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More than 5 million small business applications were filed last year, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and this year is already on track to surpass last year’s applications.
The Economic Innovation Group says that applications for new businesses in the first six months of 2023 are already 7% higher than last year.
With all of those applications, many people are going online to find answers about starting, funding, and running small businesses. Data from Google shows that people searching for the small business topic in the business and industrial category over the past year searched for the following related queries.
1. Small business loans
There are lots of different ways small business owners can fund a new business. These can include self-funding, crowdfunding, using venture capital, or through a small business loan, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA recommends getting a small business loan if you want to retain complete control over your business. But before you apply, you’ll need to get a few things set up first. For example, per the SBA website, you should have a business plan, expense sheet, and financial projections for the next five years.
When applying for a loan, the SBA says you should shop around from different sources to compare lenders and find the right one. And if you don’t qualify for a direct SBA loan, you may want to consider an SBA-guaranteed loan.
2. Small business ideas
Maybe you know you could be good at managing your own business, but you don’t know exactly what you want that business to look like.
Thankfully, Next Insurance has a few ideas. The small business insurance company compiled a list of the hottest small business trends for this year, which include:
- Home remodeling work
- Solar panel installation
- Smart home installation
- Home healthcare
- Fitness training
- Digital content creation
- Animal caretaking and training
Of course, the best small business idea is the one that’s specific to what you want to do. Just make sure you do some market research once you have a business idea, so you can figure out your market and potential competitors.
3. Small business marketing
One of the most pressing questions online users had was how to market their small businesses. Each business will have its own unique approach to marketing and how to present the business.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to create a marketing plan. And it should include a few basic ideas, according to the SBA:
- Target market: Know who your audience is and know them well. Take some time to think about their demographics, what your potential market size is, and what unique traits your target market may have.
- Competitive advantage: Figure out what sets your product or service apart from the competition. You may be cheaper, offer better customer service, or have a superior product. Knowing what makes your business unique will help you market it better to customers.
- Set marketing goals: You may want to get a certain amount of people to see your online ads, increase email subscribers, or get more people in your storefront. Whatever you want your marketing to help you with, make sure you have a measurable goal.
- Set a budget: Lastly, determine how much money you can put toward your marketing. Track your expenses and the results of your marketing spending to see if what you’re investing is raising your brand awareness or increasing sales.
4. Small business grants
Thousands of grants are available for businesses each year and one of the most comprehensive grant websites is Grants.gov. The site lists grants for more than 1,000 grant programs and the total amount available is $500 billion annually.
The SBA also has grants available, though it doesn’t offer grants directly to people for starting or expanding their businesses. Instead, the SBA says it has a limited amount of grants for community organizations that promote entrepreneurship. Your local SBA office may have more information about what types of grants are available to small businesses.
5. Small business credit cards
Another important question web users had about small businesses was about credit cards. Many small business owners open a business line of credit to help them cover costs and expand their businesses.
The SBA says on its website that small business credit cards are an “essential financial tool” to separate personal and business expenses. The organization recommends shopping around for the best card that fits your business needs and comparing the interest rate, card benefits, and fees.
Business credit cards often have higher spending limits than personal credit cards, and business cards report to business-specific credit reporting agencies, which protects your personal credit and helps create a credit identity for your business.
These topics are just scratching the surface of small business topics. If you’re looking for more information about small businesses, including marketing, credit cards, taxes, human resources, or more, check out our comprehensive small business page.
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