How Small Businesses Can Become More Bankable & Evaluate Funding Options

Q&A with Bryan Doxford of EGF

In today’s Small Business Q&A, CoverWallet spoke with Bryan Doxford, Senior Vice President and Program Manager of Community Lending at Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), an affiliate of New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC), to discuss key steps small businesses can take to become more bankable.

There are lots of alternative financing options that small business owners can access if they know they don’t qualify for a bank loan or if they get denied from one. However, these options usually come from non-profit organizations that have limited capital to spend on marketing and get their name out there. Although reaching these organizations is often necessary to get the first round of capital, Doxford shared with us some tips on what small business owners can do to make their business more likely to qualify for a bank loan – which is the last step in the “continuum of capital” ladder that EGF helps businesses climb.

Small Business Story: The Scratch Sandwich Company’s Potential for Greatness

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Nicole Cabral, New England College of Business and Finance

Small Business: Scratch Sandwich Company

Scratch Sandwich Company

Not too long ago there was a small pastry shop here in Laredo, Texas that closed down. The owners ran the shop on their own and due to their age, they could no longer care for it. Their children went on to different things and ultimately they closed the shop down after years of service. It’s unfortunate that years of hard work simply ended overnight. What if there was a “no worries” package that would take the load off the owner? Then the small pastry shop would have never closed.

Advice for Accessing Capital as an Underserved Minority Entrepreneur

Q&A with Alex Guerrero, CDO of VEDC

Access to capital is just one of the many problems that women and minority entrepreneurs from underserved communities face when they are trying to start a business. According to a study conducted by the Minority Business Development Agency, minority-owned businesses are less likely to receive loans than non-minority-owned firms and, when they do receive loans, the dollar value tends to be lower while interest rates are higher. However, minority entrepreneurs often also lack access to mentors, advisors, and the right networks.

We spoke with Alex Guerrero, Chief Development Officer of Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC), about the challenges that entrepreneurs from underserved communities face and the resources that VEDC provides to help them succeed in their business endeavors. Guerrero explains that his goal is to help entrepreneurs accomplish their dreams and to create quality jobs at the same time. His parents were immigrants who came to America and were able to buy a house and raise six children even though they worked minimum wage jobs, which he says is something we’re never going to see again unless we do something “drastic.” 

Small Business Story: Spiritual Journey’s Challenges in Driving Business

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Megan Levenberg, Palm Beach State College, Boca Raton Campus

Small Business: Spiritual Journey

Spiritual Journey

In Coral Springs, Florida there is a tiny little store tucked away on the outskirts of town. This store is a true hidden gem and I absolutely adore every moment I spend there. This store is called “Spiritual Journey”. Spiritual Journey is a metaphysical supply store, but it is also so much more than that. The two ladies that run the place, Carole and Barbara, are some of the sweetest, most kind-hearted women I have ever known. Their mission statement is as follows:

“Spiritual Journey is dedicated to teach with compassion and integrity for all who want to connect with a higher power. We work by developing workshops for all individuals who are willing to seek the answers that lie within oneself.”

Small Business Guide to Accounting Software

Small Business Accounting Software

There are a number of accounting software packages on the market that can make the process for small businesses less of a headache. But selecting the right one for your business can seem tricky with so many options to choose from.

This short guide to accounting software for small businesses will give you an overview of what to look out for, looking at the benefits of using accounting software, general factors to consider, plus specific features for different types of business. It will conclude with a short list of companies to check out that offer accounting software.

Small Business Story: Mystical Treasures Emporium’s Large Impact with a Small Team

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Breanna Flintroy, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law at Faulkner University

Small Business: Mystical Treasures Emporium

Mystical Treasures Small Business Owner

In Montgomery, Alabama there is a local store called Mystical Treasures Emporium. It is a store that caters to different religions. If you practice candle magic, it has the candles that you need. If you like to meditate with crystals, it features many crystals in different shapes and sizes. If you are a spiritual reader, you can buy tarot and oracle cards. The store also carries Holy Water, books on various religions, tapestries, jewelry, teas, etc. I like this store because the owner has the calmest spirit and shows no favoritism. He does not care if you gay, straight, male, female, black, or white he shows everyone respect. Mystical Treasures Emporium is my favorite religious store that faces the challenge of being ran by one person.

Small Business Story: Milli Miracle Stands Up To Price Competition and Liability

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Melissa Hall, The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Small Business: Milli Miracle LLC

Milli Miracle

I’m in love with Milli Miracle LLC! Not just because it’s local and the products are hand made; but because of the types of products offered and their quality. Milli Miracle LLC is a luxury vegan bath-and-body and wellness company. It’s focus is on providing healthy products, nutritious recipes and tips for managing stress. As phenomenal and professional as Milli Miracle is, there are some risks I believe the company may face.

Tips to Reduce the Cost of Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Costs

Workers compensation insurance is compulsory in all but a handful of states. However, you can reduce the potentially costly burden of this by taking steps to lower your premium. Here is our guide to preventing injuries and handling claims to minimize costs to your business.

Create a safety program

The best way to reduce compensation costs is to prevent accidents happening in the first place. You can’t eliminate the risk of worker injuries completely, but a safety program will help you identify and eliminate hazards, improve work safety procedures and ensure all staff are properly trained in health and safety.

Tip: Small and medium-sized businesses can get a free consultation from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Home-Based Small Business Challenges with Insurance & Regulation

Home Business

More and more businesses today are home-based. According to the US Small Business Administration, more than half of recent small businesses are run from home. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way of running certain types of businesses and can be a great way to start out. Corporate giants such as Apple, Ford and Hershey’s all started out as home-run enterprises.

As a budding entrepreneur, it can be hard to pay for office space immediately so starting from home might be the logical option. However, there are often restrictions on businesses operating from residential premises, especially if you live in a condominium association (condo). Here’s what you need to know about common regulations regarding home businesses, and what you can do as a business owner to reduce your risk.

Small Business Story: Creekside Fitness & Health Stands up to the Competition

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Samantha Ettinger, Slippery Rock University

Small Business: Creekside Fitness and Health Center

spinning business gym

Imagine a place where you feel accepted, useful, and valued highly. It has an atmosphere of friendly peace, and is clean, reputable, and very spacious. Now, imagine that this place is filled with treadmills, weight sets, and spinning bicycles, and has pleasant, quiet music playing in the background. The people inside the place are sweating, out of breath, and working tirelessly, but they are happy.