On behalf of the entire SBA Maine District Office Staff, thank you for your work with us, and may you have a wonderful holiday season. This week's newsletter focuses on ways to successfully navigate this very busy time of the year.
Preparing Your Small Business for Holiday Season with the SBA
The holiday shopping season is around the corner. According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent this year. It’s never too early for small businesses to prepare for the holiday rush. Whether it’s financing your seasonal working capital needs, updating your marketing plan or hiring temporary workers, the Small Business Administration can be your guide to maximizing sales this holiday season.
Get help financing your seasonal working capital needs
If you need help meeting your short-term and cyclical working capital needs, SBA’s CAPLines Program might be for you. From contracting to purchase orders, CAPLines provides financing through a revolving line of credit. This helps more small businesses get the cash-on-hand to manage their cash cycle, scale up and create jobs. The SBA streamlined the program this year to make it easier for small business owners to get financing even if collateral is tight. Several Maine businesses have already benefitted from SBA's new streamlined CAPLines, and the loan product is being well received by lenders and borrowers alike.
Hiring temporary or seasonal workers
If you plan to hire temporary or seasonal workers, be aware that some of the laws and regulations that apply to full-time employees differ from those that apply to seasonal or part-time employees. For example, independent contractors and employees are not the same, and it's important to understand the difference. Take the time to review the Equal Employment Opportunities Law – Who’s Covered? to determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee, and which are covered under federal laws. Don’t forget that labor laws still apply seasonal workers, as do some benefit and tax laws.
Holiday marketing tips
There are endless ways to promote your small business during the holiday season. Here are just a few budget-friendly tips that you can consider:
Use your website and social media to promote your business – This is true year-round, but your online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are great ways to target and connect with local consumers during the holiday season, whether it’s through timely updates, compelling calls-to-action and promotions or discounts. You may want to consider developing holiday themes for your email templates and update your website and Facebook profile picture with a festive look.
Host an Open House – You can use the holiday season as an opportunity to “open” your business and give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus.
Get Involved in Community and Charitable Events – Supporting a charity or sponsoring a community event is a great way to generate awareness for your business during the holidays. Even if you don’t have the budget to donate large sums of money, think of other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or even space.
Small Business Saturday
Don’t forget that Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 24. If you are a small business, get involved with this nationwide initiative. You can access free marketing materials, including sample posters, press releases and social media updates by visiting www.smallbusinesssaturday.com. If you are a consumer, support a small business in your community by shopping at one that Saturday.
The holiday season can be overwhelming for some small businesses. The SBA is here to help. Our goal is to provide the tools and resources for small businesses to start, grow and succeed. Please let us know whenever we can be of assistance to you.
SBA Maine District Office Staff Directory
Whether you are a lender, small business owner or new entrepreneur, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please call or e-mail us whenever we can be of service to you. Our staff includes:
District Director, Maurice L. Dube, 207-622-8383 firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy District Director, Marilyn J. Geroux, 207-622-8382 email@example.com
Lender Relations Specialist, Diane Sturgeon, 207-622-8286 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lender Relations Specialist, William S. Card, 207-622-8555 email@example.com
Economic Development Specialist, Sandra A. Fontaine, 207-622-8381 firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Area Manager -- Portland, Alden R. Turner, 207-592-5322 email@example.com
Program Support Assistant, Keith E. Lind 207-622-8551 firstname.lastname@example.org
District Counsel, Mark S. O'Brien, 207-622-8558 email@example.com
Procurement Center Representative, Northern New England, Keith E. Waye, 207-622-8554 firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 11/19/2012 Author Information: Bill Card