6 Things Linda McMahon Plans to Do for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Linda McMahon, the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, plans to be an advocate for small-business owners, particularly the women among them, as head of the Small Business Administration.

That’s according to testimony from her confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Small Business on Tuesday, where she discussed her vision for leading an organization that is often considered a sleepy backwater among government agencies.

McMahon, the wife of professional wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, was poised and confident as she spoke about the risks small businesses take on a daily basis, referencing one of her own early ventures that ended in bankruptcy and losing the family home. She also spoke about what she is best known for: building WWE from a small company where she and her husband once worried that $12 a month was too much for a typewriter, into a $1.5 billion publicly traded company with 800 employees.

“Small business people are people with goals and values that can’t be calculated on a profit and loss statement,” McMahon said in her opening remarks. “I will do my best to advocate on their behalf.”

Here are six things that McMahon plans to do as administrator of the SBA.

1. Keep the SBA independent. McMahon would fight to keep the SBA an independent agency and not merge it with the Department of Commerce, an idea that was first floated by the Obama Administration in 2014.

2. Strengthen the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. McMahon said she would put more teeth into the agency’s advocacy efforts as it meets with politicians on Capitol Hill. More specifically, she would use the Office to tackle any new or existing regulations that prove too burdensome to small-business owners.

3. Faster disaster recovery. McMahon said she would beef up the SBA’s disaster recovery program, and speed up the response time for getting businesses funding after a crisis. Some conservative groups have recommended removing disaster recovery loans from the wheelhouse of the SBA entirely, as a way to trim the budget. Simultaneously, business owners and congressional representatives have often criticized the SBA for delays in getting loans to business owners after natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. “Disasters don’t pick a time and we need to be prepared,” McMahon said. “We need to get the funds to [small businesses] so they can get back to functioning.”

4. Improve financial literacy. Today’s young entrepreneurs are great coming up with ideas for businesses, but too many lack a basic knowledge of finance, which is detrimental to their long-term prospects. As administrator, McMahon would help young entrepreneurs achieve a better understanding of financial matters important to their businesses.

5. Support for disadvantaged businesses. McMahon would increase federal contracting opportunities for women and other minority businesses. She’d also boost mentoring programs for women and minorities, via existing programs including SCORE.

6. More federal contracting opportunities for all small businesses. McMahon says she would streamline an often confusing and opaque process for small businesses applying for federal contracts, and she’d help small businesses to compete more effectively against larger businesses for prime contracting opportunities. (Small-business contract misallocation has been an ongoing problem within the federal government: in 2015, a total of 151 Fortune 500 companies landed government and small-business contracts, according to the American Small Business League.) Winning a prime contract makes a business the lead supplier. Small businesses are most typically subcontractors.

Source Fortune

[divider_top]

70 Percent of Small Businesses Plan to Increase Digital Marketing Spend

Seventy percent of small to medium sized businesses polled said they will increase their digital/web-based marketing budgets in the new year.

That’s according to GetResponse, an email marketing software solution serving over 350,000 small businesses, marketers and brands.

GetResponse recently commissioned a study to examine expected digital marketing investments among US-based small and medium-sized businesses in 2017.

The study polled 200 US-based small to medium sized business decision makers at the end of 2016, and also looked into the channels most likely to drive spending. The study findings were eye-opening.

Of the companies indicating in the poll they would increase their budgets, 30 percent said the budget will “increase considerably,” while 40 percent said it will “increase somewhat.”

Projected Digital Marketing Spend in 2017

According to the GetResponse study, 28 percent of the remaining businesses polled said their budget would remain unchanged. Only 2 percent said their digital marketing budgets would decrease in 2017.

“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs and our survey numbers bear that out,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder. “Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return on investment delivered through web-based campaigns.”

Social, Mobile and Email to Drive Digital Marketing Spend

The study also noted that social, mobile and email are poised to drive the spending surge this year. Of the small to medium sized business executives surveyed that projected increased marketing budgets in 2017, 59 percent said marketing on social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will primarily drive that growth.

The next channel projected to drive digital marketing spend in 2017 is said to be mobile marketing (50 percent) — either app or web-based — followed by email marketing (42 percent).

Other channels driving growth are: video production (28 percent), “search marketing, including paid search” and “content creation and management” (both at 26 percent), “data collection and analytics” and “corporate website maintenance and development” (both at 23 percent), and, “commerce experiences” (16 percent).

Source Small Biz Trends

[divider_top]

Small Business Resources for Veterans

Veterans who are small-business owners are an important part of the U.S. economy. These entrepreneurs own 7.5% of the nation’s 5.4 million businesses with employees, according to latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, new businesses need assistance at some point, and that’s where small-business loans, grants and other financing resources for veterans come into play.

If you’re a veteran hoping to get your small business off the ground, start with the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program. VBOCs provide business training, counseling and mentoring at 15 locations throughout the country. You can also contact Score, a nonprofit association of volunteer business counselors who offer free business workshops and in-person appointments.

Financing advice and training are highly beneficial for vets-turned-entrepreneurs. Find a mentor who has transitioned out of the military. They can provide valuable information on the leap into entrepreneurship, says Jim Salmon, a Navy veteran and vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union.

To help you start and grow your business, we rounded up the best small-business loans for veterans. And below, we compiled great small-business grants and other resources for veterans:

Boots to Business: This is a free, three-part education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to service members who want to become entrepreneurs. The program includes a two-day course taught at more than 165 military installations worldwide. All active-duty military members transitioning out of the military and their partners or spouses are eligible.

Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF): This program at Syracuse University provides education and training for business-minded veterans. It includes the Boots to Business program, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans With Disabilities (EBV) and the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship program.

“We’ve put about 39,000 people through [our programs],” says James Schmeling, IVMF’s co-founder and managing director. “Part of what we do is educate them on access to capital, financing their business or bootstrapping a business.”

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan: These SBA loans help small businesses meet “ordinary and necessary” operating expenses if an essential employee is called to active duty.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small-Business Program: This SBA program helps qualifying entrepreneurs obtain sole-source government contracts of up to $5 million. Participants must own at least 51% of the business and have a service-connected disability, as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense, among other criteria.

The StreetShares Foundation: Online lender StreetShares announced a partnership with JP Morgan Chase on Nov. 10 to provide a total of $10,000 in three monthly awards to eligible veterans, reserve or active-duty members, and military-spouse small-business owners. Winners are chosen based on several criteria, including the strength of their business idea, the potential impact and use of awarded funds, and the influence of the business on the military and veterans community, according to StreetShares.

VetBiz: Use this Department of Veterans Affairs site to apply to become a certified veteran-owned small business, which makes you eligible to win federal contracts.

Veteran Entrepreneur Portal: The VEP connects entrepreneurial vets to federal, state and local financing programs, resources and opportunities.

Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Program Grant: The SBA Office of Veterans Business Development offers this funding opportunity for female veteran-owned businesses. The SBA says it will make up to six awards with a minimum reward of $25,000 each for qualifying businesses. Applications for the grant must be submitted by Dec. 12, 2016.

Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise): This three-part online training program provides the tools that female veterans need to become successful entrepreneurs. The program offers several courses, including business planning, accounting and finance, marketing and human resources. The program costs $75 and is open to all female veterans, active-duty female service members, and the partners or spouses of active-duty service members.

Source NerdWallet

[divider_top]