The start of a new year is the perfect time to think about the financial health of your business and look at making improvements. There are many ways that you can boost your finances, one option is applying for small business grants. For a few starting points, check out the following schemes which you may be eligible for.
1. Small Business Innovation Research Program
The Small Business Innovation Research Program was set up especially for small businesses who are practicing research and development. The SBIR program was designed to facilitate scientific entrepreneurship and tech innovation. There are several different government agencies that participate in the program. Business grants begin at $150,000, further details can be found on the SBIR website.
2. Yelp Support
Yelp does not offer cash grants to businesses, however, they are offering up to $25 million in the form of free advertising for small businesses that have been negatively influenced by the pandemic. Yelp Support has been particularly geared towards nightlife establishments and restaurants, however, all types of businesses are eligible to apply for support. Yelp stated that ‘businesses that remain open will receive free access to Yelp page upgrades, including Business Highlights and Call To Action, as well as Connect, which will help them communicate timely information to their customers.’
3. National Association For The Self Employed Growth Grants
To apply for an NASE Grant you must be a member of the NASE and submit an application that demonstrates why you need the grant. Every year the NASE awards several grant prizes of up to $4,000. Becoming a NASE member involves a $120 fee annually, the membership includes resources for mentorship, networking, legislative advocacy, and discounts on various business products. Grants can be used for hiring staff, advertising, and marketing, virtually any business growth activities.
4. Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business Grant Program
The Eileen Fisher Program awards grants to women-owned businesses, specifically those that are making positive environmental and social impacts. The organization gives away up to $200,000 every year, with each recipient receiving $40,000 each. To qualify you must be a nonprofit organization (or have a positive impact on women's rights). Candidates must meet certain criteria, for example, ‘The program’s mission focuses primarily on individuals who identify as female’ or, ‘The business has been generated by/and or co-designed with the communities it serves’.
5. Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The US Small Business Administration provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans, for companies who’ve suffered financial losses due to the coronavirus. Though these are called loans, they function like grants, meaning that you are not required to repay the funds. Currently, EIDL’s are offered at up to $10,000. The Small Business Administration provides plenty of resources and support for startups, whether it’s business plan guidance, or tips to manage your company. When you’re starting out as a company, it can be useful to have a little advice and support.
Once you’ve taken a look at a few funding opportunities, the next step is to work on improving your financial planning. Whether it’s budgeting, forecasting, accounting, or payroll, there are plenty of financial planning tools that can support you.
Financial planning tools
KashFlow is an accounting application, supporting entrepreneurs to organize their finances. Using KashFlow you can create customizable invoices, generate quotes, and monitor expenses. The app provides a handy payroll service, allowing business leaders and freelancers to check their payroll, whenever and wherever. Further features include CIS accounting, business reports, credit control (automated), and expense recording. KashFlow can support business owners to maintain a healthy cash flow, and keep track of expenses, all in one place.
Likely, you’ve already heard about QuickBooks, considering that it’s the leading accounting app on the market. The platform provides plenty of tools to help you track sales, expenses, manage invoices, and a whole lot more. Using the app you can eliminate tedious tasks, refocusing your attention on what’s important. Features include data visualizations, reports, and finance monitoring. You can access insights about sales performance and expenditures. Users can also benefit from check printing, balance sheet reports, tax calculations (automatically), and capturing mobile receipts.
The Scoro platform provides budgeting features, as well as a wide range of other tools, to help you manage your finances. A few of the best features of Scoro include forecasting and budget planning; analysis and financial reports; project budgets (unlimited); and a dashboard for financial KPIs. Using Scoro you’ll also benefit from automation for professional services and invoicing. As if this wasn’t enough, you can also use Scoro for your CRM and project management needs. With streamlined solutions like this, you’ll improve your financial planning, plus save your business time and money.
9. Sure Payroll
SurePayroll is a digital payroll platform for businesses, with the help of this service you can keep up with tax laws, and manage your payroll with ease. There are many benefits to take advantage of including, managing 401(k) deductions; organizing HSA or FSA funds; supporting your W-2 staff; calculating wage garnishments. With SurePayroll you’ll get a mobile app for on-the-go access. You can also access compliance needs, including appropriate HR and business forms. The service offers expert support, customer service, and tax advice.
10. SOS Inventory
With the right inventory management software, your business can monitor your inventory from purchase to order fulfillment and beyond. Using tools like SOS inventory you can monitor your goods, generate sales reports, get alerts when inventory is low. You can also organize your orders, shipping, and packaging. It’s simple to integrate SOS Inventory with a range of financial business software including QuickBooks, Paypal, and Shopify. A well-functioning inventory system is a great way to keep on top of your finances, ensuring that your orders are perfectly managed.
Even with the best tools behind you, you’ll still need a solid plan to help boost your financial health. For a few ideas to support your planning, take a look at these tips.
Tips for business financial health
- Managed IT Support
Investing in business IT support can improve the financial health of your business in many ways. First off, managed IT services are one of the most affordable tech support solutions for businesses. Secondly, managed IT services mean less downtime and troubleshooting for your staff, resulting in increased productivity. Managed IT services offer 24/7 support, full network management, and data protection. With robust solutions like these, your business will be gaining the high-quality tech support you need to remain competitive and efficient.
- Regularly Review Expenses
To keep on top of your business finances, it’s a good idea to regularly review your expenses. There may be a few areas where you can make cuts whether it’s a bit of DIY marketing; shopping around for suppliers, or outsourcing a few key tasks. Budgeting is about reworking your expenses and priorities, as your business changes and grows. Your needs won’t always be exactly the same from year to year, and much of this will depend on your goals.
- Pursue Investment Opportunities
To give your financial health a boost in 2021 why not take a look at what investment opportunities are out there? If you’re looking to invest with your business there are several options which you might like to consider:
- Stocks and Shares: One of the most common forms of business investments, shares mean taking ownership of a small portion of a different company. As a result, you’ll make money on a small percentage of profits. It’s important to perform thorough research to understand the market and risks before you start investing.
- Forex Trading: Forex trading shares some similarities with stock trading, however, you’ll find less options in the forex trade market. Based on this, many believe that the forex market is a better place for beginner traders. Instead of investing in businesses, traders focus their attention on foreign currencies.
- Set Yourself Goals
Simple but very true, goal setting is imperative when it comes to the financial health of your business. Your goals might relate to saving money, raising profits, or boosting ROI. You might also be looking to pursue investment opportunities, or secure funding. Whatever goals you set yourself ensure that you use the SMART framework as a guide. Using the framework you’ll ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific. The more detail you put into planning your goals, the easier it will be to stay on the right path.
- Take Advantage Of Freebies
Last up, improving your financial health doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, all you need to do is to take advantage of a few freebies here and there! There are plenty of free tools for businesses, so make a start with the following:
- Hubspot CRM: Here you’ll get a robust Customer Relationship Management Solution for absolutely free. You can use Hubspot CRM to design company profiles, organize customer communication, improve your sales strategies, and monitor customer preferences.
- Click Up: With this free project management tool you can streamline the completion of your projects, choosing from various task views including kanban, list, calendar, Gantt charts, and more. You’ll benefit from features such as customizable dashboards, different widgets, and chat view.