Last week we took a look at recent trends in the three major sources of small business financing. With that in mind, today’s post will focus on where those funds are being spent by the businesses that acquire them.

A recent study by Visa Small Business, released in November, identified key areas in which small businesses are increasing their spending levels. Today we’ll talk about 3 of those areas.

1. Capital Investments
According to this study, there’s been an increase in the number of businesses that plan to invest in things like inventory, machinery, and facilities — capital investments that will grown their businesses. This is a great sign in terms of what it means for the place of small businesses in the economy. The fact that so many business owners are investing in the future of their businesses means that they feel optimistic about their business having a future. Several years ago, that level of confidence in the economy was uncommon.

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Whether your small business is just starting out, or you’re looking for the funds to take it to the next level, it’s important to be aware of the alternative sources of funding available to you beyond the traditional small business loan options.

The world of funding for startups and entrepreneurs has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years. As has been the trend in the world at large, things have moved away from the one-on-one transactions and toward a more social model that leverages the viral potential of the Web.

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Many times on this blog we have touted the benefits of creating great, relevant blog posts and other content as a means of driving traffic to your website and improving your search engine optimization. And because you’ve bookmarked and savored those articles (right??) I know that you’re already sold on this concept of content marketing. But knowing WHAT to do is not the same as knowing HOW to do it.

Starting a blog and creating content sounds like a great idea. But sometimes when you’re faced with that blank screen, the task can suddenly seem daunting. As someone who has written literally hundreds of blog posts, I can tell you that I’ve often faced the same challenge. But I can also tell you that not every topic you write about has to spring forth from your own brain – there are tools and resources at your disposal that can help you come up with things to write about when you sit down at that computer. Here are 5 of the resources I use to find inspiration for the blog posts I write every day:

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Unless you are a graphic designer by trade, creating a website from a blank canvas can be a seriously daunting task. That’s why many sitebuilders offer templates over which users can lay their content, logo, images, etc. when creating a website. This option makes attractive websites infinitely more accessible to personal and small business website owners.

The trouble with the template model is the lack of variety that can occur. It’s not a great feeling to spend hours loading all of your content into a website only to discover over the next couple of weeks that there’s another site out there that looks just like yours.

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