What I Really Want for My Birthday

With my birthday but a day away, I realize and lament that I have been too busy for dating websites, too caught up redesigning Uhelpfund.com (for a sneak peek go to Uhelpfund.org), to have even the possibility of a date. The majority of my male interaction is a daily Skype share screen web development session from 3 a.m.. to noon, marking up changes with my stylus pen. 

If you are shaking your head as you read this, you probably understand all too well. 

So, with no date for my birthday and nothing at all on the horizon, I started to wonder…

Am I all alone or are other women CEOs experiencing the same? I am the founder & CEO of GrantWatch.com and other grants and crowdfunding website companies. I work nonstop, to the point of being dangerously close to a mandatory work-a-holic workshop.  

Recently, my daughter Lani linked me up with a business consultant (to figure out how to work less) who basically told me I am doing the impossible – but really it's not just me, I have a great staff.

Now my staff, they have lives – outside of the office. Maybe I live vicariously. It appears that I need the perfect match to virtually drop in my lap! 

I find dating sites to be like those initial interviews searching for my next sales, writer or social media specialist. 

The man I would enjoy spending what little time of my day I have with, probably wouldn't have the time to play on them, either. 

Since LinkedIn and Facebook are my current spaces (publishing articles about grants, grant writers or crowdfunding daily for nonprofits or small businesses),

I am "BIGLY" wondering if a late 50s to early 60s, widowed or divorced, available and eligible, educated, smart, healthy, somewhat observant Jewish man, psychologically and financially sound – who lives or is able to relocate to south Florida, would reach out to connect with me… and then drop directly into my inbox? 

Could it really work that way? Maybe LinkedIn is the dating website for overworked CEOs.

You tell me.

Check out my FB photos and if you're so inclined, send a quick Facebook poke!

My daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I want to go to the beach. It's about five minutes away and getting there for just one hour in my work day would be heaven. 

BUT- What I truly want and what I do not have the time or energy to find is that special person who respects my work and has their own, and at the time of day when I finally call it a day – that there be someone of value to eat dinner with, see a movie or just decompress from all the daily decisions. 

So LinkedIn followers and Facebook friends, if you know someone of like mind, let me know.  

Libby Hikind

CEO and Founder 

GrantWatch.com

About the Author: Libby Hikind is the Founder & CEO of GrantWatch.com, MWBEzone.com, GrantWriterTeam.com, GrantNews.press and Uhelpfund.com. You can reach Libby through Editor@GrantNews.press

Is there a Recipe for Success in Business Crowdfunding?

Many times, there are grants available to support inventive endeavors of small business. We list hundreds of grants on MWBEzone.com and encourage you to research opportunities in funding within our grant listings. What happens if you have a million dollar idea, something groundbreaking that you're certain would be embraced and simply haven't yet found a qualifying grant to support the endeavor? Crowdfunding

The highest income producing business crowdfunding campaigns have been in tech, travel, and entertainment industries. Can you guess what those were and why? Use these crowdfunding lessons below to make to make your business campaign a success. Be sure to follow our Uhelpfund crowdfunding campaigns on Twitter.

Tech Industry: The Smart Watch

In first place is obviously the Pebble Smartwatch, crowdfunding $10,266,845, which pre-ordered more than a quarter million watches and now graces the shelves of Best Buy and other retailers. –Crowdfund Insider

The Smart Watch, originally called the Pebble, was introduced as a crowdfunding campaign and operated on one of the most universal measurements of life itself, time. Not only did it measure time, it unified time, your phone, and your email in one place that the eye is automatically drawn. The invention has certainly taken off, but not in the way that many investors thought that it might –  simply because, we are not all watch people. However, a large percentage of individuals cannot live without their watches. Similarly, large populations cannot live without access to their phones. Combine those two technologies and there is a high percentage that you will find investors for your fund.

Lesson 1: Your crowdfunding idea, if it is an invention, must be both natural to human behaviors and innovative, combining technologies that are not completely foreign.

Travel Industry: FaceCradle Neck Pillow

FaceCradleFaceCradle is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs David Scrimshaw and Roz Ruwhiu, who have both experienced first hand the difficulty of sleeping on an airplane. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head. This gives the FaceCradle versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market.

19,611 backers pledged AU $1,479,231 to help bring this project to life.-Huffington Post

Many generations find the neck pillow to be, quite frankly, a bizarre accessory to the millennial traveler. However, it has made the perils of coach class travel much less taxing. This pillow allows the head to rest on either side of the pillow, alleviating neck strain that results from prolonged stretching on one side or the other. Many could not think of traveling without it. The FaceCradle is a new development in the world of neck pillows, bringing "smart" technology and versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head: dozing, snoozing, table nap, deep sleep side and deep sleep side. 

Lesson 2: Innovative comfort will inevitably succeed. Adding smart technology to a revolutionary design is a winning combination.

Entertainment Industry: Mystery Science Theater 3000

The original $2 million campaign goal would fund three full-length episodes, and $5.5 million would fund a season of 12 episodes. By the end of the funding round, the project secured $5,764,229 from 48,270 backers. –Crowdfund Insider

Mystery Science Theater 3000, otherwise known as MST3K, premiered on local TV in Minneapolis in 1988. Created by writer and comedian Joel Hodgson, the beloved Emmy-nominated cult series starred Hodgson as a janitor that was trapped on the Satellite of Love by mad scientists who spends his time making fun of terrible movies with a bunch of wisecracking robots. The rebooted series will be comprised of 14 new episodes including a holiday special and will star comedian and Nerdist Podcast co-host Jonah Ray, genre favorite Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire SlayerSupernatural) and comedian Patton Oswalt. Some perks for campaign donors included personalized voicemail greetings from favorite characters, invitations to the premieres in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, dinner with the cast and a chance to appear in an episode. 

Lesson 3: Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. A fresh spin on a retired classic can yield incredible results.

Have you designed a convenient, yet innovative invention?

Do you have a great idea for a compact size travel companion or a fun twist on traditional entertainment? 

Launch a crowdfunding campaign on Uhelpfund.com today!

Have you successfully used a crowdfunding campaign to bring your invention to life?

Has crowdfunding empowered you to support the launch of a small business?

Share your story with us, comment below!

About the Author: Martha Greenlee is a crowdfunding mentor at Uhelpfund.com with a degree in cultural anthropology.

Sources:

Grants Empowering Women

Are you a female entrepreneur or a woman who runs a small business? According to The Women’s Economic Opportunities Index: Rankings by region, the country of Sweeden ranked highest (in specific attributes of the environment) for women employees and entrepreneurs in 113 economies.

MWBEzone.com and GrantWatch.com are proud to be playing an active role in women empowerment.

Another key factor identified on the study is that:

Many women face greater barriers than men in setting up businesses. Women’s enterprises are often particularly small and concentrated in the retail or services sectors. This calls for training programs in management to provide the skills needed to run a successful business.

We list grants dedicated to securing a future of opportunity and success for women in small business. Our grants for women also support the female leaders who are paying it forward by making a positive impact with other women or girls in their communities. Grants for women also fund education and training programs that provide girls with the knowledge, social skills and confidence necessary to grow as empowered business leaders.

Award to an Arkansas Woman for Her Positive Impact on Girls and Women in Society

Deadline: 4/7/2017

Grants to Kentucky Individuals and Groups to Advance the Workforce Potential of Women

Deadline: 4/30/17

Search grants for women in other states here.

MWBEzone.com supports women empowerment Recognition is broadening for women in business. Startups with female leaders are proving to be more succesful than those run by men only.

First Round Capital recently reported 63 percent better performance by its companies with women leaders than those with all-male leadership teams. –Inc.com

MWBEzone.com has new grants for women posted each week. You can also discover grants for women on GrantWatch.com, each supporting a variety of initiatives for women empowerment. Don’t miss out on available opportunities that have the power to help you achieve your goals, grow your business or advance positive influences on girls and young women in your community.

Consider launching a crowdfunding campaign if you have a specific mission that will benefit women in business, unite women for a positive cause or fund a dream start-up company that caters to future female leaders. Inform your friends, family, online networks and website visitors of your goal to gain support and exposure. As those closest to you show their support, the confidence will permeate throughout your extended network and their connections. Crowdfunding is a space that women are experiencing particularly great success in.

We are seeing massive growth of crowdfunding venues, including women-focused ones. According to CircleUp, a private equity platform for consumer businesses, female found­ers are nine times more successful in crowdfunding than in raising capital with traditional banks, and five times more successful than with Venture Capitolists.     -Inc.com

Raise Money on Uhelpfund for Nonprofits, Female Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses and Start-ups throughout the USA, Canada, and International Communities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for MWBEzone and Affiliate Sites

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Small Screen, Big Impact

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a small business with a blog, you should consider the needs of smartphone users. This is because they approach reading on the internet differently than large-screen users. For grants for improving your internet presence, check out MWBEzone.com under the technology category. You can also crowdfund for your needs on Uhelpfund.com.

Smartphone users tend to focus on the center of the screen while large-screen users begin reading from the top left. This may seem odd but I’m sure we’ve caught ourselves doing this on our smartphones.

There are a few things you could practice to engage a smartphone using audience.

1. Create short titles

A long title for a blog entry could take up the entire screen. This is off-putting. You want a title that is both attention-grabbing and easy to comprehend.

2. Short paragraph headers

This could make it easier for a reader to sift through your writing for information most relevant to them. Think of them as cliff notes for your article. They should summarize the point of each paragraph in a very succinct manner.

3. Put your best foot forward

Start your blog entry with your strongest point. This would make it more likely for the reader to continue with your story. Because your readers are on their phone, this usually means they are out of their house or away from their office. So, they want to get to the best parts of your writing early on.

4. Write in brief paragraphs

What appears to be a short paragraph of 5 sentences on a large screen may end up looking like a barrage of words on a smartphone. So, keep your paragraphs short. No more than 3-4 concise sentences.

5. Stay focused

Don’t fill your article with fluff. Remember, your readers are on-the-go. So, they just need the essentials. Fluff maybe an irrelevant quote or digressions.

Now you know how to write for an audience that reads on smartphones. A strong blog can go a long way for SEO. If you want to make improvements upon your internet presence, look at grants for technology on MWBEzone.com.

About the Author: Sabeen is Master in Public Health. She currently writes for MWBEzone.com and its affiliated websites.

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Starting a Business in the New Year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year, everyone! Was your New Year’s resolution to improve or start a new business and look for funding? MWBEzone suggests you write a comprehensive business plan and provides you with some pre-writing tips below. Follow these 3 guidelines before beginning your business plan. GrantWriterTeam.com can also help you develop your business plan. Keep in mind that a business plan is a living document. You will want it in a format that you can modify and tweak as your business goals change.

1. Be verbal.

Talk to people about what you want to accomplish. This is important because it helps you articulate your ideas. Try to get it down to 30 seconds. You’ll find yourself refining your ideas and deciding what stays and what goes. Another good thing about talking to people is feedback. Were they excited about the idea? Did they seem genuinely interested? In addition, talking allows you to network! Now is a great time to find like-minded entrepreneurs, advisors, investors, etc. who will be pivotal as you move forward. Uhelpfund, a crowdfunding website that offers great customer service may be just the right place to start a campaign that gives the people you know an opportunity to help you with start-up funds.

2. Take a step back.

Don’t rush! Don’t expect to quit your job, buy a storefront or domain name and bring in business all in one day. Only quit when you’re comfortable and put thought into where you will be located or what your business name will be. Remember to research this and possibly even consult on it. Take one thing at a time.

3. Compile all necessary paperwork.

Make sure your partners and co-founders are all on the same page about how you want to run the business. Get a lawyer and prepare all legal work. Even if you are going into business alone, you want to set up what is called a separate legal business entity. This is a safeguard should there be disagreements between yourself and a customer. And when shopping for a lawyer, we suggest to get a lawyer who specializes in start-ups. This is because they may defer their fees to give you time to launch your business.

Now that you know 3 things to do BEFORE finalizing your business plan, you can work on making your new year’s resolution to start a business come true! And while you approach this undertaking, look for funding at MWBEzone. Not every business starts with a loan.

Buzz Around Your Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a small business owner, you want to create hype and excitement around your product(s), service(s) or store front. MWBEzone.com has grants for small business and technology to help your business grow.

So, if you ever find a news-story related to your business, try to piggy-back on it. If the latest news is Elmo is a hot seller this Holiday Season and you carry Elmo dolls, publicize it!

There are three things you should do to generate buzz around your business: specify opportunities, take to the internet and reach out to the press.

1. Specify Opportunities

First, to specify opportunities, scour alert systems like Google alerts, Talkwalker or Mention for keywords related to your business, products or services. This way, you’ll be alerted when someone publishes news that relates to you.

Then, take the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the media that breaks these news stories. Learn about the TV stations, newspapers, magazines, or periodicals that post stories most in line with what you do. Reach out to specific writers, reporters or personalities via Twitter and comment on their stories. Offline, attend media events like conferences or forums.

2. Take to the Internet

You’ve already acquainted yourself with Twitter to reach out to writers, reporters and personalities, so take the time now to make an internet presence for yourself. Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtags. If you don’t know what hashtags are, they are phrases that come after the # sign and are used on social media as indexes. Anyone using the same hashtag will show up on a unique indexed page for that hashtag. For instance, if you post about carrying the Elmo doll then include the hashtag #Elmo in your post!

Then, blog about your business, products or services. Talk about problems you face as a small business owner, and possible solutions you’ve invented. Or, talk about how a certain product brought a challenge to you. Talk about what relates to you and your work. Make sure you post links to your articles on your Twitter and other social media accounts – with hashtags!

3. Reach out to the Press

In step 1, you introduced yourself to the media. You familiarized yourself with who writes about stories that relate to you and how to contact them. Now, it’s time to talk to them about writing about you. Per Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., the best way to get local media interested in you is to provide a local angle to a national story. Once again, Elmo as a seasonal hot seller closes the deal. You can provide a press release on a local story that is aligned with national news.

Consider reaching out to national media, itself, if you think your story can draw national attention. Perhaps you are selling Elmo dolls for less than anywhere in the nation, for a limited time only. Or maybe you’re donating them to a national nonprofit serving children. If you have a story worth national news, get out there and pitch it through press releases to national news carriers.

So, if you’re looking for funding to advance your business, go to MWBEzone.com and search for grants for small business or technology.  And remember to follow the 3 steps outlined above to generate excitement around your business, products, or services.

Personal vs. Professional Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to MWBEzone.com for grants for small business. Help your business to grow and flourish by taking the time and consideration to apply for grants.

Where do YOU draw the line between your personal and professional social media pages? Learn to set some boundaries!

First, have separate accounts or pages for your business and personal life. Do you really want a one-time customer to know when your daughter got married? Or when she had her first child? Some things should remain private. You don’t want business contacts on your personal page or vice versa. Employees and partners should be on your professional business page, not your personal one.

Second, on your business page, you don’t have to accept every friend request, contact, or follower. If they seem dangerous, block them. You do not want a “friends list” with strangers who might potentially be harmful to your business.

A good rule of thumb is:  if you know them personally, add them.

If they are a 2nd or 3rd degree connection, examine their profile and see if your interests match. Most likely, you’ll end up adding them, too. But, if they are complete strangers, make sure you look at their profile to see what types of posts they make. If for instance, if they often post profane language, offensive messages, or radical political views, you should steer clear of them on your professional pages.

Third, always think twice before hitting the Post, Tweet, or Share buttons. As a business, you must always present yourself in a professional manner and take the high road in confrontation.

Fourth, when you are confused by a post or message from someone else, ask for clarification. It is very easy to misconstrue something via text or online messaging. If someone is clearly trying to offend you, it is best to solve the problem off social media. If you respond to an irate customer in an agitating way, it could open you up to a flurry of criticism. If possible, talk face-to-face.

So now that you know where to draw the line between a personal and professional social media account, check out MWBEzone’s facebook page and like us.

Find grants for your small business at MWBEzone.com.

SBA Grants Small Businesses Money


The SBA or Small Business Administratoin is a great source for business information. There, you can find detailed instructions on how to start or maintain a successful business. Recently, they gave a STEP (State Trade Expansion Program) grant to the Maine International Trade Center to help support the export of goods from small businesses. You can find related and other grants to help support your business at GrantWatch.com and MWBEzone.com

America only counts for about one-third of the world's purchasing power. This means that most buyers are outside the United States. Maine wants to reach out to these new customers. The STEP grant has been successful in the past, resulting in $7 million worth of new exports. 

SBA Grants $145,000 to Help Small Business With Exports

Portland Press Herald Staff Writer

The award has been used for the past four years to help Maine companies deliver $7 million in new exports.

The Maine International Trade Center received a $145,000 grant to support export growth among small businesses.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s competitive State Trade Expansion Program.

“With more than two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power outside the U.S., it’s critical for businesses to reach out to customers beyond our borders.” said Marilyn Geroux, SBA district director for Maine, in a release announcing the award Thursday.

Wade Merritt, vice president and STEP project director at MITC said the renewed award has been able to support 97 company projects in overseas markets over the past four years. The support resulted in nearly $7 million in new exports, representing a 26 to 1 return on SBA’s investment of just over $250,000, according to Merritt.

The STEP awards are granted to programs that help small businesses expand their export-related activities, which include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services for access to international markets, as well as the design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, export training workshops and more. Eligible Maine businesses may receive up to $8,000 in reimbursements for costs associated with these activities.

Additionally, the SBA makes guaranteed loans of up to $5 million available to provide working capital for small business to complete export orders and finance expansions to accommodate increased export orders.

More information about the programs can be found at mitc.com or sba.gov.

Find related and other grants to help support your business at GrantWatch.com and MWBEzone.com.

About the Author: Intro by GrantWatch Staff Writer.

Internet and Social Media for Small Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grants for technology can be found at MWBEzone.com, a website dedicated to grants for small business. Small businesses can learn from some bookstores when considering: survive or expand?

The internet has actually been found to be the saving grace of a lot of small businesses. In Michigan, Brilliant Books, a small bookstore found that offering free shipping for online orders and creating a social media presence, widened their customer-base.

According to Hearst Newspapers, the internet creates a global audience. Instead of taking out local advertisements, a new business might create a website and take out internet advertisements. With the internet presence, their reach is never-ending.

According to The New York Times, possibly because of the internet, retail sales of books (for chains, not strictly online retailers like Amazon) jumped last year for the first time since 2007 and are up 6 percent this year. In fact, sales at Brilliant Books are up 14 percent this year. With an internet presence, businesses never close. A customer could make a purchase at midnight – even 3 AM! Entrepreneurs with retail websites are making money in their sleep.

The internet has made a wider scope for networking, possible. For instance, Brilliant Books in Michigan hired a social media manager who opens a dialogue with potential customers and other marketers that live beyond the bookstore’s location. They can locate other businesses and talk about promotional techniques.

An example of how to creatively utilize social media comes from Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Kentucky. They created a large Instagram following by creating a Wild Fig character, Barista Barbie, who reads, drinks coffee, and offers cheeky commentary. People follow Wild Fig on Instagram, hoping to check in on the latest happenings with Barista Barbie. This is not only entertaining but draws in customers.

If you’re interested in creating an online presence or to improve upon your business’ technology in some way, go to MWBEzone.com and look at the Technology category.

About the Author: Sabeen has a Masters in Public Health and is currently writing for MWBEzone.com and its affiliated websites.

Business Growth

The growth of your business is a wonderful thing. Follow our tips to handle your business growth with MWBEzone.com and Uhelpfund.

  1. Anticipate potential growth
  2. Communicate changes with employees
  3. Maintain a good balance of investment and profit

First, it is imperative to be organized in order to anticipate potential growth. For example, say you are running a pharmacy and you are used to filling 200 scripts a day. Let’s say business explodes and you start doing up to 500 scripts a day. You must consider: Do you have stock? Do you have man power? Do you have counter space? Together, these things will determine whether you can get the scripts done in a timely manner and keep business booming.

Next, an influx in money comes with changes in policies and procedures. You must communicate these changes to your employees. If your workers know which functions to perform in which situations, business will run more smoothly. So, while the pharmaceutical business as a whole is still booming, pharmacy law changes all the time. If your pharmacy techs don’t know which actions to perform, you may be penalized by state or federal law.

Finally, keep a balance between what you invest in the business and what you save. It’s not great to just sit on money, especially if you are running a business. If business is doing well, why not reward customers by revamping a part of the store front? Or, update your services. You must watch your money, though. Don’t overspend.

If you follow these 3 tips to stay afloat during times of growth, you will do well. If you think you don’t need help during a time of growth, you’re wrong. This is because these are the times when you need to anticipate growth, communicate, and maintain a balance of investment into your business.

If you’re a growing business and looking for grants, you will find them here:

Small Business

Workforce

If you have a business, product or service idea that would benefit the greater good, you should start a crowdfunding project on Uhelpfund and allow the people to contribute.

About the Author: Sabeen is a Masters in Public Health and currently writing for MWBEzone.com and its affiliated websites.