Why You Should Try Small Business Development Centers

Development of a small business enterprise may sometimes prove difficult, especially if you have big ideas but no money to set up the venture. Sometimes, money is not even the problem, but organization of those ideas into profitable gains. This is where Small Business development Centers come in.

These are centers from which one can gain all the necessary information on the procedures, rules and regulations that govern the development of an enterprise. The centers are located in every state of the United states and it is very easy to trace them depending on where you live. Consultants at the centers offer counseling services to people who are just starting out or those who are already established but wish to expand their enterprises. These services are offered free of charge.

The Small Business Development Centers also facilitate practical seminars that help you see how you can convert mere ideas into income generating activities. It is through the seminars and web seminars that you can get all your frequently asked questions answered. You also get an update of all the current happenings in the enterprise sector.

The centers, in addition, offer training services on the basics of running an enterprise, including book-keeping and customer relations secrets. They will also show you how to make use of technology to make the most out of your enterprise. Furthermore, you can get a directory on which you can find contacts of other enterprises with which you can partner with for better results. Try out the centers and you will not regret your decision.

How to Put Your Business in Google Maps

Marketing is an important part of business. The broader audience you can reach the better. There is basically a number of ways to do so, but not all of them are as effective as you thought they would be. For both online and offline businesses, marketing is fairly a challenge and it all comes down to what is being delivered, to who it is being delivered and how it is delivered.

People have become more dependent on the internet to find what they need.This applies on almost anything : from products, services, information, people, everything and anything. This would pretty much include finding companies and what they offer. And through the internet, marketing has reached levels and market niche that seemed to be impossible years back.

Different search engines and websites have developed and are now applying different methods to better serve both entrepreneurs and customers. Different online applications have made these methods of marketing and searching a very effective way of attracting new clients and returning customers.

One of the best and free options available is Google Maps. There are more people searching for businesses online than anywhere else and through Google Maps your business will be able to reach millions of Google Maps users, quickly and for free, specifically with Local Business Center. So it’s important to make sure your business listing can be easily found on Google and Google Maps. With the use of Local Business Center, it is easy to create a great listing; all it takes is just a few minutes and it doesn’t cost a thing.

With Local Business Center, you can control your listing and speak for yourself. If you already have a website, your business probably already appears on Google, but even if it does, you should still claim your listing and check to make sure its details are accurate and thorough. Your improvements will start appearing as soon as you verify them through the Local Business Center.

By doing so you can be sure that your business is properly represented and at the same time extends to markets which used to be beyond your reach. This article will help you in broadening your marketing with the use of Google Maps.

First, go to google.com. Then key in the type of business you are under or would want to be classified in. Sample would be typing in carpet cleaning St. Marys Georgia. The Google Maps Listing for this search will come up. And you can see that there are several businesses under this type listed ranked from one to 10 for the first page. This is where your business information will appear after getting it listed in Google Maps.  Note that the Google Maps listing comes up on the first page, often as the #1 LOCAL listing in Google.  This is like getting on the first page of your local yellow pages, for free!

Getting started, you can either go to the search area of Google and key in local business center. Click on the link that appears for this. Or you could go directly to the URL space and type in http://www.google.com/localbusinesscenter.

You can sign in with your Google Account if you already have one. If you don’t have a Google Account yet, start by creating your personal Google Account. Once you have provided your email and password and logged in click on Add new listing or business. From here a form should be filled up with your basic business details as you would like them to appear in the listing.

Upon doing so the map on the left will zoom into your location as you type in your address. You can move the marker if you like if Google’s best guess isn’t quite spot-on or not exactly where you think it should be.

After filling in the location details make sure to fill in your main phone number. Google will contact you through this number for verification. If you have a website address, key it in with http:// at the beginning. Then you should write a business description that emphasizes what your business is all about making your business unique or better than your competitors. This is a means by which you could be distinguished from the others and easily be found through specific keywords. Details of what your company provides, where the service area is and where it is close to or any landmarks that they could take note of would be very could inputs for the description. Then click next. On the following step select the listing or category that you want to claim (make sure it’s the most similar to your business). When done, click on the category of your choice. You can also add another category if you think that it could be part of another.

If your business is not on the listing or doesn’t match any listings, click the Add Category button at the bottom to create a new listing. Note: In the list of close matches, if the business name on a given listing is wrong but the address is right, click the Claim Listing or Category button and Google Maps will use your preferred name. However, if the address is wrong and you can’t receive mail sent to that address, you will not be able to verify your claim. In that case, you should click Add Category at the bottom of the list to create a new listing for your business.

Next step, include your hours of operation and payment options. This information is useful for both repeat and potential customers. Then you should add more details to make your business stand out. You can also add relevant information that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Information such as delivery zone, house specialties, return policy, or anything else that you would like to share. In marketing, you would want to catch the attention of as many potential customers as you can.

You can also add an image to help your listings stand out in Google Maps search results. You can use snapshots, logos and images. If you have videos on YouTube, you can place them directly in your listing as well.

Finally, verify your listing, if possible do it by phone. If you have easy access to the phone number on your listing, choose phone verification. You can either choose to be called now or in 5 minutes. Google will call you, and once you enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN), your listing will be immediately verified. A Thank You notice will appear in the window

If you are not near the phone or have a voicemail system, you should choose postcard verification. Google will send you a card with a PIN for you to enter before mailing it back. But it will take a coupe of weeks to complete.

You’ve successfully completed your Google Maps listing.

Department Of Commerce Grants For Small Businesses

Several businesses have benefited by applying for and receiving grants from the Department of commerce of their states. These grants are designed to help various small businesses operate and develop within that particular state. Small businesses needing information about the grants from the department of commerce can contact the local area development managers, local development organizations, regional planning commissions or the small business information centers for more detailed information.

Profile of Eligible Candidates to Apply For the Grants:

U.S. based, for-profit businesses are eligible. Individuals or groups of individuals can apply for the grants even before the creation of a company but established businesses have a better chance of getting a grant, as they will have time to focus on the project rather than on creating the company. It must be at least 51% owned by American citizens.

The business must be a small business and can qualify for the grant only if it conforms to the definition of a small business of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

They must use technology and innovations regularly in their operations.

It will be an additional qualification, if an experienced and committed individual, who will ensure the success of the project, heads the company. They will have to have the experience in researching and writing proposals as well as be knowledgeable about using emails and the Internet.

They must present the proposals on how to carry out the project and who will help them such as university faculty who may guide them.

The Small Business Innovation Research program offered by the various state departments of commerce, is very helpful and an excellent opportunity for small businesses to avail non-repayable grants. Businesses can apply and compete to make use of up to 1 million dollars given annually as grants. The department offers free counseling for any individual or groups wanting to explore the possibilities of getting a grant. Various businesses compete annually to get these grants and only 1 out of 10 get these grants, as competition is tough.

Small Business Technology Transfer program is another very important grant available to small technology companies. This grant was designed to allow small businesses to collaborate with non-profit research institutions to bring innovative technologies to the market.
It is necessary for individuals to have a good plan ready and they can seek professional help in planning how they will accomplish the project. The researcher must be well qualified, have adequate research and development experience and have good project management experience. These are just some of the small business grants from the department of commerce. Other grants such as The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-ED) Economic Development Program, The Customized Labor Training (CLT) Fund, the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP), The Recycling Demonstration Grant Program etc are also provided by the department of commerce in the state of Wisconsin.
There are firms that offer services as well as products to help run a successful business.