Virtual Assisting Benefits Small Businesses: Why Outsourcing Makes Sense

Hiring a virtual assistant seems like an extravagance to many small business owners, yet outsourcing promotes small business growth. Here’s why hiring a virtual assistant makes sense.

Virtual Assistants Help a Small Business During Peak Periods

Many small businesses have seasonal or cyclical upticks in volume. The small business owner who tries to manage the increased demand during these times without outsourcing any work can be overwhelmed and unable to keep up. Client orders could be missed, the business owner may become ill due to stress, and important shipment details might get overlooked. An assistant can be hired to help handle customer orders or assist with the small business accounting during peak periods, allowing the small business owner to focus on the increased demand for products and services.

Outsourcing Allows the Small Business Owner to Focus on Bringing in Revenue

Tasks like managing the small business payroll or installing small business software must get done for a business to operate, but these types of activities can eat up a large percentage of a business owner’s time. If these duties are outsourced to a virtual assistant, the small business owner is free to devote attention to things like product development and creation, which can have a direct impact on the growth and profitability of a small business.

Virtual Assistants Help Small Businesses with Special Projects

Whether it’s a global launch for a how-to-make-money-online membership site or a social media promotion for a new blog, virtual assistants keep things running smoothly during special events. The assistant may be hired to manage behind-the-scenes tasks related to the special event or might handle duties normally performed by the owner, such as keeping the small business accounting system up to date. Either way, outsourcing work allows the business owner to realize the greatest growth potential from a special event or project.

Small Business Owners Control the Virtual Assistant Service

There are virtual assistants specializing in most anything a small business owner could ask for. Many assistants bill by the hour and some will bill by the minute, so the small business owner can contract for the specific needs of the business. John Bourscheid, owner of Iceland travel blog Iceland in 8 Days, has a small army of assistants helping with routine tasks and odd jobs with the travel site and more, allowing him to focus on creating content and site development.

Hiring a virtual assistant allows the small business owner to focus on activities that will grow the business. Whether helping out during peak periods or performing tasks such as small business payroll, virtual assistants provide exactly the type of help that is needed for the exact period of time they are needed.

What is the Solution to Finance Inventory for Canadian Business?

Canadian business owners and finance mangers are continually challenged to finance inventory as a component of their overall business financing and cash flow needs. There are solutions to this challenge and we’ll discuss and review some critical factors around inventory finance in Canada.

Inventory financing is the collateralizing of your inventory for financing purposes .Where it gets trick is that it has to work for all parties, yourself, and the lender, when you in fact have existing financing arrangements in place re your overall business finance strategy.

Working capital in Canada generally consists of receivables and inventory – if your sales are growing , and you are collecting receivables and turning over inventory you have a continuous need for more working capital as those two ‘ current assets ‘ grow .

The key to facilitating a solid inventory financing, or purchase order financing in Canada is to help your lender get the feeling they will never have to realize on that inventory to collect their loan or financing proceeds! You want to be able to demonstrate that your inventory is marketable, and that you have the ability to control and count the inventory. A perpetual inventory accounting systems helps a lot in that process – so investigate that with your accountant.

Similar to inventory financing a purchase order financing solution is very complimentary in nature. It is a case of your firm having product to ship but are in effect lacking in your ability to replenish inventory and fulfill orders and contracts.

When clients ask us what can go wrong in an inventory financing scenario we often simply state that you must be in a position to be able to turn inventory over and demonstrate your products are marketable in a worst case scenario .

Inventory and purchase order financing in Canada is specialized – seek out the services of a trusted, credible, and experienced business financing advisor who will be in a position to present your overall financial situation and prospects in the best light – this will include an overview of your current financial position, most importantly also your prospects, and the ability to define a facility based on the overall market value of your particular inventory.

We talked earlier about the challenge of managing through an inventory financing facility based on your current borrowing arrangements. In a perfect world (we know it’s not a perfect world!) you secure both inventory and A/R financing via a chartered bank. The alternative to this is an asset based lending facility, or what is known as an ABL line of credit. This facility margins inventory and receivables to the maximum value, which great increases your ability to draw down on cash flow needs.

In a working capital or asset based line of credit situation you will usually have a larger drawdown on receivable, but a proper inventory financing scenario can easily secure 60-80% of your overall inventory values – that is a lot of additional cash flow if you need to draw down on it.

The key benefits of a properly structured inventory financing facility are that it supplements your overall working capital needs. The facility should revolve, and you should only be paying for what you use. You should also have defined borrowing limits on inventory, and the ability to repay, or draw more financing at your option.

Your best inventory financing ability will ultimately come from your ability, as we said, for you to demonstrate proper accounting and reporting of inventory, as well as information on customer prospects, contracts, etc.

If you structure a proper inventory finance facility you will have access to significantly more working capital , inventory will easily be replenish able, and you should have additional purchasing power based on increased access to cash . Pricing on inventory and purchase order financing varies with the size of the facility, lenders interpretation of the marketability of your product, and your ability to turnover inventory at equal to or better than industry standards based on your own business model.

A proper inventory finance application should be no different that any other type of financing you apply for, so don’t view it as a mysterious type of business financing. Focus on demonstrating clearly how inventory financing will grow your sales and profits, that’s a win win situation for you and your inventory lender.

Finding Small Business Clients for Very Targeted Marketing

Creating a strong marketing plan is just Step One of many for small business owners in finding prospective clients. Some trying to build their businesses from the ground, up build very targeted marketing plans, but then are not sure where to find those that will be most in need of the services or products they provide; so they either misdirect their hard work by networking with the wrong prospects, or get frustrated and stop focusing on marketing altogether.

Any small business owner that knows the benefits of the products or services he/she is offering inside and out and has been able to construct marketing materials and a message that reflect this unique offering has already completed one of the hardest parts of filling up the sales funnel with new prospects. The next step in finding prospective clients is locating the places where targeted marketing efforts will be most effective.

The following are some ways for small business owners to find potential clients that will be most likely to want, need and be able to afford services or products being offered.

Advertising lists provide easy access to future customers:

Advertising lists are good, inexpensive ways to find concentrated groups of possible customers. Compiler companies like Zap Data (http://www.zapdata.com/) and InfoUSA provide lists to small business owners of clients to help streamline the process of customer acquisition. Other similar services can usually be found through local business groups as well as in newspapers or journals. These types of list services have search features that can help narrow down the field of small business clients to only those that would fit a very specific profile, eliminating the need to question, “Does this person care what I have to offer?”

Finding out where great clients hang out and being there is a great networking opportunity:

Creating a profile of the “ideal” client and doing a little research can produce important information about where ideal clients regularly go. It is in these places that targeted marketing efforts will be most successful. For example, a small business owner selling a product or service that a lot of attorneys use can look around the community for business groups to which attorneys belong and get involved. They should go to meetings and conferences when appropriate and sign up for trade shows, volunteer to be panelists at events or write articles for industry publications. This type of networking can provide a slew of appropriate, highly-relevant places for small business owners to get to know potential clients personally, showcase their products and expertise and be part of a well-rounded marketing plan.

Less is always more:

Once a small business owner unlocks the many doors that lead to where clients are, they need to be gentle and smart about finding prospective clients. No one should join more than a few networking organizations or spam mailing lists with e-mails or direct mail, even if they represent very targeted efforts. Marketing is easy to overdo. Above all, it is an evolutionary process that takes time to develop and get right, so patience is necessary. Small business owners should build efforts slowly over a few months and continue to save time for actually focusing on providing the services and products that will best fulfill the needs of their clients.

Finding prospective clients is obviously critical to building a solid business foundation. Getting active and out there in the appropriate marketplace, networking in diverse environments that will be receptive to the specific company’s mission is a huge part of targeted marketing that can produce great referrals and build a company’s roster exponentially.

How to Finance Your Franchise Investment

You have made the decision to purchase a new or existing franchise then quickly realize that basic question – How do you finance your franchise investment.

Money or funding as quickly becomes a top priority and your ability to successfully finance your investment in your new business will ultimately play a large part in your success or failure in your new role as a Canadian entrepreneur.

For non- financial people, those not trained or comfortable in finance that challenge suddenly looms large – at the same time you have read in the papers that business financing continues to be difficult as Canada comes out of the global financial meltdown of 2008-2009.

So how can you be successful then and finance your franchise investment in a manner that allows you to take advantage of your independent business opportunity. The reality is as follows – franchise financing is available in Canada today – it is some what of a custom made financing, and the three largest assets you can bring to the table to succeed are the ability to seek out a trusted and experienced franchise financing advisor, as well as your own business and credit experience, coupled with a relatively reasonable down payment.

The true secret to your overall franchise financing success is the ability to put together a solid, slick proposal that at a high level demonstrates your ability to run the business, the potential financial success of the business, and then presenting that information to sources of franchise financing in Canada.

A key ingredient in all of your planning should be a carefully tailored business plan that highlights the basics we have discussed – this would include a summary of your business experience (and why you will make the business successful), some key financial such as, at least, your sales and profit projections for one to perhaps 3 years. And equally as important in this data is carefull documentation of your costs and expenses.

So let’s assume you have that completed – you now have to present it to a franchise financing and funding source, and ensure you have properly describe the amount of equity of personal funds you will put into the business, as well as the debt component, or total borrowed funds. The magic relationship of the right amount of debt and equity in your business will leave you, as the financial textbooks describe, as ‘properly leveraged’. By that we mean simply that it is probably very wrong to purchase your business with all cash, and equally or moreso as wrong to assume you can or will borrow all the funds needed. Either of those strategies is not recommended!

How are franchises funded in Canada asking our clients? In our experience they are financed mostly by the government sponsored Small Business Loan. In addition that is supplemented by equipment financing where applicable, as well as your own personal investment in the business. Two other sources of financing sometimes come into play; they are a vendor take back on part of the financing, either by the franchisor or the franchisee you might be buying an existing franchise from. Also available in certain cases is the ability to negotiate a cash working capital term loan from the one institution we are aware of that provides that type of financing.

The proper mix of all of the above components of franchise financing will should in fact allow you to successful complete your acquisition. Things not seeming to work for franchises? Grab a Lincoln 210 MP welder and get to work!

Small Business Business Plan: Business Planning Software Simplifies Start-up for Small Businesses

Any business operation operates more smoothly with a plan. Many small business owners are unaware that crafting a comprehensive business plan can improve their operation, or are intimidated by the process. Business planning software works to streamline the process of creating a business plan for inexperienced business owners, helping them to create marketing plans, and improve financial planning.

Planning For Small Business

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to changes in the economy. When times are good, business owners are too busy to make plans. When times are slow, owners seldom think to work on business plans. Many aspects of business are forgotten, due to the lack of administrative experience. Less obvious expenses, such as equipment depreciation, are seldom added to financial calculations, and marketing strategies aren’t fully thought out. Business planning software can simplify the process for small business owners.

Business Planning Software Helps Small Business Owners Get Organized

Business planning software, such as Business Plan Pro, offers a small business owner the chance to create a business plan in a step-by-step format. Sample plans are available for virtually every industry, which simplifies the process even further. The business planning software walks business owners through the process of creating a business plan, including sections on marketing and financial planning.

A Small Business Marketing Plan is Necessary For Success

A marketing plan for small businesses is not just about advertising. Appropriate pricing of products and services is a critical part of creating a small business marketing plan. Conducting research about the industry, including competition and the positioning of the business, is also necessary to the success of a marketing plan. Due to the proliferation of information on the Internet, much of the necessary information can be gathered from online research.

Financial Planning Improves Income For Small Businesses

Most consumers know that a budget is the way to ensure financial health. Budgeting is also an important part of financial planning for small businesses. Profit and loss projections, as well as a break-even analysis are all necessary in the creation of a small business business plan. While these calculations are complex, business planning software automates the process.

Creating a business plan is a key to long-term success for small businesses. Many small business owners are unaware of the need for a business plan. Others are inexperienced, without the necessary knowledge to create such a complex document. Business planning software gives small business owners the opportunity to benefit from compiled knowledge and experience.

Buying a Franchise – 3 Things You Must Know About Franchise Finance and Franchise Loans

Clients are always asking what extra steps or information they need to know to complete a successful acquisition a new or existing franchise. Buying a franchise, it goes to says, is clearly one of the largest decisions any entrepreneur might take. Of coruse there are a couple of different versions of the opportunity, as follows

– Purchase of a new franchise

– Purchase of an excising franchise that is for resale by current owner

– Purchase of an additional unit in your chain when you own one already

Are there any special tips and critical pieces of information you need to know that will get you a leg up on a ‘ leg up ‘ in the area of franchise finance . Let’s share and discuss three critical points.

  1. Franchise Finance is a very specialized type of financing – financing options are available but not unlimited – you need to know what they are
  2. There is a chance for franchise financing failure if you do not have the proper fundamentals in place and are exploring numerous options at the same time – ‘flailing around is not good!
  3. You might significantly benefit by using the services of a franchise consultant in the area of business financing

Lets review our point # 1 – Business financing in general has always been a challenge. Specialized financing in any area of business is a unique challenge because of limited options and a limited number of players. Players = lenders! If you accept business financing is difficult then you can imagine the severity of the challenge in the 20010 global economic crunches that we still seem to be in.

So is it all negativity and bad news. Not necessarily of course if you are informed and prepared. Let’s unveil the mystery of franchise financing. How exactly are the majority of franchises financed in Canada?

The options are exactly as follows:

– A special Government programme called the BIL program under which the majority of franchises in Canada are financed

– Owner equity – your own deposit into the deal

– Equipment and asset financing

– Working capital cash term loan – typically a 5 year payback

– Vendor financing ( if available – more often than not it is not )

– Revolving line of credit for ongoing operating needs and growth!

With respect to the last point we would emphasize that while it is of course important to structure a proper financing around your franchise purchase many business owners forget to consider how they will finance the business on an ongoing basis , and more importantly, how growth options will be financed .

It is critical for you to understand that it is very rare that any one option will get you the full financing you need. The reality is that it will be a select combo (and that’s the expertise you require) to fully finance your business with any number of the above options.

We point out in our key point # 2 that you must be prepared. This is where many clients tell us they have failed in the past – they have not prepared a proper business plan and executive summary. We encourage you to prepare a proper business plan, understand what your opening balance sheet will look like, and most importantly, understand the cash flow needs of your business. For example, if you take the time to sit down and do all the numbers ( this is actually easier than you think ) you could find that in month one and 2 and 3 that you might be experiencing negative cash flow . If sales ramp up slowly and you have negative cash flow then clearly you will have problems which could accelerate and dampen the overall success of your business.

Finally, consider using the services of an experience, credible and trusted franchise consultant that can guide you through the financing maze. Having that party properly prepare a business plan, opening cash flow, executive summary, and proper financial projections is worth a small fee you might be charged . Business financing in Canada dried up in 2008 and 2009 – franchise financing is still alive and well though. Many lenders view franchise financing even more positively than other types of businesses and industries – the reality being that there is a greater chance of success for a brand that is proven and known, and has a reliable business model of proven success.

Know your franchise options, be prepared in executing on those options, and consider italicizing a franchise consultant to complete your franchise loan and overall funding. That’s a solid plan!

Business Incubators Impart Success Potential to New Businesses

Business incubators help such entrepreneurs with inputs that see them through various stages to a successful business enterprise. Built-up space, expensive equipment, funding facilitation and marketing contacts are examples of inputs typically provided by business incubators. They might also relieve entrepreneurs of routine tasks such as accounting and secretarial work.

Significance of Business Incubation

Business incubation is a more efficient alternative to the earlier scenario of entrepreneurs starting their ventures in a basement or garage, and struggling through a learning process to finally establish a successful business. Incubators set up by experienced and successful businesspersons speed up the learning process of novice entrepreneurs, and might also actively help the ventures with the critical funding and marketing activities. This modern alternative could have helped many of the entrepreneurs who failed under the earlier scenario.

Whereas small business support agencies such as SBA of the U.S. are obliged to help all proposals that come to them, business incubators are more selective. They select only startup proposals that have a good chance of succeeding, and then extend much more support to develop these into a successful enterprise than SBA could. In addition to active funding and marketing help, the incubators also mentor the businesspersons through the business operations.

 The businesses that graduate through the incubation process will typically be able to stand on their own once they leave the incubator. They would have a business that is operating successfully, and the mentoring and business development processes would have imparted essential business skills to the businesspersons. Studies have found that nearly 90 percent of such businesses survive for the long term, as compared to less than 10% of all small business startups.

Business incubation can help with economic development of specific regions, creating jobs, developing an entrepreneurial climate, empowerment of women and minorities, and even energizing local communities.

Support Provided by Business Incubators

The list below will give an idea of the wide range of services that business incubators provide. Not all incubators provide all these services, and some of them might restrict their support to businesses in specific areas.

Help is typically provided in the following areas:

  • Physical facilities such as office space, equipment and connectivity
  • Venture funding for innovative and promising businesses
  • Commercialization of new technology
  • Loans from banks and guarantees for such loans
  • Organizing an advisory team
  • Assembling a management team with required skills
  • Contacts and networking for marketing and other purposes
  • Developing skills in gap areas e.g. marketing, financial management
  • Business services such as accounting and secretarial
  • Help with regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection

Microsoft Innovation Centers, for example, provide access to business and technology training, free development software, computer labs and investor networking. These centers operate in many countries across the world.

The key point to notice is that the typical businessperson starting a new business is not likely to be well-versed in many of these areas. Business incubation thus helps speed up their learning process.

Many incubators provide support for businesses operating from homes or in remote areas. For example, businesses in remote areas are helped through counseling and other help delivered over the Internet and phone. Incubators might also focus on specific sectors, such as computer hardware, life sciences, nanotechnology and software development.

The incubation period typically differs from industry to industry. Industries that need long research-to-market times might remain under incubation for much longer that those who can provide a product or service almost immediately.

How Incubators Make their Money

Governments might extend funding assistance in the form of grants to business incubator companies. The companies will also typically charge for business services such as accounting. Additionally, many might also take a stake in the mentored business, and benefit when the business prospers.

In fact, private entrepreneurs have found that business incubation is good business, and some of them even derive great satisfaction in helping new entrepreneurs grow their business.

Business incubators have changed the scenario facing new entrepreneurs by providing them just the type of support in an organized manner that each startup business needs. The support can range from business space and expensive equipment through funding assistance and networking to business mentoring. Business incubation has proven itself as highly effective in fostering entrepreneurship and economic development.

How to Finance a Franchise – Your Options and Risk

Entrepreneurs who wish to purchase a new or existing franchise are always asking us ‘What are my Financing Options?”. The ability to choose the right financing option (in reality it is the right mix of financing options) is one of the most important aspects of your entry into the purchase and running of a successful franchise in Canada.

It is of course very rare that a franchise can be purchased for all cash, as the amounts involved can be very significant. And in fact, as we will demonstrate, in many cases that would actually be the wrong thing to do. Even the largest and most successful corporations in the world take on debt, there is good debt and bad debt of course (as consumers we now that also. By utilizing the right mix of debt and your own equity you can properly ‘leverage’ the business for greater rewards and returns.

We will use a quick and somewhat blatant and unrealistic example just to illustrate our point. Let’s say that you wish to purchase a franchise for 250,000.00, which is certainly not an uncommon amount. You have the option of paying cash for it (lets pretend!), or you can put 10,000.00$ down and borrow the rest. At the end of one year your franchise nets 20,000.00 in net income, let’s assume. If you had only put in 10,000.00$ of your own money you have generated a 200% return on equity. Even Warren Buffet would be jealous of you. However, had you put in 250,000.00$ of our own money you can clearly see you have many years to go before you get a positive return on your significant initial investment.

So whats our bottom line – it’s simply that debt and the right amount of leverage can be a good thing, and it’s an excellent way to measure the potential returns in any business, including your investment into a Canadian franchise.

Let’s return to our core topic, financing your franchise. The reality is that are several options in Canada to finance your purchase. Those options can relate to either a new or existing franchise – both are quite financeable. One of the main reasons you might wish to consider purchasing an existing franchise is that in some cases the track record and the assets in the business might present an easier case for financeability.

Franchise financing in Canada is absolutely a specialized type of financing. When we sit down with clients to evaluate their options d and focus on the quickest and best way to achieve franchise financing success we can summarize your financing options in the following manner –

-Government Small Business Loan – (By far the most common and popular)

-Your own personal equity or down payment (typically from 10-50%)

– Equipment and asset financing

– Working Capital Term Loan

– Operating facility for ongoing requirements

– VTB – (Vendor take back) – in some cases the franchisor or the seller of the current franchise will waive full payment and agree on a final pre agreed upon payment to be made at some point in the future

Whether you consider yourself financially astute, or if you are concerned and worried that you don’t know enough about financing in general, it is strong recommended you align yourself with a trusted, credible and experienced advisor in franchise financing. Understanding your options, picking your options, and executing on those options within your timelines is the key to franchise financing success.

ERP, MRP & CRM: Making Sense for Small Business Owners

Confused by all the business acronyms out there about ERP, MRP and CRM software packages? Wondering how these systems can help small businesses, but unsure what they do? Well, for many small business owners, with so many options to choose from, and with so many conflicting testimonials, making sense of it all can often be an exercise in futility. Don’t despair, in their simplest form, all these systems do is improve the access to information from both inside, and outside the company. In fact, it’s the amalgamation of this information that both reduces costs, and improves efficiency.

Companies know that to win business and grow, means to provide real time information, shorten product lead times, and excel at customer service. Customers will always gravitate to those companies that can provide products and information quickly. That includes providing customers with immediate information on delivery delays, new programs and discounts on deals, and up to date information on their account. Delays cost business, but lack of information on those delays, costs more. At the heart of all these systems, is to allow companies to become proactive in the eyes of their customers.

What Does MRP Stand For?

MRP stands for Manufacturing Resource Planning, and is a software package designed around managing production in all its forms. Typically these systems track work orders through production. They dictate the amount of material and parts to use, the number of finished products to make, and track the individual cycle times of each operation during the product’s manufacturing life. More importantly, it allows all internal departments, including customer service and sales, a window into the current status of work, and an estimated completion date for customers.

 What Does CRM Stand For?

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. Its approach is to improve the ease of information transfer about customer purchasing patterns, credit information and payment history, contact information, sales leads, and customer service history. The importance of a CRM software is that it allows its users to locate and close on business opportunities, and use existing information to improve customer loyalty, incentivize them to continue purchasing, and improve a company’s ability to reduce sales cycle times. It bridges together a company’s sales, technical support, marketing and customer service functions into on all encompassing information source.

What Does ERP Stand For?

Perhaps no other software package brings together a company’s entire access to information, as does Enterprise Resource Planning. Consider an ERP system as an extension of MRP, in that it takes the benefits of tracking manufacturing activities, to tracking all of a company’s internal activities between its departments. ERP systems bring together a company’s entire internal process into one system, with real time information, that can be accessed by all. In the process, the company reduces operational costs, improves service and eliminates timely work delays.

Companies that use ERP programs might include companies that design, engineer, and manufacture products. The ERP system bridges a company’s entire internal information so as to improve operational effectiveness. Redundant work processes, and lack of information, is one of the largest costs to companies. Regardless of size, if a company has a hard time moving work from one internal department to the next, or lacks real time critical information that all its employees can see, it will simply result in delays, and delays to customers mean lost business.

As for which system is best, it really depends upon the business itself. Small businesses don’t necessarily have concern themselves with programs designed for much larger organizations. Customers must come to see their vendors as on the ball, and ready to help. Lacking the ability to service customers, or unable to provide essential information, is a recipe for an upset and frustrated customer. These programs improve efficiency and reduce costs, while improving a company’s ability to be proactive, instead of reactive.

Grants for Small Businesses Women

Nowadays even though more and more women are getting into different types of businesses, they still find difficulty in arranging for finances for their businesses. Grants for small businesses women are really helpful for all businesswomen. The economic recession that hit the world in the later part of 2008 has left almost every person in financial crunch. The government is concerned with overall development of people and especially concerned with the development of women. The administration is trying to help women come forward and face the situation and for that they are providing moral and financial boost up through grants.

Any woman, who wants to start a new business or expand the existing one or simply wants to run her business smoothly, she can apply for the relevant grants. There are different grants for different purposes and so the first and the most important thing is to find out the most suitable grants from the list available. The best place to look for grants is the government website and here you will get complete information regarding any grant you want to apply. This is a time taking job but it is worth all the efforts when you will receive the money and you will be able to accomplish your business needs with this free financial aid.

The most remarkable and attractive feature of grants for small businesses women is that it is free money and you do not have to repay it. Starting a business is a stressful time and so you should apply for the grants. This grant money will help you fulfill any of your business requirements. You have to keep in mind few points so that you have maximum chances of getting approved for the grant money.

Prepare a solid business plan when you are trying to apply for government grant money. Make sure your business plan includes the details about the money you have requested from the government and also about how your business will be beneficial for the community. Your business plan should be impressive and persuasive when you apply for grants for small businesses women.