How can microfinance help entrepeneurs?

By Samantha Garner | July 21, 2018

microfinance-small-businessMicrofinance, sometimes called microcredit, means giving credit, savings, and general banking services to the millions of people who are unable to qualify for these services from a regular banking institution. Generally, this means a person lacking a certain amount of collateral – assets or money used to “secure” regular financing. Banking the “unbankable” is made possible with community-based approaches to lending because in general, banks are for people with money, not for people without (van Maanen, 2004).

We’ve all heard the saying “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for the rest of his life.” That’s all well and good, but if the person in question has no fishing pole, those fishing skills aren’t much help. Microfinance can get that fishing pole. With microfinance, this person can catch more fish than they can eat. They can sell a few, pay you back for the pole, and become financially self-sufficient. Instead of being dependent on charity, they can become a contributing member of society who’s in control of their own life. That’s a win-win situation all around.

A microcredit loan may range from fewer than $100 to perhaps a few thousand dollars, depending on the situation. These loans also benefit the creditor – they’re a manageable amount for the client, and easier to pay back than a regular, large loan. These microloans tend to have an extremely high success rate when it comes to being being paid back, and several organizations providing these loans report a success rate around 97%.

The concept of microfinance began as an alternative way to assist developing countries. The concept is nothing new; the term “microfinance” became a buzzword in the 1970s and has been slowly developing and evolving for decades, but the positive impact of this service isn’t limited to the developing world. There are plenty of “unbankables” right here in Canada – people who have valuable skills and fantastic ideas, but who are trapped by their financial situation. GoForth Institute believes that to build a nation of successful entrepreneurs, they need access to three things:

  1. Entrepreneurship education
  2. Mentorship, advice, counselling and support
  3. Access to microfinance and loans

Microfinance can mean the difference between being dependent on aid, and being self-sufficient. It can mean the difference between small business failure, and entrepreneurial freedom. It can be the differentiating factor – the tipping point – between the world as we know it now, and the world as it could be, if every person’s skills, drive and potential had the opportunity to flourish.

Want to read more?

Kiva, which facilitates the crowdfunding of small business microloans in increments of $25 or more

Microfinance and education- real people and a real impact at Huffington Post

How the ‘world’s bank’ can create the next billion entrepreneurs at Wired

Microfinance comes of age at INSEAD Knowledge

 

Share this post:

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

4 ways to make meetings more interesting

By Samantha Garner | July 14, 2018

entrepreneur meeting

Whether your team holds meetings daily, weekly, or hardly at all, you might have wondered how you can make them more interesting. While it’s important to remain professional and stick to the task at hand, finding ways to make meetings more appealing can help your team feel more alert, creative, and engaged.

Here are four ideas to help make meetings more interesting for everyone.

Step out of the boardroom

Whenever possible, try holding meetings in a different spot than you usually do – try a local coffeeshop, park, or other location that’s nearby and comfortable. A change of scenery can have a revitalizing effect on your team, especially if they are used to the same meeting room every time. New ideas and increased creativity may result.

Try daily stand-up meetings

No, we don’t mean stand-up comedy – we mean regular, super-quick meetings held standing up. These short meetings may sound like a weird idea, but agile teams love them for productivity and focus. A study at Stanford Business School showed that, when meetings were held standing up and taking 10-20 minutes, decisions took 34% less time to make, with no noticeable difference in the quality of the decision.

Keep in mind that daily stand-up meetings are not intended for strategic, big-picture topics. They’re best for fleshing out daily tasks and responsibilities. You may want to supplement daily stand-up meetings with longer, more traditional ones.

Ban meetings for one day

Are you having hour-long meetings twice a week out of habit? Are you hearing grumbling amongst your employees about meeting frequency, length, or repetition? If so, you may want to try setting aside one day a week that is always meeting-free. This way, your team can count on at least one day when they can put their heads down and actually do the work that the regular meetings may be preventing. This way, when you do have to meet (and do try to only hold meetings when it’s necessary), your team will actually have plans and results to report on.

Make it a team effort

One easy way to help make meetings more interesting for everyone involved is to get everyone involved. We’re not saying put each of your employees on the spot my making them prepare a speech, but find ways to foster collaboration and discussion. This can be as simple as speaking in your own words and not reading off an agenda. Or, if you want to get a little fancy, you can encourage brainstorming at your next planning meeting – have everyone spend five minutes writing down ideas without editing, then go around the room and ask people to read their one or two best ideas. One person’s thought might spark an idea in another person, and soon your meeting will be productive as well as exciting.

What are your favourite tips for making business meetings interesting?

Share this post:

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Changing your mindset about selling

By Samantha Garner | July 7, 2018

small business negotiationAs all entrepreneurs know, selling is important! After all, how can you succeed if you’re not selling your product or service to new and existing customers? No matter your business, selling is at the heart of it.

But how do you actually close a sale? What is the best way to ask for business? It can be difficult for many entrepreneurs to imagine themselves closing a sale, or to even know where to start. Sometimes, this uncertainty can lead to poor sales and marketing strategies such as sending blanket, generic marketing messages, or being too pushy because we think we have to be.

It’s important to reframe your mindset about selling, in order to help you get more comfortable with it. Then, you can make more strategic sales and marketing decisions that make sense for your business – and you might even have fun doing it.

We recommend checking out GoForth Expert Marty Park’s advice on how to change your mindset about selling. We think it’ll help you to think about sales a little differently!

Share this post:

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | June 30, 2018

Will your next small business inspiration be found in one of these small business blog posts we liked this week? Enjoy, and let us know if you’ve read anything interesting lately!

Share this post:

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Entrepreneurship News, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Tools to help entrepreneurs stay productive

By Samantha Garner | June 23, 2018

small business productivityThe ability to handle multiple demands for many hours a day, most days of the week, requires a commitment by a small business owner to invest in products and systems that will enhance their own productivity.

There are many products and services available that claim to make our lives easier and more efficient. Here are some of them. Do some research to decide what’s right for you and your business:

  • ActiveWords – Saves time in daily Windows tasks.
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking – Speech recognition software.
  • GTD (Getting Things Done) Methodology – A work-life management system by David Allen.
  • OneNote – Digital note-taking app.
  • TheBrain – Mind mapping software that helps you map key thoughts, ideas and concept relationship to one another.
  • Snagit – Capture, edit and share exactly what you see on a website.
  • ThumbsPlus – Find and maintain graphics, clip art, fonts and animation files.
  • inFlow Inventory – A free inventory management system that allows 100 customers and products, unlimited numbers of sales orders and purchase orders, printable/exportable documents, customer information tracking, sales quotation issues, customer returns, stock levels, eight different business reports as well as online forum support.

Do you have any productivity resources to share? Let us know!

Share this post:

Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

« Previous Entries