(BPT) - If you've launched a small business or dream of becoming a business owner, the task may seem daunting. The good news is, helpful resources - and funding sources - are available to support you as you plan, start and grow your business. Here are tips specifically for women and women of color business owners, that will help take business operations to the next level.
Build your brand image
To make an impression in today's digital landscape, it's crucial for your brand to be clearly defined and communicated. If branding is not your expertise, it's worth the investment to hire someone to bring their experience and market know-how to creating your brand and developing a strategy to communicate your brand effectively.
Knowing what your brand means and how your product or services fulfill your vision will help your business stand out from the competition.
Optimize social media
To generate positive word-of-mouth, offer exceptional services and rapid communication. It's also vital to take advantage of today's digital landscape by maximizing your social media presence. Create relevant content and positively engage with your audience on their favorite platforms to build brand awareness - and a loyal following.
Develop a social media strategy and content creation calendar focused on how your company engages with your customer base.
Embrace the digital transformation
If your small business hasn't yet mastered ways to accept digitized payments online or in-store, now's the time to get on board. According to data from the latest Visa Back to Business Study, more than two thirds (68%) of the female consumers surveyed said they anticipate shifting to being completely cashless within 10 years.
In the U.S., e-commerce has grown significantly in the last year and that trend is likely to continue in the future. Relatedly, 3 in 4 (76%) of women-owned businesses surveyed in the Visa Back to Business Study agreed accepting new forms of payment is fundamental to their business's growth.
To help your customers pay for goods and services using their computer or mobile device, Visa offers a variety of resources and digital tools.
Constantly pursue funding opportunities
Beyond discovering resources via the Small Business Administration at sba.gov, be on the lookout for ad hoc programs focusing on women and people of color to help you get needed funding. For example, visit websites like IFundWomen.com and BlackGirlVentures.org for information, tips and pitching opportunities.
Right now, Visa is partnering with Black Girl Ventures to help provide hyperlocal grants and mentorship, plus access to partners, products and marketing to help drive growth to minority-owned small businesses. If you live in Atlanta or Detroit you can sign up to participate in upcoming pitching opportunities here.
This partnership builds on Visa's commitment to support entrepreneurs in cities with the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. - Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C.
"Through this partnership, Black Girl Ventures and Visa are able to assist entrepreneurs at a time when they need it the most and provide a megaphone to each of these community's most pressing needs," said Shelly Omilâdè Bell, founder and CEO, Black Girl Ventures.
For more information on how Visa is supporting Black women-owned businesses, visit the She's Next Homepage. Or to learn more about the programs Visa has made available for small business owners to succeed, visit the Visa Small Business Hub.
This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a legal, tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to you and about your individual financial situation.