Turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses - Fort Worth Business Press

Turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses - Fort Worth Business Press

Turning roadblocks into building blocks for women-owned businesses - Fort Worth Business Press

Posted: 21 Mar 2021 02:35 PM PDT

Val Jones,

Wells Fargo Texas Small Business Leader

Today, there are nearly 13 million women-owned businesses, which represents 42% of all U.S. businesses. These businesses employ 9.4 million workers and earn $1.9 trillion in revenue. Over the past five years, the number of women owned small businesses increased by 21% while comparatively, all new businesses increased only 9%.[1] Despite their successes, women entrepreneurs still face many challenges to obtaining funding for their enterprise and building a support network to ensure their business stands out and is positioned for success. As these business owners navigate these challenges – as well as ongoing difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic- here are some steps that can help to turn these roadblocks into building blocks for their success:

Continue to explore funding options – Women-owned small businesses have been more heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with 71 percent reporting a loss in revenues or sales according to a Wells Fargo/Gallup study completed last year. As business owners continue to feel the impact of these unprecedented times, there are many assistance options to help businesses and non-profits continue their road to recovery. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great starting point to learn about available federal resources and programs. Traditional lending products such as 7(a) loans, 504 loans and SBA express loans can provide access to capital, as well as specific relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). There are also many free resources and tools to help educate women business-owners on other credit and financing options. Additionally, when choosing a lender, consider financial institutions that have demonstrated a commitment and track record of working with minority and women-owned businesses, as well as a lender who may have implemented programs focused on women-owned businesses.

Identify your support network – Having a support system to lean on is a huge asset for any business owner, but it's especially important for women. While COVID has created many unique challenges to in person networking and meeting face-to-face, it's important as ever to seek virtual ways to get involved with organizations dedicated to supporting women business owners. For example, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) have chapters and regional partners across the country that offer peer-to-peer professional development programs for members. These organizations are dedicated to helping women find the right financial tools to successfully run and grow their businesses. Another great resource for women business owners is SCORE, which offers online newsletters and webinars in addition to an extensive database of female mentors.

Business owners should also consider the immense value of having an assigned relationship manager at their primary bank. According to a recent Barlow survey, 70% of small businesses who interact with a dedicated Account Officer are very satisfied with their bank compared to those who don't. [2]

Be you and set measurable goals – Every business owner needs to consider market saturation and how to make their particular offerings stand out and get noticed. When thinking about starting a business and establishing goals, women business owners should consider both their personal and business objectives, and see where they align. What's motivating you to establish your business and what makes your business unique? One of the most important things women entrepreneurs can do to stand out is to be their authentic selves, while planning and setting measurable goals along the way. One way to organize is to get ideas down on paper by creating a written business plan to shape your strategy. It will also be important to check-out competitive intelligence tools that can help you map your business against competitors and inform your path forward. Your business plan should reflect changes in your business, the industry or the market. With COVID-19 impacts, it is equally important to incorporate the changing needs of customers and economic conditions in order to keep your plan current and respond to the ever-changing environment.

No matter which sources you choose to fund your business, build a network, and establish a plan, remember that knowledge is power. By taking the time to arm yourself appropriately, you can confidently navigate potential roadblocks and pave the path for your business success.

[1] The 2019 State of Women Owned Small Businesses Report (American Express)

[2] Barlow Small Business Rolling 4 Quarter Data (4Q2019-3Q2020) SBO $100k-$10MM; Q: Overall, how satisfied are you with your company's primary bank?

Val Jones is Wells Fargo Texas Small Business Leader

Best Business Ideas to Make Money by Sofiya Machulskaya - Bull Source

Posted: 22 Mar 2021 01:14 AM PDT

The Contemporary generation is more conscious of world problems, and they are excited to create a difference. They are more dependable customers for having a solid impression of the situation.

At the same time, they perform a significant role in helping backward countries, having their say in statesmanship, presenting their assistance to serve others. Also, sharing their experience to teach those in need, more is being done to create a better world order.

It will be coupled with an approach to own their businesses and be their administrators, which has led many to find new and innovative ways of making money. So, having a positive influence on our planet.

Moreover, if you are one of these characters, here are a few business ideas by Sofiya Machulskaya that could allow you to make capital while transforming it.

  1. Online Fundraising Consultant:

If you possess a piece of knowledge in economics and expertise in sales, you could put both these experiences to good performance by commencing your fundraising consultant business for donations. You will require to determine the charities you desire to work with and get networking to build connections with those you consider most enthusiastic.

From beyond, all you require to do is demonstrate to them that you can build and execute well-defined and effective fundraising meetings. So it will help them to raise the money they need for their movement.

  1. Educational Blogging:

Have you perceived blogs to know solutions to your mysteries? Do you own an excellent knowledge base that is beneficial for others? Perhaps you would be a specialist in all things go, linguistics, and eco-friendly existence? All you necessitate to prefer a free blog template and write daily columns.

You can put up the different ways you could create living writing about something you admire. You could earn an income by using Google AdSense, inaugurating an affiliates program, formulating webinars and endeavouring online courses, etc.

  1. Online Teaching:

Like blogging, if you own a unique set of experiences, you must teach and share them with others, said Sofiya Machulskaya. You will be giving services to people, encouraging them incredibly while making an existence. You could become a Tutor of college students, teach a language, and teach someone how to do their taxes.

You could also arrange an online class to start a small business and grow a sustainability specialist for startups. Also, create a YouTube channel to teach people about healthy living.

  1. Social Crowdfunding:

Comparable to micro-lending programs, social crowdfunding is anywhere social entrepreneurs get funding for their schemes. You could build a social crowdfunding stage that links compassionate projects to those amenable to fund them.

Instead of crediting high-interest charges and expenses, they offered a promise in return for their financial investment. For instance, positive publicity highlighting them as investors and give them a membership for a lifetime to their business projects.

  1. Developing a Prosperity Program:

Support those in-demand better themselves by building a place to learn new job skills to help them get back on their heels. It could be an eatery where you discipline and empower people to educate them on skills to begin a career.

Moreover, an e-learning program in business, such as marketing or web development, is the most profitable. The probabilities are countless. The advantages of your business could go to funding and training them as well as planning new programs.

  1. Writing eBooks:

Like blogging, e-books allow you to teach others new skills through a digital book that will cost readers a fraction of a printed copy's price while offering them the same education level.

You can start E-books with no fees and be traded on bulky platforms such as Amazon and eBay. You can also provide copies to not-for-profit groups that understand your cause.

Final Words:

In contemporary, people are more conscious of their surroundings. The news enables us to understand better what is occurring throughout the globe, and the bulk of it isn't satisfying.

Everything we make as human beings has an influence, and the business ideas outlined above are an excellent means to earn money and make a difference.

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing - Entrepreneur

Posted: 12 Mar 2021 12:00 AM PST

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nothing propels a company more quickly than innovation, and nothing stifles it more quickly than a "that's how we've always done it" attitude.

News startup Axios is an excellent example of a company breaking barriers and thinking outside the box. The company is making a big bet that other companies will pay to learn how to write like Axios reporters. The new communications platform, AxiosHQ, launched in February and enables companies to send Axios-style, just-the-facts internal newsletters. Its cost? At least $10,000 annually. It remains to be seen whether executives will be willing to invest that kind of money, but it's a fascinating proposition.

Related: Why Your Marketing Team Should Be Journalists

What does it take for organizations to vet, approve and develop similarly innovative ideas? The answer is not simple, and it varies from company to company. Innovation efforts get plenty of lip service, but it's much harder to perfect a process for selecting and implementing top ideas.

No magic wand for innovation

In the same way that data-driven decisions run many aspects of an organization, leaders need to use data to create a rubric for vetting innovative ideas. This enforces discipline and keeps everyone on the same page.

Without an evaluation process, innovation programs become short-sighted and may fall out of alignment with long-term organizational goals. Having an organized process also removes emotion from decision-making to keep project focus and dollar spend as data-driven as possible.

For innovation to succeed, leaders also have to be aligned around critical factors. This forms a living rubric that can be adapted throughout the organization as business needs shift and evolve. Generally, some sort of innovation leader — a chief innovation officer, a chief strategy officer or a business unit leader — will lead this team to ensure the process runs smoothly and stays on track.

When we developed our rubric at Coplex, we struggled to find a technical solution that was flexible enough while still enabling us to manage our ideas. We ended up building one ourselves. We now use this tool to drive the underlying engine of our entire idea management process, and it works because effective innovation strategy always starts at the top. Bring your entire leadership team together from the beginning of the process to discuss priorities and foster conversations about ideas, outlining your concrete vision along the way.

Related: Did Someone Reject Your Idea? Because of Coronavirus, They Might Reconsider

Here are three ways to evaluate your innovation ideas and create a framework to make them a strategic reality:

1. Create an innovation blueprint

Before you begin to gather ideas from your team, you have to first come up with a blueprint — such as Google's Eight Pillars of Innovation — that defines the initiative's overall structure. This helps put up guardrails around the problem spaces the organization is willing to play in and, more importantly, which problem spaces are off-limits.

An innovation blueprint consists of three distinct components: statement, antithesis and thesis. Your statement defines your company's ambitions and outlines why you believe in what you're doing, why now is the best time to do it and what makes you the best candidate for the job. From here, develop an antithesis that defines the problems, business models and core technologies you don't intend to address. Why? It removes distractions and keeps the focus on priorities. Finally, create a thesis that gives you a clear lens into how you'll invest in problem spaces, business models and technologies to create the change you want to see.

2. Define innovation themes

Once you've developed a solid blueprint, it's time to identify the themes of problem spaces you intend to solve. This step will define the categories in which your innovation ideas should fall while clearly outlining how your solutions could come into play.

Think of this as similar to how the National Association of Engineers (NAE) outlines the many challenges left to overcome in its field. In its report on the grand challenges of engineering, NAE defines themes (e.g., joy, sustainability, health and security) as areas ripe for innovation and abundant with opportunity.

The core reason for taking this approach? It allows you to consider potential ways to innovate beyond what the organization had imagined before — and to set goals with those parameters in mind.

Related: What Sustainable Innovation Might Look Like in 2021

3. Map measurement criteria back to a rubric

Once you've defined your innovation themes, it's time to develop the criteria you'll use to measure your success. Global design firm IDEO made it a goal to quantify innovation by looking at its clients' internal team dynamics as well as other companies focused on innovation. The firm identified six areas key to innovation and then sent its survey, coined "Creative Difference," to larger organizations to understand how team members were performing when it came to innovation. Once the survey was complete, IDEO sent results with tangible innovation metrics and recommendations on how to follow and meet them moving forward.

As you define how you measure innovation and create your unique rubric, keep in mind that you aren't limited to traditional metrics. Feel comfortable being creative and innovative as you decide on those! It's possible to measure everything from societal impact and economic value to organizational scale and new market discovery.

The process of pursuing innovative ideas requires much more than a quick brainstorming session or selecting an appealing idea from a list. By creating an underlying philosophy and structure governing the prioritization of ideas that flow through an organization, you can retain control over your innovation program's outcomes instead of leaving anything to chance.


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