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SCORE News You Can Use

Take a look at the sidebar on the right side of this page (or scroll down on your phone). Look for NEWS BY CATEGORY. You can select a category in the pull down menu or in the category cloud. If you’re looking for something more specific, there’s a search box above the cloud. If you still can’t find what you need, scroll up in the sidebar and CONTACT US by phone or email. Of course, you can always request a face-to-face meeting with a mentor. We’re here to help.


Social Media Marketing Tips

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Focus on The Platforms Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

by Valarie Harris, Varris Marketing

Social media is the fastest way to cast a wide net to catch the attention of potential customers and create a community. There are more social media platforms than any one entrepreneur can tackle effectively – even if they had all day to devote to being social.

When you began your business, you likely got great advice to narrow your niche and focus on a target audience. These are the ideal clients and customers who want what you have to offer. Furthermore, you should have been told to market to this ideal audience and focus on their needs, their wants, and solving their problems. If you agreed and followed that advice, then you have a pretty good idea of who you want to engage and where they hang out.

This is an important step as it relates to social media. Knowing where your audience hangs out is the key to building a social media presence that maximizes your time and marketing budget. Once you know where your customers naturally hang out, you can simply master those specific platforms and dominate the market.

SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

On October 8, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
  • Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

Tips for Driving Small Business Success with Strengths-Based Leadership

The philosophies surrounding business leadership practices have changed dramatically over the past several decades. Years ago, it was common for a single owner to call the shots and dictate orders to his or her employees. Today, the research is undeniable, showing that the most successful companies are the ones with leaders who focus on taking care of the team so the team can take care of the business.

Small business ownership is less about running a company and more about leading a team.

One of today’s most respected business leadership approaches comes from a landmark study on leadership strengths that sought to better understand how successful business leaders lead. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 distills 30-years of their research on strengths-based leadership into one of the most thorough accounts of what it takes to successfully lead an organization.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 reveals the study’s discovery of three keys to effective leadership: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting a set of basic needs of those who look to you for leadership. Continue reading

Three Things You Should Understand Before Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Expert

A website is a critical sales and marketing tool for just about every business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the holding place for marketing materials and company news, and many times serves as your potential customer’s first impression of your business.

However, before any prospect can interact with your website, they first have to find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy and an SEO expert behind the scenes.

Most business owners are digital marketing novices making it hard to know what you’re really buying when you hire an SEO expert.

If you’re like most business owners, you understand the role of an SEO expert from a high level but aren’t as familiar with the full scope of what’s involved or the time required. This makes it a lot harder to confidently hire the right SEO expert and forces owners to take these professionals at their word. Continue reading

WA State Biz Fair Is Going Virtual 202

This year the event is VIRTUAL for the first time!

Join hundreds of experts and thousands of small business owners and managers from home – or anywhere.

MEET with mentors, advisors, trainers, educators, fellow small business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

LEARN from savvy business experts who will share their knowledge and real-life experiences. 

CONNECT with federal, state and local government agencies to find out about starting a business or contract opportunities. 

FIND OUT how non-profit organizations can help you with funding, legal support, and more. 

NETWORK with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities and statewide Business Associations. 

CHECK OUT the Digital Marketplace for products and services to help you do business.

NO COST TO ATTEND! – NONE – NADA – ZIP

For more information go to www.bizfair.org        Questions? Email info@bizfair.org

 If you would like to register to attend the 24th Annual
Washington State Small Business Fair, use this link. Register Here

Changes to Kitsap CARES Grants

IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Kitsap County officials have greatly eased the eligibility requirements for the Kitsap CARES Small Business Grant and are now offering up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses based upon eligible COVID-19 impacts. Businesses who were previously funded at a lower amount may be eligible for increased funding from Kitsap County. Must meet eligibility requirements for either program and a reapplication is required.

Eligibility Information as of 9/21/20:

  • Up to $10,000 to qualifying businesses
  • COVID-19 related PPE retrofits & supplies now eligible for reimbursement.
  • Employee cap now up to 50 with no minimum. Owners may be considered employees.
  • Receipt of EIDL/EIDG and PPP do NOT disqualify businesses. Double-dipping on reimbursements for the same months is still prohibited.
  • Reimbursements may be for rent/lease and/or PPE paid March 1 through October 1, 2020.
  • Application Portal opens at 8am September 21st
  • Funds will be awarded on a first-come-first served basis to businesses meeting all eligibility and application requirements.
  • This final application period is open to ALL small businesses with a physical location in Kitsap County.

APPLICATION PORTAL
Portal opens Monday, Sept. 21st at 8am.

Small Business Rental Relief Grant Program

KITSAP CARES

The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance  is partnering with Kitsap County, the City of Bremerton, and the City of Port Orchard to distribute federal CARES funding to offer up to $5000 rental relief assistance to local small business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19.

City of Bremerton Phase 2 Application Portal closes @ noon Aug 31

Stay tuned for Kitsap County Phase 4 with expanded eligibility criteria

NEW program – KEDA CARES Grants

(Businesses located in the cities of Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island should check with their local Chamber of Commerce for details on local CARES assistance.)  

Criteria and timelines vary according by jurisdiction.

Successful applicants may receive up to $5,000 based upon eligible COVID-19 impacts.

City of BremertonKitsap CountyKEDA CARES

Malicious Cyber Actor Spoofing COVID-19 Loan Relief Webpage via Phishing Emails

Alert (AA20-225A)

Summary

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is currently tracking an unknown malicious cyber actor who is spoofing the Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 loan relief webpage via phishing emails. These emails include a malicious link to the spoofed SBA website that the cyber actor is using for malicious re-directs and credential stealing.

For a downloadable copy of IOCs, see STIX file.

Technical Details

CISA analysts observed an unknown malicious cyber actor sending a phishing email to various Federal Civilian Executive Branch and state, local, tribal, and territorial government recipients. The phishing email contains:

  • A subject line, SBA Application – Review and Proceed
  • A sender, marked as disastercustomerservice@sba[.]gov
  • Text in the email body urging the recipient to click on a hyperlink to address:
    hxxps://leanproconsulting[.]com.br/gov/covid19relief/sba.gov
  • The domain resolves to IP address: 162.214.104[.]246

Figure 1 is a screenshot of the webpage arrived at by clicking on the hyperlink.

Figure 1: Webpage arrived at via malicious hyperlink.

Learn more here.

Introducing edg3 FUND 2020.

Edg3 Fund 2020.jpg

Kitsap Bank’s edg3 FUND is back and better than ever with more prizes and additional benefits!
This small business competition is for entrepreneurs dedicated to growing their community
economically, socially and environmentally. And in 2020, the competition will also recognize small
businesses that have demonstrated innovation and resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prizes –

  • $25,000 edg3 FUND Grand Prize Winner
  • $10,000 Innovation Award
  • $5,000 #causegood Community edg3 Award
  • $5,000 Public Favorite Award

2020 edg3 FUND Timeline –

  • Nomination Period: August 3 – 31
  • Application Period: August 15 – September 15
  • Finalists Announced: October 1
  • Finalist Pitches/Interviews: October 2 – 23
  • Public Vote: October 26 – November 6
  • Winners Announced: November 20

Please note, this is not a needs-based competition; recipients are selected based upon how well they meet the competition criteria. Must be a for-profit business based in Western Washington. All businesses must comply with federal and state laws. Entities that are tax-exempt organizations, non-profits, or charitable trusts are not eligible to participate. Businesses may self-nominate.

Nominate ( Yourself? ) Today

Small Business Resilience Hub

While you may be facing uncertainty, there is one thing you can be certain of: SCORE is here for you.

During these difficult times, everyone is talking about survival, uncertainty, and loss—loss of revenue, relationships, and resources. It’s normal and human to feel fear and uncertainty, to wonder about the future of your business.

At SCORE, we get it. And we’re also here to remind you that you are stronger than you think and more powerful than you know.  You are a small business owner, the person who dared to ask what if? The leader who had the courage to take that first step to build a business and a future you believe in.

Visit our Small Business Resilience Hub here