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By CAN Capital

July 24, 2014
​Reaching Your Target Audience - Is Online Marketing the Answer?

​Small business owners are told if they aren’t online, they’re missing out on opportunities. CAN Capital’s Small Business Health Index however, found that only 15 percent of small business owners actually consider social media marketing like Facebook ads to be extremely important to their growth strategy. Twenty-eight percent went so far as to say they are not at all important. So what’s the answer?

​In today’s digital age, small business owners are told that if they aren’t online, they’re missing out on endless opportunities. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp – you need it all to succeed. And the most important part of your online presence? Targeted web advertisements to reach all of your key demographics. CAN Capital’s Small Business Health Index however, found that only 15 percent of small business owners actually consider social media marketing like Facebook ads to be extremely important to their growth strategy. Twenty-eight percent went so far as to say they are not at all important.

So what’s the answer then? Specialty online marketing firms are on the rise, but the small business owners who are in the trenches every day seem to be saying that the services they offer aren’t really necessary. In fact, a recent article from The Wall Street Journal reported many times these “targeted” ads don’t even reach the correct audiences and therefore, aren’t the value add to businesses that they promise to be. Business owners report frequent instances of their social media advertisements, which they’ve paid quite a bit for, being seen by consumers hundreds of miles away from their local coffee shops or book stores. A business owner in Miami told of multiple phone calls from consumers in Texas and Virginia – not exactly the audiences she was trying to reach!

Now, we certainly don’t want to discount the power of online marketing in helping small businesses grow their presence and reach audiences beyond their borders. However, if you’re a small, family restaurant looking to get information out to your customers about a special, one-time promotion, you want to be sure that it is going to people nearby who can take advantage of it right away. Perhaps the potential customers in Virginia will stop by the restaurant next time they’re in Miami, but that may not be for months. What’s going to pay the bills until then? Furthermore, according to a December 2012-January 2013 Gallup survey, 62 percent of consumers say social media has no influence at all on their purchasing decisions. Only 5 percent say it has a great deal of influence.

So what is the answer?

Do we all give up the internet then? Are those hours spent branding your Yelp page wasted? Not at all! The key to online marketing is optimization. Rather than pouring money into advertisements on Facebook, Google and similar sites, use your social and online tools to engage with customers and build a community. In CAN Capital’s recent Master Class with small business expert, Gene Marks, he said that in today’s market we don’t need to sell to our customers, we need to educate them. Use your Facebook and Twitter pages to offer insight on your specialty. If you’re a local bookshop, share summer reading recommendations. Local clothing store? Link to articles from different magazines and blogs about current trends and designers.

Your online presence is all about building the right audience. Web ads may appear to be the quick, easy way to do that, but in the long run, building a community and strong brand identity will bring you continued success in the years to come.

Tags: small business health index

By CAN Capital

July 22, 2014
​The Results are in: CAN Capital Launches Small Business Health Index and Things are Looking Up

​Growth is on the horizon according to CAN Capital’s inaugural Small Business Health Index, which found that 61 percent of small business owners expect their business to grow over the next 12 months.

​Growth is on the horizon according to CAN Capital’s inaugural Small Business Health Index, which found that 61 percent of small business owners expect their business to grow over the next 12 months. The Small Business Health Index, powered by SurveyMonkeyTM, measured the sentiment of over 700 small business owners on market trends, personal business goals, industry challenges, and their outlook for the coming months.

The results of our first Small Business Health Index demonstrate that small business owners are not only expecting growth, but actively taking steps to facilitate and prepare for it. Over a third of small business owners reported that they are exploring new forms of advertising/marketing (such as online ads and email marketing), and over one quarter plan on purchasing equipment or making inventory investments over the next year. Other small business owners indicated that they plan on hiring more employees, opening a new location, or expanding their current location within the next twelve months.

As meaningful growth requires investment, it is not surprising that nearly half (45 percent) of small business owners surveyed anticipate a need for external capital within the next year. However, the majority of these small business owners (61 percent) also reported that gaining access to working capital is quite or extremely challenging. At CAN Capital we’re committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed, and we deliver on this by providing access to working capital that small businesses may have difficulty obtaining elsewhere. Another way that we aim to deliver on this commitment is by providing the small business community with education and resources that lead to actionable advice.

Moving forward, this survey and its corresponding Index will be published on a regular basis as a way to provide greater insight into the trends affecting small businesses and help small business owners themselves make decisions that can positively affect their profitability and future success.

To learn more about the results of the CAN Capital Small Business Health Index check out our infographic which outlines key findings. You can also view the full survey results here. Follow CAN Capital on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Tags: small business health index

By CAN Capital

June 16, 2014
​Announcing the CAN Capital Master Class: Tips, Tools and Hacks to Help Grow Your Business

​At CAN Capital, we’re committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed. One way we deliver on that commitment is by providing small business owners access to the working capital they need. Another is by providing the small business community with the tools and resources to help maintain that growth. To that end, we are thrilled to announce the upcoming CAN Capital Master Class on June 25th - “Tips, Tools and Hacks to Help Grow Your Business.”

This Master Class will be led by celebrated author, columnist and small business owner, Gene Marks. Marks will discuss the latest digital marketing tactics successful small businesses should employ to:

- Effectively engage with and nurture customers

- Increase sales

- Leverage mobile apps and directory services to best market and grow your business.

CAN Capital Master Class webinars are hosted by BizLaunch and are free to join, but reservations are required. Space is limited so secure your spot now by signing up here. You may also follow along on Twitter under the #CANMaster hashtag.

Tags: master class

By CAN Capital

June 09, 2014
Huge Win for Our #CANMatch Philanthropic Partner: U.S. House and Senate Move to End Horse Slaughter

​CAN Capital supports Peaceable Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending horse slaughter and we’re enthused by recent developments in the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees that take steps toward the same goal.

​​For the past two months, CAN Capital has been supporting Peaceable Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending horse slaughter. Since May, we have been matching contributions made to Peaceable Farm through CAN Capital’s Facebook page. As we move into the final month of our matching program with Peaceable Farm (ending on July 7th), we are enthused by the recent developments in the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees that take steps to end horse slaughter in America.

On May 29th, the US House Appropriations Committee approved a 2015 agriculture spending bill amendment that will bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from funding horse slaughter plants in America. One week earlier, the Senate approved an identical amendment.

The House and Senate versions of the agriculture spending bills will now move to a conference committee, with the anti-horse-slaughter provision included in both bills. The provision is expected to be retained in the measure sent to President Obama for final approval, meaning that what was previously a temporary, annually renewed policy ban could potentially become law. In the meantime, the recent actions by the House and Senate appropriators will extend the ban on funding horse slaughter operations through fiscal year 2015.

This legislation demonstrates that horse slaughter is an important concern not only for CAN Capital and Peaceable Farm, but also for our nation. The recent amendments are a positive move indicating increased awareness about the issue. This is encouraging for the equine rescue community, as it demonstrates a willingness to take decisive action to protect horses from cruel and unnecessary slaughter.

However, even if permanently signed into law, the bill will not prevent horse slaughter outside the U.S. As discussed in our last blog post, many horses are shipped from the U.S. to be slaughtered elsewhere, in facilities where the process results in an appalling degree of pain and suffering. Following the recent legislation, we hope that House and Senate leaders will be motivated to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would not only permanently bar U.S. horse slaughter, but also prevent the export of live horses to our North American neighbors for the purpose of slaughter.

In the meantime, equine rescue organizations like Peaceable Farm play a key role in saving America’s horses. CAN Capital’s objective is to help small businesses access the funds they need to succeed, and we are hoping to do the same for Peaceable Farm with our matching program. To help Peaceable Farm access the funds it needs, CAN Capital will continue matching donations throughout the month of June. Help us make June our best month yet! You can click the “donate” button here to make a tax deductible contribution directly through Paypal.

Tags: peaceable farm, canmatch

By CAN Capital

June 04, 2014
Faces of Funding: CAN Capital Helps Seltzer Dental Services Weather the Damage of Hurricane Sandy

​When Hurricane Sandy devastated his hometown of East Rockaway, New York, Dr. Frederick Seltzer, owner of Seltzer Dental Specialists turned to CAN Capital to help him pick up the pieces.

​Dr. Frederick Seltzer, East Rockaway New York’s self-proclaimed “Marcus Welby of dentistry,” takes a hands-on approach to helping his patients and running his practice, Seltzer Dental Services; though he admits the latter presented somewhat of a learning curve.

“When I was in dental school, they taught me everything I needed to know about performing procedures and treating patients,” explains Seltzer. “What they never really taught us was how to run a business.”

Critical to running any business is preparing for and manage through a variety of disasters; and in the northeastern United States, few disasters have had as devastating an impact as Hurricane Sandy.

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall October 29, 2012, Seltzer’s hometown of East Rockaway, New York bore the brunt of the super-storm’s impact with severe flooding, gale-force winds and a massive fire that leveled most of the surrounding area. Seltzer had no choice but to close the office for a week which posed a potential challenge in getting his employees, who were dealing with their own storm-related damages, paid on schedule.

“CAN Capital covered us for whatever contingencies or emergencies,” says Seltzer. “So while we were dealing with the tragedies of Hurricane Sandy, my staff knew even though they couldn’t get to the office and weren’t able to work, they would still get paid.”

Watch the video to hear the rest of Dr. Seltzer’s story.

Faces of Funding is a new weekly web series profiling some of the 55,000 business owners CAN Capital has helped gain access to over $4 billion in capital since 1998. New episodes will be posted every Wednesday through June 4. Want your business to be considered for our next Faces of Funding series? Tweet us a short video telling us why @CANCapital with hashtag #FacesOfFunding.

Tags: faces of funding

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This is not investment, tax, or legal advice. Should you have questions, please consult your own attorney, tax accountant, or other appropriate expert having expertise in the area of your question or before making important decisions in these areas.​