Are You a Minority Entrepreneur? Here Are Your Financing Options

[Author's note: All links have been removed per client's request.]

Securing capital is no easy task. For minority entrepreneurs, it’s even harder. Nearly 30% of small business loan applicants were denied or partially funded.

Minorities have even lower approval rates. They are three times more likely to be rejected.

Banks and lenders are aware of this issue have since made huge strides in offering more minority business loans.

If you’re a minority business owner who runs a small business or startup, read this guide to see your financing options.                 

Minority-Friendly Business Loans to Consider

Union Bank

Loan Amount: Up to $2.5 Million

Union Bank’s Business Diversity Lending Program is designed to help minority small business owners. Yes, minorities only!

There are less requirements than your traditional lending program. As long as:

·             Your business is at least 2 years old

·             You own 51% or more of the business

·             You need less than $2.5 million

Business Center for New Americans

Loan Amount: $5,000-$50,000

The Business Center for New Americans giving loans to minority business owners who don’t qualify for traditional financing options.

SBA Loans

SBA offer several loans that are friendly to minority business owners but aren’t exclusive to minorities.

SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

Loan Amount: $5,000 - $5 Million

Although SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is open to everyone, minorities or smaller disadvantaged businesses have a better chance for qualifying.

SBA Community Advantage Loans

Loan Amount: Up to $250,000

SBA Community Advantage Loans is targeted for mission-based lenders like non-profit organizations.

This is a very solid option for minority entrepreneurs who need access to large capital but may not be qualified for traditional financing.

SBA Microloan Program

Loan Amount: Up to $50,000

Small minority business owners should also consider the SBA Microloan Program, which is designed for small loans with strong credit.

This is especially friendly for minority owners who need access to working capital but struggle with securing funding via traditional financing. 

Minority Grants AKA Free Money

If you’re looking for money with no string attached, grants are where it’s at!

Though the application process is typically more involved and specific than your traditional loan, the payoff speaks for itself. It’s free money! And no credit check

There are plenty of government grants at the federal and state level.

Don’t forget private grants as well. Definitely consider:

  • National Association of the Self-Employed
  • FedEx Opportunity Knocks Small Business Grant Contest
  • The Miller Lite Tap the Future Business Plan Competition
  • LendingTree

These Are All Great, But I Have a Low Credit Score

Most traditional lending programs are not friendly to anyone who has a credit score < 650.

If you fall into this category, don’t worry! We understand that things happen outside of your control.

If so, consider our working capital program. If you have low credit with a growing business, this may be for you.

So long as you have been in business for 4 months or more, gross $10,000 per month, you should research this option too.

In the End, Remember to Do Your Research

There is a significant number of options for minority entrepreneurs. Always do your research to select the best option for your small business needs.

Feel free to contact us to see what options are best for you!

A Beginner's Guide to Legal Weed in Canada

[Author's note: All links have been removed per client's request.]

Save the date folks. As of October 17, 2018, weed in Canada is legal.

This is a big deal. Canada is now the second country in the world to legalize marijuana.

But what does it mean for you?

If you have a bunch of burning questions about all things legal and weed and Canada, look no further.

This is the foolproof beginner's guide to marijuana in Canada.

So Why Did the Canadian Government Legalize Weed in the First Place?

Canada stands to benefit much from legalizing marijuana.

Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world.

By legalizing weed Canada can take steps to:

  • Get rid of the black market
  • Enforce stricter regulation and quality standards
  • Limit access to the youth
  • Create a new source of tax revenue
  • Allow better scientific research on medicinal marijuana

Great, Canada Legalized Weed. Am I Safe to Buy or Carry It Now?

The short answer is NO.

Until Canada formally approves The Cannabis Act, current laws on marijuana still apply.

Recreational weed is not decriminalized (yet). Medical cannabis is fine.

Plus, there are no legal physical dispensaries for you to buy weed until Canada enacts the new law.

What is the Current Canadian Cannabis Law?

Recreational weed is illegal.

Current laws also state that it is illegal to carry or transport weed.

So When is Weed Legal in Canada?

Each of Canada's 10 provinces will need to establish its own territorial rules.

How they want to regulate and license marijuana is up to them, and this takes time.

4 months to be exact. Why?

After the bill passed Royal Assent on June 21st, provinces will have 2-3 months to make sure the proper infrastructure is in place.

To give provinces a little more buffer time, Canadian President Trudeau tacked on another month.

And voila! October 17th is the official start date.

Where Can I Buy it?

First, to buy legal weed, you need to be at least 18 years of age.

You can buy it from a licensed dispensaries. And did I mention you can get it delivered?

This is the biggest perk of the Cannabis Act.

Unlike the neighbouring United States, licensed producers can deliver weed straight to your door. 

Yep, it's awesome.

It's important to note that age requirements can and will vary upon province since they get final say.

For instance, to buy weed in the province of Ontario you must be 19.

As provinces roll out their policies, you will see more variance province by province.

What Kind of Weed Can I Buy?

For now, Canadian citizens can only buy fresh or dried cannabis or cannabis oil.

Edible cannabis products will take another year or so before licensed producers can legally sell them.

Translation: If you want, you can bake your own edibles for now (but not around children!)

I'm a Parent. How Will the Government Make Sure That My Children Won't Have Access to Weed?

On top of age restriction, The Cannabis Act contains extra measures to protect the youth from exposure to cannabis.

The new law prohibits:

  • Selling cannabis products in vending machines
  • Designing products that appeal to the youth
  • Creating packaging that entices the youth, e.g. cute cartoons
  • Advertising weed products where a young child or adolescent can see it, too

How Much is Legal Weed?

As mentioned before, regulation will vary somewhat province by province.

Taking this into consideration, legal weed will cost roughly $10 per gram.=

How Much Legal Weed Can I Have On Me?

You can only possess up to 30 grams of weed in public.

You can share up to 30 grams among you and your adult friends.

Can I Smoke Weed in Public?

No, you cannot. Smoking weed is illegal in public places like parks, for example.

As a general rule of thumb, wherever cigarettes are not allowed in public, weed is probably not allowed in those places, too.

Always err on the side of caution. Smoking in the privacy of your own home is likely your safest bet.

Can I Grow Weed?

If you're not a licensed producer, the federal government allows you to cultivate up to 4 plants per house.

Each plant cannot be taller than 100 cm.

Big caveat though! Home growing will vary from province to province.

Quebec, for example, has banned home growing.

Make sure to check your province's laws before making the decision to grow your own weed plant.

What About Selling It to a Friend?

No. Unless you're a licensed producer, you cannot sell your weed. It's a federal crime.

If caught, you will pay lots of money and do time behind bars.

It's not worth it, trust me.

Can I Bring It With Me to the United States?

Also not worth it. Although some states have legalized weed, it is still a federal crime to possess weed in the United States.

US Border Agents reserve the right to revoke entry if they suspect that you are illegally drug trafficking.

Even if you aren't a drug trafficker, bringing weed across an international border is risky business.

It's dangerous and simply not worth it.

I Don't Consume Weed, But I'm Interested in Investing

Smart thinking. Now is the time to start investing in marijuana.

Right now, there's an incredible amount of investment opportunities for legal marijuana.

This is a brand, spankin' new industry. Read: Canada is the second country in the world to legalize weed (after Uruguay).

Particularly, It's a prime time to invest in medical marijuana.

There is still so much to research on the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

And the multi-billion pain relief industry is just waiting to be disrupted.

Potential investors find the lifting of restrictions on the marijuana industry quite attractive.

It's no surprise that so many investors have already been on an investing frenzy.

Anything Else I Need To Know?

This pretty much covers everything you need to know about weed in Canada.

If you found this guide useful, let us know the comments below!

Otherwise, definitely check out our other articles on weed.

So, mark your calendars for October 17th!

It's gonna be a good day.

How to Write Marketing Blogs Your Clients Will Actually Read

[Author's Note: All links have been removed per client's request]

Starting a marketing blog is daunting when you see the thousands of blogs that already exist.

But having a blog for your business is more important than ever before. The benefits speak for themselves.

When you blog effectively, you will help your existing clients AND generate potential new clients, too.

In this article, I’ll help you make sure that your marketing blog contains compelling content that your clients will for sure read.

Know Your Target Audience

Understanding your audience is the most important foundation to ensure that your clients will actually read your marketing blog content.

Are they small business owners who are complete beginners? Or are they corporate executives who want advanced tips?

Write to your target audience in mind, and you’ll write in a way that they can easily digest and read.

Knowing your audience makes it easier to target the right SEO keywords, too.

Give our free Keyword Suggestion Tool a try to find relevant keywords.

Create Relevant Blog Topics, Then Validate Them

The worst use of time is to create content that the client doesn’t find valuable.

Before writing any blog piece, always ask, “Is this a solution to a problem that my clients have?”

If you answer, “Yes,” you’re already halfway there!

But how do you know that your content is what your clients want?

You validate them.

Validating is a simple yet crucial step in guaranteeing relevance that is often overlooked.

When you validate, you’re double-checking that your clients are searching for these topics.

You can use the following tools to validate:

  • Blog Comments is a great, free way to get unsolicited feedback from your audience that will help you craft future blog posts.
  • Reddit is an active online community where people share their questions and interests. They have a simple upvote/downvote system, which helps identify questions that are generating the most interest.
  • Twitter is a social media platform that allows you to see what topics are trending. Follow relevant hashtags to easily discover useful content that hasn’t been written yet.
  • Google Keyword Planner shows the search volume of keywords. You can see how often people are typing this into the Google search bar. If you’re balling on a budget, try our free Keyword Planner.
  • Buzzsumo is an online tool that analyzes how often an article is shared.

Use Clear And Effective Headlines

Did you know that 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest?

Headlines matter, so always check that they are:

  • Straightforward
  • Unique
  • Specific
  • SEO-friendly

Moreover, search engines prioritize headlines for relevancy.

Adding appropriate keywords may boost your blog visibility. Use our free keyword ranking tool to help discover the right keywords.

Format, Format, Format

Proper formatting makes your blog posts easy to read and impacts your page ranking. With each post, always:

  • Write concise sentences
  • Use the appropriate title tags for headlines and sub-headings
  • Have no more than 1-2 sentences per paragraph

Yoast has a great free readability check that’s worth checking out!

Stick To A Schedule

When your audience knows when to expect new content, they’ll keep coming back to your site.

This is an SEO best practice, too, as it keeps the blog content fresh.

intimidating, but it’s totally doable! As long as you:

  • Know your audience
  • Create validated relevant content
  • Write effective headlines
  • Format blog posts AND
  • Maintain a regular blog schedule

...your clients can’t help but want to read your blog!

Do you have any tips that aren’t listed? Comment below!