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241 Posts authored by: Steve Strauss

by Steve Strauss

 

Here’s a quandary: How do you build and maintain company culture when your staff is working from home?steve remote culture.jpg

 

Having your team remain working from home might make sense. However, maintaining cohesion, productivity, positivity and connection – all hallmarks of good company culture – are challenging when your team is virtual.

 

So, what to do? Communication is the key, especially in a remote work environment.

 

Here are 5 communication tips for helping you maintain a solid, positive workplace culture, even when your team is working from home: 

 

1. Spell out your mission, purpose and policies

 

In order for people to navigate an at-home working environment, it is important to make sure that every person on the team understands your mission is, what their role is, and why they are vital to the business and that mission.

 

Reviewing the business’s purpose should be a valuable exercise. For newer employees, it can be the type of reinforcement they need to be able to keep the faith and do their job when there is little physical support structure in place. And for the seasoned employees, it can be a good reminder for those who may have become a bit jaded or forgetful of the company’s goals.

 

Additionally, sending out a list of company policies and procedures can reinforce your rules and expectations, and give guidelines for operating while working remotely. These things can add to a culture of transparency and, by giving your employees the information they need, can encourage clear communication. 

 

2. Weekly Zoom or Skype group meetings

 

Another good way to encourage clear communication is by hosting weekly video chats. While you can’t meet in person, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or another service can provide an excellent way for your staff to meet and discuss what is in store.

 

During this time, you can ask your employees if they have any questions or concerns, and create goals for the upcoming week, month, or quarter. This is a great way to create that human connection.

 

3. Schedule regular 1:1 time

 

Making sure you meet face to face is important to relationship building and camaraderie in any office setting – but probably even more so when it comes to working remotely. Setting up specific times for video one on ones allows employees to feel like their individual voices are being heard and matter. It also allows for the manager to give feedback and constructive criticism. 

 

These meetings can and should also occur for small workgroups. Giving your teams weekly face time can ensure needed collaboration, discussions and transparency.

 

4. Provide avenues for socialization

 

When it comes to creating camaraderie and culture, not only is providing space to communicate about work important, but equally vital is providing time for your employees to socialize, albeit virtually. It is incumbent upon management to re-create the water cooler online. Many organizations do this by using Slack channels where employees can chat and discuss things outside of the organization.

 

Additionally, some companies set up game nights, remote exercise lunches, and similar events to get employees to stay active and involved. While the office doesn’t exist in the physical right now, creating online events and places where people can be social is an important tool for maintaining good employee relations and company morale.

 

5. Ask for feedback and adjust accordingly

 

Last but not least - ask your employees for feedback! You can do this during Zoom calls, one-on-one chats, and you can even create an inbox where employees can leave suggestions and feedback anonymously.

 

Then respond to the feedback and adjust accordingly. Listened to employees are happy, empowered employees. This in turn fosters a culture of constructive criticism, corrective behavior, and employee empowerment for your small business.

 

Suggested Reading: Why You Should Ditch Annual Reviews and Create an Employee Feedback Loop

 

Creating a positive culture remotely is challenging, yes, but no less possible than in a physical setting – if you are creative and communicative.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Funding Minority Businesses.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

For minority entrepreneurs looking to start a business or otherwise get help for a business they already run, there are a number of options for financial help.

 

Indeed, there are many loans and grants available and allocated for minority-owned businesses – from the government, to banks, to nonprofits, and more. But where to get started? To help, here are some of the best options:

 

Minority Business Development Agency:

 

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and it seeks to provide aid to minority-owned businesses to help them grow. The agency provides a variety of financing options for minorities, such as grants, and access to venture capital specifically geared towards minority-owned businesses.

 

The MBDA also has MBDA Business Centers across the country, which provide financial advice for businesses: How to secure loans, get contracts, and more. Click here to find a MBDA Business Center in your area.

2. Community Development Financial Institutions

 

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund awards money to historically underrepresented communities and organizations in order to foster minority entrepreneurship, including ones that are supported by Bank of America.

 

The biggest contributor to CDFIs in the United States is Bank of America, with more than $1.6 billion in loans and investments to more than 250 CDFIs. “Bank of America supports local economies by partnering with community development financial institutions across the U.S., and Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia .”

 

3. Small Business Administration

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal government agency and another great resource for minorities to receive funding as it is the biggest loan guarantor in America. (Note: The SBA does not make loans, it guarantees loans made by private institutions. Bank of America is an SBA Preferred Lender) There are many SBA-backed loan options, ranging from $500 to more than $5 million.

 

While most SBA loans are not intended specifically for minority entrepreneurs, the Community Advantage Loan Program offers loans up to $250,000 for businesses in historically under-served markets. In addition, the SBA also provides specific resources for minority-owned businesses with the 8(a) Business Development Program. This program offers minority-owned businesses opportunities to receive government contracts, as well as offers financial information and workshops to said business owners.

 

4. Local funding

 

One of the best resources may actually be in your own backyard. Funding is often available from regionally based organizations, specifically geared towards minority business owners. This includes opportunities provided by your local or state governments, and also local credit unions and banks.

 

Especially in the wake of COVID-19, many states and local organizations have set aside grants specifically for minority business owners. Do some research on your state and local organizations, because many will be able to provide you with financial help.

 

5. Grants.gov

 

While looking for state-based grants and loans largely depends on what’s happening locally, the best place to look for federal grants is through Grants.gov. Grants.gov has thousands of grants that may be beneficial to your business. Grants are provided to businesses who can aid the government in “projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy.”

 

6. Accion

 

Accion is a non-profit that offers loans to low-to-moderate-income businesses that don’t usually qualify for traditional lending. As such, it can be a very good option for minority business owners and new entrepreneurs. It has offices in 50 states, offering loans from $200 up to $300,000.

 

So yes, there are many options out there for the minority-owned small business to get the money it needs. This list is a great starting place to begin your search. Good luck!

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

There was a time not so long ago when owning a small business was a lonely affair. In those pre-Internet days, there were very few resources for an entrepreneur to get advice, iStock-1224041142.jpglearn new skills, or find a community.

 

Things are much different now; indeed, one of the great things about owning and running a small business today is that there is just so much help available, much of it free.

 

One of the best and one of my favorites is SCORE. SCORE is the country’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors and is committed to helping small businesses start, grow, and achieve their goals. It does s

o in several ways:

  • SCORE has chapters of volunteer mentors throughout the country. Its more than 10,000 volunteers give small business owners free, confidential mentoring and training (both online and off) on virtually any subject – marketing, advertising, hiring, firing, business plans – you name it.
  • SCORE offers workshops and webinars
  • Its website is loaded with great articles, blogs, and other content.

 

I recently chatted with the new CEO of SCORE, Bridget Weston, to ask how it is helping entrepreneurs through this pandemic. She is a dynamic, resourceful and creative leader fully committed to helping small businesses.

 

Q: Hi Bridget. How has the pandemic changed what you are doing?

 

A: As you know, SCORE has been around since 1964 and for much of our existence, our mentoring was done live, in-person. If it can be said that there is a silver lining in this pandemic for us, it is that we were well prepared for this moment. We have increasingly been moving online and two years ago we created a virtual, on-screen mentoring process. Our training, tools, and system were all in place long before the coronavirus hit.

Q: How does it work?


A: Using either Skype or Zoom, our mentors and their clients can have a virtual coaching session. Being accessible to clients really matters and what makes that possible now is technology. And one of the great things about video mentoring is that our surveys find that it is just as effective as in-person sessions.

 

Q: Have you seen an increase in requests for mentoring since the pandemic began?


A: You bet, there has been a tremendous increase in demand the past few months. Initially, people needed help navigating the PPP. Now a lot of the questions are about sources of alternative funding and how to re-open safely. Other topics that we help with routinely are startups, business planning, finance, getting and keeping customers, and marketing and sales.

 

Q: Have you created, or do you have, any programs specifically for this crisis?

 

A: Yes, we have a few things. For starters, we have a Small Business Resilience Hub. The idea is that we know economic downturns bring unprecedented challenges. Our resilience hub offers training, resources and remote mentoring to help a small business not just survive but adapt and succeed.

There are several parts of the hub: Remote mentoring, resilience training, and a resource portal. As part of this, we offer real-time online mentoring each day. Business owners can find out more or sign up on our homepage.

 

Q: Could you tell us a bit more about SCORE’s work generally?


A: Sure. Last year we helped start 30,000 new businesses and create 100,000 jobs. In addition, 67% of our clients report that they increased their revenue as a result of working with us.

 

Q: Well, as you know, I love SCORE and what you do. Keep up the great work.

 

A: Thank you!

 

About Steve Strauss

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business steve+strauss+headshot.pngcolumnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

emergency Fund.jpgBy now, more than a few businesses have realized that they need – or needed – an emergency fund.

 

According to the SurePayroll Small Business Worry Index, “Due to the nature of small businesses, it can be hard to ensure there is enough cash on hand for business expenses and payroll. One finding from the study showed that 1 in 4 small business owners worry about being able to cover payroll at some point in the year.”

 

All of which begs the question: How do you create a rainy-day fund and how much do you need? It’s really just a simple 4-step process.

 

Step 1: Analyze your core expenses: Make a list of the expenses that you have to cover every month, things like:

 

  • Payroll
  • Rent
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Utilities

 

Other items, the ones that are more wants than needs, should not be on this list. That would include items such as marketing and entertainment.

 

Now, multiply that core number by three. That is the number of months of overhead you ideally will (eventually) set aside.

 

If your core expenses are $5,000, you need to begin to save $15,000.

 

Step 2: Chunk it down: If you look at $15,000 by itself, it will likely look like an insurmountable mountain. But guess what? No one climbs a mountain in one step. Mountain climbers chunk it down.

 

According to the outdoor adventure retailer REI.com, there are several steps to take when planning to climb a mountain. Three of the four are relevant for our analogous purposes:

 

  • Get a guide. See Step 3, below.
  • Start training. This is essential in mountain climbing as it is in saving. For many people, saving does not come naturally. Neither does mountain climbing. The only way to climb that mountain is to begin small, practice, and get in shape. Start saving small, but get in the habit.
  • Choose a route. There are several routes to get to the top of a mountain. Some are easier than others. It begins by planning the trip, picking out a base camp, and plotting rest areas and important markers along the way. Again, this is the same process for creating a rainy-day emergency fund. Pick a reasonable path and start climbing.

 

So that’s the idea. Come up with a savings plan, start small, get in shape, and then begin to execute on your plan step by step. Yes, it will take practice and hard work. Climbing a mountain is not easy. But others have done it and you can too.

 

Step 3. Get help: Making and hitting financial goals can be challenging, and that is why bringing in an accountant or financial advisor makes sense. Meeting with a financial advisor can help you understand how best to begin, where you can safely cut back, how to save, and will help ensure that you are saving the right amounts.

 

And, having an advisor who understands the finances of your business can also help if and when you do have an emergency down the road. An expert teammate can give you expert advice.

 

Step 4. Commit. The key here is to save a bit each month. That takes good old-fashioned commitment. So consider and remember the wise words of W.H. Murray in his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951):

 

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

 

In the end, by committing to this plan, not only will you have learned a new skill (how to save) but you will not be caught off-guard the next time your small business faces an emergency situation.

 

Note: If you’re interested in seeking Small Business banking help through Bank of America, please feel free to reach out to a small business specialist on their team.

 

About Steve Strauss

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business steve+strauss+headshot.pngcolumnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Veteran Employee.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

If you own a small business, one of the best ways to honor veterans this National Hire a Veteran Day (July 25) is to hire one. Indeed, while veterans returning to civilian life often have difficulties finding good jobs, the fact is, veterans have specialized skills and other attributes that make them excellent employees.

 

Hiring veterans is a smart business decision and here are the top 5 reasons why:

 

1. Veterans have a great work ethic:

 

It is called military discipline for a reason. When it comes to working hard, veterans are often well-equipped to stay on task. When you’re a service member, your job requires focus, determination, and precision. Anything less could mean lives are at risk, could mean your safety, of the safety of others, is at risk. Being a service member instills a drive within people to stay disciplined and focused, keeping at the task at hand until it is completed.

 

These skills easily transfer to working in business; veterans understand the meaning of hard work and getting the job done, which, as you well know, are desirable qualities in employees.

 

2. Veterans are trainable:

 

Although veterans may not know the ins and outs of your small business, they nevertheless possess one quality that makes them very good employees: trainability.

 

Service members are used to listening to superiors, getting feedback, learning, adapting, and taking on new challenges. All of these qualities make them very trainable employees. Veterans take direction well and when given a new task, can learn and execute it.

 

3. Veterans know how to work in a team – and how to lead:

 

Working in teams is fundamental to being in the service; that’s how things get done and missions accomplished. Service members must be able to work with a variety of people, collaborate, and be a valuable member of a team.

 

That said, what is also driven home in the service? Being a leader. There are many opportunities to rise in the ranks of leadership when in the military, which allows veterans to already have the knowledge for how to run a team.

So yes, veterans can definitely be a great addition to your team, but also, when given the right guidance, lead it.

 

4. Veterans are excellent problem solvers:

 

Veterans know firsthand what it means to find solutions to tricky challenges. They have experienced thinking on their feet and working under pressure in demanding situations.

 

That adaptability and inventiveness is another reason why they make great employees.

 

In any business, problem-solving is a valuable skill - when tough situations arise, it is important to have employees who can diffuse problems and find innovative solutions when none might be seemingly available. Veterans, with this skill already, make good employees for this very reason.

 

5. Bonus: There are government incentives for you to hire a veteran!

 

Hiring a veteran is smart because of their plethora of skills, and you also may be able to qualify for government incentives for doing so.

 

 

  • Additionally, Wounded Warrior tax credits can be claimed if you hire veterans with disabilities. If you want to learn more about tax credits and incentives for hiring veterans, find more on the VA website

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Video Selling.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

Let’s say you want to ask your customers and/or fan base to do something – buy a product, donate to a cause, click a link, whatever. Which of the below do you think would be more effective in getting them to act:

 

  • A well-written email sent to your carefully curated opt-in list with a strong call-to-action, or
  • Asking in person or via a video chat?

 

Check out the answer, from the Harvard Business Review:

 

Despite the reach of email, asking in person is a significantly more effective approach; you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast.

 

That, as we say, ain’t chopped liver.

 

But asking in person is challenging right now, so what about asking “in-person” via Zoom, Skype, or Facetime?

 

Maybe you are thinking that, under these circumstances, email is still probably better, right?

Wrong. Not even close. Video is clearly the way.

 

According to the Harvard Business Review, citing research, “we found that people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face-to-face communication.”

 

That said, communicating and selling via Zoom is a different animal than doing so live in-person.

 

You Can Sell on Zoom

 

Here then are the things that the experts tell us you must keep in mind as you look to sell (or persuade) via video:

 

Create rapport

 

Sales 101 is that it is best to begin by making a connection with the person to whom you are speaking. This is as true online as it is off. And the way you do it is the same – look them in the eye, make a joke, find something you have in common, engage in chit-chat.

 

(Remember: do not look at the screen to make eye contact. Look at the camera, and if you can, make sure your camera is at eye level.)

 

Don’t forget the role of non-verbal cues

 

“We found the nonverbal cues conveyed during a face-to-face interaction made all the difference in how people viewed the legitimacy of their requests,” according to the Harvard Business Review.

 

Non-verbal cues in a video chat or sales call include: Looking at a cellphone, looking away, lack of engagement or questions. Non-verbal cues are just that – cues!

 

Consider your Zoom background

 

According to the Zoom Blog, “What you have surrounding you in the frame is as important as making sure you are front and center. Remove the clutter and either have a blank background (like in a conf room) or a professional background if in an office. A bonus will be making a custom virtual background with the logo of the company you are selling to.”

 

And don’t forget the possibility of using a virtual background. Here’s how.

 

Be a pro/Have the right equipment

 

What you don’t want is to look or sound glitchy; that comes from having mediocre equipment. If you need to invest in a professional microphone or web camera, do so. And what about hard-wiring your computer into your router during the call and saving the wireless for your regular web work?

 

Also, consider your lighting carefully. You want your lights in front of you, lighting up your face, not behind you.

 

In the end, while selling via video is still not as preferable as selling live, in-person, it remains the best bet right now, and better than selling via email. Given that, it is important to do it right.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Financial Scams_Sized.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

One industry showing no signs of slowing down during Coronavirus is hardly unexpected: Cyber scamming. Scammers have continued to thrive – flourish even – during and as we work to recover from the pandemic.

 

The Better Business Bureau has identified six of the most reported financial scams during this time:

 

1. Stimulus check scams:

 

As you know, $1,200 was issued to a considerable number of Americans by the  U.S. government, but because the payments rolled out slowly, scammers took advantage quickly. The BBB reports that fake economic impact checks were mailed, promising people that they could get their money faster if they paid a small fee. Little do the unfortunate know, but these checks are not coming from the government, and aren’t even real for that matter. The bad guys use this scam to:

 

  • Cheat you out of money
  • Gain access to your bank account
  • Potentially steal your identity

 

2. Phishing scams:

 

Although phishing scams have always been popular among con artists, they have gained even more popularity in this work-from-home era.

 

For example, I recently received an email from ‘Uber’ telling me to claim my offer of a free ride. But the email looked suspicious, and when I checked who the email was from, it wasn’t the official Uber website. I didn’t click any links and I’m glad I didn’t. This is a classic phishing scam, and the type the BBB warns against. The bad guys email you, enticing you with some great offer so as to get you to click a bad link which will then infect your computer with a virus.

 

Phishing scams usually entail emails that look (almost) exactly like ones from companies you trust - whether it be your employer, or an organization, or maybe a retailer that you know and like. The point is to get you to let your guard down (because it looks legit) and have you click on links that ultimately compromise your computer, and eventually, your personal information.

 

3. Government impersonation:

 

A common scam that has been cropping up more and more during the COVID-19 are government impersonator emails, texts and phone calls. Con artists will contact you, claiming to be some government official; they may say they are from the FBI, or the IRS, or even your local police. The point is to scare you into letting your guard down.

 

One common angle is that they mention that that they have an “online coronavirus test” that you need to take. The BBB reports that no test like this exists (of course.) The goal is to get you to go to an infected website, click a bad link, thereby downloading malware onto your computer which allows them to hijack your personal information.

 

4. Employment scams:

 

This emerging trick is one of the crueler, yet more sophisticated, financial scams that has cropped up during this time. Employment scams seek to get the recently unemployed to cough up money and bank account information through clever - and costly - tricks.

 

It works like this: Scammers will target the unemployed with phony work-from-home job offers. The jobs seem legit, are “easy to do,” and “pay good money,” and the hiring process is “quick and painless.” Too painless to be true.

 

Alert! When you start training for the job, the crooks will ask you to pay fees for the cost of training you. Red flag! Or, you will be asked to wire back “overpayments” or buy expensive equipment. These scams ultimately cost you not only your money, but your time, hope and reputation.

 

5. The Fake-Cure Scam:

 

During this time of high anxiety, people are of course seeking answers and relief. Scammers have been attempting to provide that by offering “coronavirus cures.” Via phone, text, or email, they will offer special masks, or “medical cures that the government is hiding.”

 

But you know the drill by now: They will also ask you for your credit card information. Of course, the products never arrive and the link you clicked or the information you provided allows for identity theft.

 

Ultimately, there are many scams that have become more popular because of coronavirus fears. But if you keep your eyes peeled and stay alert, you won’t get hurt.

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

It may be surprising to learn that of the 30 million businesses in the U.S., at least 80% are one-person operations. And, just like those businesses that have employees, solopreneurs also need help in the era of coronavirus. steve self employed pic.jpg

 

The good news: There is a lot of assistance available.

 

Here is a round-up of the best assistance programs for solopreneurs:

 

The Small Business Administration: The bulk of the news about the SBA recently has to do with its handling of the enormous Payroll Protection Program, but the SBA does and offers much more than that. For example, if you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, or microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six months. You can find its coronavirus resources and financial assistance page here.

 

  • Additionally, the SBA has created a streamlined application process for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Applicants are eligible for a $10,000 advance ($1,000 per employee) that does not have to be paid back even if you are declined for the EIDL loan. You can apply here.

 

Unemployment: Yes, state unemployment offices are overwhelmed with applications, but that doesn’t mean you should not apply. Due to Covid-19, 1099 contractors now qualify for government assistance. Learn more here.

 

Industry specific grants and programs: Many different industries that employ or represent contract workers have created a plethora of programs:

 

 

As small businesses look to the future it’s important to remember that there are a number of resources available. It’s making sure to stay informed and leverage the ones that are relevant to each business that will help small business owners move forward.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his steve strauss headshot.pngAsk an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

As different areas begin to relax stay-at-home orders, there is a lot to consider before fully re-opening your business, both in terms of the customer experience and with regard to employee and customer safety. pexels-photo-3345876.jpg

 

In addition to the thoughts below, always make sure to check on your local guidance for opening back up to the public as well as regularly checking the CSC’s Guidance for Businesses and Workplaces.

 

Here’s what you should consider:

 

1. Remote work policy: If you are like most small businesses, you did not have a telecommuting/remote work policy in place when shelter-at-home orders were enacted. But that needs to change.

 

If you plan to allow some or all of your workforce to continue to work remotely, consider:

 

  • Which jobs will be remote, and which will require an employee’s physical presence? This needs to be spelled out, either in an employment manual or in an employment contract.
  • Can the right to work remotely be altered or revoked?
  • What sort of communication, productivity and reporting will you require?
  • Will the business reimburse employees for work-at-home expenses?
  • Document which positions will not be suited for remote work.

 

If you found telecommuting did not serve your business well, you should document why remote work is not feasible for certain positions. A paper trail is important to show should an employee request the right to work remotely and you have to deny the request.

 

2. Safety and sanitation: For both the safety of your employees and customers, as well as the legal protection of your business, you need procedures and policies with regard to how you will be sanitizing your place of business. What will be cleaned and how often? Who will be responsible? How often will communal spaces (lunchrooms) and shared equipment (computers) be cleaned? What products will be used? How will your cleanliness procedures be documented?

 

Similarly, consider creating hand-washing stations and protocols, as well as having hand sanitizer out for public use.

 

3. Social distancing: This will be with us for a while; how will your company do it? What will your employees need to know in order to create and enforce six-foot distancing? Many businesses, markets for example, are painting six-foot markers for where customers need to stand in the checkout line. Should you institute some visible markers for your employees as well?

 

Also, does your locale require the wearing of masks? Even if not, will you want to require that rule for your staff, for the safety of both themselves and customers?

 

4. Health screening: While you may be tempted to implement a procedure to require regular health checks and temperature screenings for employees, this needs to be done very carefully. There are HIPAA health privacy laws that must be adhered to and as such, any such screening must be done in conjunction with federal and state laws, and your lawyer.

 

For more information, see Updated EEOC COVID-19 Guidance, and note “Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.”

 

5. Sickness and sick days: Your policies with regard to illness and calling in sick need to be clear and airtight so your staff knows when to call in sick, especially with regard to COVID-19. Obviously, you do not want anyone coming into the office who could even possibly be experiencing coronavirus or have had exposure to someone who has, so this needs to be made clear.

 

Moreover, what process will you use to determine if someone showing possible symptoms needs to be sent home? You may want to consider implementing a mandatory 14-day work from home policy for employees who may have been exposed.

 

In fact, you may want to consider creating a specific stand-alone health policy for coronavirus-related illnesses, time-off, and family leave (even if you are not subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act).

 

6. Documentation: It is especially important to implement processes for documenting everything related to your safety, health, sanitation, and employee efforts. This means you should update employee handbooks and contracts. Post rules and policies publicly and create a physical paper trail. We are in uncharted waters and being extra cautious, and documenting that caution, is the smart move.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3373-418524/steve+strauss+headshot.png an steve strauss headshot.pngExpert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden not only had some of the greatest players ever (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton to name just two) but he got them to play as a beautiful,steve strauss teamwork mentality.jpg harmonic team. Wooden’s UCLA teams won 10 NCAA championships between 1964 and 1975 and from 1971 to 1974, UCLA won 88 consecutive games, still a record in Men’s college basketball.

 

How does Wooden’s success apply to us now, while we work through a crisis in our small businesses? Let me tell you a few of his secrets; ideas you can use for your own business.

 

Start with the coach’s famous Pyramid of Success. Here’s my favorite story about this:

 

On the first day of practice every fall, every UCLA freshman was sat down and taught… how to tie his shoes.

 

According to Wooden, this was necessary for several reasons – basketball is played on your feet – but most importantly, it taught them the importance of little things, and how they add up.

 

“Little things make big things happen,” coach preached.

 

What does this have to do with your business? Everything.

 

All entrepreneurs want to create a great small business. The question is how. Of course, you need to serve the market with a valuable product or service, but just as importantly, you need to assemble and manage a great team that remembers little things make big things happen. 

 

Here’s a simple two-step process that can help you do just that:

 

1. Maintain a Great Culture: What made UCLA basketball so special was not only that Coach Wooden was able to attract top talent, but that he got everyone on the team to buy into the system.

 

Yes, he had some Hall of Fame players, but he had a lot more players who were more mediocre than meteoric. The difference in his teams was that the coach had created a system where even a B recruit could act and look like an A player.

 

In your world this means that you need to create a special culture; one that rewards your people and allows them to do their best work. One where, when they thrive, the entire organization benefits.

 

At this moment in time our cultures are likely going to take a hit. Take time to connect with your employees while they’re home and ask about how they’re doing personally. How are their families? If they’re working remotely find ways to support them. If you’re able to still be paying employees who can’t work from home be as transparent as you can about the future of the company and the steps you’re taking to keep them employed.

 

Additional reading: How to Help Your Employees Focus as They Work from Home

 

If you create the type of business and business culture where employees are treated well, where they feel appreciated, and where they are rewarded for a job well done, you will have created a small business culture that will reap tremendous rewards. Your people will love being part of it and will work hard to make sure you are a success.

 

2. Recruit (And Hang Onto!) Great Talent: Over the years, the best small businesses I have come across have a few things in common and one of them is that the owner knows his or her strengths, brings in people who can fill the gaps, and then lets them do just that.

 

The best small business owners are not micro-managers.

 

To assemble a special team, you need to employ people who fit and buy into your vision. You need people who are smart, savvy, dedicated, and coachable. People who see the big picture but who also are willing to pitch in on any level when times are tough.

 

Then you need to coach them. Show them what you expect and bring out the best in them.

 

This two-step system – recruiting great talent and then giving them an opportunity to shine – is the key to creating a great team, an exceptional team– a team that can work together to keep your business strong through a difficult time.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated busteve strauss headshot.pngsiness columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Mark Matthews is a “big wave” surfer who faces fear and uncertainty with every extreme ride he takes. And he has something important to teach us in this new coronavirus world in which we live. strauss lead pic.jpg

 

You probably have seen people like Mark on TV – those amazing, brave (crazy?), intrepid surfers who ride humungous waves in Hawaii, or Australia, or wherever the endless summer takes them.

 

Mark is profiled at the start of a great new book called, Wild Success: 7 Key Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn from Extreme Adventurers. I recently spoke with the authors, Amy Posey and Kevin Vallely, who make the point that Mark isn’t crazy at all. In fact, as they put it, he is quite rational, and the way he approaches an extreme event like Coronavirus, err, I mean riding a monster wave, is something we can all do.

 

How Mark and other extreme adventurers handle stress is by using a method called “reframing.Instead of focusing on the danger in front of him (riding a wave that could literally kill him), Mark reframes the situation into “less terrifying problems that he can solve now,noted author Amy Posey, a leadership expert in Silicon Valley with an emphasis on neuroscience.

 

So, before heading into the surf, “Mark goes through an intense mental preparation, where he scenario-plans the direst outcomes and plans ahead of time his responses. Mark analyzes what he would do if he can’t breathe, is bleeding, or gets knocked in the head. He prepares and plans for the worst far in advance, as well as right before he goes in the water, and in that way, the scary situation does not seem as scary.  Mark even brings a defibrator in the rescue boat that follows him, just in case.

 

“By cognitively reappraising the danger, Mark anticipates how he will respond to situations and reframes those scenarios into less-terrifying problems he can solve now, according to Posey and Vallely.

 

How to Reappraise Danger in Business

 

Can you use this strategy of “cognitively reappraising danger” in business? Here’s an example from the book:

 

Let’s say you are on a conference call, making a presentation and you flub it a bit. Your boss calls you out in front of everyone. One way to look at that situation is to be embarrassed, or angry, or to assume the worst about your boss’ intent.

 

But a better way, the extreme adventurer way, is to reframe it and “assume a positive intent.” Flip the situation. Maybe your boss was actually trying to help you get better at presenting. Or maybe he simply wanted to make sure the team understood what you were trying to say. The trick is to “reframe the narrative in situations you can’t control. Doing so enables you to reduce the negative emotional impact you feel and improve the clarity of your thinking.”

 

Do you see how valuable just this one simple tactic can be at this scary moment?

 

Chunk down the big fear into manageable ideas. Plan for how to deal with them. See yourself handling and managing them. Instead of feeling like a victim of a pandemic, reframe your thoughts and look for the opportunity for your business, in your ability to lead, in your chance to help your team.

 

As Vallely told me, “Emotions can be contagions too. Your positivity will spread among your team, just as your negativity will. And as a leader, how you act, how you put yourself out there is critical, especially now. If you show confidence you will sow confidence.”

 

The adventurers profiled in the book have a saying: “Nothing is considered a failure in an adventure.” It all is an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to have stories to tell (and boy will we have some stories to tell).

 

The end result is that, yes, we are in uncertain, frightening times. But the intrepid adventurer – and the intrepid business leader – can use uncertainty as an opportunity to innovate, reframe, re-label, learn, grow and teach.

 

Cowabunga indeed.

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Askan Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss steve strauss headshot.png

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

 

Digital Strategy to Go.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

I want to share with you a simple, yet truly powerful success strategy that can work in any climate – including during a global pandemic.  (And note, this is not hyperbole.)

 

A little background:

 

About six months ago, I was on Facebook and a video ad popped up from a well-known “digital guru.” He explains how he has this great method for being able to – natch – “make millions.”

 

Riiiiiight.

 

But he’s good at this stuff, his video is captivating, and I know from my work that he is actually very successful, so I find myself clicking through.

 

The next thing I know, I‘ve listened to his entire hour and a half webinar, and most surprising to me, I bought his expensive training system.

 

I’m happy to say that it was totally worth my investment.

 

And I want to share the big takeaway with you because, especially right now, it can help you not only stay afloat, but get ahead.

 

Grow your email list.

 

This seems almost basic, like Internet 101, right? Wrong. At least not the way this guy does it.

 

Here’s the deal: What he recommends, and what I have tried and found really works, is to focus a significant amount of your marketing energy, and yes, some of your marketing dollars, on growing your list in a big way. Don’t just dabble, go for it, because the payoff can be huge.

 

A big list gives you big reach.

 

When someone provides their email address, when they “opt-in,” they are giving you permission to contact them again. These are warm leads; people who trust you and want to hear from you. When it’s time for you to sell something, you can email this list and be almost assured that a good number of the people you are pitching will say yes.

 

Take my new guru for example. To watch his hour-and-a-half video, I had to opt-in. But because he gave me real value in that webinar, I was happy I did, and in fact, when he emailed me the next day with his pitch, I was interested.

 

And I was not alone. By advertising on Facebook and getting people to opt-in, he now has a list of more than a half a million people.

 

Think about that for a second.

 

The next time he has a new product, be it some system, or an e-book, or info-product or whatever, with one email he can tell 500,000 potential customers about it. The way he explains it is that this is akin to Starbucks. People like going to Starbucks (or at least they used to.) Millions of people would go there every day. And so, when Starbucks has a new product to launch, they simply roll it out in the stores and those millions learn about it and are inclined to buy it because they trust the company and like its products.

 

For you and me, our expanded email list is our digital storefront. When we have something new to sell, we can roll it out by emailing our list and letting them know about it.

 

Does this really work?

 

Well, the guru recently launched a new podcast and used his list to tell his tribe about it. Within a few weeks, the podcast had become one of the top new shows on iTunes.

 

In my case, I have been using some of his methods and my own business email list recently topped 30,000.

 

There are four steps:

 

1. Create a free offer.

 

You have to give to get. What you give away for free in exchange for the opt-in should be something your potential customers would want – a free ebook, or podcast, free product, a discount, access to a special website, something.

 

2. Let them know about the offer.

 

Do so on your website, on your social channels, and yes, consider buying some pay-per-click ads to promote your offering. The bigger you grow your list, the bigger your reach and the higher your potential sales down the road.

 

3. Offer real value in exchange for the opt-in.

 

The webinar I listened to was chock-full of great info. No fluff. Give away your best stuff. If you do, people will trust and like you and believe what you tell them. You really don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression.

 

4. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

When people trust you enough to give you their email, they are also trusting that you will not bombard them with spam and selling.

 

Then, when the time comes for you to launch your Carmel Mocha Macchiato and you write to your list, guess what?

 

They are going to want to buy it.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Cut Overhead and Keep Employees_Sizedjpg.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

As you well know, starting and owning your own business is expensive – rent, labor, insurance, etc. It all adds up. And in times of economic uncertainty, cutting back is likely high on your to-do list.

 

The question though is, can you do so without cutting back essential services?

 

Cutting employees might seem like a good way to trim your costs, but the fact is, laying off staff comes with its own set of problems - among them, a possibility for reduced productivity, loss of morale, loss of operational knowledge, and potentially, loss of customers.

 

The point: Business owners often say their most valuable asset is their employees. And most mean it. If that is true, what makes the most sense right now is retaining that asset and getting creative by cutting elsewhere and in unexpected places.

 

Here are three ways you can cut the fat without gutting your business and laying off staff:

 

Reduce hours and adjust schedules

 

In Portland, Ore., there is a beloved store called Kitchen Kaboodle. When the Great Recession hit in 2008, business fell off a cliff, and the owners were faced with tough choices: Close or fire almost everyone.

 

In the end, they did neither.

 

Instead, for the next few years, the store went to a shortened schedule, staying open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Ideal, no, but no one was let go and the store eventually came back stronger than ever.

 

So yes, one way to lower payroll costs is simply reducing hours. Offering full-time employees a part-time position is a win-win for everyone when the alternative is not having a job at all. Most people would rather work with their employer than lose all their income.

 

For you, it provides your business full coverage, though with a reduced staff, for a part-time budget. Ultimately, this method also provides that your seasoned staff members can have job security and your customers can have the service you are committed to.

 

Another method for reducing costs is optimization of business hours. If you are open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, you might not be using your time and money wisely. Instead, have a smaller staff for slower days, and a full staff for the busier times. If some days are not profitable at all, do what Kitchen Kaboodle did and consider closing those days.

 

Improve operational efficiency

 

The next option is to consider how your business can operate more cost effectively while maintaining - or even improving - its efficiency.

 

This can look a few different ways:

 

  • For one, you should call suppliers and renegotiate your contracts, looking to pay less for your supplies. No doubt that today, vendors will be willing to have that conversation.

 

The coronavirus is an opportunity for your business to be hypervigilant in its own practices. In tough times, a little goes a long way, and either renegotiating with your suppliers or reforming in-house policies and behavior can save costs in the long term.

 

Think differently

 

Time to get creative. Instead of continuing to use that high-priced marketing consultant, consider bringing marketing and advertising in-house. Find out who on your team best knows social media and unleash their creative powers. This option will cut costs while still providing your business some much needed marketing muscle.

 

Or what about that basement space you’re using to store old items? Instead of letting the space go to waste, perhaps try to clean it and sublet it out to another business who could use the discounted space.

 

Bottom line: Each new crisis will end at some point, and you will be glad you kept the band together to make some new, beautiful music when the time comes.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Yes, we are in seemingly uncharted territory with COVID-19, but the good news is that the operative word here is “seemingly.” While the coronavirus outbreak is a disaster unlike any of us have seen, there have been other unique disasters and we have recovered from them all.

 

man-in-black-holding-phone-618613.jpgBecause the unexpected can in fact be expected, companies and governments have become far better at being able to help in these times. As such, if you need financial help getting through this crisis, here are your resources:

 

The Small Business Administration

By far, your best bet right now is emergency relief from the Small Business Administration. In the first of what is expected to be several relief bills signed into law, the SBA announced a Coronavirus emergency relief fund of $7 billion.

 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: According to the SBA, “The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  Click here to apply for a Disaster Loan at SBA.gov/disaster

 

Some states may be eligible for additional funds resulting from natural disasters.  Click here to see what programs are available for your state, and to apply directly for available programs.

 

The 7(a) Loan Program: The SBA’s 7(a) loan is its primary program for assisting small businesses. It offers loans from $25k to $5 million and repayment of up to 25 years (if you utilize an SBA Preferred Lender). Note that Bank of America is a member of the SBA Preferred Lender Program and may provide additional benefits such as fee waivers, discounts for veterans, and 24-hour approvals.


Additional Funding Resources

CDFIs: also known as local loan centers – provide capital, mentoring and financial advice supporting small businesses. Through these innovative partnerships, Bank of America is making more loans available for people and communities, and helping address important economic and social issues.  We created a searchable directory to connect small business owners to more capital. Click here to search the directory to find a CDFI that fits your needs.

 

Kiva: Kiva.org is a unique non-profit. Starting out as a lender making microloans to impoverished people around the globe, it has grown into a crowdfunding platform that has expanded into the U.S. Presently, Kiva is making 0% loans of up to $15,000 to qualified U.S. businesses.

 

Facebook: Facebook just announced that it is making $100 million available in small cash grants to 30,000 eligible businesses.

 

State and Local Resources

Check out these benefits that might be available to residents of specific states, counties, or cities.

 

Check with your city and state to see what may be available in your area.

Targeted, Digital Marketing.jpgby Steve Strauss

 

Advertising and marketing are so much better today than even a decade ago, and woe to the small business that is not taking advantage.

 

Example: I know a chiropractor who used to offer free “pain relief seminars.” He would run expensive advertisements on radio, TV, and in the newspaper, get people to the local Holiday Inn to hear his schpiel, and then hopefully convert some into paying clients. The whole thing would run him about $5,000 to host and he might make $10,000.

 

Last month, he did the same thing, but he advertised on Facebook using pay-per-click ads. The entire campaign cost him a tad over $1,000 and he still made more than $10,000.

 

The difference: he now advertises to a specific audience as opposed to a mass market. These days, he only pays for clicks from the people most likely to respond to his ads, as opposed to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers who have zero interest in pain relief.

 

The secret is micro-targeting.

 

On Facebook or Google, and actually, on any other similar digital medium, you can now specifically and narrowly locate, target, and reach people who are most likely to appreciate your ad, click on it, and move into your sales funnel.

 

For small businesses, the days of mass selling to mass audiences are (or should be) over.

 

Back in the day, my chiropractor friend would have no choice but to blanket the market with his ads, hoping that a few of the right people would see, read or hear it. Now, he advertises only on Facebook with an ad seen only by people in his zip code, who were upper income, who were older, and who had an interest in alternative healing.

 

See how that campaign had a far greater likelihood of success?

 

Fewer eyeballs, yes, but these were the people most likely to be interested in his seminar. That is the value of specific audience messaging vs. broad marketing.

 

Here is how you can join the online advertising party:

 

1. Choose the right outlet:

While there are a lot of options, your best is either Google or Facebook as that is where the traffic and results are.

 

2. Set a budget:

Advertising and marketing is an ongoing process. If this is your first foray into pay per click advertising, start slow and small. Test ads, budgets, calls to actions, audiences. Both Facebook and Google make creating an ad and a budget super easy.

 

When you go to create your ad campaign on the platform(s) of your choice, there will be a place to set your budget. Like I said, start small, say even $100 for a week or two to start. See if it is getting clicks and what the cost per click is.

 

3. Figure out the ad

 

The different platforms have different options.

 

 

4. Target your audience

 

This is the best part in my opinion. Your audience can be as large or small as you want, and as specific as you prefer. But, remember – the greater the reach, the more you will pay. You want the audience who sees your advertisement to mirror your ideal customers; that is, the people most likely to buy from you.

 

This is where the magic of pay-per-click comes in.

 

5. Test the ad

 

This is key. It is unwise to simply create an ad, check out, and come back two weeks later to see what happened. Test, review, tweak, and see what works.

 

6. Roll it out

 

Once you know you have a successful ad, go for it. Spend more and run it often. It can become your cash cow.

 

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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