As an entrepreneur or small business owner, a multitude of actions and considerations will need to be made while forming a business or taking steps to build your business. For example, what type of business concept will be pursued such as service, merchandising, and manufacturing or forms of Business Organization such as Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Partnership, Corporation (S-Corp or C-Corp), Limited Liability Organization (LLCs), Non-Profit, or Cooperative (Co-op). No matter what form of business established, important topics to consider will most likely include name selection, logo creation, payroll processing, business insurance, vendor negotiations and selection, website development, outsourcing of services, market analysis and target marketing, sales generation, health insurance and benefits for employees. These are only a small sample of decisions that will need to be made to first establish a business and more important continuous growth of any business.

Small Business Financing

Another important factor is how to finance a business such as a business loan or whether to pursue venture capital (VC) options. Various avenues are available to include; term loans, SBA loans, working capital loans, business line of credit, equipment loans, invoice factoring, invoice financing, merchant cash advances, personal loans, business credit cards, or microloans. In accordance, a long list of companies is available to provide such services for instance: LoanBuilder by PayPal, Lendio, Funding Circle, Rapid Finance, OnDeck, QuarterSpot, StreetShares, SmartBiz, BlueVine, Fundbox, and Kabbage. To look at an expanded list of such service providers, BestCompany lists 125 companies as part of their Best Business Loans.

Crowdfunding & Crowdsourcing

Alternative financing has given rise to crowdfunding which is a form of crowdsourcing. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from many people, typically via the Internet-mediated registries. There are typically three types of crowdfunding: reward crowdfunding, debt crowdfunding, and equity crowdfunding. In accordance, crowdfunding sites include such companies as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Causes, Patreon, GoFundMe, CircleUp, and LendingClub.

Small Business & E-Commerce

E-commerce has affected and changed our lives and we have yet to even come close to the possibilities that this sector of the economy will bring in the future. Companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, Alibaba, UBER, Airbnb, LinkedIn and Twitter, just to mention a few have forever changed the world and how we manage everyday life and how we conduct business. In accordance, for small business comes the challenges to create and execute an e-commerce business plan that will include developing a website by formulating and representing a company’s competitive advantage. A recent study by DHL titled DHL Supply Chain Research Shows at Least 60% of Companies have yet to Fully Implement their E-commerce Strategy Despite Recognizing its Importance, Jim Gehr, President, Retail, DHL Supply Chain, North America states: “Both B2B (61%) and B2C (65%) respondents rated e-commerce as having the biggest effect on customer retention and satisfaction, and the number is only expected to increase in the next 3-5 years.”

To develop and create a website, companies have access to a wide variety of choices such as website builders or companies that offer software tools to create websites such as Wix, Duda, Gator Website Builder, Squarespace, GoDaddy GoCentral, Weebly, Strikingly, uCoz, uKit, Simvoly, and PageCloud to mention a few. In addition, options include web design software such as Constant Contact Builder, SiteBuilder, Adobe Dreamweaver, GIMP (cross-platform image editor), Sketch, and Bootstrap to list a few.

When planning to develop a website, be patient and prepare to spend months in development and perfecting your website. This comes at a cost in both labor and time. For small to medium size businesses, another option is to use WordPress. WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CSM) based on PHP and MySQL used by over 70 million websites which makes it the most popular website management system in use. Although user-friendly, a great deal of planning will still need to take place such as starting development from scratch, utilization of templates, design, hosting, logo integration, e-commerce by utilizing WooCommerce, payment processing, merchant accounts, search engine optimization (SEO) plan, SSL certificates, security and client data integrity and security are important matters to consider.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

A wide range of resources are available to assist small businesses such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and both state and local government resources. For instance, in Arizona, two entities Arizona Small Business Development Center Network (AZSBDC) & Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) work to help launch, grow and sustain small businesses in Arizona. They are Arizona’s largest most comprehensive and accessible statewide source of assistance for small businesses in every stage of development. The AZSBDC provides tools, training and one-on-one business counseling, and the PTAC helps businesses seeking federal, state and local contracting opportunities.

We covered a brief list of topics that small businesses will consider whether starting a new business or an existing business looking to generate new revenue. RREVENU was established to assist clients through the maze of various suppliers, vendors, and options that relate to sourcing, procurement, and contract management.

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