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Don’t Miss This – December 13, 2018

Over 60 exhibitors looking for business with small certified firms DVBE’s, DBE’s, WBE’s, and SBE’s.

By Debbie Gregory.

Building an online presence from the ground up can be very intimidating for a small business owner. Gone are the days when just having a Facebook page and Twitter account was all you needed. Customers are choosing to shop online now more than ever.

Here are some tips as to the best way to bring your business online:

First of all, focus on getting your business off the ground and on the internet. Concentrate on your website. Make sure it is functional. If buttons aren’t working or your website is not responding, your potential customers will move on to your competitors’ websites. Because your website is a reflection of your business, it’s worth investing in making it up to date and easy to navigate. And don’t forget to offer a mobile app as well.

Depending on the type of business you run, think about setting up an e-commerce site that allows customers to purchase your products online.

Blogging is the best way to keep your customers in the loop on topics such as sales, deals, events, and much more. You don’t have to bombard your customers with posts every day, but don’t neglect fresh content.

Make sure your products and services have a price point that covers all of your costs and allows for a profit.

Keep in mind that there are many professional groups that you can join to find potential business contacts, as well as to stay on top of trends happening in your industry. LinkedIn is probably one of the best for accomplishing this.

Offer something to your visitors in exchange for their email addresses, like a percentage off or a free download.

Know before you start, building and running any business, online or brick and mortar, means you will be working long and hard in the beginning stages.

Hopefully, at some point, it will get easier and smoother.

vboc

Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps more than 200,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans, and National Guard and Reserve service members, and military spouses start and grow their small businesses.?  The SBA will be adding six Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) to the existing 13, bringing the nationwide total to19.

Each VBOC will provide entrepreneurial training, comprehensive business assessment, and mentoring to active duty service members, veterans and service-disabled veterans, National Guard and Reservists, and military spouses interested in starting a small business.

The new VBOCs will be located as follows:

  • Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE), Providence, RI
  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
  • Georgia Southern University Research & Services Foundation, Statesboro, GA
  • Cochise County Community College District, Sierra Vista, AZ
  • University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
  • MiraCosta College, Oceanside, CA

Existing VBOCs are located as follows:

  • Veterans Business Outreach Center at Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
  • Big Sky Economic Development Authority, Billings, MT
  • WBDC Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Community Business Partnership, Springfield, VA
  • Hampton Roads Veterans Business Outreach Center, Norfolk, VA
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center at Gulf Coast State College, Panama City, FL
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center at Fayetteville State Univ., Fayetteville, NC
  • VetBiz Central, Inc., Flint, MI
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX
  • New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center, Albuquerque, NM
  • Veterans Business Resource Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Business Impact NW, Seattle, WA
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center – Region IX, Sacramento, CA

VBOC locations were selected based on “Boots to Business” program demand, military installation, and transitioning population data.

VBOCs support transitioning service members as they begin self-employment or entrepreneurship. Part of the VBOC funding is used to cover costs involved in doing outreach to increase participation in the Boots to Business entrepreneurship training program on military installations in the U.S. and its territories.

Veterans business development is available in each state at SBA District Offices and at VBOCs located throughout the U.S.  To learn more about additional opportunities for veterans available through the SBA, visit www.sba.gov/vets.

boots_to_businessBoots to Business is an introduction to starting a business for veterans and transitioning military. The entrepreneurial education and training program is offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

Speaking at a recent “Boots to Business” boot camp, James Williams, the lead economic development specialist for the Richmond, Virginia District Office of the SBA, told the story about a group of his peers who sold sandwiches to pay for college tuition.

“We laughed at them,” he said. “Fast forward to today — they’re called Subway.”

“Boots to Business” is part of a push to better prepare troops for life after the military and improve TAP, the target of many a veteran’s distain for what has previously been considered to be a superficial approach to transition. Formerly aimed only at troops close to separation, the program was recently opened to all veterans and troops, regardless of how much time they have left in the service.

Williams said that “Boots to Business” serves as a reality check about the very difficult road ahead for anyone starting a business. He added that the structure and discipline troops learn while in the armed forces serves them well in business, but that there’s often an adjustment to leaving the military bubble, with its free health care, readily available services and housing stipends.

“One of the big hurdles is becoming acclimated to civilian life again,” he said. “They have been in a protected kind of life, separated from the general population — some of them have separation anxiety.”

“What we’re really looking to do is give them a vehicle by which they can think about, ‘What is the feasibility of my dream?’ ” he added. “In the end, if you decide, ‘This isn’t for me,’ that’s still a success.”

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

Boots to Business: VAMBOA: By Debbie Gregory

VAMBOA: California Business Portal

Those who own a small business — or want to start one — now have a one-stop source of information about the how-tos.

California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development this month set up a website dedicated to answering basic questions about starting, running or relocating a business.

Users also can use the portal to obtain licenses and permits, as well as to learn about state and local regulations and find links to additional information on government incentives.

The site is at www.businessportal.ca.gov and is accessible on both iOS and Android cell phones and other devices.

Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee

source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28482650/website-set-up-help-small-businesses?source=rss

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