? Don't worry we will guide you to some online and offline ways to advertise a business in Singapore.

Online Ways of Advertising

  • Create a website and optimize it

The online presence of a business is necessary as the people today try to reach out any service through internet and clicks while sitting in their homes and offices. People use to access businesses through online searches and look for their products and services what they offer and what they sell. If you wish to evaluate SEO to be your marketing and advertising tactics take a look at Search Media they can assist small businesses to achieve their goals.

So, what Is SEO? SEO is short for "search engine optimization." This is basically a technique of generating traffic through the "free" and "organic," search engine results. Because of this people can access your website at any time and can communicate with you if they are interested. The website is like an online company of your business where customers can reach at any time.

  • Business Listings

Business listing is an online advertising strategy where you advertise your business on different business directories. It is cost effective and can be done by small businesses or start-up business. These directories are listed with business details such as name, type of business and address. Popular business directories in Singapore include the green book, Singapore yellow pages, inSing.com etc. It is easy you have to fill up the business details and submit your business will be listed in the directory and will be seen by consumers.

  • Classified Ads and Display Ads

We are talking about online advertising strategies how we can forget classified ads and display ads. A classified ad is a free service you can avail. Its best fits for small businesses who can't afford paid advertisements. All you need is to register using the name, email and setting a password and later you can post ads.

Popular classified ad sites in Singapore are Craigslist, Locanto, Gumtree Singapore and Singapore Expats. Display ads are the paid online advertisements in the form of banner or photo where users can click and land to the corresponding web page. As it is paid, it is used when the business has enough budget.

  • Email Marketing

Email marketing is a cost-effective and straightforward way of advertisement for business online. You can get the best out of an investment when it comes to time. The process is simple; you have to make a list of emails of your subscribers and build a campaign and send it to all. In the end, you have to track and measure the overall performance.

For email marketing to be effective, you have to choose the right audience and content which is compelling to the target audience and attract them towards your product and service. When you have enough trust and credibility, you can convert your leads to conversion and later increase the number of conversions.

  • Social Media Presence

Most of the internet users are active on social media. The social media presence of your business can help advertise your products and services among people who are active on social media.

You should have your business account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest etc. Engage your potential customers by posting and sharing photos, videos, links, infographics and other content to your target audience.

Offline Ways of Advertising

  • Television Commercials

Mostly small business owners think that they can't afford TV commercials, but in reality, they can. Start-up business can afford TV commercials on a local station or cable channels. You will be able to reach your target audience using TV commercials.

Nowadays the most popular way of offline advertising is flyers and brochures. A flyer can attract potential customer more than anything else. The best flyer should have information about your business, products or services you are offering, business name, address, contact information or any other offer which can attract customers.

You can add special offers like discounts for customers. To track the performance and success of flyer you can use call tracking on flayer. The level of success will be measured by a number of calls received.

Although an old way of addressing people still there are advantages of using radio for advertising your business in Singapore, there are certain age groups listening to particular radio stations. You can take advantage of this and address your target audience depending on the product you are selling or the service you are offering. The key is to choose the station which best suits your target audience.

  • Newspapers and Magazines

Like TV and Radio, newspapers and magazines are the old way of advertising. There are still some advantages you can take from it. As locals usually read the paper you will be able to address your nearby or neighbor-hood audience. It is the ideal way of advertising. You should display a large ad in the newspaper so that for the user, it becomes hard to ignore. Otherwise, your ad will be ignored, and the newspaper will be disposed of.

Both offline and online advertising strategies will help you attract customers and eventually enhance the visibility of your business. As you have seen, there are many options which are free of cost so it not all about money, but it is about time, energy and efforts and right step at a proper time you will take for your business advertisement in Singapore.

It is important to know that nothing can bring success overnight. Thus, all these ways will take the necessary time to make you successful. But no doubt you will undoubtedly be benefited in the long run.

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