In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
Loans and Grants for Now and Later Whether it’s starting curbside pickup at restaurants, pivoting manufacturing facilities to produce masks and other necessities for frontline workers, creating online ordering systems, or developing remote work infrastructures on the fly, one silver lining the pandemic has shown us is the innovative power of small business owners and entrepreneurs. But the reality is that the small business sector is still in need of help—specifically financial help. If you are a business owner, here are the two major categories of finance that you can turn to, both during the COVID-19 crisis and after.
In my 12 years working as a business advisor for the Vermont Small Business Development Center, I have found that there is one absolute truth: the majority of hard-working, small business owners do not know how to leverage their financial information to make their businesses more profitable. If you are a member of this hard-working majority, you can begin improving the profitability of your business by taking one simple step: understanding your financial statements.
Business planning for startups often happens well after startup. Despite how important planning is to the success of a growing business, entrepreneurs often put off the task because they believe it will take a long time to complete the plan. There is a good reason for this, of course—a fully-fleshed business plan is comprehensive and often requires some research and relatively detailed planning.
Over the past couple of years, VSECU has gone through an internal transformation that has made it easier for all employees to cultivate and strengthen relationships across the organization. Over the course of that transformation, I learned a lot about the importance of relationship to personal and career growth.
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How many times have you sat in a meeting and made a suggestion or a statement that gets you a few nonchalant head nods; then a man in the room makes the same suggestion and receives a round of applause and support? How many times have you been engaged in conversation with a group of men and realized nobody is making eye contact with you anymore and the men have created a bond that you just can’t infiltrate, so you sit quietly, shrink, and settle for observing after several attempts to engage? How many times have you been asked a question by a man, which you answer, and then the questioner bypasses your gaze to check in with another man for the “real answer”? How many times have you heard, “just get to the point”? If you’re a woman, I am confident you can relate.
Small businesses come in a variety of sizes and types in Vermont. So, it is no wonder that there is no “one-size fits all” solution for energy savings when it comes to how Vermonters make a living. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “over half of the U.S. workforce either owns or works for a small business.” It’s clear that small businesses, like yours, power our economy. And your business needs power to keep the lights on, to heat and cool, and more. And, chances are you are paying for more energy than you need to get the job done.
Over the course of my career, I’ve worked in the finance, travel and tourism, resort, athletic footwear and apparel, and snowboarding industries. As a result, I’ve learned quite a lot about branding and marketing at for-profit and non-profit organizations of every level from global brands to regional brands all the way down to niche brands.
When you’re just starting out in business, it’s hard to know how much you should spend on marketing. If you’re like most small business owners, you don’t have much budget to spend, so you’ve got to get by on what you’ve got. The biggest mistake you can make is to spend too little on marketing tactics, thus limiting the exposure people have to your products or services.