Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Aamir Kutianawala

By Alison Flangel

Meet Aamir Kutianawala, a summer program intern at EGBI. Aamir has been working with EGBI for the summer. He is a rising junior at Westwood High School and would like to go more into business/marketing as he progresses with his education. Outside of school and EGBI, Aamir is part of his school’s debate team, robotics team, DECA team, and various others as well. He loves playing and watching sports in his free time, and has also been pursuing guitar on the side!

Aamir shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I have been learning to play the guitar for 3 years.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I have been working on a variety of tasks, but mainly help clients/business owners with finances and marketing. I also provide broad support by making lectures for entire groups of clients, along with helping to complete any general tasks.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

I think it’s important to work with EGBI to support disadvantaged business owners, and help bridge the gap with underrepresented groups in business.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been taking and editing pictures for a client’s Etsy shop.

“EGBI helps you make a difference in the community.”– Aamir Kutianawala

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Shamitha Ramanan

By Alison Flangel

Hi! My name is Shamitha and I have been with EGBI for a month now and it has been an enriching experience. I am an incoming senior at Westwood High School, and as my education progresses, I hope to pursue a degree in finance or management. Outside of EGBI, I am in my school’s orchestra, Academy Ambassador program, GenShe, and several other clubs and honor societies.

Shamitha shares her experience as an intern with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that I grew up mainly in London, England, and California.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I mainly do research and analysis for clients’ businesses to see where they can improve financially. I’ve also recently worked on importing and exporting goods, bookkeeping, and more.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

EGBI allows you to connect with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and changes your perspective on business and the world around you.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been attending the 90 Days business workshop. I’ve been able to connect with a lot of different people and learn about their businesses and inspirations. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with them one-on-one to help expand their businesses.  

“EGBI provides you the opportunity to learn new skills, communicate, and network.” – Shamitha Ramanan

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Trello for businesses

Trello for Small Business Owners

By Shamitha Ramanan

Trello is a web-based project management program with an easy-to-use interface and a lot of flexibility for organizations of all sizes and sectors. It’s an excellent option for entrepreneurs and company owners searching for a low-cost solution. Trello’s base plan is free, but they do offer two paid versions: Business Class and Enterprise.

Features

The first thing people will notice that distinguishes this platform from others is that it has no restriction on the number of projects, users, or tasks. The site also provides templates that are customized to specific sorts of tasks. 

Trello divides projects into boards, similar to the software in Pinterest, and divides diverse chores into easy, basic phases. Time-sensitive activities may be assigned a due date and time, and when done, just drag and drop them into the next phase of your board.

Productivity & Creativity

Whether you’re working on a design sprint that has to be structured into phases or a creative project for your newest client that needs to go through numerous review procedures before completion, the platform can help you get everything organized and done as efficiently as possible. 

Product Development

Trello may help you assign tasks to different members of your team and keep track of product phases and deadlines.

Sales 

If you want to organize your sales cycle with Trello, the software makes it quite straightforward. Lists may be established to track lead information, score, and status, and team members can be allocated to different cards. 

In one page, you can move cards down your pipeline, designate due dates for tasks for your clients, attach necessary documents, and keep track of where your leads are in your sales or CRM pipelines.

Event Planning 

Trello is also a wonderful tool for event planning, even if you are not a professional event planner.  You may make a board for a specific event and lists to help you keep track of deadlines, task status, and dates.

construction business

Start a Construction Business in Austin, Texas

By Monica Peña

Are you wanting to start a business in the construction industry, but don’t know where to begin?  Whether you specialize in flooring, remodeling, painting, or roofing, below are helpful tips to successfully launch the company.

  • Get experience.  If you have not already worked for a construction business, there are many aspects of the business that you may not have considered.  Industry rules related to areas from permits, licensing, contracts to customer service can be less straight forward than anticipated.
  • Register the business.  Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity which helps the owner have limited personal liability, receive funding, and create a brand that is recognizable to potential customers.  
  • Create a business plan. A business plan can help with all aspects of your start up from potential problems, pricing to explaining the concept for your business. It is a road map to the success of your business.
  • Fund your business.  Figure out a budget and how the construction business will be financed. How will material and labor be paid for? How and when will payments on projects be received?
  • Decide on the niche of the company.  Choose the specialty of the work whether projects are commercial, residential, or government contracts. Determine certain area of Austin or surrounding towns that the business will concentrate.
  • Build a marketing plan.  This includes creating a strong brand with name, logo, and figuring out how to communicate the niche of the company. Design a plan to communicate with potential clients, customers, and territories.  
  • Take advantage of resources available for your new business. EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.  Staff helps connect business owners with different business tools and outside resources.

Contact us to meet with a business coach that can help guide you through your small business journey. To get started, register HERE.

Open a Daycare in Austin, Texas

By Monica Peña

Are you wanting to start a childcare business, but don’t know where to begin?  Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TXAEYC) is a state affiliate of the National Association of Education of Young Children.  This is an excellent resource in Central Texas for anyone wanting to get started in the early care and education industry. TXAEYC offers updates in the childcare rules/regulations, continuing education, training opportunities, and networking events to learn from peers.

Below are some more helpful tips to successfully launch a childcare business.

  • Get experience.  If you have not already worked in childcare, there are many aspects of the business that you may not be aware.  Industry rules related to areas from documentation, cleaning supplies, snacks, communication with parents can be less straight forward than anticipated. This is where exposure to this type of circumstances would be beneficial.
  • Register the business.  Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity which helps the owner have limited personal liability, receive funding, and create a brand that is recognizable to parents deciding on using your services for their children.  
  • Create a business plan. A business plan can help with all aspects of your start up from potential problems, work flow, pricing, what is included in your services, and so much more. It is a road map to the success of your business.
  • Fund your business.  Figure out a budget and how the childcare business will be financed.
  • Decide on the niche of the company.  Choose the specialty of the services being offered by the childcare facility. Will your center offer after school services, STEM learning, language immersion, or any other special services?  Determine certain area of Austin or surrounding towns that the business will concentrate.
  • Build a marketing plan.  This includes creating a strong brand with name, logo, and figuring out how to communicate the niche of the company. Design a plan to communicate with potential parents and community partners that can refer families to the business.  
  • Take advantage of resources available for your new business. EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.  Staff helps connect business owners with different business tools and outside resources.

Contact us to meet with a business coach that can help guide you through your small business journey. To get started, register HERE.

Cleaning business

Start a Cleaning Business in Central Texas

By Monica Peña

Are you wanting to start a cleaning business, but don’t know where to begin?  Below are helpful tips to successfully launch the company.

  • Get experience.  If you have not already worked in a cleaning business, there are many aspects of the business that may not be clear.  Industry rules related to areas from chemicals to customer service can be less straight forward than anticipated.
  • Register the business.  Registering your business establishes it as a legal entity which helps the owner have limited personal liability, receive funding, and create a brand that is recognizable to customers.  
  • Create a business plan. A business plan can help with all aspects of your start up from potential problems, pricing to explaining the concept for your business. It is a road map to the success of your business.
  • Fund your business.  Figure out a budget and how the cleaning business will be financed.
  • Decide on the niche of the company.  Choose the specialty of the work whether it is to clean commercial, residential, or after construction jobs. Determine certain area of Austin or surrounding towns that the business will concentrate.
  • Build a marketing plan.  This includes creating a strong brand with name, logo, and figuring out how to communicate the niche of the company. Design a plan to communicate with potential clients, customers, and territories.  
  • Take advantage of resources available for your new business. EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.  Staff helps connect business owners with different business tools and outside resources.

Contact us to meet with a business coach that can help guide you through your small business journey. To get started, register HERE.

Stay organized with OneNote

Using OneNote for your Business

By Shamitha Ramanan 

OneNote is a digital note-taking program. It gives you a central location to keep all the information you need for your daily life. Notes are easy to organize, print, and share with no paper loss or loss of information. The best part is that your notebooks are kept online where you can access them on any mobile device.

You can use OneNote in your business to stay on top of tasks, research, meetings and much more. 

  1. Project collaboration 

How do you organize and collaborate on projects using OneNote? With the aid of notebooks, sections, and pages, OneNote enables you to save information. You may designate notebooks for each of your various work projects and include sections for group notes that list details based on the project’s condition or stage.

Additionally, you may share a OneNote notebook with your employees. All you have to do is invite them to it and they can access the data. By exchanging information, everyone can keep track of the project and provide updates as needed. The notebooks can also be sent through email or converted into PDF files.

  1. Meeting notes

Team meetings are commonplace, and when working with a remote team, they become even more crucial. But it’s simple to overlook recording meeting minutes and ensuring that everyone on the team has access to the material. OneNote enables you to take meeting notes, organize them in a specific notebook, and distribute them to your entire team or organization.

  1. Research

Use OneNote to organize and retain your notes whether you’re conducting market research or just gathering data about your potential or existing clientele. One can assemble text notes, and include data gathered in other Microsoft Office programs, such as Word. And you may add any content you come across that would be relevant for your project, such as photographs, videos, links, and documents.

  1. Blog post hub

OneNote can be used to store your blog post ideas if you run a business blog. You can compile all the information on the subjects of your blog posts in individual notes and include all pertinent links. Additionally, you may create drafts of your blog entries in OneNote, where you can also keep track of published posts and their related URLs for quick access whenever you need it.

  1. Scanning documents & embedding Excel spreadsheets

OneNote can be used on smartphones, making it simple to scan documents with your phone and store them in OneNote notebooks. Contracts, receipts, and any other document pertaining to your customers or your business can be scanned. Instead of printing them out and losing them, you can tag those scans so you can quickly locate them anytime you need them. Excel is an excellent tool for organizing your money, other numerical data, and keeping track of crucial metrics. 

You may insert Excel spreadsheets directly into your notes using OneNote. 

As a result, it will be simple for you to keep track of pertinent information in your notes and have it on hand for team or client meetings. Additionally, you may attach notes to your Excel data, allowing you to solicit suggestions and criticism from your staff, colleagues, and even clients.

With so much versatility Microsoft OneNote has become a popular platform for business collaboration and organization around the world.

welcome in

Customer Etiquette to know for your business

By Alison Flangel

As a small business owner, creating a trusting environment between you and your customers is essential. Happy customers equate to a happy business. Sometimes despite our best efforts, customers can have unhappy experiences at our businesses. Below are some etiquette tips on how to deal with angry customers, as well as how to build customer trust.

How to Handle Angry Customers

  • Don’t take it personally
    When dealing with a customer who is angry or unhappy with their experience at your business, although it may seem like a personal attack against you as a business owner, it is important to put the situation into perspective. Your personal feelings about the situation should not affect your attitude or demeanor.
  • Stay calm
    If a customer begins to raise their voice or yell at employees, nothing is gained from returning that behavior. In fact, by acting in a similar manner you will likely cause the situation to escalate. It is essential to maintain control over yourself and your emotions.
  • Apologize
    Whether or not you agree with the legitimacy of what a customer may be angry about, in order to come to a resolution an apology is almost always necessary. If you want said customer to return to your business, an apology is what does the trick.
  • Find a solution
    Sometimes, apologies alone do not solve the problem at hand. One way to create resolution is by asking the customer what they feel should be done or put forward to solve the issue. This way, customers feel as though you are listening and valuing the feedback they are giving.
  • Keep it brief
    It is in the best interest of both parties to resolve problems quickly. The longer you linger with an unhappy customer, the more opportunities there are for further issues to arise. The less time you spend dealing with a customer like this is less time you spend with other productive customers.

How to Build Customer Trust in Your Business

  • Keep it transparent
    Most of the time, trust is built off of honest communication. Make sure you are being straightforward and honest with your customers about variables such as shipping times and product costs.
  • Own up to mistakes
    Bumps in the road are inevitable when you own a business; the best thing you can do as a business owner is take responsibility for your mistakes. Despite a customer’s feelings, humility goes a long way.
  • Anticipate customer needs
    As a business owner, it is important to evaluate your customer base frequently. In doing so, attempting to anticipate the needs of your customers will automatically build trust in your business. If customers trust that you deliver their needs without even needing to ask, a strong environment is created.
  • Communicate
    As they say, communication is always key. Putting in an effort for strong communication between business employees and customers is necessary to maintain trust in your business. Communication can solve many problems before they even have the chance to arise.

website unique

How to Make Your Website Unique

By Alison Flangel

In the age of digital technology, shopping has changed exponentially. Whether your small business offers a series of products or services, having a professional website is essential for sales. A website is essentially showcasing your business to the world, which means it must be unique and memorable. Refer to our previous blog on Establishing a Professional Domain, which explains how you can create a website from scratch.

Tips on Making your Website Stand-Out:

  • Create a gallery page! Consumers love seeing visual representation of what your business offers. Having a page on your website dedicated to pictures can give customers an idea of what they would be getting when supporting your business. Make sure that the pictures showcased on a gallery page are high-quality and professional.
  • It is important to showcase your staff on your businesses website. Clients often want to know who they will be working with, so creating short employee bios is a great way to allow for easy introductions. Consider adding in some fun questions to these bios, such as your favorite movie or best childhood memory.
  • Do your best to keep website content fresh and updated. It is never fun to read old information that is no longer relevant, especially if you are a consumer looking to buy a product in real-time. Post announcements, accomplishments, and everything in between on your website.
  • Encourage sales by including customer testimonials on your website. Success stories and examples of how you have helped people naturally encourage and inhibit trust between your business and potential customers.
  • Don’t be afraid to use color and fun fonts on your site! While minimalism can often hold true to the motto less is more, a memorable website will often have elements that stick out which forces us to remember them. Using bright colors and lettering is one way that you can make your website unique.
  • Add a blog component to your business website. Becoming a nuanced expert in the form of blogging can grab the attention of customers by teaching them new things. Share your knowledge in the form of a blog that can be regularly updated!
Build a strong team

How to Build a Strong Team for your Small Business

By Alison Flangel

Owning a small business requires help and cooperation from the people we chose to surround ourselves with … which means the teams we build must be strong ones. Employees should lift you up and contribute positively to your business, which in turn creates a healthy work environment.


How to build a great team for your small business:

  1. Create and explain your business vision
    Before you make the decision to hire employees, it is important to communicate your goals and what you are aiming for within your company. Some components of a vision include: the type of culture you want to build, your future plans, and the environment of customers you hope to cater to. By explaining your vision to potential employees, you will get a sense of which individuals are the right fit for your business.
  2. Define roles clearly
    Once you have made the decision on individuals you want to hire as employees, it is essential to determine each person’s strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, roles will naturally be defined. As a small business owner it is important to constantly remind employees of the roles they are assigned to, in order to make sure work is effectively done. If roles are not clearly defined, progress and efficiency will be affected.
  3. Implement team-building exercises into your routine
    Small businesses often hinder fast-paced work environments, which means that your team must work fluidly. Team-building exercises can oftentimes help employees bond and get to know eachother better, which equates to becoming more effective in the business setting. Examine your employees to determine what type of bonding exercise would be most beneficial; paintball, go-karting, yoga class, etc… Something low budget such as providing drinks and snacks on a Friday afternoon can also work very well.
  4. Identify problems head-on
    As much as problems can be avoided, there is no doubt you will run into issues with employees. In this type of situation, you must carefully address the situation, because oftentimes problems can arise when someone is having crises arise in their personal life. Other times employees just may not be the best fit for your company. Firing someone should be a last resort, although make sure to follow local legislation if you make this decision.