It’s another day at your business, you hoped things would be different, but the same struggles still exist. There aren’t as many customers as you’d like, and the ones who do come end up purchasing very little. Days like these may make you feel like this is the end of your business but fear not.
Many businesses go through periods where sales are down, and customers are stagnant. However, that doesn’t mean you have to close your doors. In an economy that relies primarily on small businesses for financial fluidity and job opportunities, there are countless resources out there to help you come back stronger than before.
Small Business Grants
Most of the time, the way out of a hopeless situation business-wise is financial. However, when your business is going under, it can be hard to find the funds needed to pull through. Luckily, there are many grants, both government and privately sourced, to help small businesses.
Depending on your industry, business, size, and location, you can find grants from various sources. For example, there are federal grants that are awarded to almost all businesses in the U.S. Look for grants that are tailored to your industry and individual needs.
Grants for small business owners can help you overcome your current struggles and come out on top. Whether you need to hire additional staff members, upgrade your system, or launch a marketing campaign to help attract new clients, money is the answer. Grants are especially nice because you don’t have to repay the money.
During the age of the internet and connectivity, learning new skills for you and your staff no longer requires a dedicated budget or the time and effort required for in-person classes and seminars. You can find various online training sources for managers and team members in almost every field and category imaginable. Some free online learning resources for business include:
- Coursera– Coursera has hundreds of free classes from elite education institutions from around the world. They offer courses on anything from business skills to technology and data science classes.
- ALISON– ALISON has one of the most diverse libraries of resources. You can access courses ranging from business, marketing, and HR to first aid, risk avoidance, and taxes.
- MIT OpenCourseWare– As the name suggests, this is a free online learning platform created by MIT. Their courses are more scientific, teaching anything from applied and natural sciences to data sciences and analytics.
- HubSpot Academy– If your main goal is online business management and marketing, HubSpot academy is the right source of information for you and your team members.
If you’re at a spot where you’re not even sure what’s making your business go under, it’s time to ask around. While you can hire a business consultant, that can be too costly for your current situation. Instead, look for local networking events and small business groups where you can connect with other business owners.
Chances are, they had their business go through a similar situation to yours. These forums also create strong-knit communities where other local businesses help you out in return for your assistance and expertise when they’re going through challenges themselves. You never know where your business connections can lead.
If your financial situation is so dire that a few grants won’t help, it may be time you start looking for investors interested in your business. However, before you jump in headfirst thinking that investors are free money the same as grants, you might want to reconsider. There are many pros and cons associated with investors.
On the one hand, you won’t have to compete with dozens of businesses like you would for a grant. Additionally, most investors want their investments to pay off, so they’re more likely to provide you with consultants and expertise of their own. On the other hand, having investors can easily cut down on your share of profits significantly, depending on the percentage of investment. You could end up losing control of the business you’ve spent years building from scratch.
If your main issue is the lack of marketing and customer awareness, but you don’t have enough funds for a full-scale marketing campaign, consider using social media. People nowadays tend to look for businesses online using social media, so it’s free publicity while growing social credibility with every follower, like, and share. It can also be a good way to gauge consumer interest in new products.
You’re Not Alone
Whatever you’re going through, someone else has probably experienced it. Use online forums to find direct help. This experience could be a way to start a network of businesses beyond the scale of your local area.