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. 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. 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 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 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


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 and

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 or

Find related and other grants to help support your business at and

About the Author: Intro by GrantWatch Staff Writer.


Internet and Social Media for Small Business

Grants for technology can be found at, a website dedicated to grants for small business. Small businesses can learn from some bookstores when considering: to 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 closes. 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 dialog with potential customers and other marketers that live beyond the bookstore’s local. 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 and look at the Technology category. 

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


Business Growth

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


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 and its affiliated websites.

Small Business Startups

Small business startups, are you having trouble figuring out where to begin? MWBEzone and have grants for community-serving businesses. We update our grants daily, so just because you don’t find anything today, it doesn’t mean you won’t find it tomorrow.

This article was written in response to the many calls from people starting up businesses who are wondering about the first step to take.

Let’s say you’ve thought up a brilliant invention or service. Or, you just want to open a mom and pop store. Or, you are an independent artist or designer. What do you do first?

Write a business plan!

If you’re entirely new to business, you should hire a business consultant. Check out this article, previously published here and on the MWBEzone blog: When Hiring a Business Consultant.

A business plan includes the following subdocuments:

  • executive summary
  • company description
  • market analysis
  • organization and management
  • service or product line
  • marketing and sales
  • funding request
  • financial projections, and
  • appendix.

For further reading, check out the article at GrantWriterTeam’s blog: What Goes Into a Business Plan? Between you and your business consultant, you should be able to map out a great business plan that shows potential, longevity, and stability.

The SBA, Small Business Administration suggests 10 steps to start a small business. We have narrowed them to the following 5.   

After 1) writing a business plan, 2) finance your business, 3) determine its legal structure, 4) register for taxes, and then 5) obtain licenses and permits.

To fund your business, you might first consider loans. This is not a bad idea. Most new businesses start off with a loan, but don’t forget to apply for grants and to start a crowdfunding campaign. The combination of all three should give a serious startup enough capital to proceed.

Both and have grants for small businesses that serve the common good. 

You can use the multiple spellings in the keyword search for startups, start-ups or start was first developed for the business and individual grant seeking community, as the sister website to When you subscribe to GrantWatch you get MWBEzone for FREE.

Here are some of the business grants listed at GrantWatch and MWBEzone, now:

Grants to Rhode Island Businesses for Internships in Life Sciences and Engineering

Deadline: Ongoing – Responses are due by June 30, 2018 at 11:45 PM ET

Grants to Wyoming For-Profit Companies for Employee Training and Professional Development

Deadline: Ongoing

Grants to Florida Businesses, Especially in Inner Cities, Rural Areas, or Brownfield Area to Assist with the Training of New Employees

Deadline: Ongoing

Financial Assistance to Canada Nonprofits and Businesses in Multiple Provinces to Expand Enterprises

Deadline: Ongoing

In-Kind Services to Greater New Orleans, Louisiana Veteran Entrepreneurs for Business Development

Deadline: Ongoing


Know Your Credit Score

As a small business owner, it’s important to be up to date with your finances. has grants for Financial Assistance. A grant may be a good alternative to a loan, especially if your credit is questionable.

A credit score determines your business’ credit worthiness. So, not only does it affect your likelihood of acquiring loans, but the extension of credit lines. Furthermore, large corporations require a business credit score minimum for contracts.

According to Experian, your business credit score can influence the following:

  1. The size of the loan and interest rates
  2. Premiums
  3. The determination of suppliers extending credit terms

Your business credit score will be based on your credit, public records, and demographic information. 

If you have a poor credit score, look at grants at You will find grants for operating costs, education, equipment and more. Check out some of the following Financial Assistance grants:

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Retired Professional Boxers to Assist with Financial Hardships

Deadline: 09/15/2016

Grants to USA Individuals with Paralysis to Purchase Recreational Sports Equipment

Deadline: 09/30/2016

Grants to South Ohio Nonprofits, Schools, and Individuals for Education, Financial Assistance, and Human Services

Deadline 1: 09/30/16; Deadline 2: 12/31/16

Income Tax Credits to New York City Businesses that Relocated Operations to New York City after July 2003

Deadline: 06/30/2017

Grants to New Mexico Individuals for the Purchase of Medical Equipment for Disabled Children

Deadline: Ongoing

Grants to Nevada Individual Nursing Students to Continue Higher Education

Deadline: Ongoing

Financial Assistance to Canada Nonprofits and Businesses in Multiple Provinces to Expand Enterprises

Deadline: Ongoing

Lastly, consider crowdfunding for your financial needs. It’s free!

Crowdfunding Opportunities for USA, Canada, International Nonprofits, Individuals and Businesses

Deadline: Ongoing

It's important to know that grants are not totally a financial free for all!  The funding source will want to know your financial accountability. 

They will want answers to the following questions: Who manages the funds? What is their past experience? Who double signs the checks? What is the financial management procedure?  What amount of funds have you managed in the past? They might want to see some financial documents as well. 

So pay your bills on time and keep accurate records.

At, you will find grants for Small Business, Economic Development, and Capital Funding that you won’t find listed on MWBEzone is a sister-site of GrantWatch, the search engine that gets results.