Five of our clients were honored at Small Business Week events:
- The City of Oakland honored two of our clients as Legacy Businesses: Gill’s Electric Company and Everett and Jones Barbeque.
- The Small Business Administration honored Tanya Holland and Brown Sugar Kitchen as Emerging Business of the Year for the San Francisco District.
- The Small Business Administration honored Chef Mike Donoho and The Waffle Experience as the Veteran Business Owner of the Year for Northern California.
Congratulations to all for the recognition of your many accomplishments!
Tanik Joshipura, our incredible intern, also attended many Small Business Week events. He offers some of the most important takeaways for small business owners below.
Small Business Week is a great opportunity to learn about resources for your business, reflect on your opportunities for growth, and meet other entrepreneurs in your community working to achieve their goals. We hope to see you at events next year!
Takeaways from Small Business Week 2017
What are venture capital investors looking for? A unique model that breaks an existing market filled with bigger players.
SBA 504 Program
What it does:
Provides businesses the financing to purchase fixed assets like real estate, machinery etc. at below market rates. Interest rate is 4.66% which is fixed over a 20 year amortization. The biggest benefit comes from the fact that the business only needs to put up a 10% down payment to purchase commercial real estate.
- At least 51% of the space purchased must be used by the business.
- Business has to be a privately held for-profit business.
- Business has to be a small business.
- Business has to be majority owned by US Citizens or Permanent Residents.
SBA defines small business as:
(a) The Company’s average net income cannot surpass $5 million after taxes for the preceding two years. (b) Does not have a tangible net worth in excess of $15 million.
Which organizations can I approach to get access: Several nation-wide. In the bay area, TMC Financing (Oakland based), Bay Area Development Company (San Francisco based), Greater Sacramento Certified Development Corporation (Sacramento based).
Personal credit is heavily regulated with restricted access, less error prone, not dependent on income, industry or location.
Business credit is publicly accessible, more error prone and heavily dependent on income, secondary income, industry and location.
3 credit companies:
- Experian (scale is 0-100): Measures chance of default, depends on age, industry etc. Forward looking actuarial prediction.
- Dun & Bradstreet (scale is 0-100): Only checks if company pays bills on time. Backward looking based on historical data.
- FICO (Score is 0-300): Combination of personal + Business credit. More used in SBA lending. Anything over 160/300 is a good standing for an SBA loan.
Other elements of Credit Score:
- Derogatory: UCC Filing, Right of Seizures, Tax liens etc.
- Days beyond Term (DBT): How many days on an average beyond the due date are payments made? Early payment is 0.
Some Interesting stats about video marketing in the US:
- Average video watched/person is 4.15 hours per day.
- US adults spend 12 hours/day consuming media.
- 55% of adults watch video online every day.
- 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound.
- 50% of internet users look for videos of products before shopping.
- 1 good video = 1.8 million words or 3600 webpages worth of marketing.
Tips for a good online video:
- Don’t change an ad that is working.
- Know your customer and cater to them rather than yourself.
- Keep the message simple, easy and unique.
- Be consistent with your marketing.
- No phone number to call. Nobody calls phone numbers.
- Localize your ads. Figure out where your customers and focus marketing there.
- Use employees in your ads. People love to buy from people they know.
- Don’t talk about your awards.
- Use a bar test. No sound should still convey some message.
- Don’t try to sell a product. Try to sell why they should buy the product from you.
- Give them a teaser taste not the whole meal.
- Use a call to action at the end. Why buy right now?
Export Financing and International Trade:
Exporting your product can be an exciting opportunity for growth. Studies have shown exporters grow faster than non-exporters. Although getting good at exporting has a rigorous learning curve, it pays for itself and more in the long run. Here are some resources to help businesses that might be considering getting involved in International Trade: Export Business Planner is the Small Business Administration’s free customizable, template that helps you evaluate your company’s export readiness, walks you through the export process and helps you plan the next steps. Access it here at www.sba.gov/exportbusinessplanner.
SBA’s free introductory training course is Take your Business Global- An Introduction to Exporting. You can take the course at www.sba.gov/takeyourbusinessglobal.
Additional Resources Available:
- Mission Asset Fund: Provides zero-interest loans in “lending circles”- where a group of individuals pool savings to get interest free credit. They also have a dreamers program and a citizenship assistance program in their lending circles. Enroll in a lending circle today at https://missionassetfund.org/
- Nav: Gives access to free business credit scores and some free personal credit scores. Your one stop shop for all credit building advising. Also allows to access personal credit information and recommends which loans and business cards you’re most qualified for as a business depending on your credit. Have questions about credit and what it can do for you? Visit them at https://www.nav.com/
- Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center: Provides trainings and advising for all stages of small business development from a business idea to launching and marketing. Graduates from the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center are granted access to a network that helps them plan events, gives access to more advanced training, capital and offers marketing and promotion help. Find out how the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center can assist you at http://www.rencenter.org/
- Centro Community Partners: Centro community partners provides guided business planning workshops and activities centered around building your business model. They also have a free app available on iPhone and android systems which allows the user to go from building the basics of the business (vision, mission and values) all the way to a market survey and your business financials. In addition to this, at the very end of your plan, you can actually apply for an interest free KIVA loan! Find out more about their workshops at Centrocommunity.org or Download the free Centro Business Plan app from the App Store.
- Hack the Hood: The objective of this organization is to introduce low income youth of color to careers in tech through a mentorship program with Small business. The small business gets help on building and growing their website and online presence while the youth get an opportunity for a partnership and exposure to the tech industry. Learn more at http://www.hackthehood.org/