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adminJanuary 28, 2021
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7min70

Entrepreneurs are like snowflakes—each one of us is unique. But the one trait nearly all of us share—we don’t have enough time in our days to get it all done. It’s not that we’re managing our time wrong (though that may be a contributing factor). Small business owners just have so much to do.

It’s not like there aren’t any consequences when we run out of time. While you spend time working on some more mundane tasks, something important could fall through the cracks, costing you a lucrative opportunity.

Given there will never be more than 24 hours in a day, here are some tips for maximizing productivity, so you can focus on growing your small business:

Use a Calendar

Sounds simple, right? But too many business owners just don’t bother. If you’d rather use a physical calendar, that’s fine. It’s important to use the type of calendar you’re most comfortable with, so you’ll actually use it.

That said, keeping multiple calendars in different places increases the chances something won’t get entered, and you’ll miss calls, appointments, or meetings.

A smart choice is using a cloud-based calendar. This enables you to create one central calendar, so you can access your information wherever you are on any of your devices.

Part of the calendaring process is scheduling. Each of us has our own natural rhythms; some of us are morning people; others are night owls. You know yourself; try to book critical business tasks when you’re “up” and most alert.

It’s also essential to prioritize your to-dos. Keep your to-do list short—you’ll only be discouraged by how much you didn’t accomplish if you have a list of 21 things you need to do. Identify the most important tasks and work on those first. Chances are, these are revenue-generating activities that can’t be ignored. Realize when you focus on your top priorities, smaller, more mundane day-to-day responsibilities might get overlooked.

Look at those tasks you don’t have time for and decide how or who can tackle them. You have three primary options: delegate, automate, or outsource.

Delegate

Many small business owners are reluctant to delegate to employees because it’s hard to let go of your “baby,” and you likely think no one can do the job as well as you can. Of course, that’s nonsense. If you give your employees responsibilities that stretch their skills, both of you will benefit.

If the thought of delegating still makes you nervous, start with low-value tasks.

Automate

Use tech tools to simplify and automate whatever job duties you possibly can. Check out relevant apps and cloud-based solutions to automate repetitive tasks and activities. CRM solutions, for example, allow you to store details about prospects, vendors, and customers so you or your employees can quickly reach them.

Create templated responses to common questions so you can cut and paste them in a letter, memo, or email response.

If you work globally, use email autoresponders to let people in different time zones know what time zone you’re in and approximately when you will get back to them. Say something like, “Thank you for your email. We’re in the XX time zone and will try to get back to you in the next 48 hours.”

There is no shortage of solutions that can be automated, including accounting, email, project management, booking appointments, database management, payment processing, and more.

Tasks that are labor-intensive and time-sensitive, like managing your accounts payable and receivables, are ideal candidates for automation. Check out a solution like Bill.com. They’ve automated the billing and payment processes.

Outsource

When you find companies that automate tasks, consider outsourcing those jobs to them. Not only does that save you time that can be allocated to activities that generate revenue, but in many cases, their systems add a layer of security your business does not have.

Bill.com can create invoices and bill your clients (eliminating the chance of human error) and pay your bills as well. Think of the time you and your staff will save by outsourcing your payables and receivables. And since the system is cloud-based, you can access your information anywhere you have an internet connection.

A key component of successful outsourcing is making sure the automated tools you choose work together seamlessly. For instance, Bill.com integrates with accounting solutions like QuickBooks, Oracle NetSuite, Xero, Sage Intaact, and other financial apps like Expensify and Tallie.

The paradox of an entrepreneur’s life is, the more your business grows, the more tasks and responsibilities you will likely need to delegate, automate, and outsource. So, you want to find simple, efficient, cloud-based solutions that free up your time so you can focus on the jobs that make you money.

Bill.com does all that. Give it a try, risk-free today!

Image: Depositphotos.com



adminJanuary 28, 2021
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5min50

Published: Jan 27, 2021
by Samson Haileyesus
In Small Business News
0



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The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced it has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to eligible businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can receive long-term, low-interest loans and emergency grants. This will help them recover from the disruptions that took place in their businesses. They can use the loan for paying rent, mortgage, vehicle leases, payroll, and other bills.

The second round of COVID-19 EIDL assistance also comes with improvements to the application and loan closing process. This includes deploying new technology and automated tools. The application process has been streamlined and the SBA says it should take you two hours and ten minutes or less to complete. Some $197 billion is available through the EIDL for working capital funds to small businesses.



EIDL Loans and Advance Programs Open to More Businesses

  • With the EIDL businesses can borrow up to $2 million to provide working capital for expenses such as fixed debt and payroll costs. Eligible applicants can also get up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) in funds of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary hardships.
  • The loans have an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses. And to keep payments affordable they come with long repayment terms of up to a maximum of 30 years. This includes the deferment of the first payment for one year.
  • With EIDL businesses can borrow up to $200,000 without a personal guarantee.
  • First-year tax returns are not required, and approval can be based on credit score.
  • Loans of $25,000 or less require no collateral. For loans above $25,000, you can use general security interest in business assets. Collateral can be machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, and others.

More Covid-19 Relief in the Future?

Since the declaration of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the SBA has approved over 3.6 million loans through the EIDL program in the first round.  The deadline for the second round of EIDL runs till December 31, 2021. A further COVID-19 relief assistance amounting to $1.9 trillion is undergoing debate in Washington. This follows Congress’ previous passing of a $900 billion relief measure.

Image: Depositphotos.com



Samson Haileyesus” width=”60″>
Samson Haileyesus has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector. He is passionate about public outreach, branding, media relations and marketing.




adminJanuary 28, 2021
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6min50

Influencer marketing is making an impact on businesses around the world. And since Asia is one of the fastest evolving markets, it makes sense that companies in this area would lead the way. Kobe is one platform that’s working on this in the Asian Market. In addition to utilizing an emerging marketing tactic, the company uses new tech to set it apart.

Learn more about the company and what sets it apart in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.



What the Business Does

Facilitates influencer marketing campaigns.

Founder Evangeline Leong told Small Business Trends, “We manage end-to-end influencer marketing campaigns and utilise a self-developed, patented Artificial Intelligence-driven platform to pair advertisers with the optimal influencers for their brand.”

Business Niche

Integrating AI into the platform.

Leong says, “Our system maps campaign objectives to a wide array of factors using image recognition and natural language recognition. It then intelligently auto-generates influencer suggestions, along with recommended fees, that clients can then review and select. It is also able to provide strong, quantitative metrics in order to reflect returns on investment for businesses.”

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How the Business Got Started

After a conversation with a vendor.

Leong explains, “The name Kobe means ‘word-of-mouth’ in mandarin and was inspired by a humble noodle food stall in Singapore. When I saw the fierce competition and rising costs of operation, I asked the stall owner what his secret recipe to success was. His answer was simple: ‘My word-of-mouth recommendation is good.’ This piqued my interest and got me thinking about how I could scale word-of-mouth marketing for businesses out there in the world.”

Biggest Win

Winning an award.

Leong says, “We very recently won the Gold and Local Hero awards for the Influencer Agency of the Year category in the Marketing Magazine’s Agency of the Year Awards 2020. The awards are a major event that draw in submissions from some of the largest ad/marketing firms in the world.”

Biggest Risk

Starting with no investors.

Leong adds, “Influencer marketing was a very, very new and niche concept at the time. And nobody believed that it would be a viable business model for a marketing agency. I mortgaged my house and sold my car to come up with the venture capital for the business.”

Lesson Learned

Be careful who you work with.

In the company’s first year in business, Leong says they made some poor judgements regarding their team. As a result, they ended up losing a database and access to the AI system they had been developing. However, it worked out in the end.

Leong adds, “At one point, it seemed as though we would have to go to court over the issue. Thankfully, we didn’t.”

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How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Supporting the team.

Leong says, “I would invest that into people – helping our current employees to grow and rewarding them appropriately for their work.”

Team Motto

Fail fast, learn fast.

Leong explains, “Everyone is encouraged to raise suggestions and try out new things. We avoid hierarchy, so everyone takes charge – and ownership – of their own tasks in the company.”

Favorite Quote

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.” – Patrick Rothfuss.

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Image: Kobe, Evangeline Leong and Cha Lin



adminJanuary 27, 2021
civil-rights-groups-call-on-biden-to-create-white-house-racial-equity-and-inclusion-office.jpg

5min40

by 22

A civil rights collaborative is calling on President Joe Biden and his administration to establish a White House Office on Racial Equity and Inclusion.

The Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative, self-described as the foremost diverse coalition of national racial justice and civil rights organizations, sent a memo to the Biden administration outlining actions it wants to see the White House address. Those include creating an office on racial inequality to coordinate and advance racial equity.

The collaborative said the request is based on Biden’s promise to confront systemic racism and in Biden’s own words, heal the “soul of our nation.”

America’s racial inequities and systemic racism were exposed by the coronavirus and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. While the pandemic was killing a disproportionate number of Black Americans, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor sparked a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.

The power of minority voters was also on display during the presidential election as Biden received minority support in several swing states including Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan that carried him to victory. All three and several other swing states were won by Trump in the 2016 election.

According to the group, generations of systemic racism have left Black, Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Native American, and others behind and the U.S government has helped shape those policies.

The Biden-Harris administration has made good on its promises, including creating the most diverse cabinet in U.S. history and signing executive orders concerning racial inequality and unfair housing.

The collaborative, however, believes there is much more to be done and in its memo asks the administration to also develop a racial equity vision and assist and support federal agencies to assess readiness to advance racial equity work and setting measurable goals.

“We stand in solidarity and in support of an approach to racial equality that lifts up all people and provides equal opportunities for growth and prosperity in every function of the administration,” the memo states. “The Anchors, Advancement Project, National Office; Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Demos; Faith In Action; NAACP; National Congress of American Indians; National Urban League, Race Forward and UnidosUS, are ready, willing, and able to assist the Biden/Harris administration in implementing our recommendations.”

Our Voice

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