The Small Business Movement (Week 10,11)

The last few weeks have been interesting. We’ve done three Professional’s Night Out events, two in Denver and one in Boulder. We’ve also had our first Synergy Project event. The turnouts were not what I hoped for, but I understand that rebuilding takes time. The attendees enjoyed the events so that counts for something. The plan is to keep doing the events indefinitely. Part of our mission is to bring small business owners together and the events are instrumental in that process. 

The challenge with events is the process of building a following for them. You have to send out many emails, texts and phone calls as well as a barrage of posts on social media. If you can identify influencers who have connections and are willing to invite others, it takes a lot of pressure off. Otherwise, it really does feel like a job. 

The other factor is making your events not feel like other events. Prior to 2020, we’d do amazing giveaways and people loved them. That was back when we had a magazine and could easily get those products. Now, we don’t have the pull yet for obtaining merchandise. Therefore, we have to seek other ways to make our events remarkable. 

One of the things we’re exploring is adding a pitch competition. A start or new product creator will be able to pitch their product, service or invention to a panel in three minutes, leaving two minutes for the panel to ask questions. After which, the person can return to networking. Once all pitches are complete, the panel will choose a winner. The winner will receive a reward between $250.00 – $500.00. 

62414624 -Pt low key image of trophy over wooden table and dark background, with abstract shiny lights

The hope is that these competitions will bring diversity and more attendance to our events. This will hopefully start in January 2023 if we can get the necessary sponsorships behind it. Without the sponsors, I’m not certain the plan will be successful. 

On another note, I’ve made some progress on raising capital. A few weeks ago I remember a message from a business coach who said, “Get off your ask!” She was basically saying that a closed mouth won’t get fed. Therefore, I decided that I was going to start asking.

It started with me creating a sponsorship package with the goal of raising $25,000.00 to help support our mission. My thought was if I could get $2,500.00 from 10 sponsors, that my goal would be accomplished. I began by reaching out to companies that support small businesses as well as companies that have small business customers.

So far, I’ve only gotten one yes, but there is still plenty of time to reach out to others. One organization told me that they couldn’t sponsor, but provided me with several institutions that I could reach out to for support. I started excitedly down that road. 

Granted, all of the connected aren’t potential sponsors, but institutions that lend to or provide grants to small businesses. I reached out to a four from the list as my business possessed the qualifying criteria. I’ve only heard back from two of the organizations thus far. Hey, 50% isn’t bad.

One is offering a loan up to $20,000.00 at a 2.99 percent interest rate, which I’m waiting on a loan application review at this time.. The other approved me for what isn’t a grant, but a Tax Credit that can be used by an investor who funds my business for up to 25% of the amount funded. Now I just need to find an investor. That should be fun. Not really, but I’m certain you recognize the sarcasm. 

The grant that I wanted had already passed the application date. However, I was told to be prepared for January, where the grant will open up again. The grant would be ideal, because it doesn’t come with debt payments. I’d be able to use the funds to further the cause without overhead. If I’m allowed enough through the grant, I might even be able to hire someone to help me. That would be huge as well. 

That’s all I have for you now. Stay tuned for more to come…

p.s. The app is available on Android and iOS. If you want to add your business to the app, you can easily do so by visiting JoinGalt.com. Otherwise, we hope you’ll use the app to support other small businesses.