Celtic Bank Blog

MAY
07

National Small Business Week

National Small Business Week
National Small Business Week is May 12-16 this year, which means its time to get your business geared up and ready to go! The Small Business Administration (SBA) chooses one week each year to celebrate small businesses all across the country! During this week, the SBA goes above and beyond to reach out to small business owners and offer them learning and networking opportunities. It begins in San Francisco on Monday, May 12 th , then travels to Kansas City, Boston, and finally, Washington D.C. where the 2014 Small Business Person of the Year is unveiled. For more information on the week's events or how you can get involved, visit the  SBA website .
APR
29

Tips For Writing Your Business Plan

Tips For Writing Your Business Plan
Before starting a business, you need a plan.  Before seeking funding sources for your business, you will need a written business plan  outlining your goals, marketing strategies, forecasted growth rate, and cash flow cycle. It is essential to have a written business plan before meeting with investors, banks or alternative lenders. Business Purpose: Define the need that your business is looking to fulfill in the marketplace.  How does your business offering differ from that of the competition?  Investors and lenders want to make sure there is a viable purpose and market for your business idea. Goals: This is where you write your mission statement and list objectives for your business to address. Identify gaps you currently see in the marketplace and how you plan to address them. Target Market: Explain who your target market is and how you plan to reach them.  How much time, money and effort will go into your marketing strategy?  Analyze the market conditions, the size of your market and the growth rate.  Estimate the potential profit from reaching this market. Revenue Streams: Breakdown your pricing structure, the costs associated with building your product or service, your profit margins and estimated expenses. These are the key components...
APR
22

The Effects of The Heartbleed Bug

The Effects of The Heartbleed Bug
Heartbleed is one of the biggest bugs to hit the Internet in years!  Though recently discovered, it has existed for the past two years.  Heartbleed was caused by a hole in the cryptographic software library OpenSSL that allows infiltrators and attackers to sweep protected personal and financial information without leaving a trace. OpenSSL is the software that most big companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter use to secure their Internet platforms.  The Heartbleed bug allows hackers to monitor any type of communication that goes over an OpenSSL software encryption, steal personal data and impersonate users.  Most large bank websites were not affected as many have added their own layers of encryptions, however, most banks run on OpenSSL, so it is a good idea to contact your bank to see if they were affected. When accessing websites that begin with “https”, first contact the company to see if they have installed the fixed version of the OpenSSL software, then change your password.  If the company indicates there was a breech, you should immediately contact your bank to cancel your existing cards, order new cards, and keep a close watch on your bank accounts for any suspicious activities. If your...
APR
17

What is the Definition of "Small Business"?

What is the Definition of "Small Business"?
What is the definition of “small business”?  According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, “small business” is defined as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees.  So, whether you own a home-based cleaning business with 2 employees, or a pharmaceutical lab employing 450 people, you are part of the 28.2 million small businesses operating in the U.S. as of 2011.  Compare that number to 17,700, the number of businesses employing 500 people or more. It’s no wonder why small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy!
APR
15

4 Myths About SBA Loans

4 Myths About SBA Loans
In this day and age, the term "loan" seems to scare everyone, including small business owners. But don't be afraid!  The Small Business Administration (SBA) and banks around the country are eager to lend to small businesses and are offering more and more programs to help small business owners start, manage and grow their businesses! Here are the top 4 myths about getting a SBA loan: Getting a SBA loan will take forever and will require a ton of paperwork. FALSE: If you find the right qualified lender, getting an SBA loan shouldn’t take longer than a conventional loan. There are also express programs like the Celtic Express SBA Loan . These loans are fully amortized with no access fee per transaction. The automated process provides fast turn-around times. These express programs were designed to reduce paperwork and make the process much easier for you. I can get an SBA loan directly from the SBA so why use a bank? FALSE: The SBA does not lend money . A lot of people think the SBA provides grants to small business owners, but that is not true. The SBA is a government guarantee program that issues guarantees to decrease the risk...
APR
08

Encore Entrepreneurs?

Encore Entrepreneurs?
If you think the boom in the financial and tech markets mean that to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be young, naïve and on your first venture, then you thought wrong. Increasingly more and more people over the age of 50 are looking into running their own business as their form of income to get them through their “retirement years.” Innovation is not a quality that stems from the young, innovation can come from any source. In fact in the past ten years more seniors have become entrepreneurs than 20-somethings. In fact, the average age of technology company founders in the U.S. is 39, and when you look at the statistics there are about half as many entrepreneurs under the age of 25 as there are over the age of 50 . What’s more is these encore entrepreneurs are successful business owners as well: more than half of new businesses launched by entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are still in business after five years, something that young entrepreneurs can’t boast about that could be due to the wealth of wisdom and knowledge encore entrepreneurs have gained from their life experiences. To help address some of the challenges...
APR
04

Building A Company Culture of Charity

Building A Company Culture of Charity
Owning and operating your own business allows you to take care of yourself, your family, your employees and your consumers. Your company culture encompasses more than just your service, products and attitude. Your company culture is comprised of your shared values and practices. It is so important to define your company culture early on because it defines you and your employees. Your culture will evolve and change as your company grows, so be aware of it and try to form your culture around you’re your target market and your core values and beliefs. Increasingly charitable companies are becoming more and more popular to consumers because the culture of giving has become such a staple of the American way. Getting you company involved in any type of charity is a great way to give back and to show your employee’s how important it is to contribute to your community . This also makes your consumers aware of the emphasis you place on your community as a whole. To instill a company culture of charity in your business follows a few of these tips 1.    Make a Plan Commit yourself to the idea of charity by making it a part of your...
APR
01

Surge in Successful Women-Owned Businesses

Surge in Successful Women-Owned Businesses
Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a surge in successful women-owned small businesses . Women are emerging as leaders because of their innovation, significant ideas, and strong work ethics.  In fact, women-owned businesses are growing at a higher rate than any other group over the past 15 years. There are currently 8.3 million businesses owned and operated by women in the United States.  Women should be proud of how far they have come! There are aspects of the workforce that women can work to improve  to help their businesses have a greater impact on the United States. For instance, even though women own a little over one quarter of all businesses in the United States, they employ less than 10% of the nation's workforce. Women-owned businesses also contribute only 4% of total business revenue in the United States. However, there is hope for women entrepreneurs in the future.  Great effort and achievement has been made, and women will continue to succeed in the workforce.  Now more than ever, there are options, including business grants, to help women fund their businesses!
MAR
21

Beware: Tax Scams

Beware: Tax Scams
It’s tax season, and every year the IRS issues a warning to US citizens of the latest attempts by con artists at tax scams. This year however the IRS has issued its most urgent warning yet , they claim that already a scam has taken thousands of Americans for over a million dollars. Apparently people claiming to be IRS agents have demanded tax payments from over 20,000 victims. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tax scams this year – the IRS has issued a list of 12 tax scams that have the potential to affect any taxpayer. This year the list includes identity theft, which leads to tax fraud. Identity theft has been near the top of the scam list for the past five years, but is still commonly used by criminals to get tax refunds. The list also includes phishing and hiding income offshore as well as impersonating nonprofits and misuse of trusts. For more information on tax scams, how you can avoid them, and what to do if you are being investigated visit the IRS.