business resources

Leveraging Free Resources for Small Businesses

Are you a small business in need of financial and technical help? If you are, did you know that there is a multitude of resources available through your City, County, State, and even some Federal programs? The availability of these resources has actually increased substantially throughout the pandemic, further shedding a light on the impact and importance that small businesses and essential services have on our communities.

Below is a list of some of these resources:

Prestamos CDFI

Prestamos CDFI has a variety of no-cost business support services available, including:

  • Program to Invest in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME):
    • Business Advising/Coaching for businesses with under 10 employees in Arizona and Nevada
  • Prestamos Women’s Business Center:
    • Startup and Business support focused on women in Central/Northern Arizona
  • Microlending:
    • Ongoing advising and coaching for Microloan Clients

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The SBA has a variety of no, or low, cost programs for small businesses including:

  • Women’s Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women entrepreneurs
  • SCORE: Counselors that provide Business Advising and Workshops
  • Small Business Development Centers: Support with business plans and applications for capital
  • Veterans Business Centers: Startup and Business Support focused on women”

​​Additional Grants and Resources for Businesses:

  • FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab
  • Nav’s Small Business Grant
    • https://www.nav.com/business-grant-contest/
    • Must be a Nav member (memberships are free). Receive up to $10,000 to take your business to the next level. Entries must be submitted between June 30th and August 6th for your chance to receive a grant.
  • iFund Women
  • Business Certifications
    • Are you a minority, women, or veteran-owned business? If so, you can apply to become officially certified as minority-owned which can open up new opportunities for federal, state, local, and corporate contracts.
    • https://nmsdc.org/
  • Look in your community
    • Did you know that your local libraries and co-working spaces also offer a variety of resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs? Check your local library branch or a co-working space near you for more information.
    • https://www.joinhuub.com/

Take advantage of these resources to help elevate your business to the next level. Make sure to check out our website and social media pages to stay up to date on the latest tools, webinars, and other services we offer through Prestamos.

Employer hiring new staff member

Hiring During A Time of Uncertainty

This month, we spoke to Prestamos Business Advisor Pedro Alvarez to get his take on a special topic of interest for the small business and nonprofit community. Pedro discusses how the current landscape, affected by the pandemic, has affected hiring and offers tips when recruiting for your organization. From retention to effective outreach, we chat about the impact your staff have on your company.

Pedro, please give us an overview of how you see the current employment landscape.

We have seen a BIG shift in the employment landscape. Companies are having a hard time finding applicants as more and more people are choosing to stay home temporarily, reconsider the traditional job market, consider starting their own business or work as independent contractors, or are simply waiting to reenter the job market due to continued safety concerns. It really boils down to creating a mutually beneficial opportunity for both parties. I believe that, more than before, the key to successful recruiting will be that both parties must truly feel valued during the process.

How can employers, from small businesses to local nonprofits, focus their recruitment efforts?

Understand what you are offering. When posting a job ad, determine what will drive an applicant to you and keep your recruitment efforts positive. In addition to competitive salaries and health benefits, consider offering and highlighting to applicants:

  • Your company culture (applicants want to relate to your team and business mission!)
  • Your stance on social justice issues
  • Volunteer hour perks and earned time off benefits
  • Work from home options
  • Your location, commute times, and office perks (coffee stations, anyone?)

Additionally, I recommend being transparent about hourly pay/salaries in the job application. More and more applicants are clicking away from job postings if the pay rate is not included. Your transparency will help you and the applicant save time and energy, and will allow you to focus on the applicants who are serious about the job you are hiring for.

Remember – while salary is critical, many applicants care just as much about work/life balance and/or workplace culture when finding a new job.

What should job applicants be doing when looking for new roles?

Put yourself first! Of the many lessons we learned from the pandemic, one critical takeaway was that applicants want to enjoy their work. They need purpose. Belonging. If you are an applicant transitioning into a new role and/or industry, or are waiting to reenter the workforce, make sure you understand what that new job will provide you in the long run. Keep working on your skills, and find a company that will value you for what you bring to the table.

Thank you, Pedro, for your insight! If you are a small business or nonprofit and need help with hiring, retention, employee trainings, and other business services, please contact our team at prestamosloans@cplc.org!

Employer hiring new staff member

Yellow background, happy woman in sunglasses

This Summer Your Business Will Shine

Preliminary economic data from US Federal Government is showing a spectacular recovery with an estimated growth of 6.4% GDP for the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, other sources estimate that consumer spending is skyrocketing at 10.7 in Q1 of 2021.

That is good news for your small business because it means that the average consumer is now spending more money than it was a year ago and the trend is upward.

Here we share some tips with you to make your business shine to the eyes of your prospects and clients and be part of this strong demand for products and services. Please remember the old saying “Locals like to buy from locals.”

Yellow background, happy woman in sunglasses

 

Diversify your offerings to suit the local community during the hot summer months. Summer represents a great opportunity to provide new items in your store that reflect the season. If your business is part of the service industry, offer to meet your clients in local hotspots that that are more convenient so they may avoid the travel. In addition to experiencing and supporting a new local business, you also get to engage your clients in a new way!

Offer “Local Discounts” for the local community to reward them for shopping local. Feel free to unleash your imagination and promote your business with coupons, discounts, and special offers to locals using your traditional channels and your business social media accounts.

Summer is hot and ice cream parlors and similar venues turn into popular spaces during the summer for people trying to refresh with a cold treat during the hot months. Your business can benefit from this trend if you collaborate up with a local ice cream shop to offer coupons per every purchase in your store.

The Summer is here and your business will shine with increased sales and profits!